Another Email Consumption Update

Okay, I think I now have a solution for me which keeps me informed by the people who need to inform me, while cutting out all the noise from emails.

The goal is to give me more time to work on my internet business by cutting everyones biggest time consumer – email – down to next to nothing.

I have a Skype account that very few people have access to.  My closest friends online, who are just as busy as me and don’t do idle chatter, my developers, and my students.  I might hold one conversation a week average through that medium.

I have my support desk via TicketDesk Pro which has given me back 90 minutes a day of my life by cutting support time down from 2 hours to 30 minutes.  Most of the regular questions have the answers inside the Standard Responses (SRs).

I now have a private forum by which I can communicate with my developers, and where everything is recorded for all projects.  No more hunting through emails.

So that I don’t have to keep checking it every 30 minutes or so, I’ve created a unique email address where all notifications of new posts or responses from the private boards are sent to.

I’ve set up PopTray with just that one email account.  I’ve set it so that a double click on the PopTray system tray icon opens the private forum in my browser, and a middle click opens up the PopTray mail window where I can delete the new notification message.

And that 3-way punch seems to be working really well.

#1 – A Skype account that very few people have access to.
#2 – TicketDesk Pro to handle customer issues.
#3 – A private forum with email notifications picked up by PopTray.

I’m not sure if this exact set up would work for you, but it means that for me I can now largely ignore my email as the people that really need to get hold of me can.  I’ll leave this in place for another couple of weeks and then I may at last be down to checking my email once a week.

Maybe a variation of this would work for you and you can get a whole chunk of your life back.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Email Consumption Update

A few weeks ago, I said I’d cut down on my email, and that I was going on a low information diet. In reality I was already on the low information diet, and I was just reducing my intake even more to improve my internet business.

I know this is going to sound a little shocking to some, but for several years now I haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news. My reason for that is I just find it too damn depressing, and it distracts me from living my life. So I cut it out.

If the news is really important, then I’ve always figured that someone would tell me, or as happens more often nowadays, they ask my opinion.

When I had a job, that stance served me well as the office would be chattering about whatever the newsworthy item was about, and I’d ask a couple of questions, get some stares and a few dropped jaws because I didn’t know anything about it, and that would be it. I was updated.

Watching people walk away shaking their heads made me smile.

And before you say “yes but you could never hold an informed opinion about anything”, I say so what? The news as it is reported is made up. It’s someone else’s opinion of a second or third hand recollection of something that might or might not have happened the way they think it did.

History is the same. The ultimate winners always become the good guys and get to write history the way they want to.

Anyway, I always accept “news” with more than a pinch of salt because we’ll never know what really happened, just what was reported. Why hold an opinion when you don’t know all the facts, and why bother in the first place? Most (99.99% +) “news” doesn’t affect the day to day running of my life.

It’s just an idle entertainment.

So back to email…

As you might know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, I’ve cut down on email checking, and at one point got it down to three times a week, and even twice for a couple of weeks. The call was strong, but I resisted.

But because I’ve been doing a lot of communication with one of my developers (David) over a project or two we’re in various stages with, I found myself checking my email more and more, and soon I found myself checking one email account two or three times a day again. Grrr.

I don’t have to check my email for any support issues as I now use TicketDesk Pro for everything.

As an aside, I now find I can answer all my support questions once a day and it takes me 30 minutes. That’s because I have my own copy of TicketDesk Pro help desk fully loaded with Standard Responses, including pre-defined URLs. The answers to most questions are just a quick select and “add” away. (That’s a killer benefit of TicketDesk Pro.)

So the email problem has reared its head again, albeit on a smaller scale, and I stopped to have a think about it. I need that communication with business partners and staff, but I don’t want to be distracted by other things while I’m checking my email from those people I *want* to hear from.

Thirty seconds later I had my solution. A private forum. Perfect.

We can hold all discussions about various projects and issues in different threads. Everything is held together, no more searching through emails, and more importantly, no distractions. It should actually improve all our productivity. All I have to do is leave it open in my browser.

So at some time in the next couple of days I’ll set that up, probably on an existing SMF forum I have as I really like the way SMF works.

My email consumption should go back down to checking twice a week. Remember my goal is ONE hour per week to handle all email.

Yeah I know that sounds severe, but if you don’t have goals, you don’t have directions.

So what do you think? Could you achieve an hour a week to check email? What do you think of my forum idea? Do you know of a better solution?

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

The Email Diet Is Working

It’s a bit of a surprise for me, but after backing away from email I’ve found that I really don’t need it that much. In fact it looks like email needs me more than I need it.

