You’re Doing Email Wrong — and it is Killing You

Is your email client open right now? Is Outlook open in another window? Gmail in a tab? Do you have two monitors and one is dedicated to email?
What about email notifications? Are they popping up on your screen? Did your phone just buzz?

In the Eisenhower Urgent/Important matrix email is a classic rarely urgent and rarely important item that most people are improperly classifying as urgent and important.

Take a look at your sent folder for the last 24 hours. Do some simple math:

  1. How many emails did you write in the last 24 hours?
  2. How many of them needed an answer right away?

I bet the answer is close to 0 — unless you are a customer service agent, most of us do not need to be answering email in real-time.
What is the harm? Not only is real-time email killing your productivity, it is killing you!

What is the answer? Batch processing your email and then closing your email client between processing times.

How do you batch process email? It is really quite simple: Pick 2 or three 3 specific times each day that you will view and answer email. Then, schedule those times into your calendar.

Keep your email closed except during those times. At those scheduled times, open your email and process your new messages. For each new message:

  1. If you can answer in 2 minutes or less, answer it.
  2. If you can delegate it, forward it and delete.

Otherwise, turn the email into a task on your separate To Do list (don’t use your email as your to-do list).

Then, close your email and keep it closed until the next scheduled time.

Now, focus on your real to do items, not your to-do list.

Incorporating Tim Ferriss’ 2x a Day Email System Using DNDEmail

We as a whole depend on email, we also know it can get overwhelming. To get back in power, Tim Ferriss has put in place the notion of twice a day email checking. In fact, he shows how setting up automated messages that clearly notify senders you just check your messages at specific times of day. He even offers his own particular examples for you to experiment with yourself.

Email burden system

Adhering to a deliberate lead of just checking email at specific times every day can be troublesome, however, it’s certainly feasible. We’ve taken a gander at different strategies for adapting to email overburden, including setting up automated messages for twice a day email delivery. Tim only check email 2 times a day” system, you can tailor to suit your needs.

Two variations for the system

There are two variations of the short form which is perfect—one for anybody with a that will help solve their email issues. The more extended adaptation passes on more data that means to answer normal inquiries. What they both have in a like manner is that they influence it to clear that you are inaccessible and senders ought not hope to get a prompt reaction. The longer variant offers more data and adaptability, yet at the same time expect you have a delegate or the like—even a collaborator—who can alert you if something super-earnest arises.

Automated messages for unavailable email delivery

Word the automated message accurately, and respectfully, and you can guarantee you don’t open your inbox just to be welcomed by endless “did you read my email?” messages, and you can manage your correspondence time permitting. Navigate to see the layouts which you can change as important to reflect when you will check your messages.

Incorporating the system with DNDEmail

You can utilize to execute Tim’s wonderful system. You turn it on, at that point plan DNDEmail to simply convey your email those 2 times each day. Using the DNDEmail you can incorporate with Tim Ferriss’ system for an adaptive yet effective way for checking email twice throughout the day. Using the DNDEmail you can hold your incoming email so it doesn’t hit your inbox. Use it to formally send your email at predefined times in which you schedule. You can set a versatile timetable for when you are accepting emails.

Clearly, it will let sender and alike know that you are not available to take emails at specific times of the day. In addition, weekly schedule your emails so not to continuously do it daily. Send your email consistently twice during the day—also hold messages until you are ready to check them again, which could be at night. Set up an automated messages for both times of the day to let senders know, politely that you aren’t available.

Tying into Do Not Disturb, this is highly effective for those who don’t like to constantly check emails. Emails can be burdensome and take time to go through, especially when they are received at a mass volume. By scheduling to check twice a day can save you time and alleviate stress.


Using Do Not Disturb for Gmail to get to Inbox Zero

Do we fully realize how a lot of email impacts our daily productivity? Ultimately when we need a clear inbox; what we really need is the ability to prevent unnecessary inbound emails to our inbox. This, in fact, will enhance the possibility of getting work done or just to loosen up. Utilizing Do Not Disturb (or DND) is a great approach to keep centered and keep your productivity high.
Try Do Not Disturb for Gmail. Get a diversion free inbox.

