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    Using Automation to Manage Your Inbox Like a Pro

    Using Automation to Manage Your Inbox Like a Pro

    Managing your business’s email inbox can definitely feel like a full-time job in itself. Figuring out the best organizational method, searching for lost messages, and trying to decipher if something’s important or not can be overwhelming, and many people spend too much time on it. This week, Coach Yu shared valuable methods to get through your emails faster, manage your calendar, and spend more time on your business.

    Email should drive your calendar, calendar should drive your email.

    Coach Yu

    Conscious of his response time, most engaged supporters, and other tasks, Coach Yu has implemented plugins and extensions to maximize these numbers. He uses Boomerang for Gmail to schedule emails, set reminders, and stay on top of conversations. He experimented with several organizational tools, but once he found what worked for him, it was an easy way to manage his relationship equity, personal brand, travel and events, and business relations. Now, let’s get into his process. 

    The Dos, Don’ts, and Deletes Method

    It’s pretty simple, actually– everything is categorized into ‘Do,’ ‘Don’t,’ and ‘Delete.’ As every email comes in, it’s sorted this way, allowing him to act immediately, whether it’s responding, scheduling a reminder in Boomerang, or getting rid of it. Just don’t put it off until the next day, he warns, “you’ll just be busier tomorrow.” Additionally, it might feel like “getting things done” to constantly refresh the inbox, but it’s actually more efficient to schedule 2 or 3 blocks to check and address emails to avoid constant interruptions. 

    Listen to the full session above for even more advice on how to use automation to get rid of mundane tasks so you can actually focus on what you do best!

  • Read the Transcript

    Coach Yu – EP33

    [00:00:00] 

    So today the topic is how I’ve personally processed a million emails. Can you imagine that a million emails?

    That’s a lot of sending. That’s a lot of carpal tunnel. Isn’t it? Isn’t that rat right? Brad Lincoln. And I want to share with you a few productivity tips that I’ve learned over the years that I think will help you get through email faster, be more productive, manage your calendar, make sure you’re not losing stuff.

    Figure out what’s important. I’m going to roll through a few of them right now. One of them is from my friend, David Allen, and he’s got a book called getting things done. Some people call it the GTD method and I’ve simplified it into what I call do delegate delete. So you do one of these three things. So an email comes in, you handle it one time.

    You don’t process it many different times cause that just, putting in folders, I don’t do that. I don’t tag stuff. I just handle it one [00:01:00] time. And that way you don’t because a lot of people will have this pretend productivity. They think they’re getting stuff like when you’re tired or have that fear, you work on simple menial tasks.

    You don’t really have the energy, but I figure if you’re going to do it, if you’re going to go ahead and do it right. If you’re going to read that thing, read it now, because otherwise you’re not really going to have time tomorrow. You’re gonna be being busier tomorrow. So everything I handle only once.

    I’d like to check my email two or three times a day, not every single minute. So that’s what I call popping off in the space where you are constantly being interrupted and disrupted where you have no control of your time, because you’re constantly feeling like you’re being productive. Clearing alerts on the phone.

    I don’t do that anymore. I make sure I get stuff done and solid blocks. And that goes into your time management. So your email should drive your calendar and your calendar should drive [00:02:00] your email the way I make sure I never lose anything is I use an app called boomerang by Gmail. And that way I can, let’s say you’re waiting on someone to follow up.

    They need to reply. There’s a deadline. Need to hear back on a project. I’ll just book and I’ll mark it to say, don’t apply. Have it come back to me X number of days. So that way I’d never lose anything. So say that my mind is like a steel jaw with a velvet on the outside. Cause I never lose anything because I didn’t reply because I clicked the box, come back to the reply and I’ll say, Hey, this thing is due.

    Where is it? So I use boomerang. I probably at any point in time had 1500 rooms. Some of these are ideas that are not quite ready or the contingent upon other things being done. But instead of losing it, instead of filing it, I’ll just use boomerang plugin, which is in home. And Warren, I think you’ve got some background noise.

