#005: How to Take Control of Your E-mail Inbox [Podcast]

Do you feel overwhelmed by your e-mail? Do you feel like you are hopelessly behind and will never catch up? Do you feel like stuff is falling through the cracks? If so, I have great news. In this episode I talk about how to take control of your e-mail inbox. Specifically, I outline four behaviors that will transform how you think about e-mail.

005  Blog Post Art

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Special Announcements

  1. I will be speaking at BlogWorld in New York on June 5–7. My friend, Cliff Ravenscraft of the PodcastAnswerMan.com, invited me. I don’t have the details nailed down yet—like my exact speaking time—but I will announce them on my Speaking page when I do.
  2. My new book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, is still on schedule to be published on May 22nd. I’m going to ask you NOT to pre-order it yet. That may be a strange request, coming from the author, but there’s a method in my madness.

    We have put together a bonus package of seven resources worth $375.98! To get this special bonus offer, all you have to do is buy the book. I can’t tell you more yet, because we are still putting together the landing page. Once this is up, I will provide explicit instructions on how to take advantage of this special Pre-Launch Offer.

  3. I now have a Listener Feedback Hotline. You can call (615) 656-5001 and leave a message or a question. The system sends me an e-mail with an audio file of your message as soon as you hang up. If you have an idea for a podcast you would like to see or a question about an upcoming episode, I’d love to hear from you. You are also welcome to e-mail me if you prefer.

Episode Outline

You can stay on top of e-mail by practicing these four behaviors:

  1. Empty your inbox every day.
  2. Don’t get bogged down, keep moving.

    Ask yourself, Is this e-mail actionable? In other words, Is the sender asking me to do something?

    If the answer is “yes,” you have three options:

    • Do
    • Delegate
    • Defer

    If the answer is “no,” you have two options:

    • Delete
    • File
  3. Use keyboard shortcuts and avoid the mouse.
  4. Let e-mail rules filter the low priority stuff

Listener Questions

I also answer three questions from my listeners.

  • What do you do if you are already thousands of emails behind?
  • Should I use a professional e-mail address and an everyday e-mail address?
  • Do you use a system where your assistant filters your e-mail before you see it?
  • Are salutations and valedictions still required in the modern email world?
  • How do you manage e-mail on a mobile device?
  • Have you found a way to use signatures in Gmail to create automated templates?
  • How long does it take you to respond to e-mails that you put on your to-do list?

Episode Resources

I mentioned the following resources in the show:


You can download a transcript of the show here.

If you have enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe:

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Question: What additional tips would you add for taking control of your e-mail inbox? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Unsubscribe.  This is a huge tool in keeping your e-mail inbox under control.  Learn to unsubscribe to automatic e-mails that you’re not reading.

    • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

      Jon I did this just yesterday thanks to Michael answering a question about my Linkedin groups hitting me with emails multiple times a day.  He said to unsubscribe.

      Yesterday I woke up to 20-30 emails from my Linkedin groups.  Today I had 1.  It’s a good morning already!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon


      • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

        Good call!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Glad to hear it, Dave. Thanks.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Jon … I did hear once that it’s now easier to delete an email newsletter you no longer want than it is to unsibscribe. I’m finding this to be more and more truthful.

      That said, I usually only subscribe to newsletters I think I’ll find valuable. Unfortunately, I usually never have time to review the content!


    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      True…I did this recently as I had so little time with school.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Unsubscribing is key, but when I get rid of one there are 2 more waiting in it’s place! Emails are like tribbles— from Star Trek? Anyone remember Tribbles?


      • Landon

        The reason in unsubscribing creates more spam is because when you unsubscribe you notify the company that your email is a valid email which they now can sell to 3rd party distribution list.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          That makes sense! Unscrupulous but effective!

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      Great idea Jon. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great idea. I did this a few weeks ago and cleaned up my email significantly.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      I agree with that. That has helped me with at least 3 less e-mails a day. In a week that is 24 e-mails I don’t have to look at, and in a year that is 1248 e-mails I haven’t had to look at!

  • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

    Set up rules to filter email from selected individuals to an archive directory. This can help you recognize email that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Great suggestion, Steve. That’s one of my favorite. GMail labels are an email-phobic’s best friend!

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        I did that, but then I found I was overlooking e-mails that I wanted to look at because they were instantly moved to a label which I never looked at. I need to refine my e-mail labeling.

        • Rachel Lance

          Daren, have you tried using your rules to copy the messages to a certain folder, rather than move them? I do this more often than not and find it enables me to skim my messages and delete without hesitation since I’ll have the filed copy to refer to if necessary.

          • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

            I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Great idea!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I use two Gmail accounts. One is my primary and I’ve setup filters to screen out most junk mail to a junk mail folder and mail from important people to a small number of folders. In this account, instead of deleting e-mail, I mark it read once I’ve processed it. It’s quick and easy, yet it leaves all my important mail in my account for fast searching.

    I have a second e-mail account that I use for subscriptions, deals, and coupons. Using Gmail’s great filter capability, I have each subscription come to its own folder. Using the mark it read feature, I can quickly see what subscriptions I want to read and mark uninteresting ones off. 

    On my home computer I use Thunderbird as my e-mail interface which works great with the Gmail groups. Gmail is great at dealing with spam. I check the spam filter a couple of times a week, and rescue any wayward docs before deleting. Once or twice a year, I delete mass notification e-mails and do a general cleanup.

    Overall this works great and it allows me to have a robust and searchable database of important conversations.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      Great idea John!  I too have 2 email accounts. My “real” account, and my “subscribe” account.  Before I go shopping I hop over to my subscribe account to check for coupons and discounts.  You do get great discounts with retailers like Aeropostale and Justice (where I purchase my children’s’ clothes) by giving your email, but they BOMB you with them.  So having a faux account just for subscriptions works great!

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        The combination of Gmail with Thunderbird on my PC has made the subscription thing work great. It is especially helpful for Groupon or Living Social deals since I can use the search feature to find what I’m looking for. The secret to making it work for me is to take the time to create a new filter for each subscription. This keeps it tidy and well organized.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I have this as well. I have several emails. I have one for pure junk. I have another for my google reader and blog subscriptions/website stuff. I have a school email. And then I have a personal email.

      I really only use one to communicate with others. The other emails are just so I don’t get spam and junk in my inbox.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      This is a great process.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree about Gmail doing great with spam. Given the fact that 89% of all the messages sent in the world are spam, this is a good thing! Thanks for commenting, John.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    I’m thankful for Amazon’s flexibility. I had preordered your book for my kindle, but then realized I might be able to get a hard copy autographed at SCORRE, so I cancelled my preorder. Whew. 

    Looking forward to hearing about the bonus package! Yay!

    • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

      Thanks for answering my question, Kelly! I, too, pre-ordered but will now go in and cancel. 

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Glad I could help!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       You’re going to love it. Just upping the anticipation a bit. ;)

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Have you already read it? If so, I am green with envy. :-)

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the advice Mike! I struggle to stay on top of my e-mail everyday. At times, I feel like being addicted to e-mail. To ensure that my productivity is not spoiled,  I use to replicate my mails in batch at regular intervals rather than every 5 minutes. Now, I am feeeling better.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Batch is key. SO key.

      Studies have shown that hitting the “new mail” button is nearly as addictive as hard drugs. Yikes! You’re onto something with the addicted comment!

      • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

        Got a link for those studies? 

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

         Wow. I can believe it. I’d like to see a link to those studies, as well.

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com Adam Rico

    Gmail’s priority inbox is an amazing feature. It helps clear the clutter and focus only on the emails I open on a regular basis. Thanks for the tips Michael.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Adam … Totally agree. If you can set up priority inbox right, it’s a huge time-saver when push comes to shove.