Hold your approaching email so it doesn’t hit your Gmail inbox. At that point send your email at predefined times. Set an adaptable timetable. For instance, hold your work messages that touch base on Saturday and Sunday until Monday morning. Send your email continuously in the mornings, however, hold it throughout the evening. With DNDEmail, you can definitely set a schedule for weekdays, weekends or any specific days of the week with start and end times for which you won’t be disturbed.

Full-featured do not disturb client for your Gmail

Going about your day unbothered by nuisance emails is better for peace of mind. DNDemail enables users to whitelist critical senders and names so those messages are never held. Let the important emails come through while blocking those you don’t want. Set a Do Not Disturb barrier for quiet hours, just not to receive email. And, of course, DNDemail lets you exclude people from Do Not Disturb’s quiet hours.

Set diverse calendars for various records. For instance, stop your work email after business hours, while keeping your own email streaming. When Do Not Disturb’s scheduled window ends — or when you turn email back on, DNDemail will deliver held messages to your inbox. It will send you a detailed message digest showing bulk mail that’s been routed to all other folders. DNDemail never reads or store your email outside of your Gmail box. Your email remains secure and inside Gmail reliably.

How to get DNDEmail for Gmail

DNDEmail enables Do Not Disturb features for your Gmail inbox. Turn it on to hold new messages out of your inbox. Keep a clean inbox to concentrate on the essential needs, not the most recent arrival emails. Additionally, it’s completely portable device enabled… get to every one of the features in Gmail. It’s compatible for use on your desktop or on your cell phone through the site, chrome expansion, and other applications. provides two effective price plans, well one because of the others free. Get any of the following plans, to begin with. You can sign up for PERSONAL for free which allows you to get Do Not Disturb, Basic, Whitelists, Basic Filters, and 1 Schedule. Or, you can sign and get the PROFESSIONAL $39/year which gives you Do Not Disturb, Advanced Whitelists, Unlimited Filters, and Unlimited Schedules. You can simply change your plan from your Gmail account.

For a better way of keeping a clean inbox or zero messages in the inbox, try Do Not Disturb for Gmail. Achieve Inbox Zero and stay diversion free for your productivity.

Improve Your Email Productivity with Batch Processing

The number one way to improve your email productivity is to move to batch processing of your email.

What is batch processing? Basically, instead of keeping your email open all day and constantly checking it and processing email, move to a system where you check email one or two times a day.

For example, open and check your email 2x a day: at 8AM and 4PM.

How to batch process your email.

  1. Look at the most important communications you get via email. Do they need to be responded to immediately? For the most part, no. But, for those that do, make a list of those contacts. You need to let those people know you are only processing your email on a set schedule. If they need to reach you, give them an alternate real-time communication method where you only communicate with important (to you) people (ie: SMS, Slack, Teams).
  2. Figure out how to send an email without opening your email client. For example, with Gmail you can install this extension — it allows you to open a compose window without viewing your inbox.
  3. Set your email schedule — put it on your calendar as a daily appointment. Only check emails during those periods.
  4. Turn off all email notifications — from your desktop and mobile.
  5. When you do process your inbox, you need to handle every email. I use a GTD methodology:
    1. Can you answer the email in 2 minutes or less? If so, answer it and archive it.
    2. Can you delegate the email? If so, forward it and archive it.
    3. Otherwise, add the email to your EXTERNAL to do list. Don’t use Gmail or Email to manage your to do list. Todoist is an example of a to do list manager that allows you to forward emails to it.
  6. Consider using DNDEmail (which I created). It actually pauses your email according to your schedule. New emails are held OUTSIDE of your Inbox — that keeps your inbox clean and you focused on your real to do list. Emails are only delivered to your inbox on your schedule.