    It should be on mute unless you’re speaking, [00:03:00] Mr. Warren, that’ll help me meet you. All right, here we go. Yeah. So I will use the G the Gmail plug-in on Chrome. And I’ll also use the Gmail app, which is on iOS, but it’s not quite as good cause there’s a little lag here that the Gmail website and the is, is more powerful on the web because it uses Ajax.

    And you’re able to process, you’re able to delete and comment while things are working in the background. Also, things are important. I’ll put them on the calendar. So if there’s a meeting, the best way to get something done is you could put it as a meeting, see your calendar. That way you can see your calendar for the next week.

    Hey, we’ve got Gavin Lira here. There we go. And that way, I know that if [00:04:00] I have tasks, I have everything inside one box, one inbox. And that way you don’t have five defendant boxes so that if people want to do something with me and we’re talking through Facebook messenger than all than myself anymore, have them send an email.

    Cause if you have five boxes, you actually, you have no control because you have all these different sorts of inboxes. Another concept I like to use, and this is something almost nobody understands unless you’ve worked in large teams, is the idea of whether you need to synchronous or asynchronous communication.

    So some people really like slack because you can reach people right away, but that creates an interruption. And so therefore, if you’re interrupting somebody it’s convenient for you, but they might be in the middle of something. And therefore I will intentionally shut off all kinds of distractions so I can focus on stuff and I’ve trained team members to email me so I can respond at my leisure as opposed to call me or text me, which would [00:05:00] then mean that it’s for their convenience.

    I lose control over my effectiveness. So you want to think about what kind of communication requires someone right there on the spot versus what kind of communication you can move towards something a bit later. So if you look at my inbox and I use a couple of different tools that will tell me what my efficiency is and what my average response time is and how many emails I send and what my top people are that I send messages to.

    And vice versa, I’ve been hovering at about 600 messages a day for the last 15 plus years, which I think if you do the math on that is going to be close to a million emails. You imagine that. So I processed, close to a million emails and email is the secret tool because of the way I’m using boomerangs and reminders.

    So I’m managing my relationship equity. I’m managing my personal brand every day. When these boomerangs come back to me, it could be a follow-up like one of my friends I met in Miami, he runs an agency. [00:06:00] He said that he wanted me to hold them accountable, making one minute videos. So the boomerang came back to me just like birthday reminders.

    And I pinged him and I said, Hey, here’s your reminder on how you’re doing on your videos? And so for him, it looks like that I was thoughtful, but really the system is reminding me of the different things that I need to do. And. I can set up a four hour boomerang a one day boomerang, a three-month boomerang at these different sorts of times.

    My favorite boomerang is a four day boomerang. Why? Because in our team, we have a rule that you have to reply back within one business day, which is 24 hours, except on the weekend, because you should, really should probably be faster than that. But if it takes more than a day, something’s wrong, then the client or the other team member will think that you don’t care if you’ve forgotten.

    So I like to set the boomerang at two times to three times the expected amount of way. I don’t want the boomerang to come back. So the boomerang is like an emergency break where it shouldn’t need to [00:07:00] happen. So if if a three-day boomerang comes back, that means that person didn’t respond to a question I asked, or maybe I didn’t, they didn’t think they needed to respond, or maybe I didn’t.

    The email was too long, or maybe I didn’t make it clear in the email. Hey Gavin, I need you to reply this one thing. What do you think? Do you want to do this one thing? So if you have a deadline, a project deadline, and a couple of weeks, then you know, you want to figure it out. All right. If I am expecting a response in a day and they take three or four days and they respond by then, and now we have 10 days left until the deadline that allows me three cycles or four cycles to get something done.

    So I’m always thinking about how many cycles, how many iterative cycles I get to get something done. So for example, I know that one and I are working on a bunch of stuff on free eBooks and a bunch of video content. We’re going to turn those things in the books. We have email threads and Warren’s very good about email, very reliable, always replies, which is great.

    Most people have lost track, and I know it’s going to take three or four cycles to get these items done. So we then publish [00:08:00] it on the site, create promo around it, run to these different offers. At the same time at we in parallel, we’re going to have Gavin layer’s book on how you’re just one connection way.

