Email Overwhelm: Tame the Clutter

How many emails are in your inbox? Are you overwhelmed by what is in there and the constant thread of unread emails you have? Our digital clutter can often be just as, if not more, overwhelming than physical clutter. We live in a time of technology overload, and almost everything we do is always right at our fingertips. That leads to clutter in our digital platforms. Email is one of our primary forms of communication. Since it also serves as our primary tool for people and companies to advertise to us, it is also a place that gets cluttered, and quickly. We don’t even realize how many email lists we are a part of, and often don’t pay attention to how many emails we receive a day. Office workers receive, on average, 120 emails per day (!!!), in addition to our personal accounts. Here are some tips to help minimize the clutter in your inbox.

 

My inbox currently (and always) has less than 50 emails in it at all times – how is that even possible you ask! Here are my best recommendations to tame that clutter.

 

 

  • Unsubscribe.

 

 

Unsubscribe from email lists. Most likely, you don’t read the majority of the emails that come through, stay on the lists for the emails you do read. Nowadays, many lists let you pick and choose which emails you receive. Minimize the emails coming into your inbox, so that each email serves you.

 

 

  • Filter your emails.

 

 

Are there emails that can be filed away without you needing the address them? Are there emails that can be filed away immediately so you can deal with them at a later time? Filtering your emails essentially makes a rule – i.e. all emails from “Mom” go into the “personal” folder; all emails from “verizon” go into “bills” folder.

 

 

  • Delete.

 

 

Delete all emails that need to be deleted. Delete the junk, delete old information, don’t hang on to clutter.

 

 

  • File emails into folders.

 

 

When your emails are taken care of, the task checked off, file the emails into appropriate folders – i.e. bills, loans, personal, school, etc. We know that we need to save some of the things we get even when we’ve completed the task, so take it out of your inbox, minimize the clutter there. Bonus tip: Dependent of the emails you keep – personal or business – you may need to keep everything in your email; if you don’t save the emails as PDF files if they contain important information or are receipts, and file them on your desktop.

 

 

  • Star emails that need to be addressed.

 

 

Either star emails or create a separate “to do” folder in your email – depends on how your email system is set up visually. You ideally want to label them in a way they can be seen almost at all times. Marking your email in this way reminds you of the action you need to take for the email. Perhaps you have to schedule something or are waiting on a document or need to complete something before responding, star it, make it an action item and work towards it. When you’re done, move it to where it belongs!

 

Need help taming your digital clutter? Contact me today!

Holistic Organizing

Holistic organizing – what does that mean! Let’s take a step back before we get into that. Organizing can be an extremely stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Especially as we sort items that hold more emotions; or we are trying to dispose or declutter some of our items to make more space. This process can bring up a lot of emotions, and create more stress in our quest to be less stressed. That’s where we can take a more mindful, holistic approach to organizing. We are very conscious and aware as we start to clean out, but there are ways we can create a calm, less stressful environment as we organize.

How can we do that?

There are a number of ways to create this atmosphere in your home as you organize.

Diffuse essential oils.

Essential oils can encourage feelings of ease and lessen feelings of tension. You can diffuse them in the home as a whole, or in the room you are working in. If you need a little uplift and energizing space – use a citrus oil. If you are looking for a something more grounding and centering, try a blend that contains warm, woody aromas.

Inhale essential oils.

Sometimes, the diffusion of the oils can be overwhelming for some of us. That’s okay. Keep a bottle nearby and when you need a break, let one drop of the oil come into your palms and rub the hands together – then take a deep inhale and let the breath go.

Practice breathing techniques.

Practice breathing exercises can have a variety of benefits for the body as a whole, but it also helps us to calm the body. Have you ever been really stressed, angry, or frustrated, and then you instinctively take that deep inhale in and sigh it out and you feel a release almost immediately. Practicing breathing techniques as we organize and declutter can help to increase your energy to keep moving forward, it slows your heart rate, and helps to reduce anxiety.

Do some yoga.

When we organize our space, we tend to be either stuck in one spot, moving around, or standing on our feet for long periods of time. All of these things can have a stressful effect on our bodies. Stop and take mini breaks, stretch it out, twist, bend, and move the blood flow in a mindful way.

Bring some more mindfulness into your organizing projects, find a little more ease as you go through the process, and take it one step at a time.

 
(Important note about essential oils: Know the oils you are using, I don’t recommend picking up oils at the grocery store or another store. Different brands source their oils in different ways and there is only one company that I trust and would recommend – doTERRA essential oils. If you have any questions about doTERRA or essential oils in general, please connect with me – I’d be happy to talk more about them and how they can help!)

Shannon is a RYT-200 Registered Yoga Teacher and Wellness Advocate with doTERRA essential oils. For more questions about yoga, essential oils, and organizing, connect with her today!

 

The Organizing Cycle

Getting organized and staying organized are two very different things. Getting organized can definitely be a project, and it can be a long one or a short one depending on your goals. The process of cleaning out and decluttering never stops. You have to maintain your organization once you find the system that works for you. This is “The Organizing Cycle.”

 

Step 1: Decluttering and sorting.

This can be the most overwhelming step, so take this one piece by piece. Declutter and sort the areas that are causing the most stress to your life. Move slow and ask for help if you need it – sometimes a clear set of eyes can help you work through the process and minimize the overwhelm and stress.

 

Step 2: Creating a system that works for you.

As you organize and sort, think about your process for the way you do things already. Creating a new system often means creating a new habit, this takes time, but keep it simple. If you always go to the kitchen when you get home, put your mail sorting system in the kitchen.

 

Step 3: Adjust the system if its not working.

