Today I spent over an hour just clicking the unsubscribe button. It was annoying and stressful but SO necessary!
You see, I got back from my camping trip and was ready to get back to work, but I was dreading my inbox. I just knew it was going to be insane. Want to know how many emails I had after only 8 days? Thousands! How is that possible? It’s not like I’m some super popular person and yet it seems like everyone wants my eyes on something!
Of course, there was a decent amount of junk mail and it seemed like every store I had ever made a purchase at was having a sale. Those were the easy ones to get rid of. But others were much harder.
I have subscribed to so many people that I find inspiring.
Bloggers, mentors, life coaches, entrepreneurs… There are so many people who put out monthly or bi-weekly or even weekly newsletters. When I hit that subscribe button, it’s because I really believed that I was going to follow along with their content and that it would help me to have a better or more full life somehow.
I’m always so excited and inspired at first. Then as time goes by, I find myself dragging a lot of the emails into a folder to read later. (Spoiler alert: later never comes.) Sometimes I don’t even get that far and they end up staying in my main folder and getting buried. Or I’ll click on it, read the first few sentences, get distracted, and never come back to it.
This usually leaves my inbox crowded which makes it hard to find things when I’m looking for them. It also makes it easy for me to miss important emails that get lost in the sea of automated messages. I end up scrolling through the mess until I can barely remember what I’m looking for. Stress becomes inevitable and occasionally, tears of frustration start forming. I might even just give up because I’m so overwhelmed.
Today I decided that I can’t take it anymore!
I will be honest, I feel guilty when I hit the unsubscribe button on a small business or individual blogger. Maybe it’s just that I’m too empathetic, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel like their content wasn’t good enough to keep me. Odds are that they might not even notice I’m gone, but of course, my mind likes to tell me otherwise. It’s not that I think I’m so important, but that I know I’d feel a bit sad or disappointed if I lost my followers. There’s that belief that every reader counts. But here’s the thing- I haven’t been a reader to some of these accounts. I haven’t been engaged or actively pursuing their content and clicking their links.
I’ve mostly just dreaded opening my email.
As much as I would love to be an active supporter to the people that I’ve signed up to follow, it just isn’t possible. There isn’t enough time in the day for any one person to read all of these emails. So I had to make the hard decisions. I decided today to purge through my subscriptions and unsubscribe to at least half of them. This would allow me to be more engaged with the accounts I continue to subscribe to. It would also allow me some peace of mind by getting rid of the clutter. Who doesn’t love a little organization?
But how to decide who to hit unsubscribe on?
This was the real struggle. Basically, I didn’t hit unsubscribe on anyone without first trying to read their most recent email. If it only tried to sell me something I didn’t need without even saying hello or trying to engage at all, I hit unsubscribe. If I couldn’t remember who the person was or why I even subscribed and didn’t interest me enough to finish reading it, I hit unsubscribe. I also found myself hitting unsubscribe if the emails were too political or preachy. It took a while, but I felt lighter knowing that when I go to my email tomorrow morning, it will be closer to the hundred range than the thousand. Still too many, but much more manageable.
This was only purge number one.
I’m still only in the beginning stage with getting rid of the clutter in my life. It’s funny, when we think of decluttering, we usually think about throwing physical things away. And while yes, I need to do that too, this was just as important. Anything that causes you stress or makes your life more difficult than necessary should be looked at and addressed.
This means your subscriptions, the files on your computer, the online accounts you have, the possessions in your home, the people in your life…
I’m not saying get rid of EVERYTHING.
Somethings are necessary and somethings are fun. If they bring you joy, awesome! My inbox was not bringing me joy and I kept just putting it off. I’d even feel proud of myself when I hit delete. But that was just a temporary fix. Today I did something about one of the stressful areas in my life and I’m proud of myself for it.
If you’re one of my readers, I hope that you get something from my content and that I’m not one of the ones you hit ‘unsubscribe’ on, but if you have to, I understand. I want to be a source of support and empowerment and maybe a little joy- I certainly don’t want to add to anyone’s stress!
But I do challenge you to take a look at your life and unsubscribe to all of the things that do not bring you joy. Whether it’s a newsletter to someone you don’t remember, a weekly add from a store you will never shop at again, or that friend that keeps popping up whenever they need something but then otherwise disappears.