In case you missed it, I’m doing a bit of an experiment in low-information “diets”, and I thought the first to go would be email. I know I can’t do away with it completely, but I certainly don’t need to check it every day, and definitely not multiple times a day.

I’ve never realised this, but when I send an email, I’m fairly relaxed about when I get an answer to it as long as I get one eventually. Sometimes. Usually.

It seems I’m even more laid back about it than I thought I’d be.

But some (just a few) other people seem to get a little bit irate when they don’t get an answer from me straight away. Most people are fine if I leave it a few days before answering, but I’ve found that some people are a bit uptight about it.

Oh well…

This is I suppose, a good example of the fact that we all live in our own little universes, and all we’re really interested in is ourselves. I’ll qualify that at a later date, but if you want to read more about this concept go get yourself a copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People” which I’m re-reading at the moment.

(This is turning into a bit of a ramble, but there’s two books that I would say have been important to me and my business. One is mentioned above, and the other is Robert Cialdini’s “Influence”. You should definitely get both of the above, and if you take the information inside them to heart, it will do wonders both for your life and business.

Back to email…)

So if I’m not missing email that much at the moment, I think it’s time for stage 2.

Stage 1 was to only check email 3 times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and only spend 15 minutes reading email, and 60 minutes to reply. I should say that if I need to send an email now, I’ll do that, I won’t wait until one of my “checking” days.

So I’m now at the end of week 2, and also the end of stage 1. So far, so good.

Now it’s time to trim that back to Mondays and Fridays starting this week.  If that works out – and I’m now very confident it will – I’ll just move to email on Mondays only. Which will mean it will be faster to get hold of me either by snail mail or via the support desk.

The result of this move away from email is I feel much more focussed now and I also feel more productive. I’m keeping an eye on it all as I don’t want something else to replace email and fill the time I’ve gained back.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

No Email, Not Missing It

Here’s a funny thing.

This week, feeling I’d lost my drive (it happens from time to time) I decided to try a little experiment.  No email.  Okay, not quite no email, I think I checked it Thursday, but even then, not all my email accounts, just a couple.

But I haven’t checked any of my email now for about 48 hours.  The effect on me is I feel more relaxed, and I also feel as if I’ve become more productive and focussed, and I’ve even spent a little more time with the family.


What would happen if I only checked my email once or twice a week?  Say Mondays and Thursdays?  As long as everyone knew that was the only time I’d be checking my email, I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal for people.

Thinking back to about a decade ago, the only way we communicated with other people was either by phone, or by writing to them.  There wasn’t any email (effectively) outside business, and did it matter?

Don’t get me wrong, email is a wonderful thing, but it really does take up far too much of my time that I could be spending on product creation and other “doing” things.

Okay then.

I’m going to try to only check email 3 times a week.  Let’s start with Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and see how that works out.  If I can manage that okay for a couple of weeks, I’ll trim it down to Mondays and Fridays.  If that goes well for another couple of weeks, I’ll only check it out on one of those two remaining days.

On each day I check email, I’m going to allow myself fifteen minutes reading time and sixty minutes reply time.  I’ll use Cool Timer to check my time usage.

I’ll report back as to how I get on and how it affects my internet business (positively or negatively) right here on my blog.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

A Must Have Service

Every so often I come across what I consider is a “lifeline” service or product.  It’s something that is so important to my business that I can’t consider being without it again.  It’s rare, but it does happen about once or twice per year.

You may have noticed that here on my blog I’ve said a few times that it was getting harder and harder to get email through to my customers.  That’s one of the reasons for having developed and released Ticket Desk Pro.  (Well, it’s in pre-launch anyway.)

Bu using help desk software, you can communicate with your customers, and even if the email doesn’t get through you know that they can just go back to the ticket they raised and read your reply.  Communication problem solved.

Or is it?  It still doesn’t solve the problem of when I want to make sure an email gets through.

One of my developers, Paul, has found a new lifeline service for me that solves many email issues.

It’s called

What it does is offer an SMTP service you can use with your email client, or even your scripts such as Ticket Desk Pro, SmartDD and the Nickel Script to make sure your email gets through to your customers.


You still can’t be absolutely sure, but it now looks to me as if 99% of my email is now getting through.  I still get the odd bounced email come back to me, but it’s far better than it was a few weeks ago with many emails failing to get there.

I’ve been using it for 3 weeks now and I’m very pleased with it.  On Saturday I upgraded to a bigger price plan, but it’s still only a few dollars for a LOT of relief that my emails are getting through.

With a whole range of pricing plans starting at $24 / year, I felt it was something I’d like to share with you.

You can find out more details of the service here:-

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business