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 live.
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.