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    Great practical podcast! (Kept me on the elliptical longer than I’d planned, which was a bonus!)

    I’ve been using Evernote to store important e-mails, especially work-related e-mails regarding a student situation (a parent concerned about grades, a disciplinary event, etc.) that I may need to access months, even years, later. 

    I know that you’re not a fan of multiple tags, but I love being able to tag a single e-mail with a variety of tags.  An e-mail about why a student received an A- instead of an A in AP English Lit & Comp might get tagged with the name of the student, the name of the parent, AP English, grades, late work, English Dept Issues, AP Expectations, etc. 

    At the end of the school year, I can pull up everything tagged “English Dept Issues” and see what we need to discuss as a department. When writing letters to next year’s AP students, I can pull up everything tagged “AP Expectations” and be even more clear about my late work policy, etc. And if an administrator needs documentation of how I’ve handled something, I can find it in seconds.

    So I guess one major question I ask when processing e-mail is, “Will I want/need this for documentation in the future?” If so, I need to quit viewing it as a single e-mail and start seeing it as a document. “Evernoting” it does that for me!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Evernote is awesome!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Love me some Evernote!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I am a gmail user. I don’t delete anything, I just archive it. By typing in keywords, I can pull up anything and everything from the past. 

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      I just switched to Evernote. So much better than OneNote. 

    • Jim Martin

      Cheri, Evernote has been very helpful to me in filing important e-mails.  In fact, Evernote has been very helpful on a number of fronts.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. The key is to have something that works. Evernote can be a great repository for those kinds of emails.

  • http://relationships-relationshiptips.blogspot.com/ Njut Tabi Godlove

    your blog is such a great inspiration to me. reading your contant has not only made me better know how to run my daily devotional blog http://rhapsody-of-realities.blogspot.com, but more importantly how to better organise my life. thanks

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I’m so glad Michael’s posts have been both practical and inspiring for you. I feel the same!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    The biggest thing that has helped me is to streamline the relationship between my task management and my Email. For me, I don’t get a high volume of Emails – but most take a small amount of action on my part (other than just replying). So Email management, for me, is really about task management.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      True. I don’t get that many either. I get probably about 15 per day. 

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    This is a great topic!

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

    I was inspired by your podcast, and emptied my inbox to zero.  

    I think having separate e-mail accounts is a great idea.  I currently have 3 accounts and have everything forwarded to one account.  Separating which account gets what will definitely help.

    I am also, from now on, only using one of the addresses as my “bacn” account.

    Very helpful!  Thank you again.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Zero in less than half a day. Impressive!

      • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

        Well, most of them I could delete, either because they were just advertisements, already taken care of or irrelevant by now.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Congratulations, Mark. You have done what few people ever do—get their inbox to zero.

  • Miranda

    Episode Outline: No. 1&2 … Oh Mike, you so know how I handle my email! I’m thinking of incorporating 3&4.

    Additional tips?
     1. Organize filed emails into specifically categorized folders. It makes it neat.
     2. Reply every email that you have to, as soon as possible, just so you can file or delete, and get it out of the way. No point leaving an unanswered email hanging at the back of your mind. It clears your head to face other important things, and stops you from running back to it later, when you could have handled it sooner.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I clear out email as soon as possible, too. I don’t like knowing I have a bunch of to-dos waiting for me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Did you catch my reason for not organizing in folders? Thanks.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    If you get that much email maybe get a VA? When I look at this post I think of the Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, he talks about this very subject.

    Congrats on speaking at Blog World Expo, I know Pat Flynn is also speaking there! I look forward to getting the new book!

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      I’ve been only checking email a few times of day now and only after I’ve done my main task for the day. You do the same? 

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

         That’s such a great idea. I need to do the same!

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        I do pretty much the same thing unless there’s and email I’ve been really waiting for.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I use a VA, and she is awesome. She filters almost all my e-mail. I have read Tim’s book several times. It’s full of great ideas.

