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Email overwhelm

3 Steps to Inbox Zero

Updated from Feb 10th, 2017

My email account needed help. Luckily I found Steve Dotto ( Canadian TV Computer show fame for many years). Now online with his program Dotto Tech.  If you don’t know him, learn about him here. I think he is terrific!

social box zero

Overcome information overload, get control of your email and the rest will fall in place!
We think that stress affects your health. Having an avalanche of emails can cause you stress. Have you ever hit the pillow and thought “oh did I send that email” or “did I check that attachment etc.” Disrupting your sleep is not healthy. Learn about email sanity here…

Here are the three points about email
1. Understanding
2. Dealing with the damage
3. Systems and habits

How many emails are in your inbox?
They did a poll on the webinar (listed below) 40% were over 1000!
I checked a few of my email accounts and was really surprised! In one – 8,002 in another 10,955 and I  and I have other emails in Gmail as well. Yikes! Terrible, out of control. Due to a fear of losing something? I needed help!

Work Smarter
What is email account overload? Like on Facebook’s relationships status – it’s complicated!
Opportunity,  responsibility – business stress
Loss of control – a curse!
In control – a blessing!

Steve Dotto had a contest  -he told us about. “How many messages in your inbox?”
The winner was 95,000!!! He sent the winner 3 emails – he never collected the prize – likely never saw it because he was drowning in so many emails!

He just couldn’t keep up. Can you image how stressed out he was? Another guy phoned someone to look for his email. (Lack of respect for himself and the person he phoned to check for his email). Steve didn’t like that guy!!

Email Account Types
1. The Hoarder – must keep every email but does nothing with it. But can’t delete it.
2. The Merry-Go-Rounder – opens email closes email again and again. Never doing anything.
3. The Ostrich – sometimes the boss. He believes someone will do something with it, or people will call him about it. It will just go away. Nothing gets done with it. Which one are you? I was #2.

What email is NOT…

  • It is NOT your calendar
  • It is NOT a To Do List
  • It is NOT a Task Manager
  • It is NOT a filing system

Your Brain
What happens in your brain when you open an email account?
– It’s an open loop – the brain tries to keep it all and fails
– You scrolled past the first page but your brain knows it’s there
– Your brain as you fall asleep does mental checks …  …..   ….
– This could be a profound change in your life to manage your email
– The brain can relax when there is white space at the end of the inbox

No one was taught how to manage email.  It’s reacting rather than being proactive.

Getting things done
A routine – a system done at the same time each day – helps to stay in control

Handle It Once
I was once a Mary Kay Director and I will never forget Mary Kay Ashe’s business advice about handling paper in her inbox on her desk. Handle it once – read it and take action – do something with it. It does not go back into the inbox. Excellent direction for your email account inbox as well.

1. Reply
2. Delete
3. Delegate
4. File
5. Defer or schedule it

Supporting Applications
Trusted Systems (All free )
Gmail  https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?hl=en-GB    to Google Calendars

G Suite – I use now for all my website business.
Send professional email from your business web address.
All the storage you need. 30GB of storage For unlimited
storage, upgrad to Business or Enterprise edition.
or Free task managers like Evernote  https://evernote.com/   or Asana  https://asana.com/

Steve Dotto has a mini-course on email accounts that he was giving away for free.
1. knowledge – reality check – email personality
2. clean up – the heavy lifting (you don’t want to cook in a dirty kitchen so clean it up daily)
3. maintenance – the way you deal with your email every day

Always use the 5 options (above)
In the after the webinar  Q&A, he answers questions like:

How do you send email to Evernote – premium forward to individual notebooks
Gmail use folders for organization
Use unroll.me as a digest for many of your emails and more…


There is a free webinar –  Wednesdays.

I am a member of DOTTO Techs  Patron membership – not an affiliate

Host: Steve Dotto, April Heavens-Woodcock,

Date: Wednesday, 8 February 2017 ( updated 2020 – course is still Free)

The mini-course that Steve mentions  Enroll FREE DottoTechU    < Sign up – it’s FREE

Step One
3 Steps to Inbox Zero Webinar Replay

Step 2
One inbox  -tackle it once and for all
Clear up the backload
Build a new system
Clear your primary inbox (s )I have many

Step 3
The Golden Rule
On your way to a stress-free inbox

Every time you change tasks, you divert your attention. Then when you go back, it takes a while to re-focus your brain and the task takes longer to complete. Schedule email several times a day but at designated times only.

Combine with the Golden Rules of Email and you’ll find yourself doing higher quality work, and
faster than before, plus you will sleep better at night!!  My email account(s) are now at Zero! Yaa!!!

Dotto Tech


About Kathryn Maclean http://www.facebook.com/marketingofflineonline
A certified Social Media Campaign specialist using Facebook, Twitter Pinterest, Instagram

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  1. Oh dear, I am so guilty of this! I confess to being the “Merry-Go-Rounder” – and then of course I can’t find the important emails I meant to do something with! I just checked and I have 31,345 (!) emails – in my primary inbox. I actually have been starting to go through and delete email in batches… obviously still a LONG way to go!

    1. Hi Karen, I too was a Merry-G0-Rounder but no more!! Like the winner of his contest who never got the email it’s time
      to take control of your inbox. Try using the unroll.me It gives you a list of all your emails and it’s easy to delete that way.
      Then you get a digest of email you do want at a time you set. Don’t miss the free course he offers, it’s really good.
      Thanks for your comments.

  2. Hey Kathryn,

    I have never even thought about organizing my email inbox. The emails just keep coming and coming.

