I deleted all of my email and it was GLORIOUS!

As glorious as it has been, it started out as an absolute struggle. Ya gotta get
through the ghetto before you get to the meadow, amirite?

So what led me down the path of total email annihilation? There were a few
contributing factors. Before I talk about that, let’s talk about how I use email
these days.

First off, I was a devout user of Mailbox. I subscribed to the idea
that your inbox is a todo list and deferring messages is a desirable way to

Second, I would archive messages instead of actually deleting them. Keeping
every email message you’ve sent or received for over ten years doesn’t
constitute hoarding does it?

So that’s how I have handled email for quite a while now, arguably too damn
long. Then I discovered Dashlane Inbox Scan. WHAT AN EYE OPENER!

Dashlane’s scanner revealed to me that my email account was a gold mine of
information. Logins, passwords, addresses, the whole nine. I use complex
passwords and two-factor authentication, but what if?

That “what if” was a bit much for me, so I decided to audit my email for
sensitive information and purge it as best as Gmail would allow me to. I went
through emails that went as far back as 2004. Yes, I’ve had a Gmail account
since it launched. Wow, starting to feel old.

After spending way too much time trying to audit the messages, I started to
think to myself, “why not delete it all, like every message ever?”.

I thought about the messages I may want to read again in the future or the
licensing keys that I may need. I realized that I never re-read messages and any
apps that I need a key for I can probably re-request from the publisher. What
do I really have to lose?

The answer is, not a damn thing. Deleting all of my emails broke me out of the
horrible habit of using my inbox as a todo list. It also means that my email
account is no longer so bloated that I can’t even use Mail.app because it will
take 100 years to sync.

Now, “inbox zero” literally means that I have no email, which is a pretty
regular occurance now. Deleting everything takes away a ton of noise and allows
me to focus on what matters, which is basically everything but email. No more
derring emails, I either action or not, but I always delete.

Because I delete every message as it comes in, I no longer have to futz around
with perfecting my filters and/or trying to label my emails accordingly. Instead
of filing things off, I just unsubscribe, my daily email load is significantly
lighter than it was a few weeks ago.

It was a very drastic measure, but it was something that I had to do. YMMV but I
do highly recommend purging everything from time to time. If nothing else,
starting over with a blank canvas allowa you to easily establish new habits
and workflows.

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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