Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe Again, and then Unsubscribe Some More

Unsubscribe from Email Lists
This excerpt from Working Smarter for Mac Users, a new eBook by Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, appears in Chapter 5: The Cure for Email Overload— Guaranteed! It has been republished verbatim, with permission.

It takes time to read the subject line of a message, and it takes more time to open a message and scan its contents. So when you get mail from a commercial entity, a list, store, or group, you should ask yourself, “do I ever read these?” If the answer is “no,” or even “maybe,” look for the unsubscribe link (usually at or near the end of the message) and click it.

Unsubscribe from Email Lists

Here’s what some typical unsubscribe links in my email in look like:

Just a few of the unsubscribe links I've seen recently...
Just a few of the unsubscribe links I’ve seen recently…

I can’t remember where I read this tip, but when I began unsubscribing to mail I didn’t care about, I reduced my overall incoming email load by at least 15% in just a few weeks.

For those who are stingy about providing an email address to commercial entities or mailing lists, this tip won’t be much use. But if, like me, you receive dozens or hundreds of list-based messages every day, start unsubscribing now. Remember, just because you once opted to receive mail from a list it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep reading it forever. If you don’t love it, get rid of it now.

Remember you can always resubscribe if you miss it. But my experience has been that if I was uninterested enough to unsubscribe, I’m unlikely to resubscribe. My goal these days is to see less mail in my inbox each day, not more; unsubscribing from lists I’m no longer interested in has helped a lot.

And, though it should go without saying, I am much more particular about the lists I sign up for these days. I only sign up for things that really interest me and that I’m willing to make time to read.

And that’s that.

6 thoughts on “Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe Again, and then Unsubscribe Some More

  • Paul & Scott: I should have been clearer. I meant you should unsubscribe to things you once subscribed to but don’t read…

    And frankly, I have an even better solution (which is covered in Working Smarter for Mac Users) if you don’t mind spending a few bucks a month.

    I use a service called SaneBox (about $5/month). Among its features is a Black Hole folder. If I never want to see messages from a specific sender, I put their message into the SaneBox Black Hole folder and POOF–it’s like the sender never existed.


  • In most of the true junk email, the unsubscribe link must publish your email address to hundreds of partner sites. My junk email increase by a factor of 5 to 10 whenever I use the unsubscribe links up in junk mail. If it’s a legit site that I’ve signed up for, the unsubscribe link always works

  • You do know that some of these sites use those unsubscribe links for phishing? This way, they gather intelligence about you to start targeting you for attack.

    How about just marking them as junk and let your junk filter deal with them!

  • Geoduck: You don’t realize how much crap you’ve signed up for until you start unsubscribing.

    Everyone else: Give it a try–you might be surprised how much it helps you keep your inbox under control…

  • Very good point, I started doing this a couple of years ago and it’s helped tremendously.

    The other thing I use Junk. There’s a lot of things I get, but I read them and never look at them again, replies to Discus comments and such. I flag all of them Junk. That way they are immediately yanked out of my inbox. Later, at home, when I have time, if I feel like it, I review them, or not.

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