    And that should be done about the same time in about a week and a half from now. So I don’t have to worry about what my priority list is. I don’t have to worry about when projects are due, because I’ve set these boomerangs to come back with enough time, to be able to rescue the project that person doesn’t respond to be able to follow up with that person.

    If they didn’t get the thing done, or in the case of, we’ll have virtual assistance and maybe they flake out or other team members or contractors, we hire, they flake out. We know that we can still rescue this. So we call this graceful failure. That’s what I learned in the airline industry. So if a flight attendant is sick, if this weather pattern, you always have these backups.

    So that’s how with email, I never lose track. I never get overwhelmed with the number of emails when people are overwhelmed because of number of projects, they lost track it’s actually, because they’re not organized.[00:09:00] Imagine if you had say has thousands of books, but instead of bookshelves, he just has them all over the floor that would look like a mess.

    Like he was a hoarder or something, but if he had six or seven books and they’re all nice organized in the bookshelf, then that’s fine. I’m not saying she use tags and folders. I’m saying if you manage your projects and you keep the things that are most important to you on a shorter timeframe, shorter boomerang cycles, you can still keep track of your ideas while still getting done the things that are most important to you.

    And because of that, I’ve managed my personal brand. This is how I manage the relationships. That’s how I manage travel. This is how I manage events is through using this boomerang tool in conjunction with project management on base camp. You could use, Monday or slack or whatever. You can save, click up whatever your favorite tool is, but you need a project management tool and a calendar to tie to however, three mil.

    And when [00:10:00] you do that, you’re going to find that you get a multiplier on your productivity, because then you can have a personal assistant come in and help you with email. You can clearly delegate things out without being, without worrying about whether that person is going to come through or not. You can, let’s say you have your, you’ve got an agency and you’ve got two account managers.

    You can scale three or four or five account managers because you have a clear process on how you’re delegating things out because you’re managing your communication openly using the RACI model, responsible, accountable, consulted informed, which is how you work in a team, tied into your project management system.

    You’ve created a clear path and a paper trail for other people to follow your example, or you lose your key employee and you don’t know what to do cause you document anything. And they have all the knowledge and that kind of thing. So I found that this, even though this is something that’s not sexy and no one talks about it, I consider this to be one of my secret weapons.

    I’m really good at managing communication. It doesn’t matter what it is. I get it into one inbox. So if you follow David Allen, [00:11:00] GTD getting things done or Gina who runs life hacker, where they’ve gamified your life, where you get points for doing your laundry or brushing your teeth or drinking water. For whatever it is, which is just another way of managing things.

    I decided that some of those tracking methodologies, even though they’re gamified and they’re fun, and there’s apps that let you do that there’s a greater tax and managing your time on that. So certain point where it’s a 50% tax on getting the work done. And so it’s, yes, there’s a value there, but th there’s a trade off because there’s a tax.

    So I consider a 10%, 20% tax appropriate. Warren, you should be on speaker unless you’re speaking.

    So I consider a 10 or 20 tax. Okay. And thus, is that a good price? Would you consider that a good price to pay for being on top of every project? To know that if someone doesn’t show up or if you’re not available for a day or two, that the ship will continue to run, you have everything documented.

    You have someone who may be a virtual assistant who has [00:12:00] backup access to your email so they can process some of these things. You have a clear system and how you organize projects. Other people would see the thread. Let’s say that someone didn’t do something and you need to switch to another worker or another VA.

    You have a clear path and you can forward that to someone else. Like I’ll do a fancy hands. Fancy hands is my fingerprint assist system. I’ll delegate tasks, product warranty, call it up people to sing, happy birthday to research. I’ll use boomerang, I’ll set the task. I’ll boomerang. And after four days, and they always reply.

    Cause they’re gamified. She’s like Fiverr or Upwork. They’re going to reply because the system will thing you, if you don’t, but please, and you have other people that work for you, they might not be so reliable. And maybe you’ve got some weird way of managing, but I find it. So right there, some people would click up or whatever their favorite tool is, but I’ve run my life on email.

