Dealing With Email Overload && Prettier Setups
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Here is Scott Dyleski and West Boss. Hello, everybody. Welcome to syntax today. We've got another mini sewed for you and we're gonna be talking about how to deal with email, how to deal with email, overwhelm everyone's got way too much email. And, um, I don't I think I hit a bit of a breaking point in 2017 within my email because it was just something that was taking too much of my time. Something that I hated doing. Um, it just was it was just a big problem for me and I I think I've solved. And I sort of took all of my ideas into solving it and put it into a system. My whole, my whole mantra. Actual life is called Make It a thing.

And so I took all of my lessons learned from from solving my email woes and and put it into the sinkhole. The breakout email management system. So we're going to do today is we're gonna go through the main points of the breakout email system and all sort of explain how what they are in and how they might help you. So the house. How you doing today,


Scott? Doing good. I look how you Ah, you gave that Minnesota little bit of ah character. There was a Minnesota. Minnesota made


it fun. I way haven't decided on if it's a Minnesota or not like, if this is, ah, the word that we want to use But


I come I like it. Yeah, I just sort of organically


popped up. Or maybe like a snack episode, You know, tasty Because okay, if you please vote tweet us. I feel like snack Isoda or mini sewed better tha This episode is sponsored by Flourish Books. Fresh books is Thea easy to use cloud accounting software that I've been using myself for many, many years. So if you are running any sort of small business or you need to build somebody, go to fresh books dot com four slash syntax. Ah, and you sign up for one month free. We'll talk a little bit more about the part way through this show. Nice. So So you just, uh, get into it.


Yeah, Let's get into it. Uh, maybe s before we could talk a little bit about, um, you know, your inbox and anxiety. Yes, right? Like I don't know. It actually gives me anxiety to see other people's in boxes have, like, 1000 unready emails and stuff like that. So, uh,


yeah, that is absolutely no way to live. Your life is just like, remembering that like you talk about, like, cognitive owed for load and the people. What they do is they remember how many they had. And then if it goes up by three, they know they have three new ones like that's That's a terrible


way to live your life. It's terrible. And it's gotta feel like, Ah, you know, like hoarders when their their house just feels like its walls are closing in on them or something like that. You know, you got that has to feel like very, very restricting. And I know personally because there was point in my life. Maybe it was college or wherever, where my inbox was totally out of control. And so, um, I thought I practice trying to get zero in bucks every day, but I'm really interested to hear about this this system, because I don't know the details of your your breakout system.


Yeah, cool. Well, let's let's get into. I actually don't don't do inbox zero. And I think a big chunk of this big breakout email system is just not caring all that much about your email because it will always keep coming and there will always be too much. But that said, like there's probably people listening to every like this guy's talking about how good he is. An email? Yeah, he doesn't. He hasn't emailed me back in a month, and the answer is that is like, Oh, there's a lot of my I haven't, um and all probably eventually get do it or maybe I won't. But I know that at the end of the day,

my, um, people that have pressing issues, they've been fixed, and I am not spending more time on my email because I've got better stuff to do. Email is busy work for me, and I need to be recording courses and actually running my business rather than being busy in the process that is email. So let's go start off with. The first point of this email system is to decide I have here the core of breakout is that you likely don't have an email problem. You likely have a decision problem. So it's human nature to avoid having to make decisions to defer to a better time to ah, toe, leave that email to not open it to leave it sealed because you saw the first line your local don't want to feel about right now. And that's really like if we, like, hit home a still like,

What is my email problem? It's that I hate to make some sort of decisions. Specifically, the big one for me right now is is replying to people about conferences that are a year away. And they're like, Hey, do you want to come? And I'm like, I don't know, maybe yes, the kind of I don't want to make the decision right now. So, um, what I did is, ah is I stopped doing that. I'm going to deal with it later,

and I just force myself toe actually make a decision. And if it's something that I'm sort of not feeling great about, I know that I can just just turn it down or just tell them I'm just I don't have timeto to reply to this right now. And that believably alleviated a lot of the stress of email for me because, um, again, it wasn't the fact that I just opened up my email and Sorry. Did you hear that? The wind chimes, Uh, this doorbell. Okay. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. It wasn't that it was this decision paralysis where I just had too many decisions to make in a day,

and I just didn't have the mental energy to do that. So, um, being able to sit down and go through it is had really, really helped me out. Um, So how do you How do you deal with that? Let's go to the next one. The 1st 1 is killing at the source. So whenever an email inbox comes to me now, I just say, Like, how do I stop this from coming into my email inbox? Um, like if people the one of them for me was that people would always email me and request amendments to the receipts being like, um,

especially in Europe. There's weird tax laws there, and they said, Can you add this to the receipt? Can you do that? And for me that it was causing a lot of extra busy work, and I thought like it shouldn't ever actually hit my e motors or people would sign up with people of, like, 11 different email accounts. And then they're like I signed up with 42 different email accounts. Can you merge them all for me? So what I did is I just built tooling to allow the person to merge them themselves or it built by what I did, or they just stuck a content creditable on the receipt. And then if something's not right on your seat, change it yourself and just print it from there. I don't care what you put on your receipt toe to make your your company happy.

