Tackling the Email Monster | Alexia's Books and Such: Tackling the Email Monster

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tackling the Email Monster

I can't even...

After Yahoo reinstated all of my deleted emails for the second time, I admit that I sort of gave up. I mean, why bother to wade through them all only to have Yahoo just dump them back into my Inbox?

Or I'd have several tabs open with emails I wanted to deal with later, only to lose them when my laptop crashed or spontaneously restarted. Did you know that pulling your hair in frustration actually hurts?

Admittedly, giving up wasn't a very good solution as my emails just kept piling up, and I was probably missing some important notices. But I've become very good at avoidance over the years.

Unfortunately, my inbox just kept growing because avoidance wasn't working. Something had to be done! Luckily, the universe stepped in and gave me the kick in the butt I needed.

One of the newsletters I followed had a tip on Keeping Your Inbox to 5 or Fewer Emails. Then I checked out the Bloggiesta mini challenges and there was one for emails! Score!

Crystal:  How to Control Your Email Box

Crystal, one of the non-book bloggers I follow, does a morning Periscope every day. Because I'm not 100% sure what Periscope is, I didn't realize that she had mentioned how she keeps her inbox under five emails until I received her latest newsletter.

You can watch her broadcast on katch.me or check out a more detailed post on her website, but it boils down to 5 simple steps:

  1. Unsubscribe ruthlessly
  2. Stop social media notifications
  3. Use the delete button
  4. Set up filters
  5. Deal with emails immediately (touch only once)

This sounds pretty basic, but sometimes you don't think of simple solutions until someone points them out to you!

For instance, I had several email subscriptions that I would always delete without opening, but for some reason it never occurred to me to unsubscribe.

Same thing with social media. I don't really need to know when someone follows me on Twitter or Facebook, as I check those almost daily.

So I got busy with unsubscribing, updating my social media accounts, and deleting like mad! I then set up a few filters for thinks like Shelf Awareness and some of the ecourses I'm taking. This way, I don't have to hunt for the emails when I want them.

The last one is the one I've always had trouble with. I tend to read an email, then put off dealing with it until later. Think that this one is going to take me longer, but I'm determined!

Bloggiesta:  Achieving Inbox Zero 

Around the same time, I saw that Aloi from Guiltless Reading had a Bloggiesta mini challenge about dealing with your emails. Coincidence? I think not!

Several of her tips were the same as Crystals, but there were also some new ones:

  1. Unsubscribe
  2. Delete
  3. Respond immediately to easy emails
  4. Manually filter emails to different folders to deal with later
  5. Deal with folders during downtime

I've become an unsubscribing demon and a little delete happy, but my inbox is slowly but surely shrinking!

Don't think that manually moving emails to another folder to deal with later will work for me because once out of sight, it's out of mind. I do like her suggestion of dealing with the easy emails first!

My Plan

Both Crystal and Aloi use gmail and several of their tips were gmail specific. I'm still using Yahoo, but several of their tips can be used on any email system, so I jumped in and got busy!

After unsubscribing from subscriptions and changing my social media notifications, I came up with a daily plan:

  1. Set time for 15 minutes
  2. Scan for important emails
  3. Work from the bottom up
  4. Touch each email only once, then delete

Because I'm easily distracted, I decided to deal with my inbox in small batches. I set my timer for 15 minutes and concentrate on emails only.

First thing I do is scan my new emails for anything important looking, then deal with it immediately. Remember, I'm supposed to touch it only once!

Then I scroll down to the bottom of the page and slowly start working my way up. A little while ago, Yahoo decided to organize my inbox by months. Not sure why, but I like it! Embarrassed to admit it, but I still have unread emails from last year. *blush*

The good news is that I've gotten my inbox down to 325 unread emails! The bad news is that there are over 1000 read emails that I never dealt with. Yikes!

But I'm determined to reach Inbox Zero! Have any tips or tricks that work for you? I can use all the help I can get!

Wish me luck!


  1. Those tips are really useful! I have been trying to organize my emails but some time it's just too much!! Also, unsubscribing takes a lot of time....but it has to be done.

  2. Sounds like great advice! You can do it! I don't struggle with my email but I do hate trying to unsubscribe. It never works. If I get one more email from Travelocity I'm going to flip out!

  3. Oh gosh. Nope that wouldn't work for me. Social media notifications are KING for me. That's how I keep up with the blog's FB and the authors I run pages for and groups. I can keep my inbox to around 30 which is where I'm comfortable with about 10 of those usually being review requests.

    Glad it's working for ya and you're slowly making some progress!

  4. I am a lost cause. After deleting over 6,000 emails last Sunday, I still have about 11,000 to go through. Whose got time for that? To unsubscribe would be a good thing to do as most of the emails are newsletters for sites I've purchased from in the past. I am trying to take care of the email daily going forward, but I kind of fell behind a little again.

    Good luck getting your email cleaned out, though!

  5. Good luck. I know these are the things to do, but I just can't bring myself to unsubscribe. That's a tough thing for me. I want to get notifications on specific things, even if I don't read the emails I do save them. lol.

    Good luck on your venture through the email jungle. :D

  6. Desperately in need of some controlling, thank you for sharing these tips.

    Now I just need to find a way to get some authors (thankfully not too many) to acknowledge receipt of my emails. A thank you for your review would be nice but to be honest I'd settle to merely knowing my email had been received.

  7. Good luck. Thanks for sharing. I'm in it up to my knees and could use some luck myself. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing


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