How I Email: Mathew Passy, Consultant, The Podcast Consultant

Email is a non-negotiable part of everyday life. For some, it’s an unruly time suck, but enlightened email users have systems to ensure they’re not a slave to the inbox. We’re asking smart thinkers to give us a peek inside their inboxes, share tips, ideas, gripes, and everything in between.

Mathew Passy, a former producer and host for The Wall Street Journal Radio network, is a sought-after podcast producer. He helps clients launch, edit, produce, publish, promote, and profit from podcasting. With so much to juggle, he finds himself managing multiple email accounts. Here he shares how he stays on top of multiple inboxes (hint: he doesn’t actually use the Gmail interface).

How do you manage your inbox? 

On my computer, I use Spark. I have multiple Gmail and Gsuite accounts and I don’t like having to log in and out to handle it all, so I just don’t ever go check or use the Gmail app.

Spark allows me to keep all of my various email accounts all in one place. So I’m not opening and closing a lot of different programs to stay on top of everything. It also has some pretty neat features that allow me to organize emails very easily.

It also has an integration with my Trello board. So, for example, when a client emails and says they have a new episode, I can just swipe and put this right into my a to-do list with all the pertinent information and it helps me stay pretty well organized.

On my phone, I’ve been using the Microsoft Outlook app for similar reasons — it keeps all my email accounts in one place. I used to use it on my computer as well, but it limits how many folders you can create within the app, so I had to find another option.

I have my inbox open all day. When an email comes in, I tend to look at it real quick and see if it’s urgent or if it’s something that can wait. At certain times of the day, I try to stop and go through all of the non-urgent emails.

As a business owner, I kind of feel like if I’m not on top of email all the time, then I’ll miss important opportunities or communications and then disappoint someone.

Are you an Inbox Zero guy?

Oh, I haven’t seen Inbox Zero in 12 years. I used to love being at Inbox Zero and then at a previous job, it got to a point where I couldn’t get there. I don’t stress about Inbox Zero. I do get to ‘notification zero,’ though. I don’t like seeing little red bubbles on my phone. I like to at least see what comes in, take a look at it and then either file it away or respond to it right away.

What would be your dream email product or feature?

I’d love a product that can manage multiple email accounts and have a joint folder feature. So sometimes clients will email me at the wrong account or sometimes I’ll reply from the wrong account or whatever the case may be. I want to be able to move the content from one to the other easily.

I also don’t like getting the same email notifications. For example, for one of the websites I’m running right now, I get an email every time somebody registers to use it. I don’t look at who the person is who registers. I don’t check it. The email just comes in. I usually archive it right away, so I’d love it if my email could learn to do that on its own. Oh, you’ve never read this email. You always archive it. I’ll do that for you from now on.

What’s your biggest email pet peeve?

It drives me crazy when people write out the email in the subject line. They put a giant sentence in there and then it gets cut off. The recipient has to do the extra work to find out what the sender is actually trying to say. That one drives me crazy. Um, people who don’t read emails is obviously another annoying one.