Um, I'll trust you on that. So finding at, like, what is the source of these problems, and how do I stop them from getting into my in box in the first place? And as, ah, flip side that also made my customers much more happy because they didn't have to email me and wait for me to actually reply.


Yeah, I like this. There's a lot of this stuff that I deal with that where my contact form gets hit a lot with tech questions like, how do I do this or I'm trying to do this or that? Whatever. And this is this is a non, uh, a non technical solution to that. But I just put up texted, saying like if you email me with technical questions, I will not answer them like I will not answer your email and that cut down it doesn't completely eliminated. I still maybe get one or two a day, but they cut down significantly amount of just the tech questions I get in my inbox and the ones I do get in my inbox. I don't answer anyway. So, uh, you know, I think that that kind of system is much needed to recognize these patterns.


Exactly. Exactly. Next one is the Your inbox is not the world's to do list. So we we talked earlier, bow on a productivity show about getting things done and being ableto have a to do list. And to focus on that, a lot of people treat their email inbox as a to do list that anybody in the world has write access to and anyone in the world can add stuff, too. So, um, as stuff comes into your inbox, you need to deal with it. And if it is a to do item, you need to process that and put it into the appropriate thing. So in my case, if there's something in my email inbox that I need to deal with, but I can't deal with it at the that given time,

I don't leave it in my in box. I put it into a to do list, assign it an area, put a due date on it, if if needed, and then archives email because it's it's not something you should as when you open it, you should deal with it right then and there and have a process in a system for following up with that piece of email if it's needed.


Yeah, I agree with this, and it's ah, great way to again. Clear out that that inbox clutter exactly the inbox. I mean, it's name is the inbox. It's not the place where email lives forever. You decide what to


do about it. That's the whole idea. Behind you would have it in boxing. You would used to have an outbox right and you would you would just process that you wouldn't just leave it all in your in box, you would put it in your ear. Your outbox next one I have is filtering. Um, so I've spent a lot of time like Gmail has these. I used Gmail, and they have these tabs that filter for social promotions, updates and forms, which is great, cause I'll often just select all and delete it because I don't necessarily care, but they're not perfect. And, um ah, what I like to do is is just create.

I have these massive, um, these rules and Gmail, where anything that comes from base camp are slacker get hub or tremolo or PayPal or asana or anything like that. It will automatically apply a, um, a tag to it. And then I can just go through those tags. And I know that anything that is in that I can just safely delete and that will just blow it away. And that'll that'll really bring the number of emails in my inbox down. Ah, similarly, um, automatic reply. I get hundreds of these because my team Ellis is fairly large, and all of Germany is always on vacation.

So if I send out an email, I get hundreds of Germans auto reply with auto mash dished Antwerp and ah, I I built this massive rule of every single language of out of reply. I tweeted out, and people, people made this really big rule that said, any time that has response automatic or auto reply, or out of office, or in every language, and then we'll just automatically archive those because I do not care if you are out of the office and no, just automatically thrilled those into the trash for me, which is great. Nice. So, yeah, spending some time on filters is well worth your time.


Yeah. Yeah, and I filter. Uh, anything that comes from, um, any sort of like, uh, sales email or anything like that. Our newsletter all unsubscribed, but also put a filter on it, just in case. You know, some of those emails come back, and they're like, Hey, you know, even though you unsubscribe were still sending you email because I don't know if that happens to you, but that happens to me all the time.


