Unfortunately, a few weeks back I accidentally and permanently erased about 17,000 emails. It happened in less than a moment because I was ignorant about the word archive as it had to do with my email accounts and email client. AND, I  deleted all the email in the related IN-BOX(s) – yes that’s plural!

Fortunately I didn’t lose too much because of another issue that occurred a few months prior. I had to let go of an older computer and I was not able to easily transfer the email – especially those housed in folders in my email client to the new computer. That was a bummer.

Unfortunately, there was no way I could ever take the time to painstakingly  migrate the data over piece by piece or resend myself all those emails. Tired, I made decisions on which ones to keep and which to let go. Mr. Delete Button became my best friend, and being tired was helpful in this part of the process.  I let go of a lot of emails!

Now that so much of my email had been accidentally deleted I decided this was a good thing. What else was there to do? There were a couple of accounts that still had some email – I decided to get rid of it. It didn’t take long. Then, I was at ground zero – zero emails.

How could I keep it that way?  Could I keep it that way? In ALL my email accounts?

My intent was clear – keep my email boxes empty and here’s some of the rules I began working with:

1.  Unsubscribe to anything that I’m no longer interested in.

2. “Is it worthy?”  Is it worthy enough to take the time and do right then and there or before the day is out? Or, is it simply something I ought to keep and file – if so, do it now, not later. Evernote has been helpful with this.

3.  If it is worthy, does it make sense to put it on the to do list, on my calendar or do now?  It’s amazing how few of the items that pop into my email ever make it to step three or even two.

4.  One key to my success has been that I am committed to zero emails – that means I must make a decision. Because of this I am becoming a better decision maker and I’ve noticed that I am more respectful of my time, energy and work in general.

Fortunately, it has been a few weeks and I’m continuing to keep my email accounts – all of them to zero. Okay, there are a few stragglers at this very moment – exactly 2. It’s near the end of the day and I’ll catch them tomorrow – I’m not perfect.  Just perfectly crazy over the way I’m handling my emails and so delighted I deleted those 17,000 or so emails!

How do you handle your email?

– Mary

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