The Tricks Behind an Empty E-Mail Inbox

The Tricks Behind an Empty E-Mail Inbox

The Tricks Behind an Empty E-Mail Inbox

The Tricks Behind an Empty E-Mail Inbox

Technology is often a two-edged sword. The best example of this: EMAIL.

Email started as the preferred form of communication for most companies but, due to its popularity, has become a nightmare to manage. In fact, there is a move for some tech companies to slowly move out of email. Thus the rise in popularity of collaboration apps such as Slack, Yammer and Workplace by Facebook.

Of course, as experienced professionals, we know that email is still a necessity and getting rid of it won’t happen anytime soon.

So instead, I will share some of the tricks I provide during career counselling for experienced professionals.These will not only help you maintain an empty inbox but, more importantly, be more productive at work


Process Your Email

The first thing we need to do is change our mindset about our inbox. We should process NOT just check our inbox. This may seem like simple semantics, but it means a lot.

Checking our inbox is very passive. We look at the emails and decide to reply to some, leave some unread and the rest remains in limbo as we work on the answers or actually work on the task associated with the email. Yup, out inbox sometimes becomes our to do list.

On the other hand, processing our inbox forces us to act on each and every item and place the information in that email where they should be.

Here’s how I process them:

Note: I took most of this from the GTD (Getting Thing Donemethod as well as clips I watched from the Nozbe blog.


5 D’s

Each of the email will go through this process… normally in this order.



If I can reply to an email quickly. I do a Nike and Just Do It.

Quickly is relative. For me, it’s about 3-5 mins. Others are more strict and defer (see below) email that needs a longer response.

As much as possible, I try to keep my email as short and concise as possible. If I notice I am typing long sentences and paragraphs, I try to put them into bullet points instead.

If I notice a back-and-forth, I will probably ping the person or simply call them.



If an email requires someone else’s input, then I simply delegate it to them. I simply forward the email to the concerned party with a question or call to action.

Honestly, this can be a bit tricky though since some folks do not have this inbox processing in place and some of these delegated email ends up somewhere in the bottom of their inbox. In order to remedy this, I often create action items to remind me to follow-up on the email I delegated. Yes, it can be frustrating but it is what it is. Besides, the email to tasks feature (see below) helps me deal with this.

Note: If you really do not want to follow-up, cc’ing the person’s immediate supervisor has been known to do wonders. 🙂



If an email requires more time, which means an action is necessary on my end, I will defer it. Deferring can be a week after, a day after or even right after the current inbox processing.

I have used different tools / methods for this.

  • GMail Labels
  • GMail Scripts
  • Evernote
  • Wunderlist

I have since moved to a really great productivity app called Nozbe. I will not discuss the details of the app but I use it to keep all my todos. The email to tasks feature is really great in helping me create action items from my inbox. I simply forward an email to a specific address, add the necessary hashtags (you will learn more about this when you start using Nozbe), click on Send + Archive and I’m all set.



No. This does not mean dumping them in the trash. This is for information that might be useful for future reference.

For these messages, I simply dump them into my ever-handy Evernote.

Disclaimer: I loved Evernote so much that I went ton to become an Evernote Certified Consultant.



The last part of the process is simply deleting the email.

I don’t know about you but I know a lot of people who find this the hardest thing to do. There is a certain sense of FOMO (Fear of missing out) about deleting emails.



An important element in this process is that you should always try to PROCESS to ZERO.

Once you let one email creep in… another will follow… and another. Soon, you will just be too tired to process and succumb to the weight of another full inbox.

Additional tips to help you do this:

# Turn off your new email notifications and, instead, schedule when you will process them.

# For old emails, start by processing 25-30 old messages that are in your Inbox.

# This does not apply for your new messages. They all need to be processed.

# Most productivity experts will tell you not to process first thing in the morning. However, I would say it depends on your line of work. I worked with an overseas counterpart in my previous work, so I had to process my email first thing in the morning to make sure I am aware of important issues.



Tell Us About It

We hope that these tips will be useful for you. Please go ahead and try them on your own inbox and let us know how your JOURNEY to ZERO works out.



by Ryan Salvanera 12/12/2017

Ryan Salvanera is the co-founder and chief tech guy of Wissen Solomon, a consulting firm that aims to create abundance through the empowerment and growth of MSMEs. Ryan is also a personal coach at Coach Rye and specializes in coaching high-performing leaders and entrepreneurs.

Ryan Salvanera

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How to Answer “Why Should We Hire You And Not Another Person?”

