It took less than four minutes to unsubscribe from 17 mailing lists. What followed was an immediate sense of relief from the overwhelming demand of reading emails many times during the day. Was it a matter of working up the nerve, or the final one-too-many emails that sent me over the edge? Whatever the cause, the relief was immediate and the freedom it provides continues to open up new opportunities.
I kept thinking I would read them
I had subscribed to these blogs and newsletters over the years because I thought I wanted or needed the information they provided. However, because I had no filter system, the number grew and grew. There came a time when I found myself overwhelmed. I couldn’t possibly read that many emails every day. What did I really want to read? Who brought the most value through their posts? Which ones were the most relevant to my current needs and plans?
When I realized I was deliberately deleting around 50 emails a day that I had no intention of reading I decided to act. Rather than beat myself up for not reading all those emails I could simply unsubscribe to those that no longer met my needs. If I’m not reading them, I don’t need them. If I find I need more information in the future, I can Google what I’m looking for and fresh, current information will show up.
One other important realization appeared. I had simply outgrown the content. Either I already knew how to do what they were describing or I had eliminated it from my consideration.
What will you read?
The question was, what do I need in my life now and what have I outgrown or no longer holds my interest? I examined my reading habits. At the core were six sources that meet my core needs that I take time to read or at least open and browse daily.
- One daily spiritual post (Abraham-hicks ). Helps keep me aware during the day.
- Two business philosophers and thought leaders (Seth Godin and Chris Brogan). Makes me think overview and big picture.
- Two news sources ((The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post ),). Makes me a better conversationalist and aware of new trends.
- A daily smile and chuckle (I Can Has Cheezeburger ). A giggle is always welcome.
That allows me room to add some special interest blogs that add to my areas of interest.
My interests have changed
The next level of unsubscribing took some careful thought. There are some people I will continue to follow because they have developed in new directions that interest me. However, the basic how-to-blog providers are targeting beginning bloggers. That’s no longer where I fit in. I can consider unsubscribing to them. It’s inevitable that you will have outgrown some of the bloggers you follow or you have mastered what they teach. Even though they are doing good work, you don’t have to keep subscribing to their emails. Be selective in what you keep and what you add.
The bottom line is that interests change. For the most part, I have learned what I need to know from a majority of the blogs I was following. I did keep one or two blogs that are aligned with my business interest in helping people develop information products. I kept the blogs I had recently added that reflect my current interests and satisfy my insatiable passion for learning. I kept blogs on vegetarianism (Summer Tomato and Vegan Coach ), natural living , aromatherapy and Zen living . I’m aware that some of these are current interests and they, too, will need to be unsubscribed to at some point. However, for now I have whittled down my list to emails that interest me and that I have time to read every day.
What are your criteria for keeping a blog? Which ones are you actually reading? Which authors make you think? Or get you excited? Follow those and unsubscribe to the rest. If you don’t read a newsletter, you don’t need it.
Unsubscribing opens up new learning time
I turned my freed-up on-line time into Discovery Time. I used the extra time I used to spend deleting those unread emails every day to explore more about a specific topic or learn some new skills. Get on Google and start typing in keywords. You may choose to explore what others are doing in your field, you may find yourself moved by a personal development concept you want to add to your life, or you may seek to develop a new skill set. It’s all there waiting for you. Use your freed up e-mail reading time to go exploring wherever your curiosity leads you.
You may feel lonely
When the results of unsubscribing to so many RSS feeds first kicked in, I felt a little lonely. Checking my emails three or four times a day felt like I was connecting with people. But the truth is, if I didn’t read them there was really no connection.
I realized how often I had been checking my email every day. With the lessened number of in-coming emails I found that when I did check I was no longer overwhelmed by the sheer volume. I am relieved that I am no longer deluged with sales pitches. I do not feel guilty when I don’t take time to read a post. What I do subscribe to I enjoy reading. Be patient with yourself. Lowering your email intake is freeing. See what new connections you have made room for in your life.
Give yourself a week
Start unsubscribing today. Watch your emails every day for a week. Unsubscribe to everything you don’t read. In two days I had whittled my emails down to a more manageable and comfortable size. I was amazed how much lighter I felt. There were no more feelings of being overwhelmed, or wasting time reading emails. I am now subscribed only to people who inspire and motive me and give me the specific information I need for my business today.
Review your subscriptions quarterly.
I know I’m going to build my list again as I go exploring and find new people to follow. However, I have resolved to review my emails every quarter. What do I need now? What have a learned that I no longer need to learn about? What new interests do I have? I will go through this same process of unsubscribing every three months. Emails are meant to inform and entertain and make you think. Get rid of those that don’t. The process of unsubscribing is incredibly freeing.