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SPI 115: 9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero: My Executive Assistant Shares How We Did It (and How You Can Too!)

If email is a major pain for you, then this could be your cure.

I used to love getting emails.

I saw it as a huge opportunity for me to impress a reader or listener and earn even more trust from my audience, and it worked!

As my business grew, however, so did the number of emails I received each day and I eventually got to a point where I could not keep up anymore.

What used to be inbox zero turned into inbox 100. If I could end the day with only 100 unread emails, I’d be happy.

Inbox 100 turned into inbox 200, which turned into inbox 500 and then 1000.

Occasionally, I’d find some cool email tool or read some productivity tip, which would help chip away at those numbers a little bit, but I was already beyond the point of no return.

It wasn’t too long ago that I saw I had over 9000 unread emails in my inbox. 

Yes, nine-thousand.

Each new email that arrived became a constant reminder of just how many people I wasn’t able to answer, and it made me think about who I was letting down.

It also made me wonder whether or not my email client could even display 5-digits worth of unread emails, or maybe it would break or a pop-up that said “LOSER” would come on the screen at exactly 10,000.

I wasn’t going to let any of that happen.

In May, I did something I thought I would never do: I hired someone to help me manage my inbox. 

Meet Jess!

In this episode, I’d like to introduce you to Jess, my new executive assistant.

She’s awesome.

So awesome, in fact, that in a few weeks she was able to help me go from 9000+ unread emails, to now helping me consistently reach inbox zero each day.

Jessica shares exactly how she tackled my problem, and it’s quite interesting to hear her talk about her first reactions to my inbox when I hired her.

May I Ask You For a Favor?

Thanks again for listening to the show. If it has helped you in any way, shape or form, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and I read each and every one of them.

And lastly, if you have any questions (or would like answers to previously submitted voicemail questions!), head on over to! This bite-sized show has over a million downloads and counting!

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jessica in today’s episode, and I hope the time you invested in listening today will help you with your own inbox problems.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher to get it automatic updates, or even better, download the app we talked about in today’s episode!

So Really, How Many Unread Emails Do You Have Right Now?

Leave a comment below and let the community know. If you don’t have very many, what’s your secret? If you do have a lot like I did, what are you going to do about it?

Thanks again for being awesome. Cheers, and all the best!

Today’s Guest

Jess Lindgren

Today I’m chatting with my assistant about how I manage my inbox.

You’ll Learn

  • How important my own daily habits were in tackling the email problems I was facing.
  • Jessica’s plan of attack after getting into my inbox.
  • The decision to declare email bankruptcy.
  • How initially I couldn’t imagine letting anyone but myself into my inbox.
  • The different between answering as and answering on behalf of me.
  • Common mistakes that I and others make when it comes to email management.
  • How many times a day I was checking my email, and how many times one SHOULD be checking.
  • The importance of canned responses and how Jessica maximizes her time answering emails.
  • My daily approach to email within this new system.
  • How Jessica approaches my inbox each day so she can help me the best.
  • How our folder / label system is setup.
  • The importance of communication (and flexibility) between you and your assistant.
  • What “urgent box zero” means.
  • Plus a whole lot more!


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Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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