How I Email: Yarty Kim, Co-Founder, A4E
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.
Yarty Kim is the COO and co-founder of A4E, a bookkeeping service for entrepreneurs and small businesses. He offered recommendations for tracking expenses via email and also explained why he writes emails to his future self.
What’s your daily approach to email?
In my previous life in corporate finance, I used to be obsessive with emails, responding to 100s of emails every day so that I could make my business partners happy. It was exhausting, and I would spend upwards of 2-3 hours per day just responding. It felt endless.
After reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” during my backpacking trip to Southeast Asia, I decided no more.
My daily approach to email is now the following:
✔️Check email twice per day at set intervals
✔️Tag important emails as high priority to follow-up
✔️If an email is important that requires a detailed response, create a task in Clickup with a reminder
✔️Any junk or spam gets blocked immediately (out of sight, out of mind)
Since changing my habits, I’ve found myself much happier and with more time to spend with my family.
What are your favorite email tools?
I’m a huge fan of leveraging systems to build structure and good habits. I use the following email tools to be productive and happy:
🔹 Inbox Pause: free email pause tool that lets people know you’re only checking email at specific intervals (lifesaver)
🔹 Clickup: free tool to push emails into tasks, time tracking, and much more
🔹 Toggl: Time tracking for everything
🔹 HubSpot: email tracking, leads, and much more
🔹 FutureMe: not so much a tool for email, but a great way to email yourself in the future with positive messages (absolutely love this tool and free too)
With FutureMe, I personally write to myself once per quarter as a way to check in on myself, my goals and my values. Is everything that I’m doing still aligning to those things I value? I also write letters to my wife and my family to let them know how much they mean to me — it can be easy to forget sometimes.
At least once per year I write a detailed letter to myself to be read one year out on what I hope to achieve, the person I hope to become and all the things I value. This helps me to stay accountable and truthful to myself.
All in all, I’ve probably written over 30 letters into the future. I have at least one letter sent out 10 years from now. That’ll be fun to read. 🙂
FutureMe is an amazing tool, and the best part is that only you get to see your letters (unless you want to share it with someone).
What email tips or setups do you recommend for business owners to keep better track of their expenses?
When it comes to expenses or emails in general, I highly recommend creating automatic filters for incoming email and assigning labels.
For example: When a QuickBooks reporting email is sent to me, immediately create a filter for all incoming emails as “Accounting”. This exercise takes no more than 1 minute and is forever categorized.
It doesn’t have to be complex, but it should be structured enough so that when you have questions you can quickly leverage your labels in the Gmail search function.
Another thing I leverage heavily is saving expense emails as PDF documents into a stored drive (shown below). We use the Quickbooks app to take snapshots of receipts. Really helpful for when you need to submit documentation to your accountant or for your own information.
For this particular step, I’ll use the “Print to PDF” function to save the Gmail message in a designated Google Drive folder. Leveraging Google Drive File Stream, I’ll then save the message as a pdf to our accounting or designated folder.
What’s your biggest email pet peeve?
Biggest pet peeve for me would have to be unsolicited emails. From time to time, I receive emails where it feels like they blasted a cold list out to thousands of people. It drives me nuts!
I mentioned earlier that I will block junk and spam email immediately. No questions asked.
As much as I love email, it’s a tool that should be leveraged to make your life easier and happier, not more stressful.
Hate those pesky coupon emails but still want them? Create a separate email handle for just those emails, and leave your personal email to friends and family.
Then leverage a tool like Windows Mail, an email aggregator, to see all your accounts in one place.
I’ve found these systems to be really helpful and has made my life much easier.