Unsubscribing from emails

Photo by ÉMILE SÉGUIN 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

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.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 49 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Vision Ltd, Dundee. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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