I see Black Holes
A black hole is an email account full of un-read emails. Most of us have multiple email accounts these days.
Some accounts were set up specifically to sign up for special offers and newsletters from companies we are really not that interested in. Mom has your real email address. Nike has your gmail account.
As a blogger, I have more email accounts than most people. I can’t possibly keep up with all of them all of the time. I follow about 200 bloggers and businesses who are constantly sending me their latest bit of wisdom or special offer.
As a blogger, I spend a lot of time at the keyboard and I cannot afford multiple black holes.
I sit down to write and get sucked into a day of reading and or deleting hundreds of emails. Many blog posts I get in my in box are great and interesting and that’s why it’s such a time suck. If I have two hours on a week night, I might spend an hour on email!
Strategies to manage black holes
To get anything done and still have time for work and a life, I’ve developed several strategies to wrangle black holes.
One strategy is to monitor several email accounts daily on my phone. When I have a minute I go into an account and clean it up. I’ve found that if I spend 5 minutes a day on these accounts I can keep them under control.
Industrial email accounts
Another strategy is to use certain accounts for specific purposes.
I have a few email accounts that I use for my business. One is [email protected]. To keep this account under control I manage it daily. I also have very few general interest emails going to this account.
This is a high volume account, but only receives high value email for the most part.
I have another account where almost all general interest email goes. I follow about 200 bloggers and businesses, so I get a ton of email into this account. I followed these bloggers and businesses for a reason. Quite often they send me interesting articles to read.
This is a really high volume account that I can’t possibly manage on 5 minutes a day. It’s become a habit of mine to scrub this account about every three months. I do manage to clean out some email daily, but the deluge is too much to keep up with.
Strategies to manage Dead Ends
This brings me to Dead Ends. Over a three month period several bloggers will abandon their blog. I may have twenty emails from them and then they go silent.
Over time a blogger may decide blogging isn’t for them or they never reached the audience they hoped to, so they shut things down.
Blogs turn into dead ends for other reasons also. Sometimes I loose interest in the blogger’s topic or they change direction. Until I click “unfollow” their emails continue to flow into my mail box.
It’s easy to delete the bloggers who gave up. The ones I’ve lost interest in are harder to delete. I’m always hopeful they will have something interesting to say, and don’t want to miss it. I usually give these guys a few passes, but eventually they get cut.
When I do my email clean up every three months, I delete the abandoned blogs from my feed also.
Twitter black holes and dead ends
Twitter can be another massive time suck. The flow of tweets never slows. Not only do you get tweets from people you follow, you also get tweets from people who pay to get in front of you.
A few times a year I go in and clean out tweeters I’ve lost interest in. I also clean out the hyper active tweeters and the dormant tweeters. Some twitter accounts can send 20 or more tweets a day!
To manage the Tweeters I do want to follow I’ve been using lists to keep things organized. By grouping Tweeters it makes it easier to find tweets relevant ti what I’m interested in or working on.
See my post on using Twitter Lists.
Black holes and Dead Ends
With limited time to read and write, I’ve had to develop and practice these strategies. I’m still buried, but I am actively trying to manage the situation so that I can spend more time reading what really interests me, and of course trying to write what really interests you.
- Are you buried in emails?
- How many email accounts do you have?
- Do you un-follow and un-subscribe?
Read well my friends and watch out for black holes!