The Great Unsubscribe of 2010

BlogHer Original Post

InboxMy inbox overflowed.

Every single day. Emails. Emails. Insane amounts of emails. My inbox was crazy. All of my inboxes were packed. I have 7 inboxes that I actively use, and all of them were crazy, with my primary account being the craziest of all. And were these emails from friends, family, business contacts? No. These emails were from marketers trying to sell me things. And it was all my own fault.

I was an email whore. I gave my email address to everyone. Every time I bought anything online, or signed up for anything, that company started sending me email.  And really, who can blame them? I gave them permission, after all. The companies added up, and so did the emails, and soon everything got lost in the avalanche. For years, I have been losing important emails in the mess of "50% off everything!" and "Come check out our new fall line!" and everything else. 

Yesterday alone I received over 130 emails.  And most of those I didn't even bother to open. They weren't important to me. Most received a cursory scan of the subject line. Maybe 20% got loaded in to my preview screen. And a fraction of those actually got fully read. That's less than 10 emails that actually mattered.  Yet I had to scroll up and down through the muck and mess to get to them. I was spending time actively ignoring things that didn't matter in order to try and sift through to find the things that did.

This is my time. My precious time that I don't have enough of.  And this is my email. Your conduit in to me. That's not respectful. It's not useful.

So today, I spent an hour of my time unsubscribing from everything. Everything. All of it. If it had an unsubscribe button on the email (meaning it was from a company or organization of some kind), I clicked it.  Gone. GONE. And oh, the power. No more email from YOU. No more email from YOU. You're gonna have to work a little harder to get my dollars next time, friends.

Will I miss out on some new offers, some exciting sales, some great discounts? Probably. And, GOOD. Getting notifications of things I never knew I needed was contributing greatly to my consumption. And consumption is just bad. (Sorry, economic stimulus types.) It's bad for my wallet, it's bad for my house and its limited storage space, it's bad for the environment.

But more importantly, doing this is going to give me back my focus. I was giving all of these marketing folks for seemingly every single company in the world access to my eyeballs for free. Chuh. *rolls said eyes* No more. 

It's going to take a few weeks, probably, to get rid of everything. Every day some emails will still trickle in, and every day I'm going to unsubscribe from them.  I want my inbox to become more purposeful, more sacred. I want it to hold important information, one-to-one information. I've never ever liked the phone, so email is my method of choice for communication, and it was getting drowned through my own doing. No more. My inbox should not overwhelm and drive me crazy. It should energize and inspire, at least to the extent that everyone in my inbox should want to talk to me, ME, not a faceless "valued customer."

And oh, the liberation. I feel 10 pounds lighter.

How much email do you get? Have you ever thought about downsizing your inbox? Why or why not?


Visit my blogs at ThreeSeven (all that's irrelevant and amusing) and ecochick (all that's green, cool and Canadian).


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