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How I Freed Myself from Mountains of Email Part 1

by Celine on March 6th, 2008

Image by Lusi, taken from stock.xchng

“One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with.” - Marshall McLuhan

Too much email can cause insanity. If you think information overload is restricted to your email server and client, you’re either mistaken or a much freer person than I am. Emails, whether they’re spam or not, take up so much of our time - from checking to reading and the thoughts and worries that linger after reading them.

The truth is, I’ve had enough. I no longer wish to be a slave to email! And I think I’m succeeding. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

Tightened spam protection. I made my spam protection cruel. As in take-no-prisoners type of cruel. My Outlook add-ins were good, but the spam was filtered and removed after it showed up on my inbox. So I would still look at it and watch if there were false positives, although false positives never happened. Instead, I went on the server itself and tweaked the spam filters from there to prevent me from receiving spam in my inbox at all. I did make a whitelist of domains to avoid any false positives.

Unsubscribed email notifications from all social networking sites. From now on, any updates, messages, pokes, or whatever coming in from my social network memberships (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) will be viewed on-site, and not via email. It is rare that someone contacts me through these sites, and I really don’t want to receive notifications about who updated their blog, asked a question, or poked me. If this is too drastic for you, most social networking sites allow for a great deal of flexibility when it comes to email notifications - you can be selective about what you receive.

Removed all email notifications from my blogs. This includes personal blogs. Why? Because I write on these blogs regularly anyway, so I can moderate comments and trackbacks before or after I write a post.

Modified mailing list subscriptions. I either unsubscribed to mailing lists I don’t read or opted to view messages via the web rather than in my Inbox. For important mailing lists (re: work), I just opt to receive weekly or daily digests - depending on email frequency.

These are just four steps I took to complete email management. Read on for part 2 of this post.

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POSTED IN: E-mail, Email, GMail, General work pimps, Internet tips, Software tips

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