Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Secret To Avoiding Email Overwhelm

Do you look at your inbox and want to cry? If so, you’re not alone. According to widely cited Radicati Group research, the average person gets 120 business emails every day. If you don’t manage your emails, you could end up in another statistical majority. People spend at least 14 percent of their workday on email alone. Is it any wonder that a recent Harris Poll found that only 45 percent of our workdays are spent on actual work? If you’re looking for the solution to your email woes, start with some of Silicon Valley greats.

If you want to watch a corporate team start to sweat, see what happens when they get a “?” email from Jeff Bezos. Business Insider reports that the notoriously easy-to -contact Amazon CEO will forward customer complaints to his people and add only a question mark to the original query. Getting that dreaded mark is a little like getting the black spot from Blind Pew the pirate. You know that a day of reckoning is at hand. Follow Bezos’ lead. Instead of answering all emails yourself, ask, “Can this be better handled by someone else?” Forward it to your team and save yourself the time.

You can also use auto-reply tools to manage the flood. Tommy John CEO Tom Patterson did just that after his emails skyrocketed from 150 to 400 a day. He tells that “there weren’t enough minutes in a day to answer all of them.” So he didn’t; he set up an auto-reply to tell people that he only checked email before 9 and after 5 — and to please call or text if it was urgent. The result? “It forced me to delegate and empower others to respond,” he says. Suddenly the flow slowed to a trickle.

And it really should only be a trickle; Bill Gates reports that he only gets 40–50 emails a day. Ask yourself, “Should I really be getting more emails than Bill Gates?” One possible cause for email inundation, according to LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, is other employees sending too much email of their own. He writes, “Two of the people I worked most closely with ended up leaving the organization within the span of several weeks after they left I realized my inbox traffic had been reduced by roughly 20–30 percent.” If you have over-communicators in your ranks, ask them to tone back the digital flood.

Creating a hard buffer between your email and your life is another CEO tactic. Arianna Huffington doesn’t check her email for a half hour after waking or before going to bed, and she never touches it around her kids. That space to breathe is essential to maintaining a work-life balance. And if it gets bad enough? Etsy’s Chad Dickerson has a solution: email bankruptcy! He tells Fast Company that every few years, he just deletes everything and starts fresh! Not all Silicon Valley gurus have it figured out, however. Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t get 120 business emails a day. No, according to an ABC interview, he gets closer to 700. He just gets up at the crack of dawn every morning and starts reading. Hint Water CEO Kara Goldin does the same thing, preparing for a 12-hour workday with a marathon email session. But as you can tell from the other people we’ve discussed, this is an exception, not the rule. Emulate Jeff Bezos or Arianna Huffington instead and watch your email stress melt away.

Send Us A Few Awesome Clients And Your Next Backyard BBQ Is On US!

It’s a hot-hot summer and to cool you down a little I’m holding a little contest…. I’m looking for a few new clients.not just any business, but AWESOME companies that are as much fun and interesting to work with as YOU are!

The GREAT thing about this contest is that MOST people who participate will be winners! If even just ONE of the companies you refer to us becomes a client, you WIN!

Find out how to win these fabulous prizes by visiting

Its too easy not to pass up the opportunity to get some cool Yeti gear or enough meat for a super backyard BBQ!

Shiny New Gadget Of The Month:
The Feeder of the Future

Petnet is looking to upgrade pet care with their new automated SmartFeeder, targeted toward pet owners who frequently travel or those with packed, variable schedules.

After you install the SmartFeeder app on your phone, it’ll ask a few questions to get to know your animal, including their age, weight, activity level, and food type. This last feature is particularly interesting, as the feeder will recommend feeding amounts for dozens and dozens of common cat and dog foods, though users report it can be a little finicky.

After it gathers the information, you can set up regular, automatic feeding schedules for your furry friend. After that, it’s an almost entirely hands-free process, until you need to reload the feeder with your animal’s preferred food.

Its $150 price tag may be a little steep for most pet owners, but for the busiest Ñ and laziest Ñ of us, it could be the perfect addition to your alreadyautomated home.

Geoff Smart: The 3 Hardest Questions About Your Career

I love helping people strategize about their career. A recently retired governor just contacted me to schedule a career strategy chat. I’m guessing he has a sense of what he wants to do next, but needs a sounding board in order to come up with a plan.

I hope that my approach (described below) will not only be useful for him, but also for you. It starts with answering these three hard questions:

  1. What is my skill-will bull’s-eye? Your skills (what you can do) and your will (what you want to do) line up in what Randy Street and I call the “skillwill bull’s-eye.” I recently helped a Fortune 500 VP find hers when she struggled to put her finger on her core talents and interests. Was it head hunting? “No.” What about coaching? “I don’t think so?” What about designing the process that businesses use to recruit? “YES! That is what I get to do only part of the time in my current job. That is what I want to do with more of my time.” Presto — a skill-will bull’seye!
  2. What are three career paths? Force yourself outside the box by outlining three different career options. Following from the previous example, that VP had only previously focused on a corporate path. That was Path 1, so I asked what were two other paths she could consider. “Well, I guess Path 2 would be to try to join an existing consulting firm … and Path 3 could be that I hang out my own shingle and do that kind of work solo.” We discussed the pros and cons of each path, and she eventually chose Path 2.
  3. Who are 10 people who can help me get my dream job? Do you know “hundreds of people?” Great, but let’s prioritize the 10 most likely to get you your dream job. Start by listing past bosses who know your work and are well-connected. Now list clients or customers who respect you. Next, add a college friend or two with connections. Then a good recruiter, followed by any powerful family friends you may have. Once you have your 10, write out a half-page message summarizing the career path you’re looking for and the reasons you’d be a good fit for that path. End by asking for a few minutes of their time to pick their brain — minutes that will hopefully end in referrals to your dream job.

If you think these tactics are useful, please download our other free career strategy tools at

Dr. Geoff Smart is the No. 1 thought leader on the No. 1 topic in business: hiring and leading talented teams. Dr. Smart founded the leadership consulting firm ghSmart in 1995, a firm he still chairs today. He is also a nonprofit founder, government advisor, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author

Kicking Your Cyber Security Up A Notch

The IT Princess of Power with ID Agent President, Kevin Lancaster

You’ve all heard me preach about the security on networks and you might even get my weekly Cyber Security email tips, so you already know how important we believe this to be.

The hackers keep stepping up their game, so WE need to kick our defenses up a notch – or two.

Last month we vetted and brought on board a new vendor, ID Agent, that does Dark Web monitoring and altering.

What’s the Dark Web you say? It’s the place that hackers and malicious actors hang out that you CAN’T get to with a regular web browser, and even WE don’t go to. It’s true and present danger. This is where you will find that underground digital bazaar I’ve told you about where Intellectual Property, credit card data, health information, and YOUR credentials are up for sale to the highest bidder.

The service we just started to offer scans and scrapes the Dark Web for YOUR COMPANY’S compromised credentials and IMMEDIATELY alerts you when they are found there so you can change passwords. (I like to think of it like a CIA Agent posing as a Russian govern official and sending us critical information to keep our nation safe)

In speaking with Founder and President of ID Agent, Kevin Lancaster, I was both dumbfounded and amazed to learn just how many credentials are compromised. Until last month they have only been offering this service to federal governments, nation states, and huge corporations. Now we are able to offer this kind of protection AT A FRACTION OF THE COST the big guys pay.

Interested? I’ll get you info right away and even do a one-time scan COMPLETELY FREE if you just email or call me.

To your continued security,