Unsubscribing for Peace of Mind
There are currently 3,982 unopened emails in my backup Gmail account. Without even browsing them, I can tell you not a single one is of any importance. They are newsletters I don’t recall signing up for, people selling and promoting whatever and other nonsense that would add zero value to my life.
I’m not unique, we all get unwanted emails on pretty much an everyday basis. One of my favorite features of Gmail is the way they filter out a large majority of these unwanted emails directly to your promotions folder and they never make their way into your primary inbox. Still, plenty slips through the cracks.
For starters, I’m not knocking anyone who sends a newsletter — as I writer — I get it. But I also don’t send them, mainly because I know where they end up. Very few people read them and even with the folks who actually open them, very little gets accomplished. I don’t want to be another writer who’s name gets associated with spammy emails. Again, nothing against those who send them.
I get them from publications and more or less any writer I’ve ever given my email address to. I also get hundreds of other unwanted emails from dozens of companies and organizations I’ve ever been forced to give my email address to. Don’t even get me started about how many I get from job recruiting sites I once signed up for, ugh. My head hurts just thinking about it.
I never landed a single job or even an interview through these sites — but I’ve got hundreds of unwanted emails to show for it. Thanks for nothing.
They tell us email is one of the greatest marketing tools at our disposal, but not really. Until you’ve earned the direct trust of the people you are trying to market whatever it is you do or are selling, these emails either end up in the aforementioned promotions folder or are deleted. Some folks may open them but again, very few are clicking on the links I presume are embedded in them.
In turn, your name just becomes associated with spam emails when they see it. If you’ve gone about building your email list the wrong way, one could argue it’s actually done more harm than good big picture wise.
Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule and I’ll get to those shortly. First, let’s talk about how happy unsubscribing has made me.
I can hardly put the joy it has brought me into words, couldn’t calculate the time it has saved me in the long run if I tried.
I’ve been on an unsubscribing kick lately and doing so has made my days exponentially more peaceful. With every email that comes in, my phone vibrates. This results in me looking at it, thinking maybe something of some importance has just been sent to me as I do conduct actual business via email. But nope — just another unwanted email from Monster.com, telling me about a bunch of openings I’m unqualified for or positions that have already been filled.
There is nothing wrong with unsubscribing from these emails which you probably never wanted to receive in the first place — just like there’s nothing wrong with sending them. I get it, we all gotta eat after all.
But I don’t want to be interrupted by spam emails, newsletters, and daily updates while I’m eating dinner. Nobody does. If you’re anything like me and your inbox looks anything like mine, I strongly urge you to take the 30 seconds out of your day to open these emails, scroll to the bottom and click unsubscribe. Doing so has literally made my life better.
Before I started unsubscribing, I cannot tell you how much time I wasted looking at my phone every time a new email came in. Always with the thought, maybe it was that important one I’ve been waiting for. Rarely was that the case. It usually involved a sale Sears was having.
How the fuck did Sears get my email address? For the love of God.
As writers, marketers, and promoters, we have to do more than simply send mass emails and think it’s going to result in massive success. We have to first prove our worth by providing true value to the people we’re sending such emails to. Two of these emails I open every time without fail are the daily blog posts Seth Godin sends every morning and the monthly reading list Ryan Holiday sends. They’ve both proven their value to me, I remember signing up for these email lists, they didn’t have to scheme my address off of me.
Figure out which lists you signed up for have provided actual value to your life. The percentage is probably very small, in comparison to how many you receive a day.
Do yourself and your inbox a favor and start unapologetically unsubscribing.