Help with email workflow, I use Gmail with SparkMail and sometimes Apple Mail

Ok I need some help…

So currently I use Gmail to manage my personal email. I have 4 different email accounts for various things and use Spark to view them all at once.

Now on to the problem:

Currently, I’m unemployed (this is relevant) and my mom is in between jobs. As such we’ve been spending a lot of time together (respectfully too much time!). She’s helping me to ensure that I am able to file away the employment emails so I can keep track of job application stuff. Previously I used Sanebox and it was a true dream! Made my email life really easy. That said since being on unemployment my dad made me give up my subscription to cut down expenses.

So now I have 82,000 or so emails total in my Gmail. Most of these are archived. My mom seems to think it’s nuts to have that many total emails…personally, since most are archived I don’t think it matters…

So my actual things:

  1. I need to unsubscribe to a bunch of things…I know UnRoll Me isn’t advised anymore, any alternatives?
  2. I’m working to delete emails using the Apple Mail app as I can sort by sender. Thoughts?
  3. I star my emails in Gmail and Spark (flag) to deal with them later. Any thoughts on this workflow? I don’t want to miss emails that come in that are stared and I don’t know they’re new.

Maybe @bowline has some thoughts on this and could lend a hand?

If I need to unsubscribe, I just do it manually.

I have a Gmail account but I don’t use it as my main. I use it mainly to collect notifications for Youtube channels I’ve been following. (Because I don’t want Google using my real address.) Gmail makes it easy to manually unsubscribe to senders - are you prepared to cut off new emails from whatever sources have been sending to you?

Generally speaking, I think it’s useful to consider the mindset involved in receiving emails. Do you want to subscribe only to those things which you intend to read (you’ll either be subbed to a tiny handful of things or always be trying to catch up), or are you willing to accept the influx and when it swamps you be willing to happily mass-delete? I choose the latter.

On Twitter I know people who feel they’re missing something if they don’t catch up on their feeds (and they keep their feeds relatively small), but I use it as a source to wade in, and I subscribe to 4000+ accounts; it would be madness to try to read it all. For me one advantage to subbing to that many feeds, separated into lists, is that I can quickly find useful articles by logging into Nuzzel.

Similarly, I follow nearly 1400 sites in RSS, but I don’t even try to do more than dip a toe in, get the gist, and be able to search in a more focused manner when needed.

As for email workflow, if there’s a mail build-up for me it’s usually just newsletters I’ve subscribed to that aren’t particularly vital, so I’ll deletedeletedelete, manually. I just go through mail and star the important, not-to-be-missed emails, and kill everything else, sorted by sender.

For me most of the things I subscribe to are not essential, so I’ll delete with wild abandon. I save/archive business and personal emails and sales receipts, and I happily toss the rest if the mail build up. When I subscribe to emails it’s often to get the gist of the news, and I’ll usually delete emails after just looking at the headers. I’m not precious about my email - for me it’s more to see what’s in the air than to delve in deeply.

Here’s some emails from yesterday I just deleted (mostly) without looking at - inessential, but interesting enough to glance at mostly without reading, and nothing I necessarily want to unsubscribe from.

I send “email tasks” to OmniFocus (you can also send to other task managers if you use a different one). In Spark it will create a link back to the email.

I mainly star things when on mobile and I have a few moments to do triage. But anything I star is something that gets dealt with - read, replied to, deleted, archived, made into a task or calendar entry, whatever - by the end of the day. (Or at worst, week.)

I need to start doing this more and more, it’ll be far more useful to then archive the email following sending the task to OmniFocus.

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I like your idea of deleting emails. do you use the default mail app to sort by sender?

I too like flagging/staring only a few emails to deal with by the end of the day, a lot less overwhelming then me having a pile of 20 emails starred that I was avoiding dealing with.

It works well. I really like that workflow

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If I have to sort by sender I’m usually backed up with a lot of emails that generally need to get deleted. No, I don’t use an app, though that’s an option. Instead I just use Yahoo Mail Pro* (into which several different addresses flow for domains I own) in the web view, mainly because I’m used to using it for close to two decades. I just click on the sender name and I see all unread posts from the sender in reverse chronological order.

*(I’ve been paying $20/year for Yahoo Mail Pro (price grandfathered in, it’s otherwise $35/yr) for no ads, larger email attachments, 1Tb storage, disposable email addresses, a very good iOS app, filters, folders and more. It’s not the best email service around (Google probably has the best spam filtering), but it offers the most for me for the price.)

Here is the process I follow, it allows for easy reviewing of emails and keeps my inbox relatively clear, might be of some use to you - Email triage on the cheap