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I take pride in being able to process the email that comes into my system every day. Not seeing hundreds of emails in my inbox has a very calming effect and lets me get to the business at hand.

Somehow I came across Merlin Mann’s article on Inbox Zero and his speech he gave at Google. In a nutshell Inbox Zero takes the spirit of David Allen’s Getting Things Done and applies it to your email. In essence you should process what is in your inbox and put it somewhere. If you can do it in 2 minutes or less then do it right then. If it’s junk delete it. If it’s and actionable item move it to an action folder. If it is something you want to read someday but is not important, move it to a review folder.

The action folder is what you work out of. It is your todo list, the things you need to do today. That folder is much smaller than the Inbox you have been staring at. But this post is not about InBox Zero it’s about the spam.

I had the same email for 13 years and when I started a new company the new email was just an extension of the old one. I have now started third company and I am tired of getting all that spam email. I must be on everyone’s hit list.

The first thing I did was make the spam filter a little more aggressive. I am not worried about losing work emails because I make it a point of scanning the spam folder every day. If spam gets through I move it to the spam folder which helps teach the filter what is good and what is bad.

For years I worked under the rule of thumb that if you unsubscribe to an email then they will know you are there and will send you more stuff. That’s not the case in recent years. Laws such as the CAN-SPAM act have required marketers to add unsubscribe options to their emails. Email marketers who use services such as Constant Contact, MailChimp and others have unsubscribe features built in.

This week I have been hitting the unsubscribe button to remove myself from emails that don’t apply to my business or are annoying in general. And you know what, It’s been working. The amount of unwanted email has dropped dramatically and it makes my email much more manageable. Add that to InBox Zero and I’m going to Get Things Done.

Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright is a graphic designer and podcaster living in Birmingham, Alabama. You can find his design work at shawnwright.net. You can find his podcasts, Alabama Short Stories at alabamashortstories.com and the Shades Cahaba Oral History Project podcast at shadescahabahistory.com. His designs are for sale at TeePublic.com, Redbubble.com and Society6.com.
Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright

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