You are overwhelmed with email. You want email management tips that actually work. You need to declare ‘Email Bankruptcy’! I’ll show you how.
- Declare Email Bankruptcy and Get a Fresh Start
- Have The Courage To Declare Email Bankruptcy!
- Here's how to declare email bankruptcy
What is Email Bankruptcy?
- So you can tell me the truth, how many emails are in your inbox right now? It's a lot, isn't it? Yeah, I know, me too. Email overload is an epidemic, and it doesn't seem to be going away. No matter how much we use other communication tools, email, that inbox is still there mocking us with a huge number of unreplied to, unopened, horror that many of us experience. Now not everybody does, and if you don't, congratulations, go watch another video, this one's not for you. But if, like me, you struggle with email, I have what I consider to be the easiest solution to get ahead of the game. Now it's only a partial solution, 'cause it just gets rid of the immediate problem, doesn't fix the long-term solution. We will deal with that in this video as well. But I am gonna teach you today something so cool. I'm gonna teach you how to declare email bankruptcy. It's fairly painless, and it can be the first step towards dramatically reducing stress in your life. Are you game? Let's jump into that today on Dotto Tech. Dotto here, how the heck ya doin' this fine day? And as I promised, today, we are going to talk about email bankruptcy, about declaring email bankruptcy. Now over the years, on my channel here and in my webinar series, by the way, we host a weekly webinar series here at Dotto Tech called Webinar Wednesday, where we teach you some different aspect of content creation or productivity. If you find this video useful, you will definitely love our weekly webinar series. There will be links in the description below. Please come sign up. But, on Webinar Wednesday and in our channel here, we've taught you in the past often different techniques for overcoming email overload, for getting ahead of the monster that is your inbox, some more successful than others. But far and away the easiest technique that I have come across is the technique that they call email bankruptcy, where you basically give up, where you say to your email inbox, "I can't do anything with you." And while that sounds like you're just capitulating, in fact, it's not. Allow me to explain briefly, and then I'll walk you through the process. If you have 100, 200, maybe 300 email messages in your inbox, you at least have some semblance of control where you can browse through that list of email and feel that you're staying on top of things. But as soon as you get above maybe two or 300 emails in that inbox, to 500, 1,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100, we've had people tell us that they've had over 200,000 email messages in their inbox. Are you ever going to go through that backlog of email and find the important messages? No, of course you're not. But an insidious thing happens when you have a full inbox, is it creates a lot of pressure on you. Because our mind doesn't necessarily understand what's happening, so when we open our inbox, if we have all of these unopened messages that we can't see, all of these responsibilities that we can't see, our brain tries to remember them, and it creates stress and it creates pressure. There's a philosophy called Inbox Zero, which is a beautiful nirvana of email happiness. Now the basis of Inbox Zero is not that you have no email messages in your inbox. It's that you have white space at the bottom, so you have no hidden stress in your inbox. If you have white space at the bottom, you can look at your inbox at a glance and recognize exactly what messages you need to deal with and which ones you don't, and there's nothing lurking beneath the surface that is a horror for us. That is the nature of Inbox Zero, and it's a great place to be. It will reduce your stress. That's for sure, and that's really the goal of this video. So how do we get there? Email bankruptcy is us basically saying we know that we can't deal with all of these old messages. We're never gonna go through them all, we're never gonna find them all, so here's what we're gonna do, is we're going to get rid of them. We're gonna throw them into a folder. You don't actually have to delete them. You can just put them in a folder and archive them using a variety of different techniques, depending on which email client you use, so that it's out of sight and out of mind at that point there. If you ever have to search for and find the email, you can still find it, but for the most part, you're just taking those emails and you're moving them into an archive and you're starting with a clean slate that you can stay on top of. Now don't miss the end part of this video when I'm gonna talk to you about the techniques that you're going to need to do to stay ahead of it. Because if you don't make changes to your lifestyle, you can declare email bankruptcy, clear everything out, feel good for about a week until it starts to fill up again, and then, you start feeling bad again. It's the yo-yo thing that many diets put us through. Let's not do that with email. So let's deal with the initial problem, let's get rid of this big backlog, let's get in control, and then, let's start to practice some great habits that will mean that we're never in this situation again. Does that sound like a plan? It does, indeed. So here's how you go about declaring email bankruptcy, because it can be a little bit of a terrifying prospect that we're gonna delete all of our email. I recommend that you choose either a date or a number. Choose a date. Choose two months in the past and say, "I'm going to archive all of the messages "before that two-month period. "And then, from that two-month period to today, "I'm gonna go through and filter out the important messages "and then, get rid of everything else." That's a way that you can stay on top of the most important current things, but still get ahead of the game. Another way to do it is, depending on your email software, most of them will display 50 messages per screen, so just say, "I'm gonna do three screens worth. "I'm gonna do 150 messages. "I'm gonna do beyond that and I'm gonna archive "all of the old messages beyond that, "and then, I'm just gonna go through and deal "with the messages that are leftover." Now, those leftover messages, I want you to go through your inbox and pick a technique where you either reply to them immediately, you deal with them, you star them, you move them into a folder to be dealt with, but you take your important messages that are leftover and you make sure that you annotate them in some way that you can get back to them and you can deal with them. Now this might take a few hours or even a couple of days for some of us, but go through your important current messages and deal with them. Don't be irresponsible with