If there is one thing that will send you off the deep end and into the realm of overwhelm, it’s having too many unopened emails. What many people don’t realise is that their subconscious doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction and as much as they may be able to rationalise the presence of a thousand plus unopened emails in your inbox, that little voice in your head cannot. That is the same voice telling you that you don’t have enough time or that you are getting overwhelmed and many other subconscious triggered lies.
Many people treat their email as a filing cabinet, and to an extent I guess that is OK but if they are unopened emails, slowly piling up in various folders and sub-folders, I can guarantee you that will be a source of unrealised stress for you. Emails, whilst an important way to track communications and client interactions, are designed to help you communicate quickly and efficiently. Anything older than 6 months, unless it’s on going matter or your profession requires otherwise, should be archived and stored somewhere other than your inbox.
In most email programs you can set up rules around how long things stay in the system. If you’re using Outlook for example, you can rule that anything over a certain “age” is Archived. This means it is removed from the main Outlook system and stored in a separate file on your computer. You can still access them in need be but they are not clogging up your Inbox or slowing down your email program. If you are using an online program like Gmail, this process isn’t available as such but you create a label for old folders and move them into there.
Lastly, if the reason you have so many unopened emails is because of junk emails from subscriptions sites or marketing lists, you can use an awesome tool called Unroll.Me to be your personal clean up crew. After you sign up, it generates a list of all subscriptions and offers you a one click unsubscribe process. Weed out the ones you don’t want then you can ask it to send you your “Daily Rollup” which is basically one email with a list of all the subscription emails for that day that you actually want to read!