My inbox has really been getting me down.  Every time I open it up it mocks me: ‘How many unread emails have you got, Bev? 672? Loser!’

‘It’s not my fault!’ I wail, pulling at my hair and trying to resist the urge to stamp my foot in a childish manner.  ‘People just keep sending me things I didn’t ask for!’  But last week I was hit by a sudden realisation that technically I had asked to be sent them all.  I’m not talking about the spam emails offering wonder cures for erectile dysfunction (thanks) or promising you $3,000,000 if only you give up your bank details to a very nice man in Nigeria – thankfully they rarely make it past the filters and instead go straight to junk – but those non-stop marketing emails from companies you may once have bought something from.

I get these emails because at some point I have given them my email address and agreed to be on their mailing list – either because at the time I thought it would be nice to get information from them (which I’d like to think is responsible for the majority of my mail!), or because I didn’t check/uncheck the relevant boxes when I was filling in a form online.  Here’s an example: I bought some toiletries for my wedding in a certain prestigious cosmetics shop in Bond Street, and signed up to their email list.  That was in 2008.  I’ve never purchased anything from them since, but receive on average an email a week from them.

Anyway, every now and then I have a purge (usually when my mailbox is reaching it’s size limit), but deleting them is only a temporary solution.  Last week, after the great realisation that it was all my own fault, I decided to carry out an experiment and count how many of these emails I got over the week.  211.  That’s nearly 11,000 emails a year that I’m not interested in.  That’s a lot of deleting!  I’m not alone.  Apparently Brits on average have 260 unopened emails in their inbox at any one time, and 56% of these are ‘brand spam’ – emails you’ve signed up for.

So I’ve embarked on a project that I’m calling Mission: Unsubscribe.  Instead of hitting delete I’m going to scroll to the bottom of the email and click on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link.

I’m sure you’re all savvy enough to know this, but just in case: in order for a company to comply with the Data Protection Act they should give you an easy way to opt-out of their marketing, and the most common way to do this is an ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of their emails.  It’s not always *completely* obvious, but in most cases all that is entailed is a simple click on the link, and a second click to confirm.  And that’s it.

I suspect it’s going to take me a while to work through them all (in fact, I think I may need a plan!), but it’s going to be worth it.  No more ‘brand spam’!  organise emails unsubscibe advice peace of mind personal assistant virtual assistant

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