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  • Next-Level Email Processing: How to Handle Any Email in Your Inbox (TPS166)

Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of email you have to deal with every day? Or do you have hundreds of email messages sitting in your inbox? You’re not alone. In this episode, Brooks and Mike revisit the Asian Efficiency email workflow and share some important updates to make your email processing even more efficient so you can get (and keep) a state of Inbox Zero.

We interviewed over 30 people recently on their biggest pain points when it comes to email and achieving the coveted state of Inbox Zero. Most of the email that came into their inbox they had no problem with, but there was one kind of email that popped up over and over again that gave them pause and quickly caused their inbox to get backed up. We share how to solve this one common email problem that causes many email to quickly get backed up in your inbox. We walk you through the updates we’ve made to the AE email workflow that will allow you to process any email that comes into your inbox with ease. We’ve been testing this process with beta testers and are thrilled with the results we’ve been getting, so if you struggle to stay on top of your email (or if it takes you longer than 30 minutes per day to process it all) then you don’t want to miss this episode.

Cheat Sheet

  • What Mike learned from interviewing 30+ people about their biggest email and inbox management problems [2:06]
  • How and why we changed the original Asian Efficiency email workflow  [6:30]
  • 2 essential email concepts you need to know [9:40]
  • How to use the two-minute rule to decide if you should take action on an email [16:30]
  • The AE Email Workflow v. 2.0: The 5 different types of email [22:20]
  • Why integrating a task manager with your email client can save you a lot of time [28:15]
  • How to overcome mental hurdles to delete emails that you don’t need [34:24]
  • Ways to teach your team how to be better at email [40:41]
  • What to do with emails that fall into the reference category [41:48]
  • How to deal with “time-sensitive reference email that requires eventual action” [45:23]
  • 5 tips to help you process your email more efficiently [50:24]
  • How to curate your read-it-later service so you don’t get overwhelmed (and why it’s ok to not read everything) [57:55]
  • Why you should turn off email notifications [1:02:34]


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Asian Efficiency Team

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  1. Thanks Mike and Brooks for this podcast. It caused me to take a hard look at my system, within Outlook. I appreciate the tip from Cristian as well. I think I’m going to try to implement OneNote into my system. See, right now, I still use Outlook as my To Do lit, just a different folder, because most of the things I need “to do” involving replying to E-mails. Though sometimes it involves research first, so I think linking to OneNote will help do that. I noticed in OneNote, I can choose E-mail note, and just add the people back in the To box. I just wish they had a Quick Step to move a message to OneNote, but I wrote about it on Microsoft’s website and someone told me to vote this new feature, which I did.

  2. Great episode? For archiving to a single folder, what do you recommend be done with existing folders? Should they stay as-is and start archiving to a single folder going forward?

  3. Dear Brooks and Mike,
    Thank you very much in the first place for such an in-depth analysis and dedicated ellaboration of a workflow for a daily situation we all face at work. Truly comprehensive, easy to understand, research backed and practical. Awesome. Great job.
    Second, to let you know I’ve been all-in about improving my productivity this year and taking advantage of what I’m learning in your podcast complementing my Bullet Journal System.
    I have already listed this same episode 3 times and still discovering new details to implement. In a couple of days I’ve been able to clean my Inbox by the half (from 2000+ emails).
    Last but not least, to let you know that after several days of research I found way to create a link back to the original Outlook email message for PC users. It’s not elegant and not perfect since it’s not dynamic but it works.
    I’m leaving a couple of links here you need to read in order to implement. It a several steps process. Feel free to ask if you have a question about it.

    Truly yours



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