Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deleting Emails could Make You Happier?

I was linked to this BoingBoing article by a friend, and I was interested by what it suggested.

... [Rob Beschizza] immediately deletes every message that comes into his Inbox. Either that, or he replies to it and then deletes it. Nothing stays longer than a day or two. Sounds like something easier said than done, right?
I was intrigued at this thought. Not keeping any emails? Deleting them immediately?

I'm sort of a pack rat when it comes to my email. I try not to save physical items (clutter bothers me) but emails, I'll save for years. I read that and immediately thought of the folder I have in a seldom-used Hotmail email address containing every email my high school boyfriend ever sent me.

Yes, that's right, I've been married nearly a year, haven't dated that man since 2006, but I still had every email he sent me between 2003 and 2005.

I loaded that email account. I selected everything in that folder. I clicked Delete.

It felt good.

I moved to the email folder containing comment notifications from my (now mostly-ignored) LiveJournal. I selected all 11 pages. I clicked Delete.

That felt even better!

I went through the Inbox, deleted everything there. I deleted three other folders. All in all, from that one email account, I deleted (brace yourself!) 2,140 emails. Two thousand, one hundred forty! I was shocked! How did I accumulate so many?!

I used to clear my LiveJournal folder about once a week. I got lazy, though. I had comments from last year in there. I had over 1,000 emails in that folder alone. Appalling.

I went through my other Hotmail account and deleted about another thousand messages there, then went to my Gmail account. I had saved every single email I ever received there because I had space! Why NOT keep everything?

I deleted another 4,000 messages from there.

All in all, I deleted nearly 10,000 email messages today. I feel wonderful. Fantastic. Like a weight I wasn't even sure was there was just hanging on my shoulders.

The only emails I didn't touch were from Mike. I'm not quite willing to get rid of those, so many confessions of love, so many well-wishes from work when he and I email each other while he's there. That's something I'm going to have to work on, but I'm not sure I want to.

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