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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Ways to Make Your Inbox Less of a Nightmare

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Ways to Make Your Inbox Less of a Nightmare

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s your favorite email hack?

1. Set up an Alias

Robert Castaneda

    Google Apps and Gmail have a feature where you can add a “+” to your name. For example: robert+receipts@servicerocket.com. You can use these to set up an alias for websites that send you receipts to help you easily filter where information goes when it comes into your inbox.

    Robert Castaneda, ServiceRocket

    2. Install Rapportive

    Ben Lang

      If you use Gmail, Rapportive is by far the most useful email plug-in you can install. It lets you see the social profiles of the people you’re emailing and easily connect with them on the side.

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      Ben Lang, Mapped In Israel

      3. Unsubscribe From Things

      Scott Ferreira

        I have had many friends and colleagues complain about their onslaught of emails and ask me what I do about it. For one, I cut the BS and unsubscribe from all the stuff that has built up over the years. Secondly, even if I still really want to be subscribed, I have it auto-filtered in Google so that I know I can go check it out at a later time since it typically isn’t that important.

        Scott Ferreira, MySocialCloud

        4. Filter Obsessively

        Kelly Azevedo

          I use Gmail, and its advanced filtering options have saved me hours a day and reduced my stress! Even if it’s an email that I need to read, already having a label applied saves me time and means I can organize thousands of messages effortlessly. Sure, you can manually move emails to a folder, but automating this process means I can have 200+ emails a day and only 20 or so in my inbox most days.

          Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

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          5. Create an “Answer Later” Folder

          Michael Margolis

            I constantly parse my inbox and move non-priority items into a second folder. Only clients, business development or important staff emails get my attention. This allows my inbox to stay manageable at around 15 to 40 emails at any given time. Once a day, and especially on the weekends, I batch process the unanswered correspondence in the “Answer Later” folder.

            Michael Margolis, Get Storied

            6. Use Outlook’s Offline Functionality

            Aaron Schwartz

              I’ve fallen into the trap of managing my time by what’s in my inbox. I love Gmail but find the chat and stream of incoming email to be distracting. Their offline product isn’t quality, meaning that when I’m working, I always see a stream of new work! Outlook offline is awesome, allowing you to work on projects without any external distractions.

              Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

              7. Use Boomerang for Gmail

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              doreen-bloch

                Boomerang for Gmail is a fantastic tool for managing the email inbox. Not only does it enable you to send away emails until a designated time, it enables you to program emails for strategically timed sends, too.

                Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                 

                8. Don’t Check Your Email

                Wade Foster

                  The only time I’ve ever gotten sucked into email is when I started checking it compulsively. Now I try to only check email once midday and once at night. I spend an hour each time and answer as many emails as I can. The most important ones get answered first, and I go as far down the list as I can. Sometimes, I’ll make it to “inbox zero” and sometimes not. Either way, I’m less stressed about email.

                  Wade Foster, Zapier

                  9. Use Apps to Keep Your Inbox at Zero

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                  There are three apps that all keep me at “inbox zero” at least once a day: The first and second are Boomerang for Gmail and the Mailbox iOS app. I use them to track follow-up emails and snooze emails until later. The third app is SaneBox, which automatically moves less important emails out of your inbox and into another folder. Then, once a day, it sends a summary email of what you missed.

                  Henry Balanon, Detroit Labs

                  10. Identify Email Patterns With Toofr!

                  Ryan Buckley

                    We use Toofr! all the time to identify email patterns at small and large companies. We found early on that sending the right email to the right person yields high open rates and positive responses. This trick helped us generate over half a million dollars of revenue in 2012.

                    Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.

                    11. Answer the Same Questions With Canned Responses

                    sean ogle

                      I answer the same 10 or so questions all the time. With Gmail Labs’ Canned Responses, all I have to do is hit a button, and my desired response pops up. Add a quick personal open and close to this, and you have the most effective tool for mass email response I know of.

                      Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

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                      1 What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For? 2 Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes 3 10 Things High Achievers Do to Attain Greatness 4 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 5 How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life

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                      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                      Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                      Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                      Do you like making mistakes?

                      I certainly don’t.

                      Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

                      Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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                      Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

                      Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

                      • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
                      • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
                      • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
                      • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

                      We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

                      If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

                      Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

                      Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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                      When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

                      Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

                      We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

                      It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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                      Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

                      Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

                      Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

                      1. Point us to something we did not know.
                      2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
                      3. Deepen our knowledge.
                      4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
                      5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
                      6. Inform us more about our values.
                      7. Teach us more about others.
                      8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
                      9. Show us when someone else has changed.
                      10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
                      11. Remind us of our humanity.
                      12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
                      13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
                      14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
                      15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
                      16. Invite us to better choices.
                      17. Can teach us how to experiment.
                      18. Can reveal a new insight.
                      19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
                      20. Can serve as a warning.
                      21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
                      22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
                      23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
                      24. Remind us how we are like others.
                      25. Make us more humble.
                      26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
                      27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
                      28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
                      29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
                      30. Expose our true feelings.
                      31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
                      32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
                      33. Point us in a more creative direction.
                      34. Show us when we are not listening.
                      35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
                      36. Can create distance with someone else.
                      37. Slow us down when we need to.
                      38. Can hasten change.
                      39. Reveal our blind spots.
                      40. Are the invisible made visible.

                      Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

                      The secret to handling mistakes is to:

                      • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
                      • Have an experimental mindset.
                      • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

                      When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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                      When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

                      It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

                      When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

                      Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

                      Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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                      Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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