    And technically you could say text messaging is the same thing. It’s just shorter. [00:13:00] It’s literally text SMS. You could say any project management system, you could say AOL instant messenger or slack are really just different variations of email and you’d be right. But the point is that you need to have one centralized place to manage all your tasks.

    So you know what your priorities are. I never have finished my priorities because I can open my inbox. And I know at the time, what exactly is there because it’s there. And then I can see how many times I’ve boomeranged at forward, especially for software that we’re building when I’m continually push it forward.

    So I know we never stop iterating. We’re always improving. I never lose track because I’ve set it to come back every week. So if someone doesn’t reply. It’ll come back to me within a week. So that way I know okay, where are we stuck out? One of the developers was confused. We didn’t hear back from a customer.

    This, we didn’t get access to this one server, or we didn’t launch this marketing campaign or, whatever it is that way I know we’re never going to lose momentum. So we get this compound interest effect on our projects. So if you build software, you’re going to want to have that repeatable excellence, where you’re continuing to build power on something that’s already working [00:14:00] for you.

    So that’s my monologue. That’s those are my opening thoughts on what it means to process a million emails. I’ve recorded this as a video, so you guys can check it out. You can also ping me. We have a whole course on it. It’s in the coach U club. We have a membership for this as well. So right now I want to hold you guys for questions that you might have.

    And before we do that, I want to introduce my friend, Gavin. Maybe he can share his thoughts here. I’ll mute mine. You come in and then we’ll have the speakers. Oh, is it? Here you go. You go in and I’m going to mute. I got to get we’re in the same car right now. See if I might think, all right, there you are.

    Yeah.

    Hello. Hello. How’s everyone doing? Yeah, basically really appreciate you, Dennis. Give me a little time here to just introduce myself, but really to give you [00:15:00] guys a rundown, I run a PR firm. We really help, entrepreneurs blow up their brands, get on podcasts, large publications, things of the sort and yeah.

    Just excited to be here and yeah, just glad to be, sharing anything that anyone, anything that I can help anyone with, happy to do. So when anyone has any questions, I’ll chime in. If there’s someone that’s helped me, whether it’s managing our projects or just, along the way of my journey in business, that’s been beneficial.

    So having your time and whatever your life, how do I manage? It’s a pretty good question. This is a little less that Nicole, but what I like to do, if I ever feel really overwhelmed is I really take us schedule out the time to sit down and write out literally everything that I get to do. And at that point, what I’ll do is I will prioritize from basically using one through four.

    What is important in our. What is[00:16:00] just urgent, but not that important. What’s important to not urgent and what’s not urgent and not important. And I’ll order them one through four and then I’ll focus on the ones and the twos. And sometimes the threes that are urgent, but not very important to actually moving the needle on anything.

    And as I go throughout that, I’m always thinking, what can I delete delegate? Automate things of the sort to, just get that off my plate as well. Fantastic. And tell us about what you do and your firm you stand for sure. I mean are wide, right? And this is my personal way that ties into the business and it’s a stepping stone where we can really help people, and help ourselves, but on my, why is to change the world’s belief in a positive manner.

    And it’s something where I believe that the core of how you view yourself when it comes to self love or whatever it may be is the core of your beliefs. And if you want to live better, you need to start by believing better. And it sounds cheesy, but the reality is when you actually believe, some of them could be [00:17:00] different, especially on a subconscious level, you talk to yourself differently, you process life differently.

    So what really we really help people do is amplify what they’re currently doing. And a lot of times, if they come to us for a press related project, we’ll look at, okay, we primarily work with B to B businesses and we’ll look at, okay, where are you currently in your sales process? What are your closers closing out?

    And we put together a strategy to help them be closing more by not learning any new sales skills or having to remember a script, but simply by increasing the brand by, getting the founder on podcast published in different large publications, and then allowing these people to pretty much leverage these publications, to see greater, response rate in their cold outbound messaging to see greater response rates.