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Traci is awesome! I’m read the book now I’m listening to the audio book in the mornings.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    It would have been fun to ask the MH community, if they were willing to admit it, who has the largest batch of unread emails. I went to a GTD seminar in DC and a lady there, who works for Fed. Gov. had over 22,000. Ouch!

    I have been trying out a new tool that interacts directly with your email client called sanebox (Sanebox.com) it look pretty interesting but I think you get more control using filters and rules.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       You first. ;)

    • Rachel Lance

      Thanks, Barry, that lady makes me feel infinitely better about the state of my inbox!

    • Jim Martin

      Barry, I had so many e-mails in my inbox today, I decided to clean it out before listing to the podcast! –Especially after seeing the title of the podcast.  ;)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is the biggest number I have ever heard. Wow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timunderwood Tim Underwood

    I keep it simple. I don’t use folders. Moving emails around is a time-waster. I read every email in my inbox and flag those I defer. That way everything is in my inbox and can searched.

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    Great stuff. I love rules! I use them at home and at work. I have several personal e-mail accounts (some that I make available to public, and others that are more private), and I have them all auto-forwarded into my personal account and rules put them into account-specific folders.

    I have tried to be more intentional about keeping my inbox empty since I first read your blog post on this, but I’m lax on it. I don’t have to be real intentional about it, because my e-mail flow is fairly low.

    I also make good use of Outlooks flags–this keeps stuff in my inbox, but I know I can generally ignore it if it doesn’t have the little red flag on it.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I utilize the flags often, as well. I take care of quick emails right away, and then delete. Then I flag something I need to come back to later.

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    I just started listening to the podcast. The English language does not give me the ability to communicate just how much I appreciate being pointed to Downcast.

    I answered yes to every single question you asked at the beginning of the podcast.

    One thing I notice lately is a lot of email systems don’t unsubscribe. I have several newsletters, some from fairly reputable sources, that no matter how many times I click the unsubscribe link, it doesn’t take. I’ve started marking several of them as spam.

    I bought a vitamin product last month, and started getting 6-10 emails a day from the company. It wouldn’t take my unsubscribe request, so I had to mark it as spam.

    Michael, about the single archive folder, which I do use: have you ever hit a problem with it? At work, I’m running into a lot of trouble finding messages. For some reason, the really important stuff seems to come in under innocuous subjects.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I recently started unsubscribing from a bunch of newsletters I no longer read. One of the things I noticed is that it can take 7-10 for the emails to stop coming. I think it’s ridiculous but that might be part of the reason you keep getting emails even after an unsubscribe request.

      • Jim Martin

        Joe, I have noticed the same thing.  It has really made me think twice before I subscribe to a newsletter.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Eric, I love the single archive.  I have archived all of my email in Gmail for the past five years and never have any trouble finding messages.  

      Gmail’s search works intuitively just like a Google search.    If I want to access a message, I just think of unique keywords that might have been in the email including the sender’s name or subject matter.  Gmail instantly pulls every email that I’ve ever had matching those keywords, from newest to oldest.   I really love it because it avoids having to think about how to archive each message.   I hope this helps.

      • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

         I’ve been on gmail since 2005, and used the single archive concept. At work, I put everything into a .pst. I run into a problem where the information I’m searching for is always under a seemingly unrelated subject line, which doesn’t come up easily in a search.

        • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

          I’m not familiar with .pst files. What I really liked about switching to gmail is that you don’t have to search by subject line. You can search by any word that might be in the To/From, Subject, or Body of the email.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t had a problem with the single folder, especially when I search on more than one field (e.g., name and subject).

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Confession: I checked email AS I was running 4 miles and listening to this podcast. I need help. :)

    My struggle isn’t managing the quantity of email — it’s managing how often I check it. I keep my inbox under 20 almost all the time. But the process of keeping it there means email is managing me, rather than the other way around. What can I say? I’m a work in progress. :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Sounds like something I would do Michele! Seems like I’m constantly checking the old inbox. Is there a club for this type of disorder? Maybe an EA(Email Anonymous)?

      • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

        I found myself doing that the other day when I didn’t want to write during my writing time.  Any excuse will do, let’s check email…

        • Jim Martin

          I have been thinking about this in the last few months.  I check my e-mail WAY too often.  At this point, it has become a habit.  Need to back away from this.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        LOL. When you said “club” I thought you meant the heavy, wooden kind. Or maybe a 9-iron. And I thought, “Well if not, there should be!” I’m a disaster. ;)

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        LOL. When you said “club” I thought you meant the heavy, wooden kind. Or maybe a 9-iron. And I thought, “Well if not, there should be!” I’m a disaster. ;)

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I recently cleaned out my main email inbox after having it for 10 years. Man was it a chore! 10,000+ emails down to ZERO! I’m doing okay keeping it manageable now but it can seem overwhelming at times!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Congratulations! This is a big accomplishment.

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    You hit the nail on the head with “empty your inbox everyday”. If I don’t do that I feel behind, not only in my email but also with other projects. If my inbox is empty, I feel more on top of everything else at the same time.

  • http://wheretigerswill.wordpress.com Will Laohoo

    Two great tools for Gmail users…

    The E-mail Game (http://emailga.me) is great for getting to inbox zero in a fun and efficient way. It pulls up each e-mail in front of you, one at a time, and you can choose what to do with it – reply, archive, delete or boomerang (archive for now, return to your inbox at a specified later time, marked as unread). Admittedly, boomerang can give you an excuse to postpone actually dealing with an e-mail, but it can also give you a way to bring an e-mail back to top of mind when you may be more prepared to do something about it.

    Unroll.me (http://unroll.me) is still in beta mode. I have a few invitations left, so message me if you want one… basically, this tool looks at all your e-mail and takes an inventory of who is sending you stuff. From there, you can choose to add however many senders you want to a roll-up e-mail that you’ll get once a day, kind of like a digest as opposed to separate messages. This is a great way to cut down on the bulk that often hits your inbox.

  • Addison G @addisongardner

    For David who asked about the Blackberry. I had the same problem once I switched to the iPhone. I broke down and just went back to my BB as a second phone. It’s just $25 a month with AT&T. Totally worth it. I only gave my number to my wife, assistant, and family. Besides that it’s only for email. I can knock out as many emails as I want on the go so much easier this way. I also use it for texting clients and employees. It gives me the freedom to turn it off at a certain time too and not feel obligated.

  • http://www.andrebor.nl/ Andre J.C. Bor

    Thanks for this helpfull episode.

    Google can’t find a Windows-alternative for KeyCue… Too bad for me. But there are lot’s of solutions:

    – Fingertips. Open your applications, documents, and favorite websites from the keyboard. Expand your most typed texts by typing acronyms. It’s especially made for not-using the mouse. And it’s freeware.

    – AutoHotkey, a simple tool to make your own hotkeys for about every (repeating) keystrokes and mousemoves. Simple macro-coding (even for beginners) and lots of resources on the net. It’s freeware too.

    The good news about KeyCue is that it will work on Windows 8 (http://www.freenew.net/windows/keycue-52/42375.htm)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that information, Andre.

  • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny Hsu

    For those looking for a quick way to type common answers, you can try http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/. 

    I’ve used it and it helps save so much time when I’m writing the same reply over and over. 

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    Some follow up thoughts on the questions asked in the podcast about using Gmail:

    1) Canned Responses – Someone asked if you can use email templates in Gmail.  Yes, there is a function in the Compose toolbar called Canned Responses.  I use this just as Michael described using templates for his Apple mail app.  This has saved me tons of time.

