Sunday, June 18, 2017

Organizing eMail is Like Cleaning the Fridge

Organizing eMail is Like Cleaning the Fridge

It recently occurred to me that cleaning out my unwieldy email inbox is like cleaning out the refrigerator. I manage to get hundreds of emails a week, and having taken a year long online class added dozens more messages for each lesson. It become necessary to do a more through cleaning beyond deleting a few now and then.

Organizing eMail is Like Cleaning the Fridge
The door is first. When I clean out the fridge, first the outdated bottles in the door are discarded. They are all lined up nicely and waiting for their turn to be used up, but having missed the opportunity they are in line for the chopping block, so to speak. I take that approach with sale and coupon emails that ended some time ago, and delete those first. There went the sales ending in February, March, April, and May — tossed much like I would toss expired mayonnaise. My nicely organized email folder labeled “coupons to use” had a few more even older messages —- select the group, and delete. Oh, well, sales, I missed you.

The bottom refrigerator drawer has things I rarely look at, so those are probably  old. The drawer decisions are somehow easier than shelf decisions. How long has that been there? I look at the end (bottom) of my email list to delete the oldest, except for the ones that were saved from previous cleanings because I might read them someday. Delete, delete, delete.  Wait, not that, I really might read it now.

smaller food containers make their way to the back of the refrigerator shelvesThe shelves! You know how those smaller food containers make their way to the back of the refrigerator shelves? If they have been there a long time, who even wants to look and possibly have to smell? Those are like my email folders. Why is it what I  am most likely to delete is nicely saved in folders? Because I don’t look in the folders as that would require clicking twice. That would take so much effort, you see.  I like to work quickly when I clean the fridge, too. I hate to admit it but sometimes those little containers that should be reused make their way to the trash.

Now for the produce drawers that are the most frequently used. Bits of lettuce and other unwanted stuff need to be removed, just like newsletters to which I am subscribed. Why do I have all these newsletters? Maybe it was a subscription in exchange for a free PDF, to get 10% off my first order, or perhaps it was from one of my rare contest entries. Another fairly easy decision, In the search box, I type in the name of the newsletters I never read, select all, delete. That reminds me of my good intention to use the Kale or Swiss chard I bought but somehow didn’t seem to have a recipe. What was I going to do with the Swiss chard?

About now I need to empty the trash. For the fridge, I might have to take out the trash twice.  Well, hubby does anyway. So back on my computer I go to trash, empty trash, and look at that . . . 524 mails are being deleted. Please wait. Oh, I remember past messages I have sent, find sent, and delete all those too. About 150 more are gone, gone, gone. Well, at least it isn’t as bad as the time I had 10,000 emails to go through because I wasn’t checking my all mail.

There still messages sitting there. It occurs to me my refrigerator has a much better spam filter than my computer as I get no insurance or annuity offers when I look inside. I don’t need McAfee or Norton protection for the fridge. So now I block the creepy emails from Nigerian princes and foreign banks. No, we might not finish a leftover I didn’t even realize was in the fridge, but at least it isn’t trying to sell me anything. How do those strange foods get in there, anyway? If I don’t even remember it or perhaps want to remember it, out it goes, out, out, out.

Organizing eMail is Like Cleaning the Fridge
I have discovered food that is still good and I remember some recipes I wanted to make and still can as it is within the freshness dates. I surprise myself as I have a plan for dinner! I thought I had to go to the store. This reminds me of messages I might actually want to read: the fun ones, the new ones, the ones from friends, the ones I really want to read, the ones from writing group! Do I apply the KonMari decluttering goddess cleaning method. If I print it and hold it in my hand and it gives me joy do I keep the message?

What will I learn from my email cleaning? Unsubscribe, do not sign up, delete immediately if I am going to do so eventually. Do not let it stack up, focus on the email I want to read, and maybe clean out Gmail more often. About once  a week like the refrigerator? And try not to delete emails so fast the good ones somehow disappear which does happen despite my best intentions.  Does Gmail have a mind of its own?

Some people have a different approach. Gmail will delete messages in trash after 30 days. But unwanted messages do have to be moved to trash. 

OK, that was ONE of my several email accounts . . .  next! 

At least I have only one refrigerator.

You know what would make cleaning more fun? A maid. Are there any maid services that also handle email?

Carolyn Wilhelm


How to Write Flash Fiction an Interview with Dr. Jerome Cohen

How to Write Flash Fiction an Interview with Dr. Jerome Cohen Our writing group has been learning about flash fiction. This int...