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SPAMALOT! – Or “How To Save Yourself An Hour A Day”

We’re having a quiet weekend at home after a hectic week and getting hunkered down against the cold. We’re doing lots of family things but we also have time to ourselves when Sausage likes to watch a film, Husband likes to play a game on his PC and I attend to blogging bits and pieces.

One thing I have vowed to get a handle on is the amount of spam that lands in my inbox. I don’t mean the fake cheap Viagra or Cote D’Ivoirian princesses offering to share their gold that Gmail deals with on my behalf and that I don’t even see; I’m talking about the countless newsletters, updates and notifications that I get everyday.

Most days, I wake up to at least 40 emails in my inbox and while I may not be the tidiest person in real life, I’m not the sort of person who can let her inbox build up. Having masses of unread emails drives me to distraction, so I tend to deal with emails as they come in, or at the very least read them and leave them in my inbox to be dealt with later. I also subscribe to a lot of blogs and often wake up to emails of new posts, many of which I’ll save to remind me to read properly when I have the time.

The ones that are getting on my nerves are things like ‘Daily Digest’ emails from LinkedIn groups (which I NEVER read and tend to immediately delete) and sales emails from the likes of Pixmania, Amazon, Jessops and Photobox. I’ve come to the conclusion that, far from saving me money or showing me great deals, these emails are eating into my life and wasting my time EVERY SINGLE DAY. I reckon, on average, when I think about the sheer amount of emails that I’m deleting every day, I probably spend about an hour altogether dealing with crap.

So I’m taking a stand. I’m going on a mass unsubscribing spree and reclaiming the time that I spend everyday dealing with what is, essentially, unsolicited and useless information.

I challenge you to do the same.

Look at your inbox when you wake up (or at your busiest time for emails) and assess how many of them you ever open. If you automatically delete a certain email every time you get it, UNSUBSCRIBE! I know there’s a temptation to stay subscribed, just in case you might save yourself a few pence on a really great deal, but the time you save is actually far more valuable to you and your life in the long run. I guarantee you’ll feel a sense of relief when you start to notice the difference it makes to your day and it’s a great start to decluttering your life.

This even extends to Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels – I’ve massively streamlined who I follow on Twitter as I found I was reading about 10% of the tweets that were showing up in my feed and missing stuff that I actually wanted to see. Same with Facebook, I skip past SO many things on my timeline and it didn’t even occur to me to unsuscribe from things. Now is the time to take a stand! If you still get updates from pages you liked in 2007, the chances are they are no longer relevant to to and just waste time that you could be spending looking at things you enjoy.

Anyway, I’m off for a spring clean of my online world!

Space in My Brain

During a conversation the other day (though I can’t remember who with, which will seem more poignant as this post mithers on), I started to think about all of the superfluous information that’s stored in my brain. I remember facts and figures, phone numbers, post codes, dates, even the registration numbers of cars that myself and my family have owned. The majority of this data is totally surplus to requirement, so wouldn’t it be great if we could do what we do with our hard drives, have a spring clean, delete the data we no longer need and free up some space for other stuff.

In 2009, I started a Psychology degree and one thing that struck me was that I struggled to retain information a lot more than when I was at school. I know that this is the curse of the Adult Learner, in fact, according to John Massari from Duke University “… concepts of synaptic plasticity can be applied to improving the way we learn early in life. If certain kinds of activities are not learned during critical periods, it may difficult or even impossible to learn them later.”. In fact, he postulates that our brains change at around the age of 13. But it did all make me wonder if deleting my Nan’s postcode and the name of every teacher I’ve ever had would make space for data that’s more relevant to me now.

I’d love to be able to hook my brain up to a PC, trawl through my memory banks and delete all of the crap that I no longer need. A bit ‘Inception’-inspired, I suppose.

But then, this got me thinking too. What if I deleted the wrong data? I don’t mean like clicking format on the section that contains my name and address, I mean deleting the data that we, in our current lives, deem to be unnecessary, only to discover that a minute event or occurrence is an intrinsic part of what makes us who we are. I could get rid of the name of my pen pal who I met in Hastings in 1992, only to realise that meeting her set me on a particular path.

So, I guess my question is this; what would you do? If you had the option to look at every individual file in your brain and delete the ones you no longer want or think you need, would you do it?

Just a bit of food for your already over-stuffed brain on this rainy Saturday morning!