If you’re like me, you have way too many emails that need to be cleared out of your inbox. They seem to sit there and linger week after week, and even though you know you should go through them, it never seems to get done. I must admit that I have performed the “nuclear option” in the past of deleting everything, but that really isn’t the best way to handle too much inbox email in my opinion. Those emails weren’t deleted for some reason when they first came in, and most of them need to be looked at to see if some task needs to be performed before deleting.
I’m trying to be much more diligent this year and do the “one-look” method for incoming emails. That is, if I open the email, then I need to deal with it right then and there instead of leaving it in the inbox and saying that I’ll take care of it later. If I open it, some action needs to be taken so I can move it out of my inbox.
The problem is that doing this doesn’t address all of those old emails that have piled up. My solution is to take the advice of a comment left in the 52 week declutter challenge article, and apply the concept to my email as well. Thus, I’ve put together the 52 Week Email Purge Challenge.
52 Week Email Purge Chart (click on image to print)
I will actually be doing the alternate version of this challenge. In this version, you choose how many emails get purged each week from the numbers at the bottom of the chart. The numbers range from 1 through 52, so at the end of the year you have eliminated the same number of emails as the standard version. This gives you a bit more flexibility to cross off the higher numbers during weeks when you have the time and motivation to tackle the emails, while it lets you only purge a few when you’re busier or simply not motivated. I know that I go through both stages, so doing it this way, rather than a set progression of deleting more emails each week, gives me a better chance at success.