Let’s talk junk mail. This one little thing, that left untouched for a few days, can wreak havoc on our state of mind.
One piece of mail is easy to deal with – ten pieces suddenly becomes a “pile” you put aside to “deal with later”.
Does this sound familiar? Do you dread opening your mailbox or email inbox? How long does it take you to get through the mail every day?
I’m going to help you simplify your life by taking control over the mail. Here are some tips and exercises to help you keep up with both your email inbox and your paper mail on a daily basis. Let’s start with the easy one…
Discard the junk mail as soon as you bring it inside from your mailbox. As you walk in the house with the pile of mail in hand, if you have to place it down, place it on the counter nearest the trash receptacle. As soon as you can and definitely before the end of the day, immediately throw away the junk mail – this is any mail not directly addressed to you or that you didn’t specifically request.
What you’re likely left with are coupons, magazines, bills, bank statements and the like.
Next, remove the coupons from the pile and put them into a pretty basket or covered box that’s strictly for coupons. I keep mine in a bookcase in my office area. This is now your go-to box before you walk out the door to go shopping. Quickly flip through this basket and take with you the coupons for the store you’re going to that day only.
Next, remove the magazines. I also place these in a large basket I have set beside my fireplace. If I know I’m going to be sitting in the car or at a hockey practice for a while, I grab a few magazines and read them there. As I go through them, I tear out any inspiration pages I want to keep and these go into a binder/folder and filed in the filing cabinet for later reference. The rest of the magazine get thrown away right away!
Never let any of these baskets fill up! If they fill up it means there are outdated coupons and magazines in there – so toss them once a month!
Bills and bank statements go in their own basket in the bookcase in the office. I sit down and go through bills only every two weeks as I don’t like to think about them more than that. Keeping on this schedule keeps things organized and up-to-date.
My kitchen counters are clear of mail by the end of every day! I no longer have mail piles.
Email is actually a little easier to file. Here’s a very easy system to stay organized.
First, starting today, I want you to UNSUBSCRIBE from any and emails that you receive but never seem to read (not this one, of course!).
We’ve all signed up for mailing lists to get an immediate coupon or to read a specific article and now get multiple emails from that company. Even the simple process of having to hit the DELETE button on 40+ emails every day takes time and energy. If you don’t read them anymore, UNSUBSCRIBE.
According to spam laws, at the bottom of every email the sender has to include a link to unsubscribe from their mailing list. The unsubscribe process will take you several weeks; but if you start today, I guarantee your inbox will be 20-30+ emails lighter each day from now.
If there are emails you want to keep receiving but receive less often, change the frequency of an email, by updating your account settings for that specific company. For instance, I love receiving coupon emails from companies like Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Eddie Bauer, but I don’t need them everyday. I simply changed the email frequency so I only receive them once a week now.
Second, create an email filing system. You want to create FOLDERS for each category of email. Once I read an email, if I need to keep it for future reference, it gets filed into its respective folder.
Here’s an example of how to create a folder so it shows up in the sidebar of your email: In Yahoo Mail go to your sidebar and look for the “Folders”. Hover the cursor over the word “Folders” and a little “plus (+)” sign will show up to the right of it. Click the + sign and a box will pop up to create a new folder.
I have a folder titled for each person my household, each sport they play, each business I run. I also have a very important folder called “Coupons”. Anytime I receive an email with a coupon or discount code in it, it gets filed under “Coupons”. If I’m in a store, it’s easy to to go to my “Coupons” folder and see if I have any discounts to use.
If you’re creating work emails, I’ve found that the easiest way to track these is by client name.
Finally, Set up filters through your email system. Your email should automatically filter “Bulk” mail (mail addressed by blind carbon copy “bcc”) and immediately place it in a “Bulk” mail folder. Don’t waste your time reading mail in the bulk mail folder.
I get over 200 emails in my bulk mail folder every day. 99% of these are unsolicited junk. The only emails that sometimes fall into here are those from CraigsList. To quickly search for these, I click on the “Bulk” folder and type “craig” in the “search” box so I can see these. I immediately delete, without reading, all other emails in this Bulk folder.
So to recap…
- Every day throw away all junk paper mail and file the rest into respective, organized baskets for later reference.
- Unsubscribe from junk emails
- Set up filters in your email to further sort and/or auto-delete the junk mail.
- Create email folders and file emails respectively for later reference
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Thank you & Enjoy!