"When did I subscribe to this?"
It's a common question I ask myself as I forage through my inbox, perplexed by how many times I must have subscribed to an email without even realizing.
Why do email subscriptions seem to multiply exponentially? It's as though there's a little email elf subscribing for us while we sleep… And then we wake up to an overflowing inbox and wonder how it all happened.
Maybe you love accumulating information and subscribing to valuable emails. But your inbox busts at the seams with a barrage of information coming at you daily, interrupting your workflow. It gets overwhelming to manage, but you don't want to unsubscribe and miss out on something interesting.
Regardless of how those emails pile up, they steal your productivity and make email management a time-consuming and dreaded experience.
To help you regain control of your inbox, we'll detail three steps to manage your email subscriptions and create a tidier inbox. We discuss getting on top of the subscription chaos by setting up your inbox to automate and prioritize your emails. We also teach you how to know when to unsubscribe, and help you free yourself of digital clutter.
Want to start looking forward to your email instead of dreading it? Let's go!
Reframe your mindset (and look forward to managing email)
To succeed with the rest of the tips outlined in this article, it's important to begin with the right side.
Let this sink in: Tiago Forte, the creator of Building a Second Brain, actually looks forward to email management. He shares how email can help you achieve productive potential and says you only need to spend 17 minutes a day on email when you embrace your inbox instead of tolerating it. In fact, Tiago was a big part of what inspired us to create Superhuman in the first place, because he shares our vision of making email management a fast, productive, and delightful experience.
Tiago says, "Email brings interesting insights and feedback from people I value. It helps me maintain relationships with way more people than I would be able to on my own. It's the only reason I can run a company of 10 people that can serve the entire world."
Creating a happier email management experience requires changing your thoughts and daily habits. But Tiago also believes that shifting your mindset must include using the right tools.
"The key to having a more positive outlook toward email is to nail the management," says Tiago. "Anytime you don't have a place for information to flow to, it will pile up, multiply, and become a problem… The solution to having too many emails — and not knowing what to do with them — is not found in your inbox. You have to solve that problem elsewhere."
The end result? A streamlined, well-organized, and productivity-boosting inbox over which you have complete control.
Next, we'll discuss how to prioritize your inbox to increase productivity, slash the time it takes to manage your emails, and introduce the tools to help you get there.
Triage your inbox — and automate it
Does managing your inbox feel like you're stumbling through an obstacle course?
You open your inbox, and 50 new emails await you before you can take a sip of your morning coffee. You reply to a critical email about an upcoming meeting, and another about an important project. Then, as your mind is still processing your project deadlines, you notice an email about a meeting with a new vendor that needs to be rescheduled. But, wait, another email comes from a brand you have been meaning to unsubscribe from but never got around to. Enter feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
Randomly managing emails like this causes you to change your focus multiple times, which we call context switching. This reduces productivity because every time you change focus, it takes about 25 minutes to regain it.
When you're able to sort your emails into different buckets and process them all at once, you can stay focused on the same topic for longer. By staying in flow you avoid context switching and achieve greater focus and productivity.
How does triaging your inbox help you manage your email subscriptions?
The first step to effectively managing your email subscriptions is knowing which are most important, and which are cluttering up your inbox.
Implement a system that sorts your high-value emails and provides a quick and easy way to unsubscribe from emails that do not bring you value. Ideally, this sorting should be automated so it happens while you sleep.
Enter Superhuman Split Inbox.
Split inbox allows you to get through email faster and never miss an important email again.
Other email apps come with basic email groupings you can't customize, limiting your ability to prioritize. In contrast to this approach, Split inbox allows you to sort your inbox so you can group certain types of emails together. Here's an example of what your splits could look like:
- Meetings: Important meetings that you want to stay on top of
- VIP: People you want to respond to asap, such as investors, your board, or valued clients
- Accounting: Financial records and monthly reports
- Priority projects: Projects that have fast-approaching deadlines
With Split Inbox, there is no more rummaging through your inbox to find important emails. Your emails will be automatically grouped together, so you can prioritize messages that need your attention first. If you'd like to learn more about setting up Split Inbox in Superhuman, check out this video.