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How to Answer “Why Should We Hire You And Not Another Person?”

by Karin Singh 08/12/2017

Imagine you are going to an interview… You feel highly confident. You think you are the best. You don’t give anyone the power to put you down or to intimidate you. You are 100 % convinced that you will get this job because you know that you are smart, you are highly educated, you look attractive, you have the experience, you have the skills, you have the right work ethic, and you even fit into the corporate culture. You know “this is my time to shine, either now or never.” You know that getting that job would not just make a difference to your life, but also to your family’s life. The pressure is high. 

Finally, the crucial time for typical interview questions and answers has arrived. One of the most frequently asked interview questions that you might have to face is “Why should we hire you?”

Let’s be honest, if you can’t come up with a good answer to this question straight away, you should ask yourself why you applied for this specific job in the first place. If you can’t give any reason at all of what differentiates you from other job applicants, then you need to take the time to prepare yourself effectively for this question. This could be the last question (but the most crucial one!) that the recruiter might ask you at the end of the interview. It might make all the difference on whether you should be considered as a serious candidate for the respective job or not. How do you want to come across, as confident or insecure, professional or unprepared? Ask yourself!

You also need to realise that it doesn’t mean that an interviewer will formulate the question exactly like this “Why should we hire you?” There are many other versions of this most frequently asked interview question which a Hiring Manager can choose to extract the same information from you.

Let me give you some examples:

“What makes you stand out for this job?”

“Why do you think you are the perfect fit for this job and company?”

“What benefits do I get, if I reject all the other candidates but hire you instead?”

“What can you do that others can’t?”

“Why should we give you this job?”

There are several reasons for a recruiter to ask you this most frequently asked interview question. Let’s face it, s/he wants to know and see:

  •   how well prepared you are for this question. (Has this question fully surprised you or did you know instantly how to answer it the right way?)
  •   if you are fully aware of what it takes to be a good fit for this job and if you have the skills they are looking for.
  •   how effectively you can promote yourself. Remember, it’s all about employee branding!
  •   how badly you really want this job and how convincing you sound.

Often books can help you to prepare for typical interview questions and answers, but remember to always customize your answer to your specific situation.

What to AVOID when answering this question ” Why should we hire you …?” in an interview:

  •   to oversell yourself – knowing that once you are hired – you will underdeliver.
  •   to inflate your experiences, skills and qualifications. If caught, you risk to get fired later for false representation.
  •   to come across as a desperate, modest and self-deprecating person. Please, make sure you know the difference between passion and desperation. Nobody is keen to hire someone they feel sorry for.
  •   To repeat what you already mentioned in your cover letter or CV.

How you should NOT answer:

“I have the skills, the experience and live just around the corner. If help is required – you know – I live just nearby. I’m the best person you can ever get for this job. Seriously, nobody else would be prepared to work for you for that salary, you must have realised that by now! So, I am the man! I would be prepared to tattoo my arm with the corporate logo if that helps me to get the job. As you can see, I would do everything in the best interest for the company. I’m broke and I really need this job.”

This candidate seems not to know how to promote himself very effectively. He comes across as arrogant, rude and desperate. Would you as an employer hire someone like him?

If you want to answer the question “ Why should we hire you ?” in an impressive way, you need to be fully knowledgeable about the specific job requirements and person specification details. That would allow you to customize your question and to leave you as a front-runner.

A good sample answer for a Recruitment Consultant job would be this:

“I’m very confident that I would add real value to your company’s success as your Recruitment Consultant. If you hire me you will get someone aboard who is professional, with a positive mind-set, the right skill-set, the relevant work experience of 5 years, a work ethic that is second to none and a big network of people in your particular industry. I have a proven track record of exceeding targets consistently. Two months ago, I was awarded “Achiever of the Month” at my current company. It’s not just my background in HR – or my interpersonal skills, which have helped me create, develop and maintain great relationships with clients and staff. But I feel highly passionate about this industry, which also comes across in my blog articles that I have written in the past. I love to get things done, and that always with lots of determination and a smile on my face. Previous employers would describe me as an achiever. I would feel very excited to start contributing from day one.”

Remember, that short-listed candidates that are in the final interview round with you might all have similar experiences, similar education, similar skills. What is it then that sets you apart? Always focus on the benefit that you can give to your employer!

It can be:

  •   your high level of self-motivation,
  •   your culture fit,
  •   your confidence (do you look, sound and act confidently throughout the process?),
  •   your additional foreign language skills,
  •   your network and relevant connections that can turn out to be beneficial for the business,
  •   your past achievements,
  •   your previous employers’ references,
  •   your problem-solving skills (provide them with solutions to the problem they have that you are aware of),
  •   your impeccable online presence

and much more. Think creatively and really look for those things that other candidates don’t offer. If you can package your answer with a personal episode that shows how you succeeded in a certain situation, even better!

