The power of the unsubscribe

Emails to unsubscribe from

I wake up each morning and the very first thing I do is delete emails. Before tea, before trying to deal with my hair, even before Twitter I delete emails. On an average day it is about ten that face my mindless deleting fingers, normally travel discounts or shops telling me I am missing out in a major way if I don’t buy skinny jeans NOW. Its not just that the emails are there, that would be annoying enough, its that they are so demanding. Those little subject lines verging on emotional blackmail, they all want something from me. Look at the emails above, I mean I know the subject lines are written as a call to action by some poor comms team in a dull grey office – but what it actually means is that I am failing before I’ve started the day. I haven’t brought the jeans, I missed out on the 60% off, I didn’t invest in the dream dress – whatever the must have is, I don’t have it.

So I culled. I went through and unsubscribed. I took what was a mindless action, a buzzing annoyance and I got rid of it. Of course I had to endure the emotional blackmail from the subscription lists as I went. I mean, I love a cheeky full of personality brand but at this point…

Virgin

FUCK. OFF.

I still check my emails first thing every morning, to see what the shape of my day will be. But now I don’t have the noise, I don’t have that hooked wind grabbing at my attention. I only have so much energy in a day, and here I was wasting it on promotional emails. Promotional emails that apparently more passive aggressive than some of my ex-boyfriends.

Sketch

It got me thinking though, about what other things in my life I had subscribed to without thinking. What other subscriptions were seducing me in the short term but overall were just draining.

The thought that I had to be ‘making the most of London’ was one of these that I had to consciously unsubscribe from. London is amazing and I seriously do want to experience it all, but feeling like I had to was draining. Yes the pop ups, the parks the food and the fun is out there, but I don’t have to wring every drip out every day. That little thought was exhausting me before I even left the front door, and sometimes the indecision about what to see would stop me doing anything at all. Unsubscribe.

Doing two things at once was another one that I needed to unsubscribe from. For the last few years I’ve always worked or written or walked with my earphones in. Sometimes it was music I was listening to, but my preferred was a podcast or audiobook. I felt that listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter would distract my brain enough that I could actually get down to some work. Same for if I was at home, I don’t think I’ve watched TV without also being on Twitter/Facebook for years. Its still how I would prefer to work, but I’ve been increasingly feeling like I’m being pulled in a million different directions and this might be part of it. Instead I am boring myself to tears by focusing on one thing at a time. Writing this blog post in dead silence feels a lot like a school exam, but I feel like I can focus for the first time.  Multi tasking? Unsubscribe.

Notifications is another one that I would be quite happy to unsubscribe from. I’ve turned off notifications on Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. Between the three of them I could get about 1,000 notifications a day and it was becoming like nails on a chalk board. No matter how short a micro second the notification took up, it was still distracted me from what I was actually doing or who I was talking to. And seriously, there is no such thing as a Pinterest emergency…the notifications can wait. Unsubscribe.

I am the sort of person who doesn’t just like something I LOVE IT. I don’t get mildly annoyed, I go straight from love to stabby. I mean, potentially life threatening but mildly entertaining nonetheless. This means that I tend to have an opinion on freking everything (sorry to all my friends and loved ones, its just how I’m made). So I am going to try and unsubscribe from having an opinion on things I don’t actually give a fuck about. I am going to endeavour to give less fucks, but make the fucks that I do give really quality. Sometimes it is totally ok to just sit and smile during a discussion without jumping in. Unsubscribe.

I think my life has just got too noisy with things that don’t actually matter. I am a different person to who I was when I moved to London, and actually the things I surrounded my self with then, that used to be important to me, are now just an annoying distraction. Forget being pulled in all directions, I want to use all my powers of the unsubscribed to allow myself to have some direction, some calm and some happy.

 

The power of the unsubscribe

9 Comments

  1. February 22, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    I think this all comes down to modern society’s need to constantly be plugged in and turned on (not in THAT way, silly). Personally, I’ve never liked cell phones and though I own one, I almost never have it turned on. I’ve often wondered why everyone else feels that they NEED to have their phones in their hands 24/7. I mean, take a break and put the fucking phone down! I’m not directing my anger at you, obviously, I’m just saying that society’s need to be constantly plugged in may be hindering their quality of life. Like, their REAL quality of life.

    Life is about so much more than notifications and ‘likes’ — take the time to unplug and smell the roses. In the grand scheme of things, social media notifications count for very little.

  2. February 22, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    I use Unroll Me which has revolutionised my inbox and therefore minimised my chances of getting a deleting-emails-RSI. I recommend it if you haven’t already tried it.

    I’m now thinking of all the other things in life I would like to unsubscribe from. Oh… it seems there’s quite a long list. Can I unsubscribe from the calories in cake? From the rain?

  3. Caitlin Jean
    February 23, 2016 / 4:30 am

    Inspiring words! Thank you

  4. February 23, 2016 / 9:12 am

    I love this idea! I’m a serial unsubscriber (mainly from things I really don’t remember subscribing to in the first place…) but I hadn’t thought of “unsubscribing” from other things in life too. I’ll have to try it!

  5. February 23, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    Ooohhhh solid theory, love it! I’m working harder to say no to things more often too – instead of half assing out of guilt im straight up declining and it is so liberating. Another inbox saver for you though – unroll me. It lets you bulk unsubscribe and sends daily emails received summary LIFESAVER.

  6. February 24, 2016 / 8:18 am

    Ooooh I really love this idea – very powerful. That feeling of being pulled every which way is definitely a modern problem – and a teeny attention span! I’m going to look at where I could “unsubscribe” in my own life.

  7. February 27, 2016 / 7:13 am

    I hear you! I am currently getting daily emails asking me to complete my nomination for Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. This is annoying because I have no idea what that is but I’m pretty sure I have nothing to do with any nomination. And doubly annoying because there is no unsubscribe option!

    I am being pulled in all directions too and though most of the things I do are fun, I have a low-level cold that won’t go away and I dream of having a day with nothing to do…

  8. March 20, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    This is why I love gmail. It has a special folder for promotions, and I can just leave them mostly unread. However, I did spend a good hour this morning culling things I no longer need. If felt SO good.