    The use of unroll.me seem to be vital during some serious situations.

    The different type of emails can be categorized. I always mark important emails to a special list.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Hi Ravi,
      I do like using unroll.me It gives you a list of all your emails and it’s easy to delete that way.
      I mentioned that there was a free course that he offers if you would like to organize your email.
      Excellent training by Steve Dotto. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Hi Lydia,
    Yes I used to use my inbox as storage, read 5 gmails of storage. Not any more. He mentions Asana
    and I have used it before but think I will look at it again. You are on the DOTTO list? I am in the Patreon
    paid program. Like crowdfunding for supporting his staff. Love the Dotto programs.

  4. Hi Ruth,
    My brain is so less stressed since I cleaned out all my inboxes!! Thank you for the comments I do like how you
    wrote that! “Use some of your procrastination time to clean up your inbox, answer important emails and file, delegate, or delete the rest”
    His free course that he offers along with the video have been so helpful to me, that I wanted to share it!

  5. Hi Chery,
    Thanks as you well know the title is REALLY important.
    You do learn as you go with email. Learning how to organize was an eye opener for me.
    Yes I have lovely pictures in my gmail accounts of my gardens or flowers. Now with very
    little emails I can see them!!! Yaa Thanks for your comments.

  6. Hi Ruth,
    Was that the name, I don’t remember. All I recall was that he was very entertaining and so helpful.
    If I was flipping through the channels and I spotted him, I watched it. Even with remarks from my husband, not again. lol
    I was thrilled to find Steve Dotto online. A gold mind of information. I am taking his free course on Evernote that comes
    with his membership program. Don’t miss his free email program that he offers. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Hi Kathryn,
    That reminds me of the old piece of advice I learned ‘Handle each piece of paper once’.
    I think my inbox is fairly well under control because I use a filtering system in Thunderbird and file each email in its own folder and mark as unread ones that I want to ‘come back to’ later.
    But I do remember the time when I was in overwhelm – I just had a mass unsubscribe!
    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    1. Hi Joy,
      Good to know about using a filter. I use Google’s G Suite a lot for my business email with my business web address.
      All the storage you need. 30GB of storage For unlimited storage, also an upgrade to Business or Enterprise edition.
      24/7 Call or email support with a live person which is good. Mobile device management. Great for only $6 monthly.

    2. This is truly an evergreen post for an evergreen problem. Back in the day I used to teach email productivity using the 5 options Steve outlines (although perhaps in a different order). It does come down to touching each item as little as possible and making a decision about it. Thanks for the reminder!

      1. Including your comment as comments seem not to be working ?? Hi Kathryn, you’ve got a well-written post that speaks volumes! I wonder if there’s a place here to recognize the two sides of blogging? One side is the technical side as you’ve covered here, and the other side – creating relevant content that takes the visitor on the journey to becoming a buyer.

      2. Barb,
        Yes email will always be with us, an evergreen problem. Mary Kay Ash was way ahead of her time in many ways. Her practice of touching each item only once and taking action right away is still excellent advice.
        For National Woman’s Day ” Ash served as Mary Kay Cosmetics’ chairman until 1987 when she was named Chairman Emeritus. Fortune magazine recognized Mary Kay Inc. with inclusion in “The 100 best companies to work for in America.” The company was also named one of the best 10 companies for women to work. Her most recent acknowledgments were the “Equal Justice Award” from Legal Services of North Texas in 2001, and “Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century” from Lifetime Television in 1999″

  8. Hey there Kathryn,

    Thanks for sharing a truly timeless post! I wholeheartedly agree with your content here and as someone who used to teach email productivity, it’s good to see the best practices listed this way. In my “many” encounters with email there were a couple of mindset changes that helped me focus. The most liberating change was understanding just what the inbox is, and what it represents. Thanks for the reminder (it can be easy to be an inbox backslider!)

    1. Hi Barb,
      No inbox backsliding here! I didn’t know that you taught email productivity! We all have our mindset changes with exactly what the inbox is for.
      Focus on these mindset changes as to our inboxes is liberating!Thanks for your comments.

  9. Hey Kathryn,

    Here after a long time and like always loved your post. I do missed reading your posts as I was busy with one of my new projects, but will be regular from now on.

    Keep up the good work.

    ~ Donna

    1. Hey Donna,
      I have seen some of your new projects, the videos. I haven’t really read your posts either for a while.
      Nice to have you return! Great to have you as a regular again! Keepin keepin on. lol

  10. Hi Kathryn,
    I do not have that many emails and select what is important and delete the rest.
    No problem for me no overwhelm.
    I am grateful for this. But this post may help people who have too many emails.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Erika,
      Some people only have one email as you do.
      Some have many especially -Gmail as its a good way to store information on a certain type of subject.
      Others get overwhelmed with so many emails in their inboxes that it’s pretty crazy. Glad you are not one of them!
      Thanks for your comments.

  11. I definitely need to get a proper filing system in place. It’s just one of those things that I never get round to. Plus I’m not so good on how to file in my email system. Thanks for the prompt Kathryn – I’m going to put that on my list of to dos.

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      Wondering what type of email you are using? You might look at G Suite this is what I am using.
      With G Suite, you’ll receive a number of additional business-grade services not included with Google’s free
      consumer apps.
      These services include custom business email @yourcompany, twice the amount of cloud storage across Gmail and
      Drive, 24/7 phone and email support.
      And I just learned they also have “Meet” like the old Google hangouts that used to be free. It’s not expensive I think $6. mth.

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