    And ideally, close ratio is what we’re doing all this for. When it actually comes to presenting on a deck, bringing up the press there when they follow up with somebody, including links to certain articles, where they reference thing on things on the call that are also mentioned these articles.

    So just [00:18:00] different things that the sort like that really helped me to be companies close at a higher rate. Fantastic. Now you got the angle, Hey, to get PR. It’s allergic to PR th the angle, like you said, how do you figure it out? It depends on the client, right?

    Sometimes it’s really obvious. Like I know our team right now is working on with this one company that called making sense. And we just started working with them and they were literally pioneers in UX. So like, when it comes to that, they’ve been doing this for over 20 years, things of this origin now they’re really into basically marrying UX and actual coding and basically software engineering and things of that sort for these different companies.

    So for them, we can take what they’re doing now and find that, okay, they have a lot of credibility from being pioneers in this space and how can we shine light on that? And then their culture is also very unique because they treat, all these people as actual people, instead of a lot of times, when it comes to the technicalities with different engineers and things of those [00:19:00] sorts, very interchangeable, how a lot of companies view it.

    So really it’s just yeah. When it comes to find those unique angles, it’s about asking the right questions when they’re on an onboarding call with our team, and then we’re relying on our team’s talent, identify, where we’re going to be able to actually best position to help them. So you’ve been moving out of this operational and the weeds, doing, like being a worker in your company to being able to replace yourself.

    What’s what are some things that you’re doing? And what tips do you have for other people that are trying to get themselves out of the weeds? The, one of the biggest things I think that isn’t talked about when you think about your time, so many people. They they think about it on a day to day basis, right?

    It’s okay how am I spending my time? Whatever. But if you think about it from a week to week basis and zoom out just a little, you realize that when you’re trying to remove yourself, there’s certain things that you have to do every single day that don’t move the needle. I don’t focus on permanence in the business or really, so it’s if you’re doing those things consistently, you can’t really afford to take a Saturday and a Sunday [00:20:00] off that consistently, because those are your days when, okay, you’ve done the things that need to get done that week, just to keep the business afloat.

    Now you have to be working on the things to actually get you out of the driver’s seat on some of those things that are more again, keeping it afloat, not making the boat go faster, or like you like to say, turning that boat into an airplane so you can really soar. I think it’s really identifying how much time do you actually have to work on operations building SLPs, finding and hiring talent or finding somebody who can find talent.

    And once, th those are the things that you really have to identify, what is moving the needle here, because you can be busy, all you want and working smarter. We’ll beat working harder a thousand percent of the time and less clearly, you’re just being a lazy slob and you’re not putting in the work required to even work smart, but I’ve just found that it’s all about working smart.

    Not just glorifying, working 11 hours when you could have somebody else taking half that off your plate. Amen. Everybody give Gavin Lira a little bit of a [00:21:00] fellow. He’s probably going to be joining our room, sharing a lot of expertise. Now let’s shift over to Warren. Now we talked about sending or processing a million emails.

    moderator real quick. We were rebuttal. All right. Now it’s your turn, Mr. Warren is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for many years. What is it like 15, 16 years. I want to go that far back. How old are, how? He and I were both old. Can you make, I make your moderator, Warren, can you make me and Gavin a moderator click on each of our faces and I click on the thing to make moderator?

    Yes. Maybe later, I don’t want to wave at you towards trying to tell me here. I’ve not done moderator before invite to speak. No, I don’t see a moderator with button. Now the only one who can do it as you warn, cause you’ve got the green star by your name. So if you click on. And then, and the bottom is profile.

    You’ll see, make moderator, [00:22:00] if you guys had never run a room before, there’s a whole art to being a moderator behind the scenes I’ve made Gavin a moderator. So there we go. Now we’ve got a kid in charge and I can’t see move. I see him bike to speak. I guess I got to do that for you. I don’t know why you’re not a speaker.

    There you are. If you make your mother believe you gave up moderating your own thing. So turn the sound down of the I’m not fan of the boomerang. I used it for a while. Moved on Gmail has built in to put things on a delay. And so I, once in a while I use that, but that’s mostly when I know somebody’s supposed to follow up in a certain number a day.

