So if you follow me on social, you may remember the battle with my inbox this weekend. I woke up to a notification that I had met my Gmail storage limit. I wonder why…. Could it be that I had 14,000 emails in my inbox?
I know that some of you probably just had a minor coronary thinking about having more than 100 emails in your inbox. For those of you who are very digitally organized like that, my sincere apologies. Take heart, it does get better.
I’m really good at keeping lots of details organized in my head. Often to the point where my brain is constantly ON and the “to-do” list is on constant replay. My physical world can reflect this, my desk is organized piles, sometimes you may even say cluttered. My phone has about 4 screens of apps in no particular order. And well, then there’s my inbox.
But 14,000 emails is ridiculous and unnecessary. So I began the much overdue process of unsubscribing and deleting like a boss. And as I engaged in this tedious process, I felt a weight I didn’t know I was carrying slowly lift from my shoulders.
Here’s what cleaning out my inbox taught me.
I’ve been holding on to too many “maybes, sometime, or just in cases”. I have hundreds of emails that I have read with a coupon code, or an offer, or a resource that I was just holding on to. But did I ever need that information again? No. If I really did need the information, could I probably find it easier and more up-to-date with a simple Google search? Yes.
I am a woman of many interests, ideas and dreams. But that doesn’t mean I have to be all things to all people. I love finding inspiring people and programs online. Of course I’m going to subscribe to their email list for the free download or to stay in the loop. But I’m on A LOT of email lists in a wide variety of topics and interests. As I was noticing this, something from a coach mentor popped into my head, “When we straddle too many different things that’s when we get exhausted.” When we are spreading ourselves too thin, we can’t give much to to the things we really want to.
I wasn’t necessarily investing time in all these different things I was getting emails about. But when I logged into my inbox, mentally I was spread thin. I would see an email and think “Maybe that would be cool or what if…” and down the rabbit hole I would go. So to address this I’ve set some categories for lists to stay on: Nutrition, Wellness, Nursing, Parenting, Faith and Coaching. Right now this is where I’m focusing my energy. I want my inbox to be in alignment with that.
I need to develop a daily habit of editing my inbox. As a transformation health & life coach I love paying attention to habits. When you change your habits you change your life. I know that if I don’t implement a habit of editing my inbox, I will quickly get back up to 14,000 emails. I enjoy the feeling space and clarity the process of cleaning out my inbox has given me. So I’m implementing a habit to keep that up.
It’s a myth that multi-tasking makes you more productive. We actually function best and have less stress when we can practice being fully present to one thing or idea at a time. Cleaning out my inbox is helping me practice being more focused and letting go of the extra.
What’s one action that you can do today to let go of something that is taking up too much of your mental energy? Is there something you can do to practice being present instead of multi-tasking?
P.S. As I write this I’m down to 8,886 in my inbox. I’m going to keep at it until I’m under 1,000. I’ll keep you updated on social. Let’s gooooooo!
In health and joy,
Get inspiration, insight and wellness tips like this directly to your inbox. Sign up for my community email list.
If you are a woman working in healthcare, join our free community for support, free workshops, guests experts and more. Wellness for Women in Healthcare