Now that most inboxes offer search and archive features, there's a new tech trend on the rise: email hoarding. More affectionately called e-hoarding. Did I just say hoarder? Get the camera crew ready for your inbox, girl! You read that right the first time.
On average, people have about 8,024 emails in their inbox. That’s a lot of email; do you know what’s scarier than that? That 20 percent of the population that has upwards of 21,000 emails in their inbox right now. Now, this isn’t to say that we aren’t organized hoarders. Even on shudder inducing television show, things usually start out in piles! On average, we also have nearly 40 folders to organize the landslide of communication, but at what point do we stop pigeonholing and start purging?
Of course you may ask yourself: why delete something that takes up no material space? Although your workspace is not technically exploding with little, tiny envelopes, your headspace might be.
E-hoarding and e-clutter can be mentally exhausting, and they can also exhaust your time.
Sorting through email, whether that be through a search bar or through all 37 of your folders, takes time, and there’s something about scavenging through thousands of emails for one scrap of relevant information that can pique your anxiety.
You know that beautiful feeling when you cross out an item on a to-do list? Letting your email just build up is like just continuing to write on the same to-do list that you’ve never crossed out; that’s terrifying.
But… We all live in 21st century where we need to keep track of e-things, and a purge of our archives and folders could be disastrous. So what's the middle ground?
We can make our online lives a tad more manageable by deleting the messages that don't contain useful information. Starting today.
If you’re a folder lover, then just start by biting off one chunk of your e-clutter and work through one folder. Or at the very least, sort through your spam folder; your email provider is usually pretty intuitive about spam, and really, it’s okay for it to be gone forever. We all have to let go at some point.
If you are not into folders but rather choose the archive or “I’ll just let this rest in my inbox forever” method, then start by working through a couple of pages a day. If you need a mental break from work, go through a page of your archive with an iron-fist for mental clarity and delete the unnecessary.
The key to beating email hoarding is just to remember that we don’t need to keep every tangible scrap of paper or receipt, so we don’t need to keep every, single email.
That coupon that expired 3 months ago? You don’t need to retain that in a special folder for safe keeping. Check that baby off your to-do list, and embrace that new, less cluttered feeling! That rush you're feeling? It's just one of the perks of being a productivity rebel.