It wasn't too long ago that setting up an email account seemed like a real fun idea. It was the greatest invention to come along since a phone you could carry in your pocket. But now, a lot of the luster has worn off, and our grand electronic postal service that was supposed to help us quickly communicate with friends, family, and business colleagues has turned into a dumping ground for sales announcements from LL Bean, Hotel Deals This Weekend Only! and corny jokes and stories that have made the rounds around the internet so many times they're received like fruitcakes at Christmas. The stories probably weren't even true anyway.
These emails come so fast and so abundantly. We haven't the time to keep up–not even to delete them. As a result, we end up with thousands of unread messages in our Inbox, and we run the risk of missing the important ones. Or, at the very worst, we give up and don't even bother checking them anymore. What can we do to regain control?
1. One method to resolve this issue is to cut bait and delete everything older than 30 days (or whatever timeframe you're most comfortable with). Think of it as an Amnesty Day for old emails that were waiting to be read. Let them go. If something was that important, and you missed it, chances are likely that the person or organization would have called you by now. You will end up with a much more manageable garden to then go weed. Save this one, delete that one, etc.
2. Additionally, one trick to preemptively handle future onslaughts of unwanted emails is to click on Unsubscribe, usually found at the bottom of commercial emails in tiny faint letters. Be sure to wear your progressive lenses. Note: only click on Unsubscribe in emails from legitimate businesses and organizations. Companies, like Target, will honor your request and take you off of their mailing list. Dubious players, like Ukrainian Wines Cheap!, will not. In fact, clicking Unsubscribe here will likely encourage them to send you more junk.
3. An alternative, the nuclear option, is to start all over with a new email address. If you choose this solution, be sure to send out an email to all of your contacts stating that you want them to email you at your new address. Don't forget to let your doctors and other services know, too!
Once you've cleaned out your Inbox and have 0 unread emails, It's a good idea to check it frequently enough that you don't let them accumulate again. From now on, that red bubble with the number in it will have regained significance and legitimacy.