Managing your email subscriptions gets easier with a prioritized inbox because you won't have to dig through your entire inbox. When you split your inbox, you sort your high-value emails into different buckets, making it easy to spot marketing emails and newsletters to review and unsubscribe from.
In step three below, we'll talk about how to quickly and easily unsubscribe from unwanted emails and determine which subscriptions to let go.
How and when to unsubscribe
It's time to unsubscribe!… But which emails should you unsubscribe from?
It's easy to let analysis paralysis set in during this step. What if you need the emails in the future? Are you deleting something really important?
As you review your emails, go through this question-and-answer walkthrough to help you decide whether or not you should click that unsubscribe link. Revisit this walkthrough every few months to stay on top of your subscriptions!
Staring at an email and still feeling stuck? If you've gone through the above steps and are still unsure, consider why you want to keep the email. If you think it provides even a shred of value, do one of two things:
- Pull out the info in the email you want to keep for future review. But keep this email sender on your radar. If you don't review their emails over the next few weeks, it might be time to unsubscribe. If you have Superhuman, create a custom Split to sort emails from this sender so you can review all of their emails simultaneously instead of fishing through your inbox.
- Unsubscribe from this sender, but jot their name down somewhere so you don't forget. If you find yourself seeking this sender's content in the future, you'll know it might have been too premature to unsubscribe, and you can easily re-subscribe to the content.
Now that you know how to determine which emails to unsubscribe from, we'll discuss tips on managing the actual task.
Unsubscribe from one email at a time
If you only have a few emails to review, unsubscribing from one email at a time makes the most sense. You can also use this as an opportunity to review the content and decide if it's really providing any value. Scroll to the bottom of your email newsletters and click the unsubscribe button or link (sometimes it's at the top) or "change preferences". Unsubscribing will remove your email from the sender's email list.
Bulk unsubscribe from a sender
We've all been there — you have a pile of unread emails from a sender you are no longer interested in. You could ignore them, or delete them one by one, or bulk archive them at once, cleaning up your inbox in a single step.
With a tool like Superhuman (that keeps your data private with SOC 2 compliance), unsubscribe with a single tap. You can even unsubscribe from whole domains! Simply hit Ctrl+U (or Cmd+U on Mac) to unsubscribe from a sender. With the same keystroke, you can also delete or mark your emails from a particular sender as "done" (i.e. archive them) while you're unsubscribing.
There are other options for bulk unsubscribing, like Unroll.me or Unsubscriber. However, bulk unsubscribe tools like this have come under scrutiny. In 2017, Unroll.me customers discovered their customer data was being sold to Uber.
Don't have Superhuman? Whether you use Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo, or another email provider, search for the word "Unsubscribe" in your email account and unsubscribe from the emails you no longer want to hear from. If you want to bulk unsubscribe from a particular sender or multiple senders, you will have to use a third-party application.
Reclaim lost hours and focus on what really matters
We talked about how Superhuman's Split Inbox can prioritize important emails while you sleep. You'll never miss another critical email and managing your email subscriptions becomes much easier.
But Superhuman has many other features that will simplify and speed up your email management, give you hours back each day, and allow you to focus on what really matters.
- Split Inbox: Fly through your inbox twice as fast. Organize your messages into streams and quickly triage high volumes of email.
- Remind Me: Speed up your workflow with the ability to snooze messages until the time is right.
- Calendar: Schedule important meetings, create work events, and keep your day organized.
- Snippets: Reply to important messages faster by creating templates of your most used attachments, phrases, and messages (even whole emails). Insert your custom snippets with a quick shortcut.
- Undo Send: Banish sender's remorse.
- And so much more!
Learn why our customers are saving three hours per week on average using Superhuman, and becoming more productive than they ever thought possible. Sign up with Superhuman today and enjoy the fastest email experience ever made.