Be the Boss of Your Inbox

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Ain’t no one the boss of you. Least of all your inbox. There are things you can do to take control.

As someone who loves getting mail, I welcomed the advent of email. Yes, I am old enough to remember when it didn’t exist.

What was once a fun way for two people to meet and flirt anonymously has become a main form of communication for many of us.

Email has brought the news of baby announcements, college acceptances, and job placements. It brings the news of hot deals at the grocery store and updates from favorite content creators.

It’s also the source of much junk mail.

Junk, as we know though, is in the eye of the beholder.

Sure, there’s the weirdly written requests for money from foreign entities — no one wants those — but some junk is of our own making.

One day you request emails from a favorite website or online retailer. The next day you’re cursing them under your breath because they had the audacity to email you — or email you more often than you wanted to hear from them.

That isn’t actually their fault. You’re the boss of your inbox.

As someone who writes email for my readers and someone who unsubscribes regularly, I understand this is a bit of a dance.

I do believe that most senders want their emails to be well-received (I sure do!), but the adage is true, you can’t please all the people all the time.

Proof: I just had 73 people unsubscribe from my list because they didn’t like hearing about summer self-care. That’s a lot! And more than I’ve had in a long time, but evidence that we may not be a good fit for each other.

person at computer with the inbox showing an alert.

You get to choose.

Thankfully life in a digital world allows you to choose, and there are lots of ways to do this.


At the bottom of every mass email is a hyperlinked word unsubscribe. The hyperlink will be indicated by an underline. Click that link and you’ll get instructions to unsubscribe from that mailing list.

And you should do this often.

  • If you don’t have time to read the emails sent, no matter how nice you think the sender is, you should unsubscribe.
  • If you don’t like the emails that are sent, unsubscribe.
  • If you don’t learn something or gain an applicable take-away after reading the emails, unsubscribe.
  • If you’re tempted to write nasty replies, unsubscribe.
  • If you don’t have money to buy what they’re selling, unsubscribe.

You can always resubscribe at a later date if you decide you want this sender back in your life.

Why this is important

As cookies go away and online advertisers react to the change, more and more content creators and online businesses will court you for your email address. This is how they can send you targeted information and advertisements.

Protect that space. Cultivate an inbox that serves you. Be sure to clear it with these best practices for a clean inbox.

Above all, find your people on the internet.

Believe me, no decent blogger or online creator wants you on their list if you don’t enjoy what they produce. And if you don’t enjoy what they produce, why are you on their list?

Once you realize you’re not each other’s people, part ways. No hard feelings. One less thing to manage: just click unsubscribe.

hands holding a card that says unsubscribe.

Be kind. Unsubscribe.

What I don’t recommend is sending a nasty email. Especially those emails in all caps.



I understand that this is a vent, but please remember, YOU signed up for that mailing list, my friend. And while there may be a bot on the other end, there might also be a real person reading your angry email.

As someone who writes email for my readers and someone who has received said nasty emails, I wonder if you really want to put that energy into the world.

Unsubscribe is a much better approach to a lot of things.

(This same idea applies to all your social media, too. Unfollow, unlike, unwhatever the cool kids call it so you can find space and peace in your digital life.)

If the sender does not represent a business or website (ie your toxic, stalker relative), there won’t be a way to unsubscribe, but you can mark the email as spam or create a filter for anything from that sender to bypass the inbox and go to the trash. Isn’t technology beautiful?

woman at a computer subscribing to life as mom newsletter, with text overlay.

More Thoughts on Communicating

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