101 changes: Change 2: Getting to e-mail Zen

Many of our lives are intermingled with internet and everything that comes with it such as blogs, information sites and emails. Imagining life without emails seem impossible. How did people communicated without emails before? Many of us have more than one email accounts (as many of them are free to get) and they are all filled out millions of emails with blog feeds, work related emails, jokes, chain emails, to-do-lists, invitations and of course lot of spam emails too!

I had at least 8 emails accounts not so long ago;
1. Work/office email
2. Professional/career email account to keep in touch with ex-company’s friends and networking
3. Family and close friends email
4. Mommy and playgroup email
5. Junk email to use with online and offline usage
6. Craigslist household items selling email
7. Blogging email
8. Extra backup email to send high resolutions images to family/friends

This list can go on; I was so overwhelmed and confused which email address to give it and to whom and when. Once I left my job and became stay at home mom, I eventually, consolidated all emails in to ONLY 2 email accounts;

1. One for all: Family, friends, Mommy friends, Preschool related, yahoo groups emails, blogs, etc.
2. I kept one email for selling items online, using for online usage

It was lot better and I let other account expire and delete them after keeping the friend’s emails and updating them to changes in to my email account.

Furthermore simplifying was needed. Here are the some of the steps I took;

My zen emailing plan:
1. For my top yahoo groups that I like, I subscribed to daily digest for it, so I would get only one email from that busy and active group instead of 55 emails everyday.
2. I opted out of some of email groups.
3. I decided to be part of some important groups, but opted to read activities online rather then having it deliver information to my email box.
4. I always do quick browse and delete emails right away.
5. If email answer is required, I usually follow up with answer or possible future update. If clarification is needed, either I call follow up with email or phone call, depending on nature of urgency.
6. If there is an email or address change I quickly change it in my address book, online and my real life address book.
7. If there is an invitation and if we are going, I quickly right it down in our family calender in kitchen area, so all of us can see it and do not plan other activities during that time.
8. I save and download family pictures and files on computer hard drive and delete emails.
9. I make sure my email in-box is around less than 10 emails. Everything else is sorted, dealt with or deleted.
10. I do not use email for my to-do list. I actually do write down things I need to do from email to hand written notebook.

Now with blogging, I have a couple of new accounts, so I need to re sort my list again. Just like other things in your life, email simplifying needs regular and periodic maintenance. If I slack off, my in-box grows and I can not find information easily and may miss gathering or two or sometimes lot more, like my zen sanity.

My tips for stopping email madness;

1. Start in small steps. Set up strong spam filter to avoid getting many junk emails.
2. Decide what is important for you and consolidate accounts.
3. Check your email only twice a day, for example, 9AM and 3.30 PM. It will give you time to finish important things.
4. People may tell you, their request is urgent so check email every 2 minutes. If it is urgent, pick up a phone and call, walk up to that person and ask.
5. Keep your in-box clutter free by purging unnecessary emails.
6. Keep task related email in one folder than delete the whole folder after task is completely done. For example, I had a Christmas travel plans with family and kept all related emails, travel information and site-seeing details in to one folder and deleted that folder after trip was complete. This made deleting easy at once and kept my in-box free of clutter.

These are things that work for me. Modify to fit your life style as there is no one size fit all approach. You may want to do one step, instead of doing everything at once, start check email 4 times per day, than reduce it to twice a day. Now I check my email every 2-3 days and it seems to be working fine for my life style. Do what works for you but do something! As I know and I am sure, it will help you take control over your emails and give you little peace of mind.

By doing above steps not only you will increase your real productivity but you will also have mental peace too.

What other ways do you keep sanity with millions of emails we seemed to be getting each day? Did I miss any? Let me know.

To see previous post on 101 changes click here 101 changes – Reduce drinking soda .
Zengirl

101 changes: Change 1- Reduce Drinking Soda

101 changes: Change 2: Getting to email Zen

101 changes: Change 3: Slow down- Slow blogging movement

101 changes: Change 4 – Plant something

101 changes: Change 5 – Smile when you wake up

101 changes: Change 6:: Read a book – Benefits of reading

101 changes: Change 7 – Watch less Television and Be more productive

101 changes: Change 8 – Stretch your comfort zone

101 changes: Change 9:  Drink to your health- Benefits of Drinking Tea

101 changes: Change 10: Bring out the artist in You AKA be creative

About Author: This post is written by Preeti who writes under name of Zengirl on Heart and Mind Blog. She writes articles about self improvement, stress free and slow living and believes in slow blogging.

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I am stay at home with 2 kids, married to my best friend zenguy. I am in to simplifying, slow and sustainable living, I am frugal, love reading, writing and watching romantic movies. I believe in family, friendship and community.

17 comments

  1. Betsy Bargain says:

    Zengirl,

    Sounds like you’ve taken some much-needed steps to stop email overload in your life and save your sanity! While the volume of email I deal with is not so overwhelming, there are a lot of good tips in here, some of which I plan to use to reduce my own stress level!
    .-= Betsy Bargain´s last blog ..Eggsquisite Eggs, Naturally! =-.

  2. Kamal says:

    ZenGirl,

    I have Way too many emails, I almost lost count. I remember them only when I need them. I have just started to consolidate them. So, this is a timely post to give me some tips. I like some of the tips that can be used very easily.

  3. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice says:

    Hey Zen,

    Great tips, there are some nifty things you can do with accounts like gmail like auto labelling, send from one account recieve in one account that makes the email process much more simple. I used to be like you, I had like 7 email accounts and now I 2 main and two I rarely bother to check as they just catch all the junk for me! :-)

    A
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Video – How To Find The Blessing In Even The Worst Of Situations =-.

  4. ZenGirl says:

    Kamal,

    Simple and easy tips are the best as they are easy to implement. I hope you consolidate and do not use email for your to-do list will help too. Did you start your blog?

  5. ZenGirl says:

    Amit,

    Good tips. I have used a few forwarding email to one account before. It does help but I had still too many accounts and passwords to keep track of. Good for you to consolidate email accounts. I am sure it is much easier now. It is good to see you back.

  6. Scenografia says:

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  7. Pingback: 101 changes: Change 3 – Slow blogging Movement | Heart and Mind

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