Email is the most important component of my business. When I get to communicate one on one with readers and help them find solutions to their problems, everyone wins. Yet as this blog grows, the email grows with it and managing it can be really difficult at times.
A few months back Arman Assadi got in touch with me and was telling me about his new course for managing it. I was seriously intrigued. After checking it out, I was even more sold on his strategies and asked him to do an in depth overview of how to really implement a strategy for removing all the emails that I didn’t want to see each day.
Needless to say, he delivered. So with that, I’m going to turn it over to him!
I wasn’t always a Gmail ninja. In fact, I thought I’d be just fine sifting through my Hotmail searching for that funny viral video my friend sent me, amongst all the “penis pill” spam emails.
For years I was drowning in my inbox, praying that email would become obsolete and I’d never have to look at or respond to another email again. Well, that day hasn’t come (yet), and we live in a world where electronic-mail is still the primary way people contact one another.
If you’re stressed, frustrated, or even just annoyed with email and all the spam in your inbox—trust me, I understand.
Eventually, I started to realize that my individual success as an employee, and now a solopreneur, depended heavily on my ability to communicate with others like a professional.
My post-college career started at 3M, and at that time our division was running on Lotus Notes, which was probably created by an email masochist. Wow, was that painful. During that time I had no system, it was merely a matter of looking at my emails in chronological order and seeing which ones had not been opened yet.
My personal email was also flooded with spam and all those annoying notification emails. It seems that no matter how many times we uncheck that little box that says “Yes, I would like to receive all your special ‘dealios’ and I want 10 emails a day from you!” we still keep receiving them, don’t we?
After 3M, I got an opportunity to join Google in the Enterprise division, working on Google Apps (Gmail). I quickly realized that moving from an old-school manufacturing company selling consumer goods and running on Lotus Notes, to a company that ran on an email platform it created itself was going to be a very different experience.
Right away it was sink or swim. I was immersed in a pool of uber-talented, super-sharp, technology-savvy folks. Not only did everyone have a strong handle on technology, but they were constantly looking for ways to improve themselves and bring value to others.
Email was our number one communication tool. The number of emails I received (and needed to respond to) practically quadrupled overnight. I looked around and noticed that those who were at “inbox zero” and had set up some sort of email management method tended to be the most successful all around.
I knew that looking at emails chronologically and just clicking on the unread ones was not going to fly here. I also noticed that my personal email accounts were completely flooded with LinkedIn notification emails, Groupon deals, bill reminders, etc.
I couldn’t differentiate the important emails from the non-important ones, and that’s the last thing I wanted to happen as a Noogler (“New Googler” – official terminology).
I became obsessed with email. I read every single book, article, magazine, and strategy by all of the top gurus out there. I talked to other Googlers that were considered “Gmail Ninjas” and asked them to show me their inboxes. I picked their brains, I implemented new strategies, and eventually, I created my own.