Almost all entrepreneurs struggle with email. Regardless of where you are in your journey — either thinking about to start or being in the midst of the chaos — mastering email is one of the most important skills to learn and practice.
Getting to INBOX ZERO in 1 Minute
- Go through the latest 100 emails
- Mark emails with stars and archive*
- Use 30 min daily to empty ‘star folder’
*Archiving an email will remove emails from your inbox. Assign stars and labels for next actions.
More than 100 emails? Archive all!!! … or
- Create a temporary folder (aka label)
- Move* all emails there
- Follow step #1
Keeping Inbox Zero
Don’t leave open emails in your inbox. Always delete, archive, answer, delegate.
- Work your way from top to bottom
- One at a time
- Process: either delete, archive (& label/star), answer (requiring <2 min) or delegate ￼￼￼￼￼
- Use powerful shortcuts*
**Use KeyRocket add-on to learn shortcuts`
Filtering*: Keep, but don’t read
Example: Monthly recurring invoices
- Create a label ‘invoices’
- Create filters to automatically archive and label emails. Mark them ‘read’.
My favorite Gmail Shortcuts
Staying at INBOX ZERO, Daily
You’ll learn about a powerful systems that utilizes the Getting Things Done philosophy and Gmail.
Watch my quick guide on setting up Gmail:
And, on top, it features free, invaluable add-ons as well as best practices from Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and other highly successful online entrepreneurs, so you can achieve inbox zero, too.
10 email ninja best practices
- Do NOT ever check emails. Always DO* EMAILS.
- Use Gmail offline.
- Do NOT email first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- Only work on emails twice daily. Choose auto-advance to cycle through emails, instead of going back to inbox
- Turn off ALL notifications on PC, tablet or phone.
- Write less. Use short but powerful replies. Limit yourself to 5 sentences.
- Don’t respond immediately. Ask: When can I get back to you? OR Do you still need this?
- Enable undo send.
- Merge several email accounts into one. Label incoming emails.
- Use filters: If you find yourself saying “Ugh, this again?”, consider filtering.
5 free email ninja add-ons
Clean up your inbox. Instantly see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe easily from whatever you don’t want. I like to you this service to bundle my subscriptions and get daily emails. To be honest, I never open them. So I question why I would keep subscribing to these emails in the first place. Never mind. My inbox is cleaned up – regardless of my opening these emails or not.
HubSpot Sales gives you the tools you need to adopt a modern sales process. Sell in a relevant, personal, efficient way. It integrates well with the free Hubspot CRM that I also use. It makes staying organized effortless.
With Hubspot Sales, you see valuable context for each contact while you write an email. You can also see who opens and clicks your emails. See a person’s title, company, social profiles, and recent tweets. See details about a person’s’ company and links to existing CRM records.
On top of contexts, you can save time by scheduling emails to send at exactly the right time, and log each message, email, phone call to your CRM with one click. You can actually make phone calls right from Gmail.
Last but not least, email templates speed up your outreach and tell you which approaches are most effective.
I used Streak before I switched to Hubspot Sales. It’s wonderful for your start because you can manage your contacts, customers, clients, coachees, etc. directly inside Gmail. No more back and forth between your inbox and other tools.
It essentially works like an Excel file directly in Gmail. Just group all emails from a customer or deal into a box. Keep track of status, notes and details of each customer. Share boxes within your team and keep everyone in the loop. See every email between a customer and your team, right in your inbox.
My favorite feature is Snippets. Hubspot Sales offers templates that is similar to Snippets. Snippets allows you to speed up sending repetitive emails with custom templates. Use easy shortcuts to make writing emails a breeze.
Another useful feature is send later. Just schedule those crucial emails for the times when they’ll have the most impact.
KeyRocket helped me to learn the most important keybord shortcuts in Gmail, and later also Gdocs, and Gheets. To use keyboard shortcuts, you must activate this feature under settings. Watch my tutorial above to see how. The actication can be found in the main, first setting part.
Simply put: The best way to learn keyboard shortcuts while you work in Gmail.
Mail timer for GMail
Timer keeps you focused while processing your inbox in Gmail. It’s a time-saving script Salim Virani wrote to help him process his inbox faster.
Here is how it works. After 2 minutes spent on an email in your inbox, a reminder pops up to display a message to move on. When you only have less than 30 seconds left, it shows a “30” icon in the browser bar to nudge you along.
Over to you
What’s your experience with email? Are you at inbox zero? How much time do you spend each day on email?
PS: Have you checked the StartupGeist Podcast? It’s revealing the journeys of 7 entrepreneurs and startup founder in Berlin.