You know the story. You see a website that just totally connects with you. It’s speaking directly to you.
You land on the site, read a post, maybe the one that brought you there in the first place, and you think, I could really benefit from this stuff!
Your finger hovers over the opt-in link, about to hit Send, when you stop. You picture your email inbox. Do you really want to add yet another subscription to the fray?
Should you or shouldn’t you?
You think, maybe I’ll just remember the site.
Then you think, no, I won’t. Out of sight, out of mind. Who are we kidding?
Maybe you’ll just put it in your favorites.
Finally, you really don’t want to miss anything, you want to be in the loop, and the best way to do that is to get on their list.
So you hit Send.
You both look forward, and dread, the coming email onslaught.
If you’re like most of us, it’s a very familiar scenario. There is a wealth of information out there, to be accessed with the press of a button. It can be hard to resist. But if you’re not careful, it can feel like the pods have landed, and they’re coming for you.
You’re buried in an email avalanche.
Join the club!
How Can You Stay Informed Without Getting Buried?
Now, I admit I don’t have as great a handle on this as I should, but it’s something I’m working on. There simply are websites out there that I definitely want to tap into. What they have to offer is valuable to me and I learn a lot from them.
The only problem is, when too many emails are flooding in, it soon hardly matters as they pile up, day in and day out, until out of desperation, you hit another button — delete.
You gotta do what you gotta do, right?
Is it possible to stay informed, without drowning?
That is the question.
Should You Avoid Email Signups Altogether?
One option, of course, is to just avoid adding yourself to email lists at all. Certainly, we could all probably benefit from being a bit more selective about what we join so we can keep it to a low roar.
But there are certain sites that really do have tremendous value, and with our busy lives, we know that if we try and rely on memory to revisit the site, odds are we will never be back again.
Finding a site that really speaks to us, one that we know will help us learn a new task, refine our skills in a given area, or provide tips to speed up the learning curve and help us quickly become more productive, that is a site worth signing up for.
The question is, how many can we handle before our heads explode?
Well, there are some steps we can take that allow us to follow select sites, while keeping our sanity.
How To Take Back Control of Our Inbox
We may never completely master the taming of the inbox, but there are some steps we can take that can help.
Be More Selective
One fast, easy way to get a handle on your inbox is to simply be more selective with your signups. We don’t really need to opt in to every site we like, even if they are highly valuable. Yet some are well worth opting in for.
One example is membership sites that allow you access to select material in exchange for your email address. Often the only way you’ll get the information behind that red door is to opt in. And once you do, you gain access to a secret stash of information and services otherwise unobtainable.
Pick a few that really connect with you and join. If it’s something valuable to you, it’ll be worth it. Just keep it to a few very good sites and you’ll avoid overwhelm.
Schedule Email Time
Don’t become a slave to your inbox. Just because there are emails sitting there doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and read them all. Carve out some set times during the day to check your emails and deal with those that are most important. Set a time limit to avoid spending mindless hours reading emails.
Become an Inbox Label Junkie
This is probably my favorite way of indexing my emails for future reference. I have a category label for every site I sign up for. That way, if emails begin to pile up, I simply add them all to their appropriate category box. That way, I still have them readily available, but they’re not sitting in my inbox mocking me. Much less stressful. I’m all about reducing stress.
Learn to Prioritize
Not all emails are created equal, even from our favorite sites. Sometimes you get short and sweet, yet value-packed emails. You can read them in a matter of minutes.
Other times, you’ll receive an offer of some sort. If it’s one that you know you don’t want right now, simply archive it and move on.
For example, I get offers for online courses and workshops fairly often. You probably do too. Even if it’s one I might be interested in, if I’m already participating in one or two others, I know it will be overwhelming to add another one to the pile.
In that case, I keep it in mind for the next time it’s offered so I can reconsider it when it will fit better into my schedule. There’s only so much I can handle at any given time, so passing it up is the best way to stay in control.
You Just Need to Remember – You’re In Control
These are some of the ways I control the email inbox beast. It’s a necessary evil, but we don’t have to let it rule us. Since I know there are things I want to stay abreast of, joining an email list is the best way to do that. The trick is to find ways to tame the beast.
You don’t have to get buried under the avalanche.
You can be in control.
What do you do to stay on top of your inbox? Do you have some ideas that I missed?
Why not post a comment below and share what’s worked for you. I’m always open to new, better ways to work better and smarter.