The 5-Day Inbox Cleanse Every Twenty-Something Should Do




I don’t know what it is about our generation, but we love filling our inboxes. Sign us up for everything, please. Even stores are asking to email our receipts to us these days. So it’s no wonder that our inboxes are an uninspiring place of dread. I’ve been putting off my emails for ages now, I’m sure people are wondering what has happened to me.

So, when I discovered I could detox my email like I detox my life, I was intrigued. Over five days, cleansing your email won’t terrify you as much – so here’s the detox, blow-by-blow.

Day 1: Sort out your newsletters

Newsletter hoarding is just like real life hoarding. If you struggle to let go on the hunch that one day you might miss something, it’s probably time to press delete. I usually stick to one or two essential newsletters, The Daily Distiller is my new fave at the moment.

Every day I get the best of the news straight into my inbox, with a few fun extras like the ‘drink of the day’ section.

It’s much better to fill your inbox with things you’ll actually open – and this one saves you the hassle of actually browsing the news. Plus (I know I should share this with you) they have a giveaway running at the moment for anyone who signs up. You could win two tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway and $1,000 just by putting your email in.

Day 2: Learn to micro manage 

Instead of letting your inbox build up for five days and then desperately trying to tackle it on Friday (me!), learn to dedicate 10 to 15 minutes to your email every day. Every time you have ten minutes spare, dip back in, address 5 to 10 emails and then go back to your other tasks.

Try to do this all day and it will become second nature. Make sure the emails you reply to (or delete) outweigh the ones you flag and take no action on.

Day 3: Make your inbox pretty 

If you use Gmail this is much easier to do, you can even personalize your email background – and get some pretty nifty extensions to help you make your inbox a sanctuary. I recommend filtering emails so they skip the inbox and go straight to their allocated folders. So much easier!

Day 4: Create your email editorial calendar

Create a spreadsheet (make it pretty) and put the days of the week down the left-hand side. Set aside times where you can tackle your email, preferably three times a day for 20 minutes.

On the right-hand side, you can write everything you need to reply to ASAP and everything you’ve already done. Once your inbox is back to zero, you can ditch the calendar and stick with the micro-management method.

Day 5: Celebrate the little wins 

You’ve got all the essential news coming in every day, you’re not having a panic attack about a messy inbox, you should be on top of the world right now.

Your final step is to go through everything you’ve received since dipping into your inbox every day and figure out which stuff can go in new folders. Every email you tackle deserves a small celebration.

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Managing Editor

Beth is the Managing Editor of CGD. She is a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy, has published a short story and loves to read creative writing manuals in her spare time.

  • Lauren Espino

    Needed this!!! Thank you for sharing!

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