Until last year, it had never even crossed my mind to delete an email. But since then I’ve learned about the environmental impact of Data Centres, these big warehouses of servers. The more data we store, the more energy and servers required.
Then I heard about “Inbox Zero”, the concept of keeping zero emails in your inbox. This appealed to me to minimise distraction whilst online. (I’ve also read a lot about Digital Minimalism and highly recommend the book by Cal Newport on that.)
Here are some of the steps I’ve taken with my inbox:
1) I’ve made folders (not labels) and when I finish with an email I either delete it or put it into a folder. My folders are:
Info to Keep,
2020 (which I’ll delete at the end of 2020- stuff that might be important for a few weeks that I may need to refer back to).
2) If I don’t delete an email or put it in a folder, I leave it in the inbox. That way it’s easy to see what I still need to do and I won’t forget.
3) I spent a day of finding which emails were important and putting them into a folder (called Info to keep) and the pressed delete on all the others!! (a bit scary!)
4) I unsubscribed from most newsletters as they arrived after that. There is always an option at the end of each email.
5) I enjoy reading some email newsletters. They can be very interesting but when they landed into my inbox whilst working on my computer, they are liable to distract me. And they’re mainly trying to sell me things and make me click through to their blog. So, I’ve made a filter so that all newsletter emails automatically skip my inbox and land in the folder called “Reading Material” which I read in the evenings or weekend.
6) I don’t leave my emails open while I’m working on my computer. It’s too likely to make me want to immediately open emails that arrive. Instead I batch emails together and take a decision on them when I open them with my full attention.
A friend once told me she had about 10,000 unopened emails in her inbox and I couldn’t believe it… that would push my brain over the edge.
Are you nearer inbox zero or inbox 10,000??