Every morning for the last week, I’ve sat down with a cup of coffee & had an “unsubscribe” fest.
Is your email inbox like mine? You subscribe to something, and then within a few months, that “something” has proliferated into about 100 “somethings”?
Usually, I have an “unsubscribe fest” before traveling.
I unsubscribe from the stuff that I’m not reading – and if I think I might want to re-subscribe, I unsubscribe anyway, then put the email into a folder that says “Possible Resubscribe” under my Inbox.
You know what?
You guessed it . . . I never do. But having ones that I think I “should” like reading in a little folder – so I haven’t “lost them forever” – makes me feel better about getting out the hatchet.
One of the best inbox “managers” I know is FollowupThen.com.
After I’ve finished axing my morning quota of newsletters, I spend a bit of time with FollowupThen.com.
FollowupThen.com allows you to “forward” emails to yourself (or to others, more on that in a second) for any period of time. Want to deal with an email in an hour? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (fut = FollowUpThen). Want to deal with it on Monday? Send it to Monday@fut.io. Want to deal with it in 3 months? Send it to email@example.com (you get the picture).
FollowupThen.com also allows you to get an email forwarded to yourself “until you do it.” These are called “recurring” followups. So if you have something that you keep pushing off (and want to keep pushing off, until you do it), you can forward it to yourself, to come back to your inbox every Monday until you click it completed.
Followupthen.com also allows you to re-ping other people.
Let’s say that you tell a client that you will “remind them on Thursday” to do something. You can set up a FollowupThen alert for Thursday – and it will send an email to that client (and you) – from you – stating that this is their “reminder” that you said you’d follow up on Thursday.
I use both the “follow up with me every week until I do it” reminders and the “just follow up with me one time on this set date or time” reminders. Since it sends you back your email, if I am using the second sort, I put the word SINGLE in the Subject line – telling my sometimes absent-minded self that if I delete the reminder, it won’t be coming back! On the recurring ones, I don’t put anything on the Subject line. So if a FollowupThen shows up in my inbox and it says SINGLE, that means that I have pushed it forward for the exact date or time that it is right then. If it comes up and it just has the task on the Subject line, and I don’t have time to do it, I can delete it, knowing that I will get another reminder at the interval I set.
If you set up a “single” reminder, you can continue to push it forward – it’s just the software doesn’t do it “for you.”
So, here’s an example. I need to get in touch with the guy who does our Long Term Care Insurance. We’re supposed to talk with him annually – and you know how that goes. So I set a “single” reminder the LAST time that we talked with him to contact him now. Well – “kinda” now. The date that I set was February firstname.lastname@example.org – I set it February 16th of last year – so this year on February 15th, the reminder, Subject line “SINGLE: Long Term Care Checkup” came up in my inbox.
Um, it’s been coming up for a while now.
How? Because when a “single” reminder comes up (with the email attached to it that you are pushing forward), it conveniently gives you the option to push it forward 5 minutes up to months. You just click on how far you want to push it forward, and it will do it. So – in my case – I’ve been pushing this dang thing forward by 1 week since (ahem) February 15th. Why not put it on a “recurring” followup? Because I really do want to get this done – and having to actually push it forward makes me feel guilty about it ;-)
What sorts of things do I put on the “recurring” reminder?
Basically “low low priority” things. As an example, a friend of mine and I want to do a send-off on the song “ice, ice, baby” – we have even written the words to it – but we haven’t gotten together to film anything. It’s a silly thing, but I don’t want to completely forget about it. So every 4 weeks, I get a reminder that says “Ice Ice Baby” on it – and in fact, it even has the words to the satire in the body of the email. And I delete it, because I don’t have time to do it – but some day, I will. And then I will mark it “COMPLETED” and FollowupThen.com won’t remind me any more.
I’m sure there are other programs out there that do this.
Theoretically, “Tasks” do this in your Calendar. But I use FollowupThen.com for inbox and email maintenance – and it’s so easy that it’s well worth the annual fee.