One key step to start getting your email under control

Our new email productivity course is launching soon – read on for details!

Make email your friend, not your foe

Imagine your email notification ringtone. Does it make you cringe just thinking of it?

Email is one of the most persistent, nagging challenges of working life. We get a ton done via email, whether for work, family or hobbies. Many people claim to hate it, but we all know we can’t live without it.

In fact, in spite of the rapid rise of Slack and other messaging apps, we’re sending and receiving more emails than ever [PDF link] Especially at work, email is still the predominant communication tool.

Stop the madness! Email productivity is possible. (photo via pexels)

Stop the email madness! (photo via pexels)

But back to that push notification. Think of how many times you might see that one email if it sits in your inbox:

  • You might read the subject line, then swipe away the notification on your phone when it first arrives
  • Back at your main machine, you look it over but mark it ‘unread’ because it will take some time to handle; you read other messages or switch over to Twitter
  • You scroll past it when you’re looking for that other important message
  • It pops into your head on the drive home, before bed, while you’re making coffee…

You get the idea. When we “touch” (read, consider, act on) each message three, four, or more times, it’s no wonder email starts to feel like it’s taking over our lives. The mental weight of dealing with each message is multiplied.

This is why one of my favorite email tips is to “only touch it once.”

“Only touch it once” means dealing with the email as soon as you read it:

  • by responding…
  • creating a calendar appointment…
  • seeking other information…
  • filing the message for future reference…
  • whatever it takes to get it DONE.

I’m certainly not the first one to think of this idea (see also: Byrdie, Simple Productivity Blog), and many of my productivity hacks have been lovingly inspired by the masters. But “touch it once” is a mantra we have taken to heart at McNary Marketing and Design, especially in regards to email. In fact, it’s a key ingredient of our Inbox Zero recipe.

Of course, in the real world, things get a bit messier. To really bring the “touch it once” mantra to life, you need a gameplan – a process and a system – to make email work for you. This process might include set blocks of time for checking email or a to-do list that you rigorously maintain throughout each day.

Which is why (drumroll please!) I’m announcing Taking back your email inbox: from overwhelming to empty.

This new course includes self-guided video lessons, worksheets, tools and tips that will teach you a proven process to get the digital and mental clutter that is email under control.

With these processes in place, it is possible to take back control of your email – and your digital life.

The course is in pre-sale now through October 1 (for a special price!) and will launch in October. Learn more here and sign up now.

And in the meantime, see if the “only touch it once” mentality can help get you started on the right path.


Check out the course! Taking back your email inbox: from overwhelming to empty

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    • […] Over on our sister site, over on my persona site, I posted a special article announcing the launch of the “Taking Back Your Email Inbox: From Overwhelming To Empty” online course here at That article is titled “One key step to start getting your email under control”. […]

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    Time management is key. Photo via Pexels.