Using TODOIST with Mailplane 3

A brief post to help those who are attempting to use TODOIST with Mailplane 3.

I use Mailplane 3 on my Mac for two reasons:

  1. Running Gmail in Chrome hogs battery
  2. Running Gmail in Chrome results in high memory usage

I also like having my email and calendar running in its own window that I can CMD-TAB to/from.

I give up a lot of Gmail extensions when I run Mailplane. The one I couldn’t live without was TODOIST — I typically like to add entire emails to my TODOIST task list.

Here is how to setup a keyboard shortcut in Mailplane that will allow you to add emails as tasks to TODOIST — including a link in TODOIST back to the original email that will open in Mailplane.

  1. You need to install Mailplane and Todoist for Mac.
  3. You should see an ADD TO TODOIST — check the box and assign a shortcut. I have assigned CONTROL-Q (to match the Q shortcut in the TODOIST app itself).
  4. That is it. Now, when you are in Mailplane, hitting your shortcut (CONTROL-Q), will bring up the TODOIST “ADD” box with the title already filled in as the email subject. When you save the item, a MAILPLANE link with be in the text of the item. Clicking that link will open Mailplane and bring up that email.

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Using Dots (.) in Gmail Addresses

Gmail is ‘dot-blind’ and will ignore any dot in your email address before @ sign.

Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours.

For example: assuming your email address is, all email directed to,, and any other dot-variant addresses will be delivered to your Gmail inbox.

Advanced Search For Gmail

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.25.38 AMGmail offers a powerful search text field. You can use it with just normal keywords, or you can master the Gmail search syntax to really find what you are looking for in the least amount of time.

Some of these advanced search functions are available from the advanced search drop down box, but most are not.

Here are the top advanced search operators for Gmail

to: – Search for messages sent to a specific address.
from: – Search for messages sent from a specific address
subject: – Search the subject field.
label: – Search within a specific label.
has:attachment – Search only for messages that have attachments
is:chat – Search only chats.
in:anywhere – Also search for messages in the spam and trash. By default, Gmail’s search ignores messages in the spam and trash.

( ) – Brackets allow you to group search terms. For example, searching for subject:(how awesome) would only return messages with the words “how” and “awesome” in their subject field. If you search for subject:how awesome, you’d get messages with “how” in their subject and “awesome” anywhere in the message.

OR – OR, which must be in capital letters, allows you to search for one term or another. For example, subject:(how OR awesome) would return messages with the word “how” or the word “awesome” in their titles. You can also combine other terms with the OR. For example, OR has:attachment would search for messages that are either from or have attachments.

“ “ – Quotes allow you to search for an exact phrase, just like in Google. Searching for “exact phrase” only returns messages that contain the exact phrase. You can combine this with other operators. For example, subject:”exact phrase” only returns messages that have “exact phrase” in their subject field.

– – The hyphen, or minus sign, allows to search for messages that don’t contain a specific term. For example, search for and you’ll only see messages that aren’t from

list: – The list: operator allows you to search for messages on a mailing list. For example, would return all messages on the mailing list.

filename: – The filename: operator lets you search for a specific file attachment. For example, file:example.pdf would return emails with a file named example.pdf attached.
is:important, label:important – If you use Gmail’s priority inbox, you can use the is:important or label:important operators to search only important or unimportant emails.

has:yellow-star, has:red-star, has:green-check, etc. – If you use different types of stars (see the Stars section on Gmail’s general settings pane), you can search for messages with a specific type of star.

cc:, bcc: – The cc: and bcc: features let you search for messages where a specific address was carbon copied or blind carbon copied. For example, returns messages where was carbon copied. You can’t use the bcc: operator to search for messages where you were blind carbon copied, only messages where you bcc’d other people.

deliveredto: – The deliveredto: operator looks for messages delivered to a specific address. For example, if you have multiple accounts in the same Gmail inbox, you can use this operator to find the messages sent to a specific address. to find messages delivered to

Quick Tip: Shift-Tab

You TAB, but do you SHIFT-TAB?

