What’s it about?

Unsubscribe (2016) puts our harmful relationship with email under the magnifying glass. Our lives are busy enough as it is, so it’s about time to stop wasting valuable hours catching up on emails and responding to unimportant messages. With the help of this practical guide, you can organize your inbox and your life.

About the author:

Jocelyn K. Glei, an American writer, helps others make the most out of their workday. Her other best-selling books include Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential.

Our continuous urge to keep checking our email is a wall between us and what’s important:

How many times do you stop whatever you’re doing and check your email? How many hours have you spent hitting the refresh button waiting for a new message? Even if you don’t consider yourself obsessed with your email, you might be more addicted than you think. Statistics show that office workers check their inbox 74 times a day on average.

This is because the sole act of opening your inbox is addictive. Maybe the idea of an inbox overflowing with unread messages gives you anxiety. But that’s not why you do it. You crave the little surprise each email gives you, so you are drawn to the act. We get addicted to the possibility of a message giving us even the slightest of joy.

This addiction is activated by our primal impulse that seeks rewards. It directs our whole focus on opening that notification pole of an unread message hoping for a reward. It renders us scrolling through the endless junk mail of useless work or family messages in search of the hidden gems of a long-lost lover’s greeting or a forgotten friend’s wedding invitation.

The disregarded fact, however, is the email has a huge effect on our psychology. It provokes a progress paradox, where we keep putting important work off by obsessing over our email. in that way, we are tricking our brain into thinking that we are productive, but in reality, we are accomplishing nothing.

Don’t allow the feeling of false progress to fool you and distance you from the real work that doesn’t just waste your time.

Emails lack the presence of actual conversations, and our inability to reply to all of them can leave a negative effect on our emotions:

So often than not, you might send an email with the best intentions only to get a response that might seem dry or angry. That’s because written words are extremely different than verbal words. It’s hard to interpret someone’s tone without analyzing his body language and facial expressions, which is the case in email messages.

The psychologist Daniel Goleman says that this often results in negativity bias where the reader presumes that the content of the message is more negative than it is. So the initial tone of the writer gets lost in the tides.

One of the other common issues with our reliance on email is the rule of reciprocity. this is when the receptor feels obligated to respond in the same energy the email has. However, with the enormous amount of emails every individual receives each day, this rule becomes impossible to achieve.

“Like it or not, email breeds a curiosity strong sense of obligation.”

-Jocelyn K. Glei

Take control over your inbox by identifying what’s actually meaningful to you:

Now that you know the problem, you should know the solution as well. for starters, one of the positive thing about email is that you are the boss. you decide how it looks, says, and is sent. similarly, you are in charge of how many emails you receive. So remember that the more you send the more you’ll get.

That’s why you should take a moment to identify the work that is actually important to you – it adds to your life and legacy. Then, ask yourself if you are wasting effort on something that will make your life better or not.

Once you’ve identified your important work, you’ll be able to sort your email in the same order and make your important work-related emails your priorities. Anything else, you’ll not need to check and waste your time with void responses.

Set a time limit for emails every day, and make best the out of your morning with meaningful work:

Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to delete your email altogether, so it’s necessary for you to set the best amount of time to spend on it daily.

this requires a daily routine plan that suits you personally. One thing all people should do, no matter who they are or what they work, is never to start their day by checking email messages. If you do, you let other people control and set your priorities as early as the day starts. You’ll end up wasting your morning hours responding to unremarkable messages rather than enjoying your coffee or breakfast.

Dedicate 60 to 90 minutes a day to emails linked to your meaningful work so that you won’t waste time scrolling through all your unimportant unread messages.

The first hours of the day are valuable, and it’s a waste not to benefit from your morning sharp and fresh mind. However, that’s doesn’t mean you should be wasting the rest of your day with emails. To avoid that, you should be a batcher and only go through your inbox twice or three times a day.

Using this strategy will elevate your productivity levels and limit your distractions. As a result, you’ll be able to concentrate on a healthier approach and live a much more fulfilling life.

“50 percent of people check their email before eating breakfast.”

-Jocelyn K. Glei

Divide your email into folders determined by priority and use quick replies to give yourself some extra time:

The first thing you should do to manage your emails is to customize your inbox by folders. Then, with the help of some special settings, your emails will even organize themselves.

Your folders should be set up according to the level of priority. For instance, emails from your boss and coworkers will be directed to the folder marked as urgent; other less important stuff you can check later. this promotes your productivity and makes the best out of your valuable time.

If you receive an urgent message that requires a longer, more thoughtful response, it’s best to send a quick response to let the other person know that you received the email and will have a full response ASAP.

Sending an email like this is time-efficient and makes the recipient aware of your consideration of the issue.

“The easiest way to fail at email is to accept your inbox’ as is.”

-Jocelyn K. Glei

Effective emailing is concise, considerate, and direct to the point:

We live in a time where everyone is constantly busy and on the move because of the continuous development of technology. As a result, there’s always too much on everyone’s plate; text messages, phone calls, social media notifications, and an endless stream of emails.

Therefore our emails need to attract the attention of our customers, coworkers, or friends without wasting their time. an email should be effectively written and consice. otherwise, it will lose the spotlight of the recievers’ feed and be lost in the long stream of unread, unimportant messages.

To avoid that, write your emails clearly and straight to the point and consider the recipient’s position and personality. In addition, the tone of the message should be in harmony with the content of the email and the person receiving it. For instance, an email to your boss or professor should be more formal than your friend or family member’s.