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The Secret to Eliminating Spam and Annoying Emails Forever

by Sean Ogle | Last Updated: March 14, 2013

This is a guest post from Arman Assadi

I wasn’t always a Gmail ninja. In fact, I thought I’d be just fine sifting through my Hotmail searching for that funny viral video my friend sent me, amongst all the “penis pill” spam emails.

For years I was drowning in my inbox, praying that email would become obsolete and I’d never have to look at or respond to another email again. Well, that day hasn’t come (yet), and we live in a world where electronic-mail is still the primary way people contact one another.

If you’re stressed, frustrated, or even just annoyed with email and all the spam in your inbox—trust me, I understand.

Eventually, I started to realize that my individual success as an employee, and now a solopreneur, depended heavily on my ability to communicate with others like a professional.

My post-college career started at 3M, and at that time our division was running on Lotus Notes, which was probably created by an email masochist. Wow, was that painful. During that time I had no system, it was merely a matter of looking at my emails in chronological order and seeing which ones had not been opened yet.

My personal email was also flooded with spam and all those annoying notification emails. It seems that no matter how many times we uncheck that little box that says “Yes, I would like to receive all your special ‘dealios’ and I want 10 emails a day from you!” we still keep receiving them, don’t we?

After 3M, I got an opportunity to join Google in the Enterprise division, working on Google Apps (Gmail). I quickly realized that moving from an old-school manufacturing company selling consumer goods and running on Lotus Notes, to a company that ran on an email platform it created itself was going to be a very different experience.

Right away it was sink or swim. I was immersed in a pool of uber-talented, super-sharp, technology-savvy folks. Not only did everyone have a strong handle on technology, but they were constantly looking for ways to improve themselves and bring value to others.

Email was our number one communication tool. The number of emails I received (and needed to respond to) practically quadrupled overnight. I looked around and noticed that those who were at “inbox zero” and had set up some sort of email management method tended to be the most successful all around.

I knew that looking at emails chronologically and just clicking on the unread ones was not going to fly here. I also noticed that my personal email accounts were completely flooded with LinkedIn notification emails, Groupon deals, bill reminders, etc.

I couldn’t differentiate the important emails from the non-important ones, and that’s the last thing I wanted to happen as a Noogler (“New Googler” – official terminology).

I became obsessed with email. I read every single book, article, magazine, and strategy by all of the top gurus out there. I talked to other Googlers that were considered “Gmail Ninjas” and asked them to show me their inboxes. I picked their brains, I implemented new strategies, and eventually, I created my own.

The system started to become very popular with my co-workers, and people started asking me to teach them the strategy and help them reclaim their inboxes. Word started getting out and before I knew it I was teaching people outside of Google, and started getting paid well to do it.

I’ve had the privilege to work with some incredibly successful and talented people. I’ve trained CEO’s, startup founders, brilliant engineers, and serial entrepreneurs. After I left Google, I continued my consulting, but I quickly realized this model of 1-on-1 consulting wasn’t scalable if I wanted to share this system with as many people as possible.

Now, here I am today as a solopreneur, ready to share my world-class strategy with you.

I didn’t hate my job, but I knew one thing: I wanted to work for myself and create a lifestyle of absolute freedom. I took my system and created a full course called Effortless Email, teaching people like you how to eliminate spam and annoying emails, reclaim and reboot their inboxes, and boost their productivity.

And that’s what I’m going to share with you today. Below, I have laid out the secrets to eliminating spam and annoying emails forever, step-by-step.

Let us begin our Effortless Email training!

You, like many of the people I’ve helped with Effortless Email, may have an inbox full of email. That number may be in the hundreds, or even thousands; but regardless of how disastrous it is, the Inbox Reboot steps below will show you how to completely reboot and refresh your inbox in under two minutes.

Sounds magical, I know.

Part 1: Inbox Reboot

Goal: Target all the messages in your Inbox that are more than 30 days old, and archive them all.

How: We’ll create a custom search query, then use that to identify all the messages we want to Archive. 

Why: Take control of our inboxes and start organizing from a manageable state. Eliminate all spam and stress, while increasing productivity and automating the entire email process to make it completely…Effortless!

Action:

  1. Type this search term into the Search bar at the top of your Gmail account: “label:inbox before:{date}”
  2. Where it says “{date}” make sure to replace it with a date 30 days before the day you perform the search (in the format below).
  3. So for example, if today is March 11, 2013, my search will be: “label:inbox before:2013/2/11”
  4. You should now get a search result with all those emails.

Next steps:

  1. Select all (click on the box at the top, select “All”)
  2. Now select the text at the top that says “Select all conversations that match this search”
  3. Hit the Archive button – DO IT!
  4. Feel better 🙂

Easy, right?

Summary:

  1. Must archive all emails more than 30 days old currently in your Inbox
  2. Do a search and Archive all emails in that search result
  3. Smile!

We must do this so that we can look at only the last 30 days of emails. From here, we can now easily see the different newsletters, notifications, subscriptions, and other annoying emails we’ve received in the last 30 days and begin our elimination process.

We’re going to start our elimination process with mass unsubscribes. Usually, to unsubscribe from an email you have to open it, find the unsubscribe link, click it, and hope you’ll never hear from them again.

But we’re going to skip all that and automate the process.

Part 2: Elimination

Unroll.me – Use this free service to identify unwanted emails and manage your subscription list.

 *Effortless Email tip:

Part 3: Automation

Filter any remaining subscriptions you want to keep, but don’t need to see every day in your inbox (details in section below).

The key to becoming more productive here is that you should only be seeing the most important emails in your inbox. By filtering emails that aren’t as important, you eliminate the distractions.

When the time is right, you can visit your “shopping” folder and check out the latest deals; otherwise, they shouldn’t be in your inbox. 

Step 1: Find and select an email you want to filter.

Step 2: Click the More icon at the top of the email

Step 3: Select Filter messages like these. The filter will default to the email address that it is being sent from

Step 4: Select Create filter with this search

Check off:

Suggested Filters:

*Create filters for any additional niche emails you receive 

Part 4: Prevention

So, at this point we’ve eliminated what was already in our inbox and started with a completely fresh slate. We’ve unsubscribed from all those annoying subscriptions, and we’ve filtered out the ones we don’t need to see every day.

The last step is to make sure we prevent more of this in the future, and there’s a nice little trick for that.

For all future product/service signups or registrations that ask for an email address, use:

[email protected]

So for example, if my email was [email protected], I would use:

[email protected]

Props to the folks that picked up on the Arrested Development reference. For your filter, you can use any word you like, and you can do this as many times as you want with different words.

I’ve found that this trick works the majority of the time, but on occasion the signup form will tell you to use a “valid email address”.

After you’ve signed up:

And that, my friends, is the Secret to Eliminating Spam and Annoying Emails Forever.

 

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Build a Lifestyle Business Giving You Freedom You've Always Wanted

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