7 Steps to Email Freedom

Email is a massive drain on productivity for Entrepreneurs.  It’s time to fight back!

Below I share how I’ve cracked the code and now enjoy phenomenal email freedom.

I’ve helped other entrepreneurs do the same, including a few famous guys including Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy.com:

“Tim finally solved my email inbox. I’ve tried everything else – helpdesk software, shutting off email with an autoresponder (people were really pissed), and I considered secret second email inboxes and none of it worked. Until I used Tim’s advice, and now I’m finally free.” – Andrew Warner

Here’s what I told Andrew…

7 Steps to Email Freedom

1. Trust Your Assistant

First, you must trust your Assistant.

You *do* have an Assistant, right?  They’re more affordable than you think.

Trust takes time. Wouldn’t make it the first task I delegated to a new Assistant; in fact, I’d probably wait 6-12 months, *and* do a criminal record check, *and* references, *and* sign a confidentiality agreement.

This is one of the reasons I only hire USA / CAN Executive Assistants – the laws are similar, and the legal systems are too. And I could hunt someone down if I really needed to.

Also, make sure you’re using Google Apps / Gmail. If you aren’t, switch over immediately – you are extremely late to the party. Every day you aren’t on Google Apps, you are missing out on a massive productivity jump. Ditch Outlook, your PC, and 1995… it’s time for Google Apps.

2. Mass Unsubscribe

Run Unroll.me to get rid of 95% of email subscriptions (except from: Ryan Levesque of course!). There’s no sense making your Assistant repeatedly delete unwanted emails. As many outsourcing experts say, “ELIMINATE – Automate – Delegate.” Eliminate as many recurring emails as you can before handing over to Assistant. If you’re worried about privacy, immediately unsubscribe from Unroll.me afterwards.

3. Create Private, “! – Tim Review” Label

In Gmail / Google Apps, create a “! – Tim Review” label. The “!” makes it appear at the top of your list of labels. This is the one label your Assistant can never-ever click on. They could if they wanted to, but they won’t because they’ve promised they won’t click on it, and you trust them. **This is the one leap of faith in my system. But if you trust your Assistant (see above), the leap won’t feel as big.**

4. Filters for Loved Ones ONLY

Personally create filters for your loved ones. And perhaps a lawyer or accountant. Filter their messages directly to your “! – Tim Review” label.

But no one else gets the full-filter treatment, not even your most A+ clients, peers, associates who pay you big bucks or have big influence.

This is because you can actually give *better* service to your A+ clients, associates, friends, if you have the team approach (you + Assistant) to your inbox. Sometimes when $500/hr clients have written me with something simple (e.g. scheduling, getting a file from me), Sarah will intervene to get them an appointment (or whatever) as fast as humanly possible.

5. Hand Over Root Access

Handover root access – username and password – to your most basic email account.

NO SECRET EMAIL ACCOUNTS: it sounds fun and effective in the short-term, but sooner or later word gets out and it all falls apart, and you’re back at square one. Take the leap and give your most root-level, ground-zero, no-other-places-to-hide email account.

NOTE: this was a brutal, painful moment-of-truth for me. Sarah had to pry my email inbox out of my hands. You’d swear I was a crack addict clucthing to the last piece o’ rock in the county. Expect this to be difficult and painful. I hope you are pleasantly surprised, and I want to tell it to you straight, it could be emotional.

Looking back, though, my blinding fear was truly ridiculous and childish. Now I wish I would have made the jump years earlier. You’ll feel the same way.

6. Coach Your Assistant for a Week

Look over your Assistants shoulder for a 4-5 sessions of 45-60 mins each. Coach them on how to file away messages, and how to answer on your behalf.

You’ll be amazed by session 4 or 5 when they’re really starting to pick it up. Within a week, they’re rolling with you.

TAKE NOTE, THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT: When your Assistant answers, they will answer from your email account, and will always open with:

“Hi Firstname, this is Tim’s Assistant Sarah. I got to your email before Tim did, and I thought you’d appreciate the fastest possible reply, so… (insert whatever the reply is).”

…literally, and legitimately, most recipients will feel tickled to receive such speedy, white-glove service. We’ve received great feedback.

7. Check Only Your “! – Review” Label

From now on, only check your “! – Tim Review” label.

Obivously, if you need to (Assistant is sick, and/or you’re waiting for a really important and urgent email to arrive), you can easily check the main inbox. But your general rule, now, is only to check your personal “! – Review” label.

You’ll see your Assistant will take care of 90%+ of your email, and you’ll suddenly wonder what the hell you used to do all day.


How good is this system? I stress-tested it twice last year. In Jan 2015 I went to Jamaica for 8 days, with no email, phone, or text contact of any kind. (And no Slack, Project Mgmt, etc… so – NO CONTACT.)

Repeated the test in July 2015 when I went to Hawaii for 10 days. Same disconnection from work, and same amazing outcome – total freedom and relaxation!

The combination of this email system, plus my great Assistant Sarah, plus all the other systems and DMGs I have setup with her, and I enjoyed a blissful tropical holiday, no problems at all. Sarah took care of it all.

Tim with Luau Dancers - cropped for Facebook

And best of all?

When I came home, there was no “Welcome Home” avalanche of 500 emails. Just a few, which took me less than an hour to reply to.

Yes, my friends, Email Inbox freedom truly is at hand.

Onwards and Upwards,

Tim :)

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about getting your own Assistant to help take over your email inbox, visit www.GreatAssistant.com

Leave a comment below

Enjoyed this post?
Get updates to new content, free.