My Ongoing Battle With My Email Box

My first plan to change my behavior did not work. Within two weeks, I was back to my old habits.

By Ami Kassar

In August, I shared my Plan A to give up control of my email. I had asked one of my teammates to go through my inbox three times a day and try to clear out everything she did not think was necessary. The goal was to clear the clutter out of my life and open up brain space and time to work on more strategic issues. When I wrote about this, I felt like I was withdrawing from the daily speed and rhythm of hundreds of emails. As with many addictions, my first plan to change my behavior did not work. Within two weeks, I was back to my old habits.

And now it’s time for Plan B. A few weeks ago, I hired a full-time chief of staff we call ARC, based on her initials. While “chief of staff” could mean different things in different organizations, her primary assignment is to guard and protect my time. It’s a full-time job. While we are only a few weeks in, it’s going well.

The last time I tried this, my assistant was going in to check emails a couple of times a day. But I was anxious about what I might be missing in the intervals. ARC is constantly in my email, and when something comes up that she has a question about or isn’t sure how to handle, she texts me. There is no reason for me to go into my email box anymore. I feel like I am in a combination of rehab and detox, but as time moves on, the temptation to go in and check is diminishing, and I can feel my brain space opening up.

How does ARC figure all this out? One of the ways is she sits in on almost all of my Zooms and meetings. Her job is to crawl inside my brain—which is not always a comfortable place to be—and be attuned to the challenges I confront.

What’s next? We need a good app or tool to manage priorities and lists and collaborate. There are many apps for managing work, but picking which will work best can be overwhelming and confusing. I threw out the question on the Entrepreneurs’ Organization message boards over the holiday, and there has been a lot of interest in this question, with raving fans suggesting specific apps.

So we put together a webinar scheduled for noon EST today (Thursday, January 4) with demos of five of the most popular apps. Please join us if you’re interested.

Ami Kassar is CEO of MultiFunding.

We would love to hear from you
Ask us anything
Or suggest a topic for a podcast, an interview or a blog post