How to manage email overload: declutter your inbox to feel more calm and productive
When you open your inbox, how do you feel? Calm and clear on your priorities? Or does your email inbox feel scattered and overwhelming? Figuring out how to manage email overload isn’t something that can be done overnight: decluttering your email processes and streamlining your email organization strategies is a gradual process. But taking a fresh approach to managing your email subscriptions can go a long way to help get rid of some of your inbox cloggers (aka all those annoying email newsletters you can’t remember signing up for) and creating a more streamlined, minimalist inbox.
Email newsletters are becoming an ever-increasingly central part of entrepreneurship at the moment, particularly with the crumbling of Twitter. Readers want a way to get updates from their favourite writers and creators without the social media algorithm getting in the way. Email newsletters are a reliable, algorithm-free way to stay in touch… but they can definitely lead to inbox overwhelm.
3 ways to simplify your email newsletters and clear out the clutter
There are three basic strategies for streamlining your email inbox to better organize and manage your email newsletters and mailing lists:
- Newsletter reader apps
- Email-to-RSS feed readers
- Newsletter aggregators and digests
Why use an email subscription manager (aka newsletter reader app) to organize your email newsletters?
When you use a dedicated newsletter reader app (you might also call it an email subscription manager, newsletter organization app, email consolidation app, or newsletter aggregator), you naturally streamline your inbox and start to be able to see the difference between the signal and the noise. Your inbox starts to feel less frantic, and more calm. You have the newsletters you actually enjoy reading in a trusted, organized spot that you can visit when you have the time and mental bandwidth to enjoy them, instead of leaving them clogging up your inbox to read “sometime.”
How newsletter reader apps work
Essentially, you have a dedicated, separate email address that you use to sign up for email newsletters, lead magnets, and freebie opt-ins. Emails get sent from those newsletters to your own dedicated email address within the app. You can read, share, and browse the newsletter articles in bulk within the app itself at your own convenience— instead of getting irritating, distracting notifications as soon as a newsletter lands in your regular email inbox.
Declutter your email inbox with newsletter reader apps
Step 1: Unsubscribe from unwanted email newsletters
Start with a fresh slate. Go through your email archives (or be ruthless as new emails come in), and decide if you want to actually read these newsletters any longer. These newsletter unsubscribe tools can help you sort through your existing newsletters, and help automate the process:
Step 2: Choose your preferred email newsletter app
Review and explore the list below to figure out which email newsletter reader app is best for your own aesthetics, price range, and preferred platform (i.e. web, iOS, Android, etc). Sign up for a dedicated email address in the app. (It will look something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.)
Step 3: Update your email address to your new, dedicated email newsletter reader address.
Now that you have a slim, streamlined list of active email newsletters you really enjoy reading, start updating your email address to the new, dedicated email address from your reader app. Some newsletters will let you update your address right in the bottom of the email— for others, you might need to manually unsubscribe and resubscribe with your new address, or even reach out to the list administrator to ask if they can update your contact info to your new address.
Step 4: Mindfully join new newsletters with your dedicated newsletter reader email address.
Now that you’ve done the hard work of switching over, everything else is much easier! Just remember to use your newsletter reader email address when you sign up for a lead magnet or webinar— or even when you purchase a digital product. You’ll get the value of email newsletters from your favourite creators— without a cluttered, overwhelming inbox.
The 10 best newsletter reader apps, from A to Z
The Meco newsletter read app is designed for mindful newsletter and Substack reading.
Streamline your inbox with email to RSS feeds
If you're already using an RSS reader (like Feedly, Feedbin, Reeder, or similar), you may prefer to subscribe to your chosen newsletters via RSS feed. Here's how to use email-to-RSS tools to collect and curate email newsletters to read using RSS (real simple syndication) tools, instead.
RSS reader Feedbin offers built-in "secret Feedbin email addresses" that allow you to subscribe to email newsletters and get them delivered directly to your Feedbin RSS reader.
Popular RSS reader Feedly offers dedicated email addresses that allow subscribers in their Pro+ and Enterprise paid plans to organize newsletters just like any other RSS feed source.
Kill the Newsletter
One of the most popular and well-established email-to-RSS apps is Kill the Newsletter, created by Leandro Facchinetti. To use Kill the Newsletter, you create a private, customized email address generated by the site (it looks something like email@example.com), which you can use to sign up for any newsletter you like. Then, you subscribe to your own privately generated feed in your preferred RSS reader.
Simplify your email inbox with newsletter aggregators and newsletter digest apps
Maybe you really, really enjoy reading email newsletters right in your inbox. But you're tired of having a dozen different newsletters clogging up your inbox every given day– even if you truly do enjoy the content within those newsletters.
You can still declutter and simplify your email inbox by getting all of your favourite newsletters combined into one daily digest of newsletters with a newsletter aggregator app. Browse through this list for options and alternatives for newsletter digest apps:
Why I care about building better productivity systems
Hi friend! I hope that you found this roundup of apps and resources on organizing email newsletters and streamlining your inbox helpful. I'm Elizabeth Butler, and I write about mindful productvity and intentional personal knowledge management. My goal is to help you figure out the best way to organize your tasks, work, and knowledge as effectively and efficiently as possible– so you can get on with doing great things.
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