Last week we tackled a rather negative, but very important topic:  how to give negative feedback…. 

(NOT like this!)

This week, we tackle another topic that Talk About Talk listeners suggested: How to conquer your EMAIL INBOX!  

You can skim this short email or click the links to learn more!

Let’s do this….

How to Conquer Your EMAIL INBOX

Email is supposed to make us more efficient communicators.  But based on what I’ve heard and read, email is a significant challenge for many of us!

Thank you to all of you who emailed, posted and called with your questions and hacks on how to conquer your email inbox. Here is a screenshot that a Talk About Talk listener sent me with her request for help:

YOWZA.  ? That’s a LOT of emails. But I have great news: based on my research and other listeners’ hacks, I created a list of things you can do to minimize your email stress and improve your productivity. You can conquer your email!  The list includes three categories of things to do:

  1. BEHAVIORAL CHANGES – like batching your time, setting alerts, and unsubscribing
  2. TECH HACKS – like creating “canned responses” or using an email solution such as Slack or Spark or Superhuman
  3. CHANGING YOUR SENT EMAILS – emails are like karma – you get what you give! 

Of everything I read, it seems that the #1 thing you can do to conquer your email is re-define the role of email in your life:

  • Email is not something to check off of your to-do list.
  • Doing email is not an accomplishment. 
  • Email is something that you can use to get the real work done
  • Email is a tool.

It might take some time for that to sink in.  In the meantime, here is a link to the ShowNotes, where you will also find the one-pager with the list of suggestions for how to make email less stressful and more productive. I hope it helps!


Does your inbox stress you out?  Do you spend too much time checking email?  It turns out there are psychological forces that explain this common phenomenon.

Jocelyn K. Glei, author of UNSUBSCRIBE: How to kill email anxiety, avoid distractions, and get real work done,” highlights three key characteristics of email that make it so compelling to us:

  1. THE COMPLETION BIAS If you’re like me (and many others!) you get a thrill out of checking things off your to-do list.  Whether it’s sending out an email or reaching inbox-zero, getting things done gives us a sense of completion. That’s what one of my favourite behavioral economists, Dan Ariely, the author of “Predictably Irrational” was referring to when he said that removing emails from your inbox is just procrastination. It gives a false sense of accomplishment while putting off the real work that needs to be done.
  2. EMAIL PROVIDES A VARIABLE REWARD SCHEDULE. It’s like a slot machine – or gambling. We never know when great news (or a “critically important” email) might arrive. So we constantly check!  I feel like there might be some FOMO going on here too…
  3. WE FEEL SOCIALLY INDEBTED.  I call this one reciprocity. When we receive an email, we feel compelled to respond – and if we don’t respond, we feel guilty. I know I’m guilty of that!!!!


Is this how you feel when you think about your inbox? (click here)

And do you remember  this movie?

(That was over 20 years ago, BTW.  Yes, things have changed, haven’t they?)


I hope this week’s podcast on CONQUERING YOUR EMAIL INBOX helps you to become less anxious and more productive!


Thanks again ? to everyone who posted, emailed or called me with confessions and hacks!

Now’s when I THANK YOU for subscribing to the Talk About Talk email newsletter and encourage you to forward this email or send this link to your friends and colleagues who may also be interested. I promise I wont clutter up your email box.  This email comes out just once a week, and it’s as concise as possible (with links for us nerds ? who want to learn more  about how to become a more effective and confident communicator!)

I’d also ❤️it if you’d EMAIL ME (YES!!!) or post on social mediaPlease let me know which of the email suggestions you tried and how it went.