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6 Strategies to Organize Overwhelming Email: Stem the Flood of Information

6 Strategies to Organize Overwhelming Email: Stem the Flood of Information

For many the issue of inbox overwhelm isn’t simply about being in an email heavy job, it’s very much about the deluge of incoming information. Newsletters, sales notices, marketing emails, jokes, social media updates, and updates from a variety of blogs and websites can make up a large portion of email piling up in your inbox daily. While these communications may often be necessary, desired even, they can all just get to be too much, when left unchecked. They will utterly take-over your inbox and completely overwhelm even the most organized and efficient among us. There are however, some simple steps we can take to combat this insidious dribble of incoming information. Simple yes; easy no. We humans are wired to seek information. We want to stay informed, in the loop, knowledgeable. We hate not keeping up with everything that’s going on around us. We might even go so far as to say that our insatiable curiosity has turned into an information addiction. Though many of us are still in denial about that…

Strategies to Stem the Flood and Clear Emails

  1. Cool it with the newsletters. Really. Only subscribe to newsletters if the information is truly valuable to you in some way. Useful, informative or entertaining is fine, but if you find yourself frequently skimming or deleting without even reading, it’s time to unsubscribe.
  2. Use an RSS reader. Instead of signing up for daily or weekly emails, subscribe to the site’s RSS feed (For example: Here’s Lifehack’s Feed) and use Google Reader or something similar to store and manage your information. Get it out of your inbox if you can!
  3. Be very selective when forwarding emails. Jokes, chain emails, video links, photos, and that sort of thing, but for the most part, it might be a better idea to post that kind of information on your Facebook wall. Everyone loves a cute pet or a good laugh; once in a while is fine, but not on a regular basis.
  4. Opt out of those sales alerts. If you need to buy something, you can search the internet for sales or discounts. If you don’t need it then you shouldn’t be wasting time getting alerts about it. It is a waste of your valuable time and inbox space and will probably save you money as well!
  5. Likewise, opt out of those marketing emails. Nearly every time you sign up on some website and give out your email, you are going to be placed on a mailing list. Unless you are waiting for some specific information from the website, uncheck that box during the sign-up process. If there wasn’t an option or you missed it, opt out or unsubscribe as soon as the marketing emails start showing up.
  6. Get it in digest format if possible. Instead of getting a notification every time someone posts on your LinkedInTwitter, or Facebook profile, opt for digest emails instead. Another option is to use an inbox filter to divert them to a separate folder, get text alerts, or turn off the notifications totally. You can always log in daily to look.

There are so many strategies we can use to organize email, weed out and trim down our email volume. With a little diligence, we can move a bit closer to an efficient, streamlined inbox that is a useful tool to share valuable information. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be for anyway?

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Featured photo credit:  Businessman with at signs flying from his hands via Shutterstock

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More by this author

Royale Scuderi

A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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Last Updated on October 6, 2020

9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again

9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again

The world has never been more connected. No matter where in the world you are, you can send a message to anyone in another part of the world as long as you both have internet connection. In fact, Aussies living in the Outback will soon have access to the internet comparable to their city-dwelling counterparts. The internet not only breaks distance barriers, but also social barriers. A regular person, like you or me, can now tweet our favorite authors, athletes, and other famous personalities! Sometimes, they even respond.

But sometimes, you may get lost in your online life that you forget to live your real life. You may focus on being more connected only to end up being disconnected with the real world. How is social media ruining your life? Watch this video to find out:

Sometimes, you need to take a step back, disconnect from social media and connect with life once again. Here are nine ways you do so:

1. Eliminate Gadgets for One Hour Before Sleep and After Wake Up

You should spend the first hour of your day setting your own plans and agenda. You should be proactive in setting the direction of your day, not reactive. This way, you can determine how you want your whole day to go, not simply reacting to how other people want you to spend your day. During the first hour of your day, you can pray, meditate, connect with yourself, set your to-dos, and set your goals.

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You should also spend the last hour of your day preparing to rest–your body and your mind. If you check your social media profile before going to bed, your mind will not get the rest it deserves as you will fill your mind with your friends’ updates on their news feeds, which do not necessarily make your life any better in any way or give you rest.

2. Turn Off All Your Push Notifications

It does not only save your battery life, it also saves you from a lot of distractions. Turn off all your push notifications from email, chat, and social media applications. In case of really urgent matters, people will give you a call.

Success is about momentum. How can you gain momentum when notifications keep distracting you?

3. Keep your phone in a drawer while you’re working.

Sometimes, merely seeing your phone can distract you whether or not your notifications have been turned off. So, why not take the extra mile and completely hide it away from your sight given you can still hear urgent phone calls?

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Again, it’s all about building momentum.

4. Use Only One Device for Checking Social Media

Facebook on your desktop, on your laptop, on your smartphone, and, now, even on your Apple Watch? That’s great! For Facebook that is. But, not for your focus and productivity. The more devices you have that can log in to your social media profiles, the more distractions you have to avoid.

Of course, you still have to be connected online. But, use only one device to do so. This will help you condition your mind (and discipline yourself) that your gadgets are your tools for doing more important things than aimlessly scrolling down your news feed.

5. Give Yourself 30 Minutes to Stay Connected

Yes, you still have to log in! Being connected through social media is really a must in this technology-driven world. But, set a time limit for it. Otherwise, you will only waste hours each day. Give yourself thirty minutes (an hour at most) each day to respond to text messages, check notifications, accept friend requests, and respond to comments. I know you still want to. Unless, of course, you’re a social media manager. That’s a different story.

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In case you cannot discipline yourself to stop logging in to social media, you can use browser extensions like StayFocusd for Google Chrome to limit the time you spend on them.

6. Allot One Hour of Your Day to Respond to Emails

In this increasingly online world, email still remains the most personal way of online communication. This is where the most important engagements still happen online. Other social media like Friendster and Multiply have come and gone, but email still remains. That’s why you can spend another hour each day checking and responding to your emails.

7. Subscribe to Your Favorite Websites via RSS or Email

Most of us rely on social media as well to get updates on our favorite blogs and website. But, social media are full of distractions. Instead, be proactive in getting updates as well. Subscribe via RSS or email to make sure that the only updates you receive are the updates you really want to receive.

Don’t have an RSS reader? Try Feedly. Using RSS readers may be a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will save you from a lot of distractions. But, it can also get addicting. So schedule catching up on your RSS reader as well!

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8. Use Third Party Applications to Post on Social Media

In case you really need to post updates, use third party applications such as Hootsuite and Buffer. That way, you can avoid logging in to your social media accounts and getting distracted by your news feed and notifications. Because once you’ve logged in, it’s difficult to log out! You don’t fight temptation, you avoid it!

9. Live a Real Life

Most importantly, live a real life, interact with real people, and be awesome in the real world! Don’t stress yourself making your profile wonderful. Live an awesome life and it will automatically follow!

Do exciting stuff. Write a book. Plan a trip. Whatever. Just be awesome!

Most importantly, live a life that matters and you don’t have to get your satisfaction and fulfillment from likes and shares ever again!

How About You?

What do you do to disconnect from social media and connect with your life once again?

Featured photo credit: Singularity University NL: Man versus Machine – Biology versus Technology by Sebastiaan ter Burg via imcreator.com

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