One thing has become apparent very quickly—if I am going to be successful in my endeavor not to buy anything for an entire year, my digital habits must change.
Every online order requires an email address and that nearly always results in that email being added to the brand’s/store’s email list. This constant barrage of emails about “new markdowns” and “lowest prices of the season” is a challenge for me. I’ve been a bargain shopper since the day I got my first credit card—how can I not at least look?
Also, I never realized how many brands and designers I follow on social media. Why do I do this? This is nothing more than just letting these brands advertise to me for free! If I wanted to buy something from the brand, I could just go to the website and see what sales are currently being offered. Better yet, I would see if the thing I want is on sale. Why is it so tempting to buy something I don’t need just because it on sale?
So, I spent quite awhile yesterday unfollowing brands and designers on various social media platforms. I unfollowed at least 50 accounts on Instagram and just as many on Facebook and Twitter. As advertising emails come in, I am unsubscribing. Not only will this help me save money by not being tempted by so-called “sales,” but I will also save time not receiving these emails and browsing the sales I won’t be buying anything from.
Digital clutter is not just unwanted emails and social media accounts. We all have contacts in our contact list we no longer need—that college friend we haven’t spoken to since graduation, the former coworker we never saw outside work hours, etc. While you’re organizing your physical life, organize your digital life—Delete some old contacts; trim down your social media “friends” or “followers;” remove duplicate files from iTunes and create playlists to keep organized; delete old emails you no longer need and organize the one you should keep into folders; organize your photos; whatever you need to clear the digital clutter.
Clearing the “digital clutter” is essential to saving time and money. So many people complain that their productivity is impacted by their email, so limiting the number of emails we receive is important. Usually we can’t stop our email from being added to the list when making a purchase online—only a few allow us to uncheck the box subscribing to emails—but we can make a conscious effort not to subscribe in the first place when we can and unsubscribe as we receive them in the future.
After beginning to unsubscribe from any email list that doesn’t serve me as emails come in since yesterday morning, the amount of emails has dramatically decreased. It’s also become obvious to me that checking my email has become a habit for me when I’m bored. There are almost always at least a few junk emails I can delete or maybe an advertising email and I can browse the sale for a moment, even if I don’t actually buy anything. Yep–internet window shopping as a hobby. I guess I’ll just have to come up with a more productive use of my time.