Camino de Santiago: My Inbox

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How many emails do you get every day? 25? 50? Over 100?

I was getting that many and more. Even after I’d left ReachNow my personal account was overflowing with newsletters, limited time offers, sales, announcements, and all manner of electronic distraction. Years of using email as a newsreader meant I was getting overwhelmed with things that were occasionally interesting but often unnecessary. Just hitting delete to get to anything really important took time. It was a visual and mental distraction.

Promising myself I would unplug on the Camino and not check my email every day, I knew that I’d return to an inbox flooded with so much stuff I’d spend the first week back home digging out. What good is a long walk and digital detox if returning home just overwhelms you again? How do you “travel light” on a trip like this knowing what’s waiting for you when you return?

I decided to Kondo my Inbox.

Gmail and Outlook.com both make this pretty easy. For a lot of emails there’s a simple “Unsubscribe” link at the top, right by the sender’s email address. Other newsletters make you dig down at the bottom for the link.

Every day I wait to see what comes in. With each new email I’ve been systematically unsubscribing. This morning I had just a few new emails in my inbox, mostly as a result of my Camino blog post.

If I don’t see an email about a sale at Pottery Barn, breaking news about car sharing or a special offer for a meal delivery service will I really miss it? Would you?

I won’t leave Seattle for another two weeks but removing the clutter from my inbox now make me feel like the trip has already started. If you’re ever thinking of taking a long vacation don’t forget to shut down your flow of emails and alerts. You’ll be less likely to scratch the itch and check email while you’re traveling.