this whole email bankruptcy thing. Do what you can to make sure that you're meeting your current obligations. Your old obligations will tend to come back, so don't worry too much about that. But instead, get, and you probably have, I'm just guessing, if you have say 200 messages, say you've gone four screens, I'm guessing there are gonna be 40 or 30 messages that you're gonna want to work your way through. Do that, make that a priority. Set aside four hours, do that work, get it done, and then, at the end of that process, when you look at your email inbox, you should see white space at the bottom. You should have only a few current messages that you're dealing with at the top and any new messages coming in. That's the essence of email bankruptcy. It's very clean, it's very simple, and it's actually quite painless. But, it's only going to work if you now start to follow some new practices for dealing with your email coming in so that you never fall behind again. Let me talk to you about changing your email habits so that you never fall into a place where you have to declare email bankruptcy again, where you're staying ahead of all of your email, you're far more productive, and you're far less stressed. And it's a simple but challenging technique. The essence of it is touch it once. Only open an email once, and then, you have to do one of five actions with it. And we will have all of those listed in the description below. As well, we have a little mini course called "3 Steps to Inbox Zero," which walks you through this entire process as well, which we will have links below as well. But here is the essence of it. When you open an email, as I say, you have five choices. The first thing that you can do is you can reply to it. A lot of experts say that if it takes you less than two minutes, you should reply. I don't know how to judge that. It takes me time to think about an email, and I don't know how long it actually takes me to write one. But if you have the answer top of mind that you can deal with, if you can, discharge your duties at that point there. Reply to the email and get it out of your inbox. Have it reply to the person and take care of business. That's the most preferable thing to do. The second thing you can do is you can delete it. If you don't need it, there's no point in keeping it around if you're not gonna need it, so do the dirty, delete it. Click on the button and delete it. If you need to store it for future reference, but it's not important, then archive it. That's your third option is to archive it. You put it in with your archives so that you can find it when you go to search later, but basically speaking, it's been put away, you're probably not gonna be pulling it out again. Those are the first three. They are very simple and very straightforward. Next two are a little bit more nebulous. They are delegate and defer, and each one of these requires a little bit of thought and some process behind it. Delegating a message means that you're taking a responsibility that's come into your inbox and you're delegating it to another member of your team or somebody else. That on the surface is a great idea. Wait a minute, I don't need to do this, you can do it. But if I am a good manager or responsible, I then take on the responsibility of making sure that you follow through when I delegate something to you. So putting a system in place so that I know that you have taken care, that the delegee has taken care of the delegation, that is an important step. So you have to develop within your business processes a check and balance to make sure that the work is actually being done. Now I used a tool called Mixmax, which enables me to tell when people have opened an email and when they've replied to it, et cetera. So I have a system in place for us that takes care of that, but you have to build a system that works for you to make sure that when you delegate something to somebody, that indeed it's followed through on. The last and fifth one is to defer something, and this is the one that is, can be a slippery slope. Typically speaking, you get an email in your inbox and somebody's asking for something that you often don't have the answer for, you're waiting for somebody else to give you that information, or you're waiting for that information to come from somewhere else. They're asking for pricing and you don't or delivery schedule and you haven't heard back on when something is gonna be delivered and available yet, so you have to kind of juggle that and wait. In that case, it's perfectly appropriate to defer your response until you have a proper answer. But what's bad is to leave that email message in your inbox where it kind of haunts you and you might end up accidentally opening it several times, and every time you open and close an email, you waste a certain amount of time. So what we want to do is defer it. We wanna take that email message and we wanna remove it from our inbox, but we want it to come back into our inbox at some point in the future. Now, different email clients will do this for us now. Gmail has the ability built in. We use a tool called Boomerang, which works in both Gmail and in Outlook, in order to take those messages and bring them back, and Mixmax, the tool that I'm currently using, also has the ability to take a message and return it to our inbox at a future time. So you set the time when you want it to come back, and it returns to your inbox as a fresh email that you can then deal with. If you can do these five things, one of these five things, to every email that comes in, you will profoundly change your productivity and reduce your stress and increase your efficiency. It's a habit that takes time, but I'm hoping that you can, over the next couple of weeks, develop an appetite for really being aggressive and when you open an email, promising yourself, "I'm not gonna close that email. "I'm gonna take one of five actions. "I'm gonna reply to it, I'm gonna delete it, "I'm gonna archive it, I'm gonna defer it, "or I'm gonna delegate it." If you can do one of those five things with every email, you will be so far ahead as far as your productivity and your efficiency that it, I'm probably not overstating things when I say, I believe it can be life-changing. All of this through the declaration of email bankruptcy, what a great idea. I hope you found this video to be useful. I'm really looking forward to your comments. Are you successful? Tell me in YouTube comments, how many emails are in your inbox when you started, and if you followed the process, how many emails are in your inbox once you're done? Looking forward to hearing back from you. If you haven't yet subscribed to this channel, please subscribe, make sure you ring that notification bell so you see all of the new videos when we upload. 'Til next time, I am Steve Dotto. Have fun storming a castle.
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