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Mastering the Art of Email-Fu

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Email Fu

This article is going to give you the most important distinction you will ever make about email. I’m talking about the deep, psychological, inner game insights of how email works and interacts with the human mind as a communication medium. I am not talking about tactics – though we have already written and taught plenty of that at Asian Efficiency.

I’m talking about a deep, lasting and impactful paradigm shift that will take email from being frustrating, overbearing and overwhelming…. to calm, easy to handle and effortless. This is the stuff that scares email consultants and SaaS email management services – because all it takes is a simple, mental switch for people to go “Oh, yeah, now I get it. Email isn’t an issue anymore.”

I am of course, talking about… Email-Fu.

Email Fu Panda

The Problem With Email Today

The biggest problem with email today is that everyone is obsessed with email systems. Email filters, email systems, email rules, email tactics, email strategies… they’re all, absolutely, completely BORING and annoying.

Inbox Zero, no notifications, must have it open all day, use tags not folders, use folders not tags, use tabs or no tabs, set up this filter and that filter… it’s all way too much information and not helpful to the average email user.

Every “expert” and “guru” out there has the idea that their way of doing email is the only one – the one and the best.

This is total BS. There is no “one best way” of doing email – unless you are talking about a specific person with a specific email situation at a specific time.

Even Thanh’s Simple Email Management (which is used by thousands of people) is just ONE way of doing things.

Email-Fu in 5 minutes

Why should we only get ONE way of handling email?

There are a LOT of email systems out there in the world. Yes, some are better than others, but who’s to say that we can’t adopt more than one email system for different times when we have different email needs?

Here’s the mental shift you need to make:

Different email systems for different needs, at different times.

And that’s it. That’s Email-Fu in a nutshell.

There’s no need to get caught up in Inbox Zero. There’s no need to get obsessed with hold and follow-up folders or anything else. Realise that you use email for a variety of different things, and you can use different email systems for handling different email needs.

Bruce said it best:

Implementing Email-Fu

So how do we implement this?

Well, the reason that people get caught up so much on email systems is that they are consistent – they set boundaries on what we can and cannot do. And you DO NOT want to have 10 different systems handling every individual email that you get.

What you want is 2-3 reliable ways of handling email, for your 2-3 major email needs.

What we teach at Asian Efficiency are 2 mindsets:

The Inbox Guardian.

Inbox Guardian

And the Inbox Warrior.

Inbox Warrior

The Inbox Guardian defends your inbox like Fort Knox. It keeps out unwanted email and spam, and puts things on strategic defence mode.

The Inbox Warrior goes on the offensive and cuts down email as it arrives. I’m talking full notifications and active management mode.

More Email Tips

If you want more tips and hacks for dealing with email, make sure you subscribe for updates on the Escape Your Email. We have an email system that allows you to spend only 30 minutes a day on email. Sign up here and we’ll let you know when it’s available.

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Posted by Francis  | January 16, 2014 at 10:46AM | Reply

Information overload is at least as big of a time waster than having too many emails. If it takes more time to learn 10 email systems than you save time with them, why bother?

That’s why I find it refreshing to read you guys focus on only 2 methods. Will you be posting a bit about how they work before your blueprint will come out..? :)

And for me as an entrepreneur that has embraced outsourcing a lot: will this method be applicable for when I outsource my email management to my team of virtual assistants?

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | January 20, 2014 at 8:17PM

Yes it most definitely will be applicable – but some customisation may be required depending on how you have your email management outsourced (e.g., does everything come into one email box or multiple, do your assistants handle your personal email too etc).

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