Ben Smith Katie Notopoulos Tried Emailing Like a CEO

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Mark Cuban, a man unburdened by guilt over unanswered emails.

Like any good member of the proletariat who wants nothing more than to serve capitalism, I am always looking for ways to be more productive at work. And one area where I have more than a lot of room for improvement is keeping up with email.

Look, I could be worse. I’m fairly organized — I use the tabbed Gmail inbox with a healthy number of colored labels and filters. At one point, I even maintained inbox zero, but those days are long gone. My problem is I still let emails slip through the cracks unanswered, occasionally causing problems. I recently searched my sent emails for the term “sorry” and found more than I wish to admit in which I said some version of “sorry for the late reply.”

What trips me up most is my habit of scanning my inbox, often on my phone, opening an email, reading it, and thinking, “I’ll reply to that later when I’m at my computer and/or not in the middle of this other project and can give a full reply.” Then I leave it marked as “read” and forget about it. I check my inbox constantly, but I only actually deal with my emails in a deliberate way during a few dedicated chunks of my day.

My email situation isn’t the worst. I’ve seen people with HORRIFYING numbers of unread emails. I typically only hover around 1,000, but it causes me stress and it’s not helping me do my best work. I would like to live my best life. I would like to live a life where I’m “good” at email and also shower every day and floss and stop biting my cuticles and am kinder to dogs. However, I know that I only have any hope of accomplishing the first item on that list.

My actual exposure to people who are extremely quick with email replies is somewhat limited. But my main inspo came from two unseemly places: the Sony email hack and the DNC leak that revealed Hillary Clinton’s emails. In the Sony hack, I was fascinated by executives like Amy Pascal’s quick, terse messages. How did people communicate like this?! I was agog.

Seeing Clinton’s emails was a whole new can of worms — quick emails to her staff, as well as longer, formal emails to other people. She had both a mastery of email and a complete bumbling lack of understanding of it. It was a hypnotic train wreck, and I wanted in. I want to be the kind of per

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