    I’m doing everything I can to moderate and keep it out of there. I process about a thousand emails a day. Most of them get sorted [00:23:00] by by filters. So there are things I don’t have to take care of and I can batch deal with them. But yeah, handling things once there’s where we totally agree getting things done.

    Great philosophy. I think if you go out and look for the getting things done or GTD websites and stuff like that, boy, there’s a rabbit hole. You could spend the rest of your life in. And and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I’ve got better things to do than study the GTD method. But Dave philosophy is just right on handling things once and zero inbox takes that one more.

    There’s one where I say it’s worth finding, there are zero inbox, softwares and things you can do with a moderate, your mail. Fantastic. And I operate in theory inbox from me end of the day. I want no emails in my inbox. And I do that. I have to admit there’s probably a few emails in my inbox at any time where I, waiting to get back to the office.

    Cause then I can send something to somebody, something like that. And I should use a boomerang or [00:24:00] replied later thing in Gmail. But other than that, I’m, Prail, I’m human. I make mistakes. My goal is to every single day have a zero inbox. And boy does that let out so much, so many people, I see that.

    10,000 emails, everyone they ever got. First of all, a big thing to learn Gmail and anything else now, but start with Gmail. You don’t discard or delete emails. They all go, yes, there’s a setting. And once you do have that, everything goes into archive, never delete an email just to archive it. Unless you’ve got some kind of, hiding something or somebody send you some huge files and you don’t want the the attachments to stick around forever, but modern email, this space is so cheap, archive everything, and you use the third change, defining something new.

    If you need, if you haven’t responded or done something to an email today or especially this week, there’s no reason for it to be in your inbox. And that tip will be to everything boomerang does. And then, on top of [00:25:00] that the working like a dentist does everything gets put someplace.

    And if you want to use boomerang fly save for later, there’s a lot of other technologies that do this, or go ahead and delegate it to somebody. And boy, my rule of thumb, by the way, I don’t have a lot of people working for me. So Dennis and I argue about this is if we got somebody that isn’t responding to me in four days, it’s the discussion is not on whether or not they’re going to get that thing done.

    It’s like, where do I hire somebody to do this fire person’s job? That might be why I don’t keep a lot of people around. So it’s a little bit on email I wanted to throw in. And other than that, don’t think you can’t process a whole lot of things. You really can. I can sit with 200 emails and say, how will I ever do this?

    And 15 minutes later, I’m doing the last one and going is that all, did I miss something? Because it’s a matter of getting used to what you’re going to do with them. Once you figure out how to automate it. And that’s 200, even when I have to [00:26:00] go through each one and half of them are going to be completely a waste of time and another half of them are going to be repetitive and you can write templates and take care of them.

    And then and then most of what’s left, you can delegate or write a quick answer to so you can get that good. The thing that made me get really good at it was right. 300,000. Can we I have lots of conversations, short conversation with people everywhere, except for when I opened my mouth, then I go on and on.

    Do you want some more story or can we move on to something out? Oh, I think we’re, this is an abbreviated room so people can get back to managing their email. I love to see what tips you guys have. This is all being recorded. So we’re transcribing this into articles, which is great. Maybe we’ll put it on my blog as it’s going to be a startup club.

    We have a new blog on free ebooks.net, which is a domain rank 74, a high power site with almost a million visitors a month. And Warren is the editor and manages. So I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys were [00:27:00] thinking about, managing your communication, managing your email and leveling up as business owners.

    I’m coach you with the orange head and the top and no hair. We’ve worn Whitlock next to me, my good friend. So I hope you guys will join us in clubhouse every week. We have a new topic next Thursday. We’re going to talk about how to process videos at scale. So I hope you tune in and you’ll see that there’s a lot of cool new AI tools out there de script and design R and jasper.ai.

    That will help you create video. If you create the video, you can edit the video, distribute the video, repurpose the video. So join us next week. Love you guys. See you next time. A clubhouse.

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