"Do you want to give your email so you can get coupons and a free product on your birthday?"


As a productivity junkie, I've often been asked for time management advice. If I were teaching Productivity 101, one of the first recommendations I would give is to start unsubscribing from email lists (better yet, don't get on them at all!). At the bottom of just about every mass-produced email is a little "To unsubscribe, click here." (Yes, even on my newsletters!) I recommend clicking on that for mailings that don't serve you. Early and often. Very often it's just a simple click; other times, you have to log in to a site and change your preferences. Even taking those few steps might be well worth it to save yourself time, energy and thought.

But what do a few extra emails a day hurt? You can just delete, right? Yes, that's true. But from what I can tell, not that many people delete, and they have a little envelope on their smart phone that has some crazy number like "1273" which means they have emails from several years that have never been addressed. That might work for some people, but many people have mentioned it to me as a problem. And for some people, "a few emails a day" is actually over 50 emails a day. So many times I've been meeting with someone and during the course of our time together, I'll see a constant stream of sales emails coming into their inbox. Over and over and over again. Even if you delete them, that means 50 extra decisions a day. Save for later? Open? Delete? That's exhausting. And you might miss important emails that come in between all the sales emails.

Unsubscribing means you have fewer distractions coming into your box every day. And most of the time these mass emails are hocking products, which means they are providing temptation. Wow! That company I've never actually bought anything from is having a "60% off everything sale!" Oh my gosh, that's too good to pass up! But I am on a budget right now... Wait! 'll use it to get a gift for mom/dad/spouse/girlfriend/kid/brother/friend/neighbor. Uh oh - did I just spend 30 minutes shopping for someone who doesn't really need or want anything from that company? Okay, I'll bail out and get back to work. Oh look, I got a "We saved your cart for you - and here's an extra 10% off" email!

Sound familiar? The struggle is real! And we wonder why we don't get done as much as we'd like.

But won't you miss out on great stuff if you unsubscribe? Maybe. But the benefits far outweigh the costs. Venue event calendars are easily available on the web. And so are promo codes. So if I need something and I'm shopping on a site, I spend a few minutes hunting on Google for a promo code.

And when you unsubscribe from most lists, you can enjoy the few items you've actually chosen to still receive. The one daily blog I subscribe to is The Well Dressed Life. And I read it every day. It's not lost in the shuffle of dozens of other emails, and reading it is a little treat I can give myself in the middle of a busy day. I can count retailer emails to which I'm still subscribed on one hand. I've also unsubscribed from newsletters from some organizations I support. It's not that I'm not interested in what they have to say, but I have relatively limited time and need to choose where to spend it! Getting several emails a week is not helpful.

I've taken the concept of unsubscribing to a whole new level. We've unsubscribed from TV. No more cable bill for us, no more we'll-just-see-what's-on-next watching, no more endless streams of commercials.

And I've unsubscribed from drama. I walk away from conversations that seem to be little more than gossip. I left a drama-filled job. I've done everything I can to minimize the drama in my current workplace, and now include the drama-free environment in our job postings. Now if only I could unsubscribe from stress!

Want to simplify your life? Unsubscribe.

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