Declutter your mind, and improve your email marketing in 2022
Not long ago, my inbox stood at over 25k emails. Of those, around 2k were usually unread at any one time.
An inbox like that is stressful. It was certainly stressing me out. I used to close my email overwhelmed, dreaming of ‘Inbox Zero’ - a nice, neat, tidy dashboard with no annoying red notifications.
Same with my desktop (both real and digital!). I sometimes couldn’t even see the desktop wallpaper due to the number of files stuck there for ‘easy access’. And don’t get me started on the number of notifications crowding for attention on my phone.
It was a lot - I’ll be the first to admit it! But at last I had enough. One day, I opened my inbox, looked at the unmanageable number of ‘unread’ emails, and decided to do something about it. I am determined that 2022 shall be the Year of The Declutter.
So, I took on the task of decluttering my inbox. While a bit of a boring task at first, I quickly found that it gave me a lot of clarity. By decluttering my inbox, I decluttered my mind - and found myself far more creatively able to do the things I needed to do.
All in all, I’m fully convinced of the benefits of digital decluttering. I’m now clearing out my desktop, and my phone, and I’m not going to stop there!
Here’s why you should join me, and declutter your own digital life:
Digital decluttering makes us better marketers
A packed inbox comes with being an email marketer. It’s part of the package. Our jobs mean that we have the world’s busiest inboxes - so you are not alone if you get overwhelmed with emails sometimes.
That being said, can we really do our jobs well if we’re drowning in digital clutter? If we’re dreading opening our own email inboxes, how can we be truly effective email marketers?
Decluttering your inbox can be a bit of a slog, I’m not going to lie. But it is honestly worth putting yourself through it. As I worked my way through my inbox, I felt like a weight was being lifted from my shoulders. I was truly astonished at how relieved I felt as the last few emails were dealt with and filed away - I felt physically lighter!
I also felt enlightened. Without the constant nagging worry about unread emails and notifications, I was able to concentrate on doing my actual job.
When you’re constantly fighting a wave of notifications, it’s hard to lose the joy in what you do. But it’s that joy and enthusiasm that makes us good at our jobs.
How can you get this kind of mental clarity and retain your enthusiasm through digital decluttering? Well, I’d be the first to admit that I’m no expert! But here’s what worked for me:
How to declutter your digital life
1 - Make a to-do list. OK, this one will feel counterintuitive at first. After all, aren’t you supposed to be reducing the number of tasks you’re facing? Not adding to them? Well, I say this is one task list that you should allow. A to-do list keeps you focused - and it’s very satisfying to cross items off as you complete them! It can also help to keep your eye on the prize: write something like ‘ENJOY MY CLEAN INBOX!’ at the bottom of your task, so you remember what you’re aiming for.
2 - Be brutal with deletions. Do you really need all those email chains from 2014? Are those newsletters from 2017 still relevant? Honestly, when you get into the habit of being ruthless with deletions, you’ll be surprised at what you can live without. Think about what you genuinely need to access quickly and often, what needs to be backed up on your hard drive, what you can store in the Cloud, what needs to be starred in your inbox, and so on.
3 - Empathise with subscribers. As you’re working through your unread emails, you will probably find yourself getting frustrated at the amount of pointless and irrelevant content in there. Use this as an opportunity to empathise with your subscribers. They, too, get frustrated with emails that they just don’t need. Use this declutter to connect with your subscribers, to see the inbox through their eyes. What do you value most in your inbox? Why? How can you provide that value for your subscribers in your own email marketing?
4 - Keep up the good work! Finally, you’ve reached the end of your decluttering spree. Your desktop is neat (you can even see the wallpaper!). Your inbox is perfectly streamlined. How can you keep it that way? Well, I plan to do a digital declutter once a quarter - or any time I feel that overwhelmingness starting to creep back in. I love my decluttered, super-productive marketing mind, and I’m not about to let those benefits drop away!
Improve your email marketing with a digital declutter
It might be a boring task - but as New Year’s resolutions go it’s one to consider! I really recommend making 2022 the Year of the Declutter and finding out how a clean inbox can improve your email marketing.