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Not actually you. So if you are a small business owner and you need invoicing system cloud accounting software being able to keep track of your expenses and all that good stuff, check out fresh Bookstop. Calm ford slash syntax and enter in syntax into the How did you hear about a section Automate and expand is the next tip. So tech support goes to slack, obscure programming questions. I send them to stack overflow questions about my text editor or anything that, like what font to use goes to west boss dot com for such uses. Ah, I get a lot of people who want advice. They say this is my very specific situation. What should I dio? And, um, the reality is is that you most of those people just need a little bit of motivation. They just want you to be like,

Hey, keep going, keep going out and you'll do great, because your situation is not unique. You just need to put in a lot of time and build a lot of stuff and you'll get good at programming. So I just sort of like D stuff that, like like that needs to be redirected elsewhere because it doesn't belong in my inbox. So, um, those redirect skin seems sort of rash and cold, like I don't like that I have to do this to people, but I need a fast way to redirect people out of it. So what I use is, ah, text expander for these common emails where I have like I type colon brief and it just doesn't say like, hey,

thanks so much for the email. Um, I apologize if this email is brief, I do get a lot of it. I really wish I could spend more time on it, but I am short on time right now, and then I will. Then I will type exactly what I want and that little a little bit of like human ness before I do the redirect, um really helps in it gives people like a little bit of a better feeling because we've all gotten like short e mails and tone is often lost on online. And, um, I don't want to leave people with sort of like a sour taste in their mouth. Um, what also we have here, Um, So that's another reason Is that often emails that need,

like a empathetic response? Often emails that need a little bit of time. Those are the ones that you put off because you need toe figure out. OK, how do I reply to this properly? I need to to reach deep and have a little bit empathy in this one, and those are the ones that you like all tickets later. I don't have time. I can't. Can't be bothered with it right now, so you should not be. Eyes will not be putting away. So they let that text expander I have. Lots of little snippets often are. What I'll do is if I copy their name, opt explainer automatically input into the response.

So if you if you say the person's name, it looks a little bit more human, just ironic, cause it's not because it's a automated response. But it allows me to have the level of humanness that I want with the sheer amount that I actually get. So I've been pretty happy with with the text expander automation that I've been been using.


Nice. Yeah, I I really need to get set up with text expander in a much greater way.


Yeah, is also you can check out a text, which is like a $5 replacement. A text spender recently switched over to the like the monthly, which is brutal. I haven't haven't upgraded to the new one yet. They just didn't add any features and then started charging you monthly for instead of just a one time purchase. So a tax is a nice little alternative there. Um, next one is dictation. So, um, OS X has a really good dictation built into it where if you turn it on and you download this like, two gig file, it will be really good at, um, being ableto take your text and make it into speech.

So I'll just hit function function, and then it will just take whatever it is that you're saying and put it into an email. So I often will do that because it's both quicker and also comes off a little bit more human than typed text because it's just meets typing into me, talking into a microphone. Ah, and doing that so huge fan of dictation. It's come a long, long way. Um, and it's it's pretty good. You still have to go over really quickly or I'll just put, like, a quick like, Hey, sorry if there's, like,

weird. I have had some, like, really weird ones where I didn't catch mistakes, but often this but like, hey, I dictated this. So apologies for any weird anywhere it issues that come


my way. Yeah, yeah, this actually that's something that I would have been interested in a lot more in general anyways is dictation for me, because obviously I decent enough at recording audio. Like I talk into a microphone for the videos in this podcast, right? You're a terrible writer. And so maybe the solution for me writing Blawg posts isn't isn't to write a block post Mauritz to just talk it out and edit it later. So, uh, not in the context of email, obviously. But dictation is definitely something that I'm super interested in right now.


Exactly. I had my, um my entire es six course I had it captured. And then I took those captions to a technical writer, and the technical writer turned them into block posts. So it was me speaking into ah, microphone. And eventually they ended up as beautiful block posts that are helpful for everybody. And it also gives me a really nice Google boost because they've got 60 blawg posts on javascript that will show up when you search for something nice. Ah, video responses I don't use. That's a whole lot. But often especially like people are doing like a school project, or they wanna have an interview or something like that and Then they send me a list of, like, 47 questions that I have to then reply to, and they're gonna publish it on their blawg.

Um, and sometimes I don't do these because it's it's a bit of a tactic to, ah, bright a block posts email Everybody who has more than 80,000 Twitter followers for their opinion and then and then email them back once it's published and ask for a share. So that's a bit of Ah, I'm not really stoked on that tactic, But often people will have, like, leg legitimate questions for me, and they want to put into a block post whereas, like, just like I don't want to type this cause it's gonna take me forever So I'll just flip on my email. Um, how flip on my video recorder on cloud app or or I'll just do an audio one and I'll just talk through all the questions as fast as I can, and then I say, I'll just give it to them and be like here.

Good luck, like transcribe it. If if you like anything that I've said nice. Otherwise, uh, nothing that I have there, Um, should you differ. So differing emails should be a last resort. If you need to reply to email, but you're a waiting on another party, you can defer it. So it whether using a Google has like a snooze feature where you could just get out of your inbox and snooze until the next day. Um, and I'm a big fan of that for things that you actually are waiting on somebody else and you can't archive it. But you just want it off your plate.

