You probably already have a spam filter of some kind for your email. The challenge is when you need to look through all that spam for something you really wanted. How many times have you been expecting an email that was really important, didn’t get it, and then grumbled as you went over to your spam folder and starting combing through all that crap? Isn’t it fun when you don’t see it there either? Oh yeah. Time well spent.
My point is that just having a spam filter isn’t enough. You want that filter to deal with the least amount of spam possible if you want to maximize your time. I’m about to show you what I think is the best way to do this. It takes a little work but when you’re done its well worth it, especially if you get a lot of spam.
For one entire week, turn off all of your spam filters. That’s right. Turn them off. Let all that garbage go right into your inbox with all of your “real” email. This way, you are forced to deal with the spam in a permanent way instead of just forgetting about it and “let the spam filter deal with it”.
Next, do not delete the spam when you see it in your inbox. Either examine it (we’ll get to what I mean in a minute) or leave it there for a scheduled time you have allocated once per day to deal with spam.
When you take a look at the spam message, scroll to the bottom and look for an “unsubscribe”. Nine times out of ten there will be one. Click that sucker and unsubscribe to it. Do this with every spam message in your inbox.
You will be shocked at how much stuff you call “spam” is actually stuff that’s your fault. Things you purchased a long time ago, newsletters you opted into a long time ago, advertising from services you do use, etc. Take the time to unsubscribe to all of that.
Do this once a day (at least) and do it for an entire week. At the end of the week, turn your spam filter back on. Going forward, you’ll probably be getting 80% to 90% less spam. Now, when you really do need to comb through your spam to look for something important, it will take you two or three seconds.
I force myself to do this at least once a year. It works.