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The Inbox Zero Challenge – Are You In?

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You've Got Mail!

Join the Escape Your Email Challenge

Get a tip each day to get to inbox zero:

In 1998, Meg Ryan scrunched her nose. Tom Hanks grinned. They both flirted over AOL hosted email. Yeah. You saw it too. Or, if you were born before 1990, you at least remember it.

The hit rom-com “You’ve Got Mail” was based in a faraway time when people actually looked forward to opening their inbox.

A lot has changed in 18 years.

Back then, the term “Inbox Zero” could have been an insult. You’ve Got NO Mail. You loser. I got 6 emails today. I’m an important person.

Now, “Inbox Zero” is the name given to the difficult to reach promised land of an empty email inbox.

In 2016, our electronic inboxes are so overstuffed that reading and processing all the messages sent to your address can become a full time job.


The Problem With Email

There are plenty of directions we could point the finger. Chain email forwarding from Uncle Jon. BCC’d on status updates by Betty in accounting. That spammy website that got a hold of your “good” email address a few years ago.

In reality, we made a deal without considering the hidden costs. In 1998, the benefits of email were so obvious that the downside was hard to see.

Before the mass adoption of email, you had to get out a piece of paper. Write words on that paper. Stuff those written words into an envelope. Write your full name and address on the envelope. Write the full name and address of the recipient. Buy a stamp. Lick said stamp. Put the stamp on the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. Carry that envelope to a post office or post box. Insert.

And wait.

It would be days before the intended recipient received your message. More days would pass before the snail-mail receiver took the time to read, respond and repeat the whole inefficient process.

Then AOL gave us a simple handle that was free to use and nearly instant. Boom. Productivity heaven! No licking, stuffing, zip code finding, chicken scratch handwriting. Just mail. Sent electronically.

It took a few years for the dark side to show up.

Since sending emails was so fast and easy, people started to write out all their half-baked thoughts and requests. They’d then press send without a second thought. Not only that, the same poor communicator could send out his half-baked message to 5, 10, 20, or more inbox victims in one foul click.

We traded an inefficient process for the stress of a never-ending stream of information and potential action. Staying on top of this stream of potential meaning stresses us out and takes us away from our important work.

The Email Trap

It was a Faustian bargain to be sure. But we’re here. The trap has snapped shut. How are we going to fight our way out?

How are we going keep the blessing of instant access to over 2 billion email users without the daily brain damage that comes with trying to read and respond to 50 to 100 new messages a day?

That’s what we are going to explore over the next 5 days. We are going to teach you how we can have our cake and eat it too.

This challenge will be like going back in time. To that far away place called 1998. A time when you actually looked forward to hearing You’ve Got Mail!

Escape Your Email Inbox Zero Challenge


We’ve created this challenge because we want you to spend more time outside of your inbox so you can get back to what’s important. We want you to Escape Your Email so you can enjoy work and life on your terms.

The Escape Your Email Challenge starts Monday, September 5th. If you want to be part of it, put your name and email down below and we’ll send you a new strategy, tip or tool each weekday starting Monday, September 5th and ending Friday, September 9th.

Join the Escape Your Email Challenge

Get a tip each day to get to inbox zero:

Each daily challenge will take 15 to 20 minutes to implement. We promise it will give you an outstanding return on your time investment.

So let’s escape our email and end the summer with an empty inbox!

– Zack and the Asian Efficiency team

P.S. We will be giving away prizes to the people who join and pass the challenge. The prizes will be announced the day of the challenge. Combined, they add up to over $1,000 worth of value and will help you stay at 1998 levels of email bliss.

P.P.S. The prize is not a Delorean.


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1 Comment

Posted by Kevin @ CafePoint  | August 23, 2016 at 2:39AM | Reply

Love the rom-com reference Zachary! The Inbox Zero section of the AE primer is one of the best bits of the PDF. I’m sure this online challenge will be just as good.

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