So you stop thinking about it and, um, deferring it is really good for that. Um, next one batch processing is I often will do email just once or twice a day. I'll have it open all day just in case something like a fire comes up. But usually I would just like not touch my email and then once a day, I'll just go through it as fast as I can. I'll blow through. And even now I have. Since I've written this, I haven't assistant as well. That takes care of, um, a good chunk of the email and she uses the same tactics that ideo um and it's just that you go through it a couple times a day. Blow through it all the questions are mostly have answers that can be solved within a minute or two.

Um, and then anything else is where I'll go through it once it once or twice a day. And Ah, and add my own little touch to that nice big fan of using sending archive, um, in the auto advance in Gmail, because what that will do is as you send one, it will automatically bring another one up on. Then it doesn't give you a chance to sort of escape when, Ah, because if it's marked as red, then you have to. Then you got to deal with that. You can't just keep leaving it in your inbox. So there's a ITT's in Gmail labs where you can turn it on where when you archive an email, it will automatically put another one on your plate,

and it won't bring you back to your inbox. They'll just give you the next one, which is great. And finally, my last tip is stopped emailing yourself. There are lots of different good places that you can store information rather than emailing it to yourself. People always just send themselves attachments are reminders or something like that. Ah, your email inbox is not a to do list. So get a proper to do list. Um, if you have information, put it in. Evernote. Put it on Pinterest. Put it on Dropbox.

Put it in Google drive. Airdrop it to somebody. There's not a whole lot of use case for emailing stuff to yourself. Yeah, anymore. Yeah. And that that just again that just clutters up your your inbox. It's not not necessary.


Yeah, I've never been a huge fan of emailing myself because you're right. I mean, there's a 1,000,000,000 other things. I don't do that better for you anyway, So, uh, yeah, love these tips


call. So that's that's it for me. Those things have really helped me a lot this year. Um, I've been really happy with all this different process in it is not perfect. I like I sit right here right now, have 44 new emails I have come in the last 20 hours, but I know that when I do do it, I'll probably be ableto to deal with it in less than half an hour and then I'll be


happy about it. Well, when a couple things I wanna Adah obviously these aren't part of your system, but, uh, I know this is cliche at this point, but make time to focus on your email and then, like, close it for the rest of the day like, yeah, from 9 to 10 is usually when I I work on email or take care of all my email every single day and then I never, ever open it again for the rest of the day, Turn off notifications on your phone. That stuff will drive you nuts because you didn't notification. Every time sends you an email. Nothing is that urgent?


Especially on the weekend that could wreck your wreck. Your weekend when you accidentally see something that, well, like whether it's a bad review or somebody yet like someone e mails you and they say they're disappointed in the content that will really ruin your day. So


yeah, and you're not gonna take care of it on a Sunday anyways. Exactly. Also, what unsubscribed from, um, email. It's obviously ones that aren't


not my


blesses our mind. Yeah, but if if target is sending you emails that, like to you need emails from target. Like, do you need emails from Costco Are ikey only Meyer? I don't Yes, I don't need emails from those people, but occasionally you get signed up for those things. And you just sort of let those e mails come in and ignored and stuff like that. Obviously, if it's high value content like Wes is, and mind you wanna keep those emails But for, like, low value content that comes all the time. Like, for instance,

there's really awesome Savory spice shop in Denver, Colorado, and we we love the savory spy shop. And we just kept using my mother's account so that she would get all the bonus points every time we bought anything there. And then, yeah, a couple weeks ago, I signed up for an account myself, and they send me look 3 to 4 emails a day. No way. Yeah, yeah, I told told corny, I was just like I just got another email from Savory Spy Shop. I need to end this right now. It became just like I love you guys, but cut it


out. Yeah, yeah, seriously. And especially like when they ask for your email at the cash register? No, no, No way. With a no way. I unsubscribed from absolutely everything. The only like, um the only sort of like things that I don't unsubscribe to is people that are also in my industry. Because often what I want to do is I want to go back and look at what are people in in our industry or people that are sort of like selling stuff in a in a different industry, but kind of the same way. I'll often like to go back and see how they're doing it, but I will definitely auto archive all of those things. So it's not not taking up space in your head.