    2) Gmail on the iPhone – I, too, found email access to be the only part of the iPhone that was lacking compared to Blackberry.  However, I found an inexpensive ($2.99 or 3.99) iPhone app called “G-Whizz!” that makes my gmail look and function almost identically on my iPhone as it does on my desktop.  This was a huge win for me!  Now I don’t miss anything about my BB.  G-Whizz! has other features too, but the Gmail interface is all that I use.

    3) “Important” Function – Another tool in Gmail that I LOVE is the Important function for the inbox.  It’s 
    intelligent inbox sorting of Bacn (non-spam newsletters, mass mailings that I want to see, etc) from high priority personal emails.  For me, it was about 95% accurate from the beginning.  The beautiful thing is that you can easily “train” gmail to recognize the other 5% when it sorts a message into the wrong box.  It tells you why it routed the message the way it did and you just click tell it that it should have gone to the other bucket.   It gets it right for all future emails that are like that one.  

     These tools have been like a free Virtual Assistant for me.  Hope they help some others, too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome comment, John. This could be a whole blog post on its own. Thanks for sharing!

      • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

        Sure thing, Michael!  The podcast introduced me to some new concepts and reminded me of other concepts.  All of which I have implemented to make me better today.  Thanks for that!   You are achieving your mission!

        Also, thanks for embedding Switchfoot into my brain.  I can’t get “This is Your Life” out of my head.  :)

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    I needed this podcast as IT is about to hit my office w/ a new computer and the biggest reprimand: You have too many emails!

    A couple things I try to do as preventative maintenance:

    1.  Pick up the phone: When I can tell it will become an email back-and-forth, then I pick up, hash it out w/ a running email to keep track of talking points. I send that email for confirmation, and then save it in my office’s ‘CYA’ system.
    2.  Tell My Colleagues: I’m working on ‘retraining’ my associates to group requests into one email to avoid 6 one-liners that create too many strings. I also suggest they call me when possible to knock it out and then see 1 above.

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  • Pmpope68

    One thing the company I work for has done, is set up historic and review folders.  Periodically they will send you a warning message to go and review in a certain timeframe the messages that have been placed in those folders by the system otherwise the messages will be deleted.  Sure enough, I have actually looked for an e-mail after the fact (and after not reviewing as instructed) and the e-mail was gone.  If you rely on a system like this, that’s one way of not cluttering up your box and it relieves you from procrastinating to get around to setting up a rule yourself because essentially the system has done it for you.

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  • http://twitter.com/PeterKremzar Peter Kremzar

    I was listening to this podcast yesterday when I had a free day and I went to the mountains.

    Well. Someone asked “How do you manage e-mail on a mobile device”. My answer is use Microsoft Office 365 Plan P1. It costs you $4 USD per month per user and you can have a free trial – 6 months I think. You can assign your own domain to this account, you can have as many aliases as you like and you have 25GB of storage. It’s a Microsoft Exchange server with Microsoft Outlook web access. Additionally you have several other cool features.

    But why Office 365 instead of Gmail for example?
    I use Gmail for my junk mail and just to stay in touch with it. For my opinion Gmail is one of the most disorganized email hosting service plus you give Google the opportunity to sell your information.
    On the other hand Office 365 offers you the Exchange server connectivity. It has lots of benefits comparing to ancient protocols like POP3, SMTP and IMAP4. I use several computers and three mobile phones. Using Office 365 all of my data (Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks) is synchronized on all of these devices. And what I do on one device (that could be the phone) I can immediately see on the other one.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for this information, Peter. Very helpful.

  • Blair

    Mobile Solution

    Love the podcast, and I noticed that one of your readers/listeners had asked about how to handle/process e-mails on your mobile device.  Because I like to clean out my inbox as quickly as I can, I came up with the following solution:

    I have a work e-mail and a personal e-mail, so I created a”Processed Mail” folder for all e-mail on my laptop, a “Processed Mobile” on my work server and a “Processed Cloud” folder on my personal server.

