Email overload is an all-too-common experience for those running their own businesses, but the key to avoiding being swamped by emails is to be proactive, says actor, founder and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher.
Talking with Thrive Global founder and chief executive Arianna Huffington on a recent episode of the Thrive Global podcast, Kutcher revealed that attending to email is no longer his first port of call in the mornings and he now takes a proactive rather than reactive approach to emailing.
“When I wake up … I spend the first hour of my work not looking at email, and actually just writing out what it is that I want to accomplish in a given day,” Kutcher told Huffington.
“And then before I go through my emails, I’ll do all my outgoing, outbound stuff, which is what I want everyone else to do for me. And then I’ll go and get reactive to whatever’s going on.”
It is a strategy he adopted having previously become mired in email communications.
“It became an impossible hole to get out of,” Kutcher said of his previous email experiences.
“Because then every response I had had three more responses. All I was doing was other people’s work all day long, and I never actually got to the things that I wanted to accomplish.”
Kutcher has even gone as far as to warn people that if they email him they “may not get a response”. Similarly, he’s also set out email guidelines at his Sound Ventures venture capital firm, with the founders of new companies brought into the firm’s portfolio sent a mailer outlining who should be contacted in which circumstance.