Email ‘Hoarding’ Is a Real Thing
I opened my email today and noticed I hit a major milestone: 21,000 unread emails.
I've seen the number creep up over the years. A once-manageable task of deleting messages slowly started to get away from me as I lived my life in a digital age.
The majority of my unread emails are from companies I have interacted with over the years, from social media notifications, companies I've purchased products from, daily newsletters, bills and the like.
Thankfully, Gmail, where I started my primary email account over 15 years ago, helps me out by sorting my emails into three major categories of Primary, Promotions and Social but it certainly hasn't helped me read or delete them any sooner.
As a matter of fact, the 21,000 emails are just my primary emails alone that are unread. Combined with the other folders, I have close to 30,000 unread emails.
I am an email hoarder.
I remember the days where I had my email under control. As new emails came in, I would read them and delete the ones I didn't need. I was on top of it. Things were clean and neat.
As the number of emails began to increase, I would file them away under tabs I created, but soon I had so many different subjects and tabs, it was hard to keep up. As my digital footprint increased, the emails poured in and soon, hundreds turned into thousands. I began to stress and rather than take the time to manage the overflow of messages, I just let them sit there.
Truth be told, the excessive numbers of unread emails just sitting in my inbox once made me feel like a failure. I felt like I was one of those people on the show Hoarders. Piles and piles of stuff just everywhere, embarrassed to admit I had a problem.
I was emotionally attached to some emails, not wanting to delete them for fear it was something important or that I would need at a later time. Surely, higher functioning members of society had clear, empty inboxes before they went to bed at night, while I sat with a pile of unread messages like the unfolded laundry on the chair in my bedroom.
At one point, rather than deal with the growing wasteland of messages, I contemplated just starting a whole new email account, but I knew the original would haunt me in my dreams.
I read up on things I can do to limit the incoming emails, such as unsubscribing to newsletters I no longer read and using tools to delete groups of emails at once to help empty the inbox faster. My goal for the rest of 2023 is to get the inbox entirely empty and start 2024 free of the digital clutter. How about you?
Fun Fact: According to the Small Business Blog, the average person receives about 121 emails per day.