When you are really busy and your email inbox keeps filling with informational, promotional and spam emails. You can’t just divert attention to the inbox for the time being and the unread mail list just keep growing and turns into a nightmare.

This is what happened to me for the last 5 months since i was busy with a startup that i am involved. I couldn’t check the old emails and clear it all as it was a pile numbering to 3300+. I kept thinking of the nightmare of going through all these emails and days passed and decided that this problem should be solved soon before it hits 10K.

Clearing the emails

I went through the email list to 2–3 pages and found that there are numerous informational emails that i don’t want to look into and many promotional emails that i don’t care about. Then i started making a list of emails that are similar and from particular senders or had a common keyword in the emails.

The key to clearing emails is to find the pattern to delete the unwanted emails.

Step 1: Find the pattern for emails that can be removed and remove it.

  • Notifications: that you are already aware of like the ones from online tools that you use eg: Intercom, Quip, Trello etc.
  • Transactional: from bank transactions, credit card transactions, subscriptions, paypal etc.
  • Promotional: Mainly those from online shops or marketing emails. eg: Amazon, ebay, whichever ecommerce you have subscribed to.
  • Spams: This is kind of hard to figure out but the common ones are credit card, all types of insurance & loans

Once you find and clear these type of emails your unread mail list will trim down to 1/3rd of the size it was early. In my case searching for these unwanted mails and bulk deleting it from inbox (Gmail) the list went down from 3300+ to 500.

Step 2: Unsubscribe from unwanted emails

That’s it. Whenever new email arrives and you find it not interesting, unsubscribe from their newsletter or subscription. This can also be done during step 1 process explained above.

Step 3: Go through remaining emails one by one

You can’t ignore the remaining emails. Go through it one by one. Slow and steady wins the race :P