Creatures of Habit

Effective advice for lasting habit change

Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe! Get Control of Your Email and Increase Productivity

Tired of junk email? Getting it is a bad habit!

Here's a little exercise for you. For the next week or so, put all of your "authorized spam" (junk email really) in a mail folder. Put all of the hotel discount emails, car rental deal emails, web coupon emails, and any other regular to semi-regular commercial email into a folder.

The number of emails that you'll have at the end of the week might surprise you.

I'm certainly surprised by the number of emails that I receive from various companies and organizations. I never read those emails and they do have a tendency to clutter up my in-box. Which is a bother. A time waster. A violation of my sense of order.

So, I've given myself a little project for the next while. Every time I receive one of those emails, I squint my eyes as I scroll down to the bottom of the message to learn about how I can get myself off of the email list.

Then, I do it.

Of course, it's not as simple as that. Some of the unsubscribe options work rather well. One click (or two) and I'm done. In other cases, I have to dig up my login information for a site I've visited twice in the last five years so that I can hunt through the sub-menus for the place to unsubscribe myself. And the number of lists that I've somehow gotten myself on to amazes me!

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Did I really subscribe to all of those newsletters etc.? I think not. Methinks that this is my fault. I somehow missed some of the fine print a couple of dozen times when I made a reservation/purchase etc.

It's a bit of work, and a bit of a hassle, but well worth it in the end I think. Email should be a medium for me to receive messages from people that have something relevant and interesting to say to me. It's not a place for junk mail!

So, if you're getting bothered, take the time to unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.

And, while you're at it, why not subscribe to this blog? You can do it through email or lots of other cool ways. And I'm not selling anything!

For more from yours truly, visit me at My Bad Habits. I am also on Twitter.

Ian Newby-Clark is a psychologist at the University of Guelph who gives research-based advice for lasting habit change.

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