Monday, January 17, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 3

Photo courtesy of
I picked decluttering my office bookcase as my project for this past weekend.  Said bookcase sits right beside my computer and before I started, I thought I'd just quickly check my email.  Ha!  Little did I know that I was about to be sucked into the black hole that is the computer...

Long story short, instead of doing the bookcase, I ended up decluttering the inboxes of my two email accounts.  Whew, what a job!  I had 1100 emails in the inbox of my Sympatico account, 464 of which got deleted and the rest neatly sorted into the appropriate folder, to be reviewed at a later date.  I now have only six (6) emails in my inbox and those are ones I need to reply to before I can move or delete them too.

In my Hotmail account, I had 567 emails in my inbox and whittled them down to only 4.  I ended up deleting exactly 800 emails in this account, because I decided to delete all the emails in my "sent" box as well ( I figured that if people hadn't already replied, they weren't going to and if they had, I had already done something with their response when I cleaned out my inbox!)

It took me just over two hours to do this job and it definitely needed to be done. Having two inboxes full of hundreds of emails was really weighing on my mind.  I couldn't figure out how there could be so many and what they were all about, why was I saving them?   Now that I have peeked at most of them and made a decision to either keep or delete them, I'm not worried about what is in there any more.

What I did was, I sorted the emails by who they were from, instead of by date received, and that made the job much easier.  Plus I tried to be ruthless, asking myself how important this stuff was and did I really need to keep it?  For example, digests from various Yahoo groups for classes I have taken online could be easily deleted because, of course, they are already being stored on Yahoo's website and I can go read them there any time I want.  I already tend to delete junk mail immediately and now that I have the appropriate folders set up (for accounts, various individual friends, family members, etc.), new emails can be dealt with easily and quickly going forward.  No more time lost searching for that email from so and so with that link to the thing, as all emails from so and so are now tidily sorted into the folder with her name on it.  Or the link itself is saved in a folder in my favourites and the email deleted.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by your own inbox, I would highly recommend taking the time to do this task.  You don't have to do it in one sitting like I did.  (In fact, I would suggest it's better not to, because I was quite stiff from sitting in front of the computer for two hours straight but I was that focused, the time just flew by!)  Tell yourself you'll sort for half an hour or until you've deleted x number of emails or until the total in your inbox is x.  Whatever works for you.  Just do it.  I promise you'll feel better for it!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Ha Ha I have 16,000 in my in box. Yikes!