Simplifying my outlook

A year or two ago our computer man found out that we hoarded emails.  He was shocked and told us that no wonder our computer was so slow – Mum’s Outlook was working overtime!

Even though he didn’t look at how many emails I had, I had over a thousand and thought that counted as a lot of emails!!  I decided to go email culling.  It was hard at first.  I had kept everything: every blog update email, every comment notification, every conversation with friends!  I took it one thing at a time, slowly deciding what I could do without.

I reasoned with myself that with internet these days, it would be just as fast to go online and find the comment or blog update as it would be to find it on my outlook.  Swallowing, cringing, squinting, I selected a group of emails and… BAM they were in the deleted folder!

And honestly, you don’t need every email in a conversation if the last email has the rest of the conversation below it.  That automatically disqualified three to eight emails from each conversation!

A friend of ours saves her emails to the hard drive and then deletes them from her inbox, so I gave it a shot.  It’s fantastic!  I saved lots of things – newsletters, email conversations, receipts.  It bulks up your hard drive a bit – but it’s bigger than your inbox anyway and should handle it – and it empties your inbox, and literally only takes a minute to save it to a folder.

In one day I deleted about 700 emails!  It took a long time, and I still had three-four hundred emails to go, but it was a really good start.  A few months later I went back and narrowed down my emails again.

Over the last few months I’ve actually shrunk the amount to one two emails sitting in my inbox.  And on Friday, I had no emails!  It feels great, knowing there are no little jobs lurking in the dark corners of my inbox.  Everything is either dealt with and deleted, or saved to our hard drive.  If there is a long-term project I can find it on my hard drive and copy and paste it back onto a new email.

I guess for me I went on this whole deleting email rampage because it was my organising personality coming through – I just like everything in order and sorted and done! But I’m trying not to get obsessed with having no emails in my inbox – if there is something that needs to stay there, then that’s going to be OK!  If Mum has emailed me a job to do, then I’d rather keep it there until I’ve done it than save it, delete it and forget about it!  I like having little to no emails because I don’t have little jobs nagging me and because all my emails worth keeping are with all my other documents and accessible outside of my outlook.  I think my outlook works faster now too.

But I think the best way for me to sum it up is in one word:

Simplified!

 *written in November 2011

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14 thoughts on “Simplifying my outlook

    1. I wouldn’t know what to delete and what to keep! Besides, half of it would be in Thai and I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it! (maybe that’s a good privacy measure! :))

  1. GOOD idea! My goal is to get my inbox down to nothing as well. Thanks for the boost and inspiration 😀 And CONGRATS on getting it down to zero! That has to feel SO good 😀

  2. I love this, Jess! I also have organization tendencies (AND hoarding tendencies — but the Lord is slowly shifting my heart!) I’ve never thought about saving emails on a hard drive.. I back up pictures, music, and documents – why not emails? I’m proud of you for stepping out and deleting, even though it was hard. you go, girl! It feels great once the clutter is gone, regardless of what it is. the first steps are the hardest 🙂 bless you!

    1. Thanks Caitlin – you are always so encouraging! Glad this helps you!

      I have the tiniest grain of hoarding tendencies in me too; Miss What If… and Sir This Will Come in Handy One Day like to bug me when I’m trying to declutter and throw things away! I try to think about things philosophically though – with technology today, you can find a lot of things on the internet. And I sometimes have to just look objectively at something and ask myself if I really ever will use it, honestly.

      And yay to meeting another organising lover!
      xo Jess

      1. my main thing was fear — “what if I need this in the future?!” or I’d have an unhealthy emotional attachment to something. I started automatically purging whatever could easily be replaced. for the things that aren’t as replaceable, I’d think a bit harder and then make a decision. as the Lord has healed my heart, the emotional/memory connects have fallen away. I’m not much of a hoarder anymore, praise the Lord! it’s so true that mostly everything IS on the internet. what did people do without technology?! 😛

        1. WOW Caitlin – that’s amazing what God has done in your life! Not that there’s anything wrong with keeping memorabilia, but there comes a point where keeping some little thing because it has a tiny bit of significance needs to go.

          I don’t know what people did without technology, but I sometimes think that even though they worked harder, they had a much easier, less stressful lifestyle!

  3. This is great!! I’ve thought about going through my e-mails for a while now but I keep forgetting or just putting it off because I know it is going to take forever. Now, I do not have 1,000 e-mails but I do have quite a few. 😉 hehe
    This is inspiring though and I think I shall try to clean out at least as much as I can sometime soon. It wouldn’t hurt. 😄 lol
    Hope you are well. 🙂

    -SK

    1. The only thing it could hurt is your eyes (it did take me quite a few hours so my eyes were so tired after spending so much time on the computer!) Do yourself a favour and take a break every hour or so! 😀

      I’m doing well, thanks Rachel. How are you?
      Jess

      1. LOL That is so true!! I will have to keep that in mind though I don’t think it will be a big problem for me since I have a limited time on the computer anyways. ^_^ haha

        That’s great! I’m doing good. Just really busy with school stuff. I mentioned the debate thing but I’m also doing a science fair project that I’m having to put a lot of work into and I still have all the normal school as well. How has school been for you? I know you talked a bit about being really well planned out in your previous post. I think it was a previous post anyways. haha Sounds great!! You graduate soon too, don’t you? 🙂

        Rach

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