The Year of Simplify: My March Email Challenge

In this year of simplifying, I'm focusing in on cutting down on my inputs so I can increase my output. One of those inputs, however, is a necessary evil and though sometimes I wish I could cut email out completely, I can't.

Just like note-taking and to-do lists, I've never been able to stick to an email processing system that works for me. I check it when I don't have the time to properly answer (hey smartphone addiction), and then I let them pile up, making a digital mountain out of a molehill.

In the Spark Notebook is space for a 30-day challenge. Why not make my first monthly challenge to tackle this email issue once and for all?

I set a simple goal: to process all the email that comes in that day.

I wanted to make this happen so that no matter how busy I am on any given day, I have a minimum number of emails to process. And not just look at, either - 'process' meaning reply, delete, delegate or do everything. I also gave myself the stretch goal of going through the rest of the email sitting in my various inboxes. Oh, and this goes for Twitter and Facebook messages too.

How am I doing so far? I've been able to make it happen most days, but not every day. Still, when I do accomplish my daily goal, I'll often chip away at the rest of my email too. I feel so much better about it overall as those unread and un-replied emails go down in number. I've gone through most of it and feel like my response and follow-up time has improved. It's not a polished system yet, but the daily goal is a great mind frame for me.

One service that's been SUPER helpful is goes through your inbox and pulls all of your newsletter subscriptions into a list, which you can then go through and unsubscribe, leave in your inbox or 'roll up' into one daily email, all in one fell swoop! I keep all of the important subscriptions in my inbox and roll all the shopping/miscellaneous ones into a daily email. To date, I've unsubscribed to over 1500 lists since I signed up for last year. Blogger life will have you signed up for the most ridiculous PR pitches! is such a lifesaver.

Next step to build on this challenge is only checking email a couple of times a day. That's part of a bigger problem...hey smartphone addiction...

Any tips for managing email? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below.

Follow my year of simplifying here.