My inbox seems to be one of the top distractors that I go to when I want something to procrastinate on.
One problem is that I subscribe to a lot of newsletters (mostly on minimalism and cooking) which usually takes me at least an hour or more to get through. It’s bad because there's always more to read and there’ll be more the next day.
The second problem is that I am slightly (probably very) addicted to checking my email. Being a ‘Google everything’ kind of person, I looked up why people get addicted to checking their emails and other online feeds. I found out that compulsive email checking behaviour is due to a Pavlovian conditioning system. When a new email flies into your inbox there is a slight possibility that something really great could happen, and we know it and we get attached to it. We know that finding a truly great thing in our emails is a rare occurrence but when it does happen we get a hit of dopamine from our brain and we experience actual pleasure. After a few repetitions, we crave that pleasure and we associate that pleasure to checking our emails.
After realising that I do have an unhealthy habit of checking my emails on my phone, I decided to one turn off the email notifications and only check them when I felt like it, not as soon as they come in. Then, I decided to unsubscribe from most of my emails in one go via Unroll.me.
Within 5 minutes of logging into unroll me I had unsubscribed from 78 email newsletter that I didn’t want anymore. I also saw that I was subscribing to 156 emails! I actually thought the total was not going to be too north of 50.
I do like reading newsletters, but there is only so much time I have in a day to dedicate to just reading email newsletters. Plus, even if I had an infinite amount of time I still don't want to spend a lot of time on emails.
Relying on sheer self-discipline to sift through the distraction to find the important stuff rarely works. It is better when the distractions are reduced to a level where the only things that are left are important stuff such that it becomes hard to procrastinate around them.
NOW TO YOU…
What would you like to do with the time that you spend on browsing your email? Are you willing to declutter your inbox? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
With love and simplicity,