Nice and in your inbox added your books. Cool. So if you have any tips to make sure you tweet them at Syntax FM, um, we're gonna move on to the listener question and ah, we're gonna We're trying this, that we're gonna every episode we're gonna just try to answer a ah, a little question that is, that's come our way. If you have any, make sure you just said, you know, send us. Ah, says an email sent a tweet. Whatever it is that you want todo.

So today's question is about prettier, which is the JavaScript four matter that has just exploded in last last year or so. Um, and if you haven't heard of it, what it will do is you just write your job description. It will automatically format it to whatever settings that you you sort of have turned on. And I really like this because you don't have to spend any time making sure you've properly indented or or put the arguments on single lines or any of these rules. It will just do it for you, and you don't have toe tell worry about it. Also, I get a lot of questions about, like, how do you actually set up prettier And I thought, Be interesting to see just Scott and I real quick. How do we have pretty You're set up for our our own death.


Yeah. So I I personally have ah, the, um e s lint plug in for prettier and in my es lint that are dot es lint r c file. I simply just haven't listed in the plug ins prettier. And then that's it takes care of everything for me and then Ah, zero configuration on top event and just let it do its thing.


Oh, wow. Awesome. Um, I also used the es land. So yes, Lynn is It's not really hard to explain what Yes, Lynn is. And people are getting a bit but her lately about ah improperly explain what?


Yes, lint. It's just finds issues or configure it finds issues or syntax wiser, uh, structure wise or any that in your JavaScript code and fixes it based on a set of parameters that you've either said or brought in with pictures plug ins, whatever.


Exactly, exactly. And prettier is is focused on syntax and, like code best practices for men in yeah format. And es lin is more focused on, um, improper coding. Where if you forgot Teoh, if you've improperly scope something or, uh you have for gotten, um I don't what are some of the other l I should open up my yes, lit here. I have hundreds of settings in the years ago. Yeah, we open it up.


I find even just fixes my tabbing. It fixes my usage of semi Coghlan's that automatically alert me if maybe missing prop types or default props and react. It does a lot of a lot of stuff


for me. Comma dame, dangle comic. You sure you always have a function name or not? I have that one turned on moving


white space like


a necessary base for parentheses. E Ah, this is a whole bunch of ones for for reacting and whatnot. So I have that all in my excellent. And then when I have my prettier, um, I will just install the prettier plug in, and then it will auto fix all of the stuff than prettier started off as a zero config. But they have been a little bit and added a couple different settings for it. Specifically, I have, um, the ability to have trailing Kama said Teoh es five, which I don't even know what that is. Um, like trailing comma is after.


Yeah. Do you hang? I use a trailing comma in


light of it because I was the because of the ah, get change. I really like the fact that you don't have toe message with the previous line with it. Yeah, I've changed it to single quotes instead of double. Um, and then I've sent my column with 220 instead of the default, 80 just goes,


Yeah, because, yeah, I got who could do 80 like that?


I don't know. That's apparently everybody. And they have, like, multiple columns open at once. But I got a big monitor and I'm happy if that's kind of the nice thing about being a devil on your own is you don't have toe conform to a team standard. You can just have your own settings.


Yeah, and I have actually mindset toe 1 60 I didn't realize I had that won't know. I know I do like short lines, but I think then I keep my, uh, my type size pretty small, like, kind of squinting to have to see it small. So I just


like him. And then here's the question. Do you have it? NVs code. Do you have it for Matt on


safe? I haven't format on savior because I love that. I love not having to worry about space after and tabs and any of that stuff hitting command us and just seeing everything sort of getting the line. I love that. I don't want to say, Hey man, fix yourself up. I just wanted


toe That's funny. I usedto, um when I taught, I would I would give feedback to students and I would always tell them like, make sure you watch your indentation and and make sure that your, um like, you're properly intending because this this code is a bit hard to read where, as I look back at it now and I was like, prettier is the ultimate beginners tool because you don't have to worry about the proper formatting in invitation and where everything goes, it will just fix it for you, and it will make your code extremely readable. So prettier also works on HTML and CSS and a whole bunch of different. It started off just JavaScript, but works on a bunch of different


languages as well. Yeah, I would say my code is pretty terribly read If I'm not using e s lit like I've just I've been in it so much toe fix on safe that if I don't use it, I just like my muscle memory is completely gone for making sure that formatted


correctly. There's also a I ah, format on paste NVs codas house. If you're pasting in code from somebody else's, um, code or from online. It will automatically format as he paced in, which is pretty neat, super neath So big fan of Prettier. Check it out. Um, you got anything else from me, Scott? Or should we wrap this pup puppy


up? Let's wrap it up. Let's snack up


in episode. Thanks for snacking with us. See in the next life my provided


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