This week my email provider sent me a message indicating my account was at capacity -- yet again. After checking, I found that I had received over 3,700 messages in the past two weeks, so I either had to trim down my incoming mail or buy more server storage space.
In the past, I've always taken the easy choice and ponied up for additional capacity, but this time I took the road that I have obviously traveled far less in the past few years.
I decided it was time for some spring cleaning.
Going through tons of email messages in my inbox and folders, I realized why I've lately had this sinking feeling of being completely overwhelmed.
Yes, I receive a high volume of messages -- and since I subscribed to most of this stuff there is no one to blame but me. However, the real problem is actually not the 250 or so emails that arrive daily. The problem is what's inbeded within most of those emails that is the crux of the problem.
You see, almost every email contains -- dare I say the word: Links.
One click on an email link leads me to a new destination. Once there, I see more links that open videos, surveys, jokes, articles, news and before I know it, I've been hopscotching from site to site and an hour has passed. There seems to be no stopping the information cycle. My time is being gobbled up and changing that is necessary.
With a renewed mission, I took a scalpel to my email. First, I unsubscribed to most of the news services that send me multiple updates daily -- keeping only my two favorites. I took myself off the list for probably three dozen media and research newsletters and checked "unsubscribe" for countless other organizations and businesses. I even said "bye bye" to six or seven daily coupon offers and left ten Meetups and did the same for a bunch of LinkedIn groups.
I was on a roll.
By the end of the morning, I'd trimmed down my incoming mail by more than half.
Did I feel any lighter? Absolutely. But when I got on my bathroom scale this morning I found that cleansing my email didn't move the dial -- even a little. However, I do feel like I have a little more breathing room, which is a good feeling.
Today, when I checked my inbox at 6 a.m. I only had 17 messages. My goal is to get it down to 10 by the end of the month. Who knows what trouble I could get into with all this extra time?