We’ve been big fans of Marie Kondo ever since listening to her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, on Audible back in 2015, and we’re thrilled to hear so many of our clients and friends love her Netflix show. We love to see people focusing on whether or not their possessions “spark joy”, but we have to ask: what about your inbox?? Does it spark joy?
Here are some practical suggestions that will help love your inbox a little more or at the very least stop being stressed out by it.
1. Set Aside Time to Go Through Your Emails
Raise your hand if you tend to respond to emails a few at a time whenever you have a spare moment. (We’re guilty too.) That is counter to the Marie Kondo method of simplifying. Instead, establish an inbox routine so you can get in the inbox zone. Maybe you check and respond to all emails first thing in the morning and then again at the end of the day. Or maybe it’s at Noon. Figure out the best time for you to manage your inbox and then stick to it.
2. Turn Off Your Email Notifications
Does your iPhone dinging every time you receive an email spark joy? Probably not. In fact, if you’re like most people it likely takes your focus away from whatever you were doing and may even create some anxiety. Now that you’ve set aside certain times of each day to go through your emails there’s no reason you need to get notified each time you receive an email. Turn off the notifications. If it’s really urgent someone will call or text you.
3. Don’t Create Too Many Categories
Your inbox needs only three categories.
- You need to respond to or act on
- You’re waiting on someone else to respond
- You don’t need anymore (archive) or delete
4. Learn to Love the Delete Button
Marie Kondo’s entire method revolves around the idea that if you don’t need something anymore and it isn’t giving you any joy to hang onto it it’s time to get rid of it. Go ahead and press delete again, and again, and again.
5. Plan An Unsubscribe Session
One of the problems with email is that we all sign up for mailing lists we’re just not interested in. Maybe it’s to get a coupon, maybe it’s because we enjoyed a few articles on a site. Whatever the reason, it’s time to kick delete once and for all those emails that don’t routinely spark joy. Pour a cup of your favorite beverage at a time when you can give at least 90 minutes attention to nothing but your inbox. Open it and scan through just for subscriptions. Do not open anything else, ignore the beeps (see step 2) and leave your other tabs closed. Open each email and immediately scroll to the bottom where you’ll find the teeny font where you can unsubscribe and DO IT. If you haven’t opened and used the information in the subscription you’re not going to. Only keep subscriptions to the emails you open and actually read.
After your 90-minute unsubscribing marathon, make it a habit to open, read, and delete all of your subscription emails. Anything from yesterday that is unread tomorrow should be unsubscribed from going forward. If you subscribe to something for a coupon, once it comes IMMEDIATELY go into the email and unsubscribe.