Reclaiming My Inbox, Next
I gave up on my email inbox a long time ago. It’s time I reclaim it.
I started this blog to connect and reconnect with people after I got tired of how fake social media seemed and how superficial my interactions there were.
Then came the beginning of the Fall of Twitter and the Rise of Mastodon. I found better connections there, a social media that brought me back to the early days of Twitter.
So, amidst this renaissance of the Golden Days of the Web, I want to go back even further to a place that was dear to me in the late 90s. A place where I used to spend a lot of time writing and reading and connecting with friends and family. My email inbox.
Nowadays, my inbox is packed with newsletters that I never read and never signed up for, automatic notifications of things I don’t care about, and, of course, never-ending spam. The stuff I care about gets lost in this sea of useless noise. So, here’s my plan to turn this tide around.
Most legitimate newsletters include a link to unsubscribe. I’m pretty sure it’s a law somewhere, or maybe it’s just good internet manners, but they do. Gmail even picks up on this and brings the unsubscribe option right to the top of the message instead of being buried at the end of the newsletter where it usually lives. I typically ignore these messages. I’ve decided to actively unsubscribe from those who don’t spark joy, which is most of them.
Some services, like Unroll.me and Cleanfox, help you automate this task. But I don’t want them to look at my inbox and then sell my data. So, for now, I’m doing it manually.
I had had my Gmail account since the halcyon days when you had to get an invitation to open an account. And back then, the big draw was the amount of available space to store your message. “You’ll never have to delete an email again!” was one of the selling points. And so I got used to never deleting emails again. This changes now!
If something is unimportant, the message gets deleted after I find a way to unsubscribe from its source. Simple as that!
Acting on messages as soon as I see them is something I practice with work email that I now need to implement in my personal inbox. If I see a message, I act on it immediately. If it’s something I need to look at later, Gmail has the excellent snooze feature (my favorite thing from the now-defunct Inbox) that I need to go back to using.
Snoozing should also help me with the constant problem I face: I tend to read important messages and answer them “in my head” but never really write a response.
Cleaning out my Inbox is not just about decluttering and reducing stress. It’s about opening that space to become a source of joy and connection. If I’ll find that there, though, remains to be seen. Does anybody write email messages anymore? I have a few pen pals that still do, and I plan to add more now that I’ll have the mental space to do it.
Do you still write emails to your friends and family? Do you have control over your inbox?
Published by Borghal