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7 Tips To Ensure Email Does Not Take Over Your Life, with Erik J. Olson


Episode #1327

Erik notices that people will often focus on activities instead of trying to get results and spend a lot of time on email. Listen to Erik share the 7 tips on how to manage your time spent checking your email.

September 3, 2022

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Episode Transcript

Erik J. Olson (00:01):

Seven tips to ensure email. It does not take over your life. What is happening? This is Erik J. Olson email, man. We all just love to like break from a meeting and go check our email. Right? So the thing about email is like, it’s like a to-do list for me, at least. So, you know, like what I’ve noticed is that people will often focus on activities instead of trying to get results. And they’ll, they’ll spend a lot of time in email and I mean, a lot of time cuz when you’re doing activities, it kind of feels like work. Sometimes it really is just communicating, you know, if you’re a manager or certainly communicating, but it’s not work, it’s the avoidance of work really. And so one of the things that I’ve learned is you need to, you need to manage the amount of time that you put into email.

So I’ve got a couple tips here that I wanna share with you. Things that I do things I’ve read about things. I’ve tried things that work and hopefully this will help you too, because we don’t wanna spend our time just like in activity, we wanna spend our time getting results. So the first thing to think about when it comes to email is you do not have to manage email constantly. Right? You do not have to check it literally a hundred times a day. Right. And, and I know like if you think about how many times you check email, just randomly glance at it on your phone, randomly glance at it, on your computer when you’re at work. It’s probably, I’m probably not far off a hundred times a day. Eh, I mean, I probably do that and it’s a problem. I have to keep reminding myself the basics, this rule, number one, you do not have to manage email constantly.

It can wait. If it were important that someone would’ve texted me, someone would’ve called me. If it’s an email, it can wait. Number two, set aside a designated time to check your email. Or a couple of times now a lot of people say, don’t check email, first thing in the morning. You know what? To each their own I do. Right? Cause when I, when I wake up, I wanna know like what ticking time bombs are in my inbox. And I wanna see them really before my staff does or my clients do or I, I just, I, I, I want to know. And if I don’t look at email early on for me, then that means that I’m thinking about it. I’m worried I’m processing what could be in there. Oh my gosh. I should check. No I don’t. I shouldn’t check. I should check. No I shouldn’t.

And so I just alleviate all of that angst by just checking. So for me, it’s first thing in the morning. Usually when I get into work and then I’ll try, I’ll try to put it to the side for a couple of hours and work on my powerless for the day. The things that I need to get done today and just forget about email. I’ll come back to that later. Same with slack, by the way, slack is the same thing. If you all use slack and any kind of messaging app, this, you just gotta like step away for several hours so you can actually get work done all number three, turn off email notifications on your phone and computer. This

Erik J. Olson (02:58):

Is so freaking annoying to me when I’m in a meeting with someone and it’s constantly like ding, ding, vibrating, vibrating vibrate, constantly, even the vibrating is terrible. So like, do you really, really do you really need to be notified every time an email comes in? Is it that important that you need to be notified so you can check it immediately? No, come on man. Turn off the notifications. You do not need notifications. You’re going to check your email frequently enough so that you know, if something is urgent, you don’t need a notification to go check, to see if something’s urgent, which distracts you from whatever meeting you’re in, whatever task you’re working on. It just distracts you turn off the email notifications. Just turn ’em off. You’re gonna check your email frequently enough. Anyways. Number four, this comes from Tim Ferris. He says your email inbox is everyone else’s agenda for your time.

Let that sink in. I’ll repeat it. Your email inbox is everyone else’s agenda for your time. Now I said earlier that for me, my inbox is a to-do list. Once I accomplish that task now just reading it is not enough, but if I read it and there’s no, no action for me, I, I, I archive it. I’ll get to that in a minute. So I get rid of it. It’s not in my inbox anymore. It’s no longer on my list, right? I can forget about it. But if there’s some action for me to take whatever that action is, it stays in my inbox. Now this is someone else emailing me. So they are giving me an agenda item for my time. Think about that. It’s not you setting the agenda for your time in your life. It’s someone else. Number five, keep emails as short as possible, incredibly short.

