Remember back in the day when we all had AOL?  After waiting a few minutes for the modem to connect, you would hopefully be greeted with the amazing sound of “You’ve Got Mail”.  It was a glorious sound, and you always felt like it was Christmas morning and each email was a present.

aol-youve-got-mail

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel that way about email anymore.  Sure, I get some awesome emails from family, friends and clients, but I also get a lot of emails from other that I don’t particularly care about.  Instead of maybe getting one or two emails that I was excited to read, depending on the day I can get 50 or even 100.

20,000 Emails And Counting

Email overload is a real issue and a lot of people do not know how to manage to manage it.  I was definitely one of those people for a long time.  At one point, my email inbox had topped 20,000 emails.  Since I use Gmail (which provides 15 GB of space), I never had to worry about cleaning up my email and was able to become complacent.

A few years ago I read a book called Getting Things Done, which completely changed how I looked at things and greatly improved my productivity as well as reduced my stress.  One of the key concepts in that book was that we all are surrounded by “stuff” (email, papers, etc) and it is just stuff until we decide what we need to do with it.  One of the areas that this applied to was my email.  I didn’t really know it at the time, but I had quite a bit of anxiety about having so many emails and not having them organized.  So I took a recommendation from the book and started the long processing of sorting my email.  It took me about a week, but at the end I was able to get to inbox 0, meaning that I had no emails in my inbox.  I deleted a bunch of email and labeled a bunch and archived them.  Any emails that I needed to do something with got tagged with a “@Office” label.  At the end, I had an organized email box and a list of things that I needed to do when I was in my office.

Inbox 0 Maintenance Tip – Create an Unsubscribe List

Ever since taking control of my email, I have worked diligently to keep it organized.  This was hard at the beginning, but I used a combination of filter and labels to assist.  One of the best filters/label list that I created was my “Unsubscribe List”.

What is an unsubscribe list you may ask?  It is a list of all of the items that I may want to unsubscribe from.  You see, when markets send you email (ex. if you registered for a new site and “signed up” for their newsletter or updates), they are required to provide you the option to unsubscribe.

gmail-unsubscribe

 

Knowing this, we can create a list to see all of the potential mail that we can unsubscribe from to cut down on our email.

Step 1 – Create an Unsubscribe Label

In Gmail’s settings, go to the label tab and create a new label called Unsubscribe.

gmail-unsubscribe-label

Step 2 – Create a Filter and Apply the Label

In Gmail’s settings, go to the filter tab and create a new filter.  Configure it so that when it finds the word “unsubscribe”, it applies the unsubscribe label.

gmail-unsubscribe-filter

 

Step 3 – Review Unsubscribe List & Unsubscribe

Now when you click on the Unsubscribe label, you will have a list of all emails that you can unsubscribe from.  You can determine which emails you want to keep receiving (ex. I love emails from Amy Porterfield and John Lee Dumas because they had great content) and which ones you don’t want to receive (ex. I don’t care about twitter emails because I get notifications on my phone).

gmail-unsubscribe-list

 

Also, when looking at my inbox, I can easily see which emails I can unsubscribe from because they have the label.  What other tips do you use to help keep you email in check?

gmail-unsubscribe-inbox-label

 

So there you have it, a quick and easy tip to help you manage your email overload.