If you consider yourself a keyboard master, able to navigate the worst UI’s with just your keyboards, you probably have worn down your TAB key by now.

While TAB takes you one tab stop forward, SHIFT-TAB takes you one tab stop back.

Made an error in the prior form field? No need to take your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse. Just hit SHIFT-TAB to back the cursor up to the prior field.

Need to move around the Gmail compose window? SHIFT-TAB

Master the SHIFT-TAB and save precious time each day in everything you do.

Scripting a Gmail Snooze Features

Snoozing means archiving an email temporarily, and having it automatically reappear in the Gmail Inbox at some specified time in the future. With Apps Script you can extend Gmail to add this functionality.

By the way – if you don’t want to code your own solution, will do this automatically for you, for free.

Even if you don’t know how to write a script, it’s pretty simple. Be sure to login to Google Docs with your Gmail email address. Go to Google Docs and create a new spreadsheet, then choose “Script Editor” from the “Tools” menu. Paste in the following code:

var MARK_UNREAD = false;

function getLabelName(i) {
  return "Snooze/Snooze " + i + " days";

function setup() {
  // Create the labels we’ll need for snoozing
  for (var i = 1; i <= 7; ++i) {

function moveSnoozes() {
  var oldLabel, newLabel, page;
  for (var i = 1; i <= 7; ++i) {
    newLabel = oldLabel;
    oldLabel = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName(getLabelName(i));
    page = null;
    // Get threads in "pages" of 100 at a time
    while(!page || page.length == 100) {
      page = oldLabel.getThreads(0, 100);
      if (page.length > 0) {
        if (newLabel) {
          // Move the threads into "today’s" label
        } else {
          // Unless it’s time to unsnooze it
          if (MARK_UNREAD) {
          if (ADD_UNSNOOZED_LABEL) {
        // Move the threads out of "yesterday’s" label

Then click the “Save” button and give it a name.

In the dropdown labeled “Select a function to run,” choose “setup” and click the blue run arrow to the left of it. This will ask you to authorize the script, and will create the necessary labels in your Gmail. Then go to the “Triggers” menu and choose “current script’s triggers.” Click the link to set up a new trigger, choosing the “moveSnoozes” function, a “time-driven” event, “day timer,” and then “midnight to 1am.” Click save and you’re done.

To “snooze” a thread, use Gmail’s “Move To” button to move the thread into the “Snooze for X days” label and archive it. Every night, threads will move up through one day of the queue, and at the appointed number of days they will reappear in your inbox, unarchived.

Become a Gmail Jedi by Mastering Keyboard Shortcuts


You think you are productive. You think you zoom around Gmail, answering emails, archiving, keeping Inbox zero. You are an amateur – unless you have mastered the keyboard shortcuts.

View a full list of shortcuts.

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While viewing a list of threads (i.e. Inbox, All Mail, Drafts, search results, etc.):

  • c to compose a new mail
  • j and k to move the cursor down and up
  • x to select/deselect the current thread that’s pointed to by the cursor
  • e to archive all threads that have been selected
  • [Enter] to go into the thread pointed to by the cursor
  • “g i” to go to my Inbox
  • “g a” to go to All Mail
  • “g d” to go to Drafts

While inside a thread:

  • n and p to browse down and up messages inside a thread (move the cursor up and down)
  • a to reply all (or r to reply individually, but that’s rare) to the message currently pointed to by the cursor
  • f to forward the message that’s pointed to by the cursor
  • u to go back to the previous thread list view, which could be your Inbox, All Mail, Drafts, etc. This is the same as the back button:
  • s to toggle through the stars on the message currently pointed to by the cursor

Other useful shortcuts:

  • / to make the search bar active
  • “* u” to select all unread emails
  • “* n” to deselect all emails
  • Shift+i to mark all selected emails as read
  • Shift+u to mark all selected emails as unread
  • While inside a thread, Shift+u will bring you back to the previous thread list view and marking the current thread as unread.