I’m not even a fan of like the standard. Hello? How are you? Good afternoon. Good morning. Good evening. Just, just get right to it. And I mean like get, do not have a whole thesis with all of your logic explained and then the answer at the very bottom. Just write the answer and that’s it. And if someone needs to have an explanation, you can have an attachment. You could, you could put it below, just get to the point as quickly as possible. All right. Number six, ruthlessly unsubscribe. Now here’s what I mean by that. You like me get added to email newsletters all the time. Sometimes I do it myself. Cause I think it’ll be interesting. Other times I just get added. Sometimes it’s a friend or a colleague added me to their company’s newsletter, ruthlessly unsubscribed. The moment that you know that you don’t wanna read these. If you skip one or two or three of these newsletters that come into your inbox

Erik J. Olson (05:56):

From a particular source unsubscribe. Now, most people are like, oh, it’s it. It takes too much time to unsubscribe. I’ll just delete it. The problem is you’re gonna do that over and over and over. And before you know it, you have 3000 emails that come in a day and you think you’re being productive because you’re triaging those and deleting. ’em Just unsubscribe. And it doesn’t matter if your friend added you, if you don’t want it just unsubscribe. I have literally had friends call me and be like, Hey man, I saw you unsubscribe. And I’m like, well, I didn’t subscribe in the first place you subscribe me, dude. And look, man, it’s just not for me. And I’m willing to have that conversation if I have to. It’s very rare by the way, that’s only happened once or twice. So ruthlessly unsubscribed from newsletters, number seven instead of long email threads, pick up the phone.

So if you’re going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, don’t do that. You are wasting time. You’re wasting your time. You’re wasting their time. And it’s even worse. If there’s like a bunch of people on the email thread, pick up the phone with whoever you need to communicate with, get to the bottom of the situation as quickly as possible and move on. Don’t keep emailing these things back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It’s ridiculous guys, are you a professional or not? If you’re a professional, you’re not gonna do that. All right. So that’s seven tips, but like actually I’ve got one more. This is a bonus tip, archive your email. So in particular I’m talking about Gmail. Cause I don’t know if this features in outlook. I just don’t know.

I haven’t used outlook in a very long time, at least a decade, but in Gmail there’s archive and there’s delete now with archive. It just kinda like moves it off to the side. It puts it like in this deleted folder kind of a place, but it still exists. And I do that every single time I never delete. And the reason is number one, there’s like massive amounts of storage and Gmail. Like I’m never gonna hit the limit here of, of the email storage that they give me either from my personal email or my work email. So just I archive everything because if I ever need to bring it back up, I can find it like in an instant, the search features in Google are just as good as the search features features in Google search, the normal Google and any, I can get to any email at any time for any reason.

But what I wanna do is get it out of my inbox and I don’t wanna put it into a folder because I forget about what folders I’ve created. I forget about what emails are and what folder for what reason? It’s not just archive it, archive it. If I need it. I can remember that. I got it at some point I can, if I, if I don’t know if I got something I can still search, right. Just happened this morning. I didn’t even realize that I got a response to an email, but I did. And the response had been archived, but I could pull it up immediately. Cause I was like, oh, there’s, there’s this unanswered question that I had to someone, let me go

Erik J. Olson (08:54):

Find that email. It turns out he had emailed me somehow. I I over archived what? But I could go back and I could get that email. You can’t do that. Once you delete in Gmail, you can only do that when you archive. So my rule, my personal rule for me, this is number eight bonus rule for you always archive. Never delete. All right. I hope that has helped seven tips plus a bonus on how to manage your email. So it does not manage you.

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About The Hosts


  • Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.

  • Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.

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Website Design, Online Advertising, SEO, Social Media & Digital Marketing.
© Array Digital LLC