    If I am out and about and can processes an e-mail or put the action on a to-do list, I simply move the e-mail to the respective folder on the server.  For example, if I receive a message for work that requires an action, I do the action and then move the e-mail to the “Processed Mobile” folder on the server.

    At the end of the day, I go to my folders on the servers and simply move all contents over to the “Processed Mail” folder on my laptop. 

    I know this may seem excessive – Michael Hyatt suggested that he likes to wait till he gets back to the office/laptop to process e-mail – however, I am trying to build behavior.  Historically, I put things off.  This process helps me build the behavior.

    Hope this helps.



  • http://www.caminomyway.com/ Randall St Germain

     Yes, the emails from the LinkedIn groups are overwhelming. Especially if you belong to the author’s groups —no offense it is intended. I recently unsubscribed too many groups and just go and visit on occasion. Email and various messages are most often, my major distraction.

  • Randy

    One thing that I think is important for the conversion from physical keyboards to touchscreen keyboards is this: relax and type.  Most people are used to a physical device and develop a psychological attachment to the feedback, but it’s not an actual problem with the device.  I got challenged by a BB user to a typing test after a meeting once and was able to complete the typing faster (albeit with some auto-correct mistakes) than the physical keyboard because I’m confident in the ability of my device to cope with my speed and not waiting for feedback.  I had an iPhone G1, then got several BBs for work, and now have an android and the problem is NOT the keyboard – it’s the comfort level of the user almost every time.  Have someone time you and try to speed type to beat the clock: you’ll be surprised at how fast you really are.

    Additionally: for iPad users, make sure that you at least try (for a week?) setting the keyboard to be split.  You’ll not reach your thumbs out as far to reach the middle keys and you’ll type faster.

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    I have working at organizing my public email and how it ties through my Gmail and how it appears to others so I got a lot from this to better imporve my email for future increase and productivity.  I recently listened to this episode of the No More Monday’s episode(
    http://nmmshow.libsyn.com/how-not-to-get-hired-april-16-2012 ) and heard about  
    http://rapportive.com which pulls in peoples pictures and public profiles from Twitter and Bookface etc to have on the sides of the email
    Thank you Michael for this episode.

    K, bye

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Christopher. CoBook also pulls these in to Address Book if you are an Apple user. Very cool.

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  • http://www.mancaveradio.com/ ManCaveRadio.com

    Michael, thanks for another great podcast episode! You mentioned that your assistant is responsible for responding to certain categories of emails that you receive, but that she always replies as “her” rather than pretending to be you. Does she reply from her own email address, or does she just reply from your email address but with her own signature (such as “Jane Doe, Executive Assistant for Michael Hyatt”)? If you’re willing to share, it would be great to see an example of one of her replies, to have a sense what seems to work without offending people who were hoping to get a personal reply. Thank you, Jesse

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, she replies from her own e-mail address at michaelhyatt.com. Here are some examples of e-mail templates we use. These are written from me, but you will get the idea.

      • http://www.mancaveradio.com/ ManCaveRadio.com

         Michael, thank you — very helpful
        ~ Jesse

  • http://girlgrowsup.com/ Sarah

    I listened to this episode yesterday, and it so inspired me that my inbox is officially empty for the first time since returning from maternity leave on February 1. THANK YOU!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/yourfarmer Michael Kilpatrick

    Michael,  Do you manually move email into the processed mail folder or do you have that set up with an automated keystroke?  And if so, How?



    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I actually use Command-Ctrl-A to move all mail to the Archive folder on Mail. It’s on my Mail menu: Message -> Archive. Thanks.

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  • Edward Hinkle

    I’ve started using http://www.powerbotapps.com/ to send gmail entries into Evernote.

    You can forward emails through Evernote, but it bothers me that you end up with the “FWD” in the note title, as well as your signature and everything at the top. I love the look that Powerbot gives your note from the email. It’s a nice clean format.