Empty your E-mail inbox. I cannot tell you how liberating it is to open one’s E-mail to find only fresh, unread messages. Go through your inbox TODAY and delete or archive everything.
Use the same rule you use for getting rid of old clothes and other clutter: If you haven’t used it, you don’t need it.
…or, if you just can’t bring yourself to delete everything, here’s a handy guide for what to do with all that clutter.
- Use GMail, period. It is the best, smoothest, biggest free mail client around. Plus, it has easy tools to help you archive old stuff. (But even if you refuse to get rid of that old address that you got free with your very first dial-up IP, you can still declutter.)
- Delete everything over a month old. “But I might need it…” Do you? Have you? NO! Delete!
- Everything else must either be acted upon or moved. Respond to the things that deserve responses, save the things that deserve saving, delete all else.
Do this every day when you check your E-mail:
- Absorb pertinent information, save contact info, notate calendar, etc.
- Delete short crap. Delete jokes. Delete anything that is not historic.
- Move anything else to some other folder, but CLEAR YOUR INBOX.
We’ll talk more about the importance of checking one’s E-mail only once-a-day, but master this first. It will make that moment each day much more pleasant.