As I was sitting down to write, my intention was to go through growth versus value investing. While still an important topic – one I touched on in this video – I instead chose to write about something non-financial that has impacted my life recently, something that warrants sharing. 

At the time of writing this, masks are getting put back on as the Delta variant takes hold, and potentially, lockdowns could be back on the table. All of this can certainly cause stress, especially as COVID-19 lingers on longer and stronger than many anticipated.

Doing something that allows you control – and also the ability to declutter – can be helpful to reduce stress and put you in a better mindset. In fact, there’s quite a bit of internet literature that discusses the benefits tidying up can have on mental well-being. And decluttering doesn’t just apply to our homes or apartments; it’s just as, if not more, important for our digital environments. So, I chose to focus on organizing my digital life, namely my email. If you’re like me and are (somewhat?) neurotic about keeping a clean inbox, here are a few things I did to better organize my email:

Create Filters to Organize your Email More Efficiently 

Do you have some emails that come to you every day that you don’t want to remove but you want to mark them as read or archive them? Most mail programs can do this, but I use Gmail myself and will show examples from that email provider. If you go to your “settings” and then “filters”, you can create a filter that takes emails and does something with them. 

For example: 

Matches: from:([email protected]); Do this: Mark as read

I have an automated email that sends me five separate emails a day for each of my portfolios, so this is helpful to keep unread emails from piling up. If we take this one step further, I have also created labels that will automatically categorize and group certain emails. 

For example: Matches: from:([email protected]) Do this: Mark as read, Apply label “IBKR Notices”, Categorize as Updates.

Opt Out of (Almost) Everything!

After organizing my current email, I turned to a problem with both my personal and professional email – I am subscribed to WAY too many newsletters. For the last few weeks, I have been vigilant in unsubscribing from almost every newsletter service that has come across my inbox. I figured that if I really needed it, I could go back and resubscribe at a later date. This literally is over 100 that I have taken the time to remove, but after a few weeks of doing this, there is a massive difference in how many emails I receive daily. There’s also the added benefit of having less of my personal information out in the internet ether.

Protect Your Email Privacy

Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but I read this article about the Gmail app and some of the privacy concerns it has. It’s important to remember that if you have a free Gmail account that a massive amount of data gathering and tracking will occur. I haven’t yet moved exclusively over to my iCloud account (which everyone that has an Apple ID should have), but I am strongly considering it. As a half step, I have removed the Gmail app from my phone and pull my Gmail through the Apple Mail app.

I hope that these few small suggestions can help you uncover some ways to organize your digital life and reduce the amount of stress it can give you. Additionally, I have found that you will likely save money by removing many of the “sales” that are offered to you on a daily basis!

Clint Walkner