Overwhelm, that thing that puts us in a tail-spin in life, unable to concentrate and focus on getting anything done. I say it all of the time, it is not the big stuff that creates overwhelm, it is a big thing in the space of lots of little things.
That being said, even though I teach how to bust through overwhelm, I had some underlying things causing unconscious overwhelm..until I went through and cleaned them up this week.
What were they.. Emails, 28,000 of them. It’s likely that some of you have had to go through a pile of something.. email, files or even mail at one time or another, and others maybe have had even more emails.
For example, once I had to visit a colleague about some information I needed that I had sent in a google form. When I explained what I needed and sent, he was willing to help of course..and he said, “Oh, let me look it up.” Over his shoulder I was shocked to see 12,000 unopened work emails.
It seems, life, through technology, and data is thrown at us at an overwhelming pace, especially if you’re curious about new things.
If you love to learn, like me, then you’ve probably signed up for free courses and other free things, maybe even stuff from me. Then you get put on these crazy never-ending content machines. Sometimes people follow team up with their colleagues and then my inbox seems to multiply with multiple streams of good stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, not much of it is spam.. I am genuinely interested in most of it.. Well, okay, not all of it. Yet, sometimes.. Receipts for things I purchased are mixed in with 100 other emails from the same place.
Therefore, I have to cull through it to make sure I didn’t delete that eBook I wanted to read, that receipt for something tax deductible, or that recipe for healthy brownies.
Curious minds are easy prey for these and I’m very curious and wish I could read and take it all in. Alas.. there is only so much time in a day.
Thus I find myself at tax time.. Culling through my emails.
Before I give you some tips, below, of how to more easily accomplish this task I want to talk to you about how overwhelm works.
Overwhelm is like a ball of knots of string. If you have ever tried to untie a jungle of ropes or string, you know you have to stretch them out and identify and separate them. That is how we get overwhelmed. Everything gets tied up together.
Big things like divorce, a death in the family or a financial crisis, get tied up with small things like unread email, misplaced items, things that need repair and other irritants until overwhelm enters into the conscious mind.
The truth is, your unconscious mind is trying to help you by reminding you that the toaster needs repair, especially when you are late and trying to get some breakfast. But also, at other times. It is reminding you of things that need to get done, like that tab of emails.
Your conscious mind, however, can only keep track and do so much so it sees this as a distraction and not as a help and pushes it away. That is when we begin to build up overwhelm without yet feeling it.
I also go into greater depth of how the technique I teach works to get rid of overwhelm in a short period of time and turn it into something useful.
Now back to email..Here are some tips, if you ever have to sort through 28,000 of them.
- Start with the mail that is bordering on spam. Companies you use regularly, but on top of your receipts they send you a lot of sales or updates that you aren’t really interested in.Open one of the emails, if it has an unsubscribe at the top next to the address, unsubscribe. They will still send you receipts for purchases. They may ask you to update your email preferences so you can uncheck all of the extras lists. If there is no unsubscribe at the top, scroll to the bottom to the tiny print and unsubscribe there.
- Next, copy and paste the from address of this email to your search bar, then only those emails will be shown and you can bulk delete them.In gmail..When you push the checkbox that checks them all, you will get an opportunity to bulk delete not only the 50 on the page shown but all of them from this email. If you don’t have any receipts, just delete them all. This will clean out a bulk of email you don’t need or have time for, and.. You won’t get more, because you unsubscribed, in theory anyway.
- Then you have to go with the companies that send you receipts and put those in a folder. You can, at this time, create a folder for them to go to when they are mailed to you. Check the addresses, usually receipts come from a slightly different email and the others you can bulk delete.
- Lastly, you go through each page, starting with the oldest and delete the unneeded ones or put them in folders. If you have done the previous steps, there may not be too many left. If you come upon an address that sends you many, you can bulk delete.
What about those emails, you can’t use now, and aren’t receipts to file? You want to keep them for later?
Optional: You can create a tickler file folders. These can be dated, or general reference by topics or just a file for viewing. For example, I have a file of emails I like the subject line for. They give me ideas for subject lines in my emails.
I hope my big bulk email delete has given you some ideas and been helpful. Again, if you are really overwhelmed you might look at the overwhelm course I prepared just for you, “Turn Overwhelm to Calm Confidence in Under 30 Minutes.”