I finally did it. After 10 years with the same Yahoo! email address, I finally made the switch to a less annoying provider. For the past 2-3 years I have tolerated the ads, the bugs, the cluttered Yahoo! interface, annoyed every time I opened my mail, but too overwhelmed by what switching would entail to do anything about it.
I started seriously considering switching when my colleague, James Huff, gave a talk at our annual meeting about encrypted email. He mentioned the provider ProtonMail, and while I love that ProtonMail is Open Source and highly secure, I was mostly interested because I knew my time with Yahoo! was running out, and I needed something to switch to.
It took five months of mulling, of avoiding, of thinking, Maybe next week. Two weeks ago, I signed up, just to poke around in ProtonMail to get used to something different. After ten years with the same email interface, I’ve got a lot of habits built up, and I needed time to acquaint myself with a different look. Because it’s brand new, my email space is fresh and clean and clutter-free, and I quite like it.
I want to keep it that way.
This week, despite the overwhelming prospect of changing my email address on every account I’ve built up over the past ten years, I made the full decision to switch. And I’m doing it slowly.
I am cleaning up as I switch over: with each email that comes into my Yahoo! account, I decide whether I want that coming into my shiny new ProtonMail account. For about 70% of the emails I receive, the answer to question is No. I can’t tell you how many mailing lists I have unsubscribed from in the past two days. My goodness, I received a lot of junk.
I’m also unsubscribing from quality content that I just don’t make the time to read anymore. If I get weekly essays in my inbox, but I haven’t read a single one of them, if I’ve deleted without reading it for the past 12 months? Unsubscribe. I don’t want anything unnecessary cluttering my clean new space.
As for all those accounts and services I’ll need to change my email address on — banks, social media, shopping, medical, utilities, subscriptions, local services, schools — I’m making that transition slowly. Each day I update 5-10 sites, and I’m keeping a list of the ones I’ve finished. This could take a while.
Once I’ve changed my email address on official accounts, then I’ll work on my personal contacts. I’ve got contacts in my Yahoo! account that I do not even recognize — I have no idea who they are. I need to go through all of those and clean them out before porting them over to my pristine new account.
Ten years is a long time to accrue correspondence and contacts. I foresee this process taking me a few weeks. I’m okay with that. I have a clean slate, and am working to change my habits as I make the switch. It feels good to scrub everything out.