Often times we put in a system and it works at first but its not working in the long term. That’s okay! Notice what piece of the system/ process is not working and adjust. Maybe even change it completely. The process of organizing is a often a constant test of trial and error.

 

Step 4: Maintain the system daily, weekly, monthly.

Maintenance is a crucial step of the organizing cycle. It is what makes it a cycle. Once you organize, you are not done, things are still going to be coming in and needing to go out. This is where the maintenance comes in. This is the clearest step to see if the process and system you’ve created is working — are you able to maintain it? This can take time, you have to create new habits, and often update the system as you notice what works and what doesn’t.

 

Organizing is a cycle, it’s creating habits, and adjusting for your life. It ebbs and flows. Just keep moving through the cycle.

Traveling Abroad? Key Tips for Your Trip

Heading on vacation this summer? Heading out of the country? Here are some essential organizing and planning tips for traveling abroad as smooth as possible!

Make a packing list.

No matter where you are traveling or for how long, you should always make a packing list. List everything from clothing to chargers to toiletry items. This ensures that you won’t forget the most forgettable items – i.e. chargers.

Keep all pertinent travel information in one place.

Keep your hotel information, flight information, embassies, contact numbers in one place. Ideally, have it written down or printed out. We have technology at our fingertips, but sometimes it fails, having the information close to you in another way is crucial when traveling abroad.

Contact your credit card companies.

No matter where you are traveling you should notify your credit card companies. If your credit card company sees purchases in an area outside of your normal, they may shut off access and decline all purchases to protect your funds. If you are abroad, it may be more difficult to contact them after it happens. Do this before you leave.

Carry a photocopy of your passport – in a different location than your passport.

You should always carry a copy of your passport with you (and keep one at home). If your passport is lost or stolen, having a photocopy if it to bring to the embassy can save time in the process.

Know the climate of where you are going.

Even in the summer, you could be traveling somewhere that has colder temperatures. Don’t assume that since you are traveling in the summer that you need shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits.

Make sure someone who is not traveling with you has your travel information.

Someone back home should always have your flight and hotel information. Whether you are traveling with your family or solo, make sure a friend or family member has the info.

Roll your clothes in your suitcase.

Rolling your clothes seriously creates more space in your suitcase. I was recently traveling for 10 days (attending two different functions – meaning two different types of clothing needed), and I rolled my clothes in my suitcase for the first time. I could easily fit everything I needed to bring and have leftover space. When I just folded my clothes, I ran out of room quickly and couldn’t fit everything.

Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on.

When you are checking luggage, always have a change of clothes in your carry-on. Sometimes our luggage doesn’t always want to start our vacation with us!

Learn some basic phrases (write them down!) if traveling to a place where they speak a different language.

Learn some basics before you go so you can be friendly and polite when traveling abroad. Learn how to say – “do you speak English?” I found that when I was in Rome, I wanted to speak Italian to the natives, but once they realized I could speak English, they wanted to talk to me in English to practice! It will be different everywhere you go, but you don’t want to get lost in translation.

Pack in flight essentials in a separate pouch.

Keep the things you need for the flight in easy access. When we put items in the overhead compartment or underneath our feet, we tend to disturb the person sitting next to us when we need something. Pack what you need – headphones, phone, wallet, ipod, book, glasses, etc. – and use on the plane in a pouch or small bag that you can easily pull out and keep with you during the flight.

Pack a small medical kit.

Have a small medical kit with you when you travel packed with band-aids, neosporin, pain relievers, itch relief ointment, antibiotics, ear plugs, OTC medicines for various ailments. You are exposed to so many different things when your travel – in route and in the new place you are traveling to. You want to have the medicine that you know will make you feel better if you get sick.

Pack dryer sheets.

Pack a couple of dryer sheets in your bag so that your luggage stays smelling fresh through your travels – especially as you start to have more dirty clothes than clean ones!

Bring a laundry bag.

Bring a small bag that you can put your dirty clothes in. It makes it easier when you are in the hotel to know what you have that is clean, and it creates a barrier in your suitcase from the clean clothes. If you actually used everything you brought (first: celebrate!), you won’t need the barrier but it will keep your dirty clothes away from the other items in your suitcase.

 

Have a great trip!

The Unproductive Timer

Back in December, I posted about Setting a Timer to help us in our tasks and be more productive in our days and in our lives.

I have a counter proposition for you.

Has anyone ever told you to set a timer to find unproductive time?

It may seem counterintuitive to set a timer to relax – and it definitely is. But perhaps it is exactly what you need.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves we need to take a break. We live busy lives and often times are running from one thing to the next. In the short periods of free time we have we want to be productive and get the things done that we need to. It can be overwhelming, For those of us that are busy, work for themselves, or just do not do well at not being productive with every moment of their free time (that’s me!) – setting an “unproductive timer” could be the answer to our baggy eyes.

When I have a “free” moment – rare, but it happens – I want to be as productive as possible, and check things off my to do list because I don’t often get that time with my busyness. Sometimes I even get a few hours to be productive! With that, I actually need to take some time to self-care, and just watch TV for 20 minutes, or read a book, or close my eyes for a moment. If I don’t set a timer or an alarm, I could easily fall asleep or accidentally binge watch Netflix before I realize it’s been hours and it’s 2am and I only meant to watch one more episode (I know you all have been there)!

If the thought of calling it an “unproductive” time already stresses you out, call it something else. Your “me time,” “time to breathe,” whatever you need it to be to be effective, and even productive, for you!

We all need to find a pause throughout our days, and ensure we are also taking days and moments for ourselves. Do what you need to do to find that for yourself.