When I pitch to individuals and companies for my career- and business-related services I always get straight to the point by giving them 6-10 reasons why they should choose me over others. For me personally, that was always the right and best strategy. I can assure you that the response rate was and is always high. Often clients take the time to let me know that they really liked my pitch. So, if I can do it, so can you!

But if after reading this article, you are still not sure if your answer sounds great or not, ask yourself this self-reflective question “Would I hire myself and why?” If the answer is NO, you need to either work harder to come up with a better answer or maybe apply for another job. Conclusion? First you need to convince yourself that you are the best person to hire. Once you have that self-belief, you will see that it will be easier to convince others about your uniqueness too! Good luck and go for it!

Are you NOT actively looking for a job, but open to great opportunities?

Are you NOT actively looking for a job, but open to great opportunities?

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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How And Who to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation?

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How And Who to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation?

by Karin Singh 05/12/2017

Recommendation letters can be powerful and have lots of benefits. They reinforce what you are claiming, they make you more employable, they will increase your self-confidence, they are an additional asset to your application documents. A letter of recommendation should always be: succinct, specific, honest and helpful for the recommended person.

When approaching people for a letter of recommendation bear in mind that:

> People have busy time schedules and might not have the time to write letters of recommendation.

> They might believe that they are not great writers.

> They might not be 100 % convinced of your calibre and might decline your request.

Who to ask for a letter of recommendation

Asking the right people for a letter of recommendation is important. Consider these tips:

# 1 – Never ask strangers for a favour or even pay someone to get a letter of recommendation. Be honest!

# 2 – Avoid also asking your relatives or friends, they would obviously talk positive about you.  How serious and credible would that sound? If they are the only recommendations you have, a potential employer might be sceptical.

# 3 – Ask all those people who know you well, e.g. teachers, university professors, previous employers, co-workers you have worked closely with for several years, a point of contact at an agency, a manager, customers or business acquaintances.

# 4 – Approach those people who will say positive things about you. The ones that can share specific episodes in which your character, your skills, your attitude and your collaboration with others shine through. Those who are prepared to share some information, such as your workplace, your job title, the reason for leaving, your strengths, why you would be a great employee and what your relationship is with them. It would be effective and impressive if the referrer could connect your attributes with your achievements.


How to ask for a letter of recommendation?

There are some rules that you should try to follow:

# 1 – Ask well in advance and don’t leave it to the last minute. I would say one month would be appropriate. People are busy, they don’t want to be put under pressure. Remember, it’s YOU who needs a letter of recommendation from them and not vice versa!

# 2 – However, some people take this approach: They write a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn and hope that they will get a recommendation in return, too. Be warned, sometimes it works but not always!

# 3 – Always be polite and positive in your request, whether you ask in person, over the phone or in writing. Which approach you choose is up to you. One might think that asking in person would be the best strategy, however, choosing an indirect method (e.g. email) might be the better choice. You avoid putting your potential referrer on the spot and it gives the person still the opportunity to politely decline if they want to do so. Remember, you want a strong recommendation, not a lukewarm!

# 4 – Some people might appreciate it, if you would give them some hints regarding your expectations, e.g. the ideal length, certain keywords to be included, the deadline for the submission etc.  You might also consider including a list of questions which they might use as a guide to formulate their recommendation. For example:

> General information (job title, job responsibilities, company name, length of employment, reason for leaving)

> How did you feel working with me?

> What was the one thing that impressed you the most about me (or my performance)? Please share one or more personal episodes that were especially memorable to you.

> What do you wish for my career?

> Can you make a prediction about my future?

Not everyone might feel comfortable to create a ‘brag sheet’ about their values, quantifiable achievements, goals etc. but always keep your goal in mind: getting a great letter of recommendation! Reflect about what you have achieved and what was particularly meaningful. Remember that if you provide your referrer with an outline and bullet-points (that you wish to be included), it makes their job easier and saves them time.

# 5 – Let your referrer also know why you have chosen them, why you value their professional opinion and why they are ideal to assess and communicate your accomplishments and skills.

# 6 – If you reach out to more than one referrer, you might want to highlight different skills and different achievements for each of them.

# 7 – Never forget to thank the person for their precious time and appreciate their support.


If you need guidance on how to write a request letter for a recommendation and generally on how to find your future job, check out the internet. There are lots of suggestions and templates available, one source is this from Resumizer.

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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