10 Steps to Emptying Your Email Inbox

In my short career as an interior designer, I have had the privilege of working with two clients who don’t use email. Yes, you read that right, “privilege.” So what is this millennial doing embracing a world without email? For starters, it’s a well-known fact that email in itself is a time-supping endeavor. In 2010 the website monitoring company, Pingdom, estimated 107 trillion emails were sent, averaging 294 billion emails per day [1]. The use of email is only expected to rise. A report by the telecommunications research company, Radicati Group, estimates that by 2018, workers will receive 97 emails per day, which averages out to 12 emails every working hour [4]. Feeling stressed yet?

Although email can quickly spiral out of control, the sheer thought of being without it strikes fear in the eyes of many. To test our reliance on email, 13 brave souls participated in a study where they went without email for an entire week [2]. Did they crash and burn? Nope, instead they reported focusing on their tasks longer, multitasking less, and experiencing lower stress levels [3]. While there are many benefits to tearing away from email, it’s probably unrealistic to abolish it all together. So instead, I compiled a list of suggestions to consider when wrangling in the load and ultimately attaining some sanity:

  1. Resolve to check emails at certain times rather than constantly throughout the day. It is also helpful to keep your mailbox closed when trying to focus on important tasks.
  2. Be proactive and schedule small time slots (like meetings) in your calendar solely for the purpose of going through emails. This will help chip away at large inboxes even when you feel you don’t have time.
  3. Aim to keep no more than 15 to 20 messages in your inbox at a time. Sorting messages into folders will help keep you organized and help keep the clutter down.
  4. Beef up your spam filters to catch unwanted mail from finding your inbox. Taking the time to set this up now can make a big difference later on.
  5. Create multiple email accounts to keep important business separated from subscriptions, news updates, and website spam.
  6. Visit unroll.me to view all the newsletters and websites you subscribe to, then remove your least favorite sites and bundle the remaining into one convenient email sent out daily.
  7. Control the amount of emails you send to help others become less entrenched. Just because email is free to use doesn’t mean you need to over-inform and be burdensome to others.
  8. Be cognizant of who needs to be copied on an email. Yes, it is important to keep everyone informed, however, long email strands and multiple replies may likely lead to inbox burden.
  9. Remember, not all communication is best through email. Sometimes picking up the phone and talking through a problem can save dozens of back-and-forth emails.
  10. Lastly, don’t be afraid to become friends with the delete button. Many times the emails that clog up the inbox are repetitive communication. If you find yourself hesitating, delete!











Header image via

People, LifestyleSarah Brooks