Monday Motivator: Opt Out

My friend Robert Benson wrote about the pains of email in his blog, and as tempted as I am to steal his ideas and pretend they’re mine, I’ll simply direct you to his eloquent words about his email frustration.

There are many things about email that irk me:

  • People who don’t read emails and then get all huffy about ‘not being informed.’
  • People who send me emails and then call to tell me they’ve just sent me an email.
  • People who send emails to everyone when only a few people are affected by the contents.

Still, those are mere annoyances. In general, email is a great help to my job. If an item is in my inbox, then I know it still needs to be dealt with. When there’s some discrepancy about who agreed to do what, I can go through archives to sort it out. And, let’s face it, for introverts, it’s much nicer than talking on the telephone.

I find email to be a useful tool, but that doesn’t mean I like the fact that on any given day, I receive more than a hundred emails. I’m not that popular. I’m not that important. So after reading Robert’s blog, I investigated my own inbox and found, to my chagrin, that I was the unintentional cause of a great deal of my own pain.

It appears that my email address is often put on order forms for items we buy for our division. And like any good marketing department, those companies added me to their mailing lists. Besides my work emails, I’m receiving ads about software, conferences, tutoring services, newsletters, etc. The purchase may have been an one-time thing, but the marketing emails are eternal.

Unless you unsubscribe. And that’s what I’m doing. For the past three days, instead of automatically deleting those emails, I’ve been taking the extra step to unsubscribe. If all goes according to plan, I should have a more streamlined inbox with only those emails that have relevance to my current situation.

We’ll see. As of today, my inbox is at 137, the lowest it’s been in over a year.

So your task for this week is to start controlling your inbox by unsubscribing from all those companies that have you on their marketing lists. It’s probably an accumulation of months and years, and you just might be surprised what a difference it can make.

BTW, today’s post does not apply to the Jolly Librarian!


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