Over the last few years, I have been slowly embracing a more minimalist approach to life. For me, minimalism isn’t about ditching everything and living a stoic lifestyle with nothing on my countertops and empty rooms—it’s about living with purpose and only keeping those things that bring value to my life.
Something that I identified that does not bring much value is the tens of email newsletters that I found myself receiving daily. I found them distracting. I found them time-consuming, going through each and needing to decide what to do with it… win it or bin it? Mostly, I’d bin in. What a waste of electricity!
A few weeks ago, I took delivery of Cal Newport’s latest book A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Overload. As I began to read it, I was immediately inspired to begin to reduce the amount of email I receive.
I opened a Trello ticket on my current projects board called “Unsubscribe from email newsletters” and created a list to capture everything that I unsubscribe from; that way, if I realise later that I did get value from it, I knew where to go to resubscribe.
I had one simple rule: does this email newsletter give me value? If the answer was either no or I’m not sure, I unsubscribed from it and recorded that in my list.
I have been running this experiment for a little over one month now and I have unsubscribed from 67 email newsletters.
My inbox is now much clearer.
It takes me only a few minutes each day (rather than maybe one hour) to deal with emails.
I can immediately see messages of value—emails from friends and strangers, emails requiring action, and the newsletters that I do want to read and from which I get a lot of value, for example the curious journal and weekly offerings from Documentally).
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of email, I thoroughly recommend it.