Are you a regular user of your email inbox? Here’s a tip: Don’t. It’s not something I have seen, but I can show you how it looks. First, you’ll notice a large red badge with a five-digit number on your email icon. This number is ignored a hundred times per day. It’s full of spam, promotional emails, newsletters, and bills. There may be a few legitimate messages there from your friends or parenting group, but it’s too difficult to find them and respond so you just ignore them.
My email inbox is an empty space. There is nothing useful in your email inbox. It’s covered with digital garbage that’s so thick we’d rather have a root canal than deal with it. Here’s my proposal: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for Gmail. It’s basically the same technology that erases memories. But instead of selectively deleting painful breaksup memories, it would clean up and eventually destroy all email clutter. You would be able to restart your life and not have 10,000 unread emails staring at you every day.
Like mine, your email inbox is a wasteland
This is how it would work. It would begin with the obvious, such as automatically unsubscribing to you from the 6,000 mailing list you signed up for in order to receive 10 percent off your first purchase. It would then look for messages you have opened multiple times but not replied to. These could be legitimate emails from your old friends or your cat’s veterinarian that you should reply to, but will never. These messages get an automatic reply before being deleted. For example, the doctor’s office will send Spotless mind to inform the recipient that your email has been wiped and ask them to please refrain from discussing the matter in the future. “I’m happy to hear from you, or I’m sorry that happened,” etc.
Any other information that isn’t immediately obvious, such as a bill to pay, or a coupon code for your local pizza place, can be put into a Google Doc, or converted into a Google Calendar appointment. All that is done, boom! Inbox zero.
You could deploy the nuclear option to delete everything, but I’m not capable of that. Every once in awhile, I come face to face with the newsletter I signed up for and decide to make more effort to read it. I remember that funny newsletter a few months back. It was great! I should be reading newsletters more often.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an algorithm or a person, just an entity that can smash the unsubscribe button without emotional baggage
What if I spot a sale on the MoMA Design Store-esque website that I purchased something from three years ago? I wouldn’t mind if they offered a sale on the MoMA Design Store-esque website I bought it from three years ago. Email is a lot like the aspirational shirts in my closet that either don’t fit anymore or are too fancy for my soft-pants-remote-working-mom lifestyle. It would be an admission that I am not who I am, and I hate having to face those realities.
A third party is the best option. It doesn’t matter if it’s an algorithm or a person, just an entity that can smash the unsubscribe button randomly and without emotional baggage. Once that’s done I think I could also use some help with my closet.