It's me, not you 1

In the last few weeks, I've been trying hard to get a handle on where my day (and attention) goes. I realized I get more than 300-500 emails a day and that's just TOO MANY. I have "shiny object syndrome" and find my attention pulled away by the latest sale, news, or whatchamacallit.

I simply cannot read all the emails and get any work done and it's become a serious problem. I'm losing emails I do want to respond to (sorry!) and not getting critical work done. Something had to be done.

Google apps mail allows me to pause my email, but then I come back to hundreds of emails so I've come up with a one-two punch process that is working well.

  • ONE: Delete emails en masse (Google apps mail makes this easy)
  • TWO Get off many of the lists that send me emails

So now I'm spending fifteen minutes, three times a day, deleting and unsubscribing. Responding to emails adds time, of course.

Here's how I do read my email.

  1. Google apps for Business lets me select 100 emails at a time to scroll through.
  2. scroll through them and deselect ones I either want to read or unsubscribe from.
  3. I delete all the ones that are still selected.
  4. I look at the ones I want to unsubscribe from and find the word UNSUBSCRIBE at the bottom of the email and unsubscribe. (I'll discuss this in a moment. It's not that easy.)
  5. I read the ones I want to read and respond.

How easy is it to unsubscribe? Not so much. 

Some lists make it easy. They make word Unsubscribe in bold so you can find it. Others make the word Unsubscribe so light you can barely find it. Still others never use the word Unsubscribe. They use a bunch of alternate words (like manage your subscription) and then use the words "click here" so it takes you a few minutes to figure out what to click on, perhaps so you'll give up.

Now is when the real fun begins. After you click on whatever word you need to click on, you are taken to another page. If you are super lucky, you are done and you get a confirmation that you have been unsubscribed. But does that happen often? NO IT DOES NOT. In too many cases, you now have a quiz that you have to take before you are unsubscribed.

Because I've spent the past two weeks doing this, I'm somewhat crazed at the lengths it takes to unsubscribe lists. So in my next post, I'll provide examples. 

  • Patti Shank

And then my email stopped working (how to get to tier 2 quickly) 0

Last week I had migraines that wouldn't stop. I get a few migraines a week, but typically they come and go. I tell you this (in case you don't already know) not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but because it's one of my "things." Something to live and deal with on an ongoing basis.

Then my email stopped working. I got some email but not all. If you have migraines, you know this is not the best time for troubleshooting, but if you work for yourself, that's too bad.

I use Google Apps for Business so I hopped onto a support call. One of the things I so appreciate about Google Apps support is they are nice and they don't seem to be reading a script. But because I'm reasonably technical, it's rare for the first person I talk to to come up with "the answer." (Universal these days for Tier 1 for any service?)  We futzed around with some settings, but nothing changed. No joy. He put the problem off for a day. Another day without email. Same the next day. I had to tell people to contact me by Skype. And I didn't know who wasn't getting through to me. NOT GOOD!

Then I called back and provided my own troubleshooting.

  • These types of emails were getting through...
  • These types weren't...
  • It started on this day...
  • Here were some commonalities...
  • Could the following issues be factors? (A, B, C, D...)

This was beyond Tier 1 so I was sent to a specialist and we talked about my observations. Finally, I brought up something that ended up as the culprit. (I seemed to be getting email from one domain but not the other.) I went to my hosting service and fixed the MX records(the email servers) for the non-working domain and the problem was resolved. Turned out, the problems would have persisted had I not done the troubleshooting because even the Tier 2 people weren't thinking along the lines I was thinking.

How might this help you? Do troubleshooting. Send test messages. Ask others to send test messages. And so on. You know more about the factors surrounding your problem than the people you are talking to. And if you do enough of this and can provide the data, you may get through to Tier 2 quickly. Oh, and I've learned this. If you ask to move to Tier 2 because Tier 1 isn't helping you, they usually will put you through. But have data and ideas, not just crankiness. There's far too much of that in the world.

~This is my own opinion. Your mileage may vary.





  • Patti Shank

After a year of hassles, I built myself a new website 0

You may have noticed that my website has changed. Well, it had to. I was hosting my website using New Rainmaker and it was just too hard. Adding sidebars took hours. Changing the template for individual pages messed my content up. I found it extremely non-intuitive. (And that's what others who tried it told me as well.) I tried... and I'm technical. But after almost a year I just had to admit defeat.

Sometimes when you spend a ton of money on something, you dig in your heels and try over and over to make it work, even if it doesn't. I was stubborn. I tried for almost a year. I've hand-coded websites. Tweaked code. Built online instruction. Done advanced statistics for goodness sakes! But it beat me good.

It was a rough year. I used somebody on Rainmaker's website to help me. That somebody changed my logo (WTH?) and color palette and then yelled at me when I questioned that and other things. I asked the Rainmaker folks to help me with  this... somebody. Nope. Then the... somebody sent me lawsuit papers because I asked for completion of my site.

I have chronic migraines and constant aggravation is an issue. So after using a tool that was just too hard, working with somebody who was incredibly challenging, I admitted defeat. (And I learned a lot about listening to clients.)

This site was built with Shopify in about a week, by me (with a bit of help here and there). Shopify is easy (I do have decent technical skills). When I called Shopify to ask a quick question, they answered it immediately and gave me extra information to help me out. (Rainmaker only answered questions by email. Often they're fast. Sometimes not.) Shopify is far cheaper than Rainmaker and hooks up to all the things I wanted to use on Rainmaker but couldn't.

In case this isn't obvious, this is my opinion. Got questions? Ask me. 
  • Patti Shank

Clearing your (brain’s) buffer 0

Crowded terminalHave you ever felt like you cannot think about an important issue because your brain is simply too filled with other things? For example, You need to get those vegetable plants planted and power-wash the deck. Call Margie and John (who you don’t want to call back because you didn’t finish his estimate). You’re worried about the upcoming meeting with your boss. Figure out what to make or bring for the picnic.

And do things like this keep you from sleeping? You may hear a disc in your head turn on and all the things you’ve been worrying or thinking about start yakking to you.

There’s a Clear-Your-Buffer technique that works really well for getting these things out of your head so you can better focus on what you need to work on. Or if you need to sleep, you can get it out of your head and go to sleep.

  1. Make a list with three columns something like this: NOW –  LATER – PROBABLY NOT.

  2. List the things on your mind into the three categories.

  3. Put things that need to be done now (or tomorrow) in the first column. List things that don’t need to be done right now in the second column and put a date on them if you can. Tear off the column on the right. Now you can focus or get to sleep.

Now - Later - Probably Not

This technique helps me clear my mind when my mind is too full. (That happens often.)

In my book, Be the (Best) Boss of You, I discuss how to make sure you are getting the most important things done. Those are the things that make your life turn out well.  Too many people forget to make the most important things in life a priority. And that rarely turns out well.
  • Patti Shank