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035: AI Automation in Service of Simplicity

Phil Powis
Phil Powis
8 min read
035: AI Automation in Service of Simplicity

Every so often I come across a tool or software that has me super excited and that I feel is worth sharing here in this newsletter.

I've written about the core tools we use to run our Sacred Business here, but I'm always looking for ways to bring more simplicity to my work and personal life.

And this week, I'd love to highlight a newer tool on the market called Inbox Zero, not to be confused with the method itself.

Going back as far as I can remember in my professional life, I've always struggled to find the "perfect" email client.

I've really think I've tried them all.

The closest I've found to perfection is Superhuman, but at $30/month it's hard to justify sometimes. I also enjoyed Spark by Readdle, but whenever I've used a 3rd party email client, I've always missed the plugins and extensions that are available when you use native Gmail.

Most add a ton of bells and whistles meant to make your life simpler, but at the end of the day I feel they often just encourage more proliferation of bad behavior when really you should just be more mindful of what you are subscribing to, and use some simple workflows to keep things organized.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, let me explain my basic email workflow, which I feel would be helpful for most people to adopt regardless of whether they leverage an AI component or not:

  1. First, ask does an email require some action from me? If not, simply archive, and always be asking yourself should you even be receiving this email? If not - unsubscribe immediately in the moment.
  2. If the email requires action in the form of a reply, can it be done in a minute or less? If so - do it now, while you are reviewing your emails! Get it done!
  3. If the email requires action, but it will take longer than a minute, it usually falls into a few basic categories:
    1. A reply that requires deeper thought or associated work. Add these items to my task manager (currently Things3).
    2. It's something I would like to read, but it probably doesn't make sense to break my concentration right now in the moment I'm processing my inbox. Forward these items to Readwise Reader for review when I'm not doing deep work, or leisurely weekend reading.
    3. It signifies a task like something I need to do for accounting, or something also admin-related. Add these items to my task manager.
    4. Receipts. Forward these items for safe keeping to my note-taking system (currently Reflect.App).

Now, if you simply follow this process, or something similar once a day before shutting down your computer, you'll already be way ahead of the game compared to most entrepreneurs I talk to.

That being said, if you get a lot of email, this can still take a nice chunk of time out of your day (upwards of 30 minutes to an hour).

Thats where Inbox Zero comes in, as it's completely compatible with my current email workflow, but it allows you to automate the entire process with AI, completely removing the manual processing step that I typically would have to do at the end of each day.

There are a ton of productivity capabilities built into this tool, but the killer feature is the natural language AI rule automation using Chat GPT.

I've not seen anything quite like this anywhere else. If you have, I would like to know about it!

You simply instruct the tool in plain english to process your emails following your preferences, in the exact same way you would talk to a real live assistant.

Your AI agent can reply, forward, archive, and label emails based on the rules you provide it.

For example, you could say something like "whenever you receive an email with the phrase "Be The Flow" in the subject line, label it as "important" and forward it to my favorite newsletter reading service, Readwise" (using their forwarding email).

Another example: "Forward any receipts to Evernote, and archive."

Get Inbox Zero

Because Things3, my current task manager has a forwarding email, I am able to automate many email driven tasks to be sent directly into my task list, while at the same time archiving it in gmail, keeping my inbox free of clutter so I can focus on the items that actually require a timely response.

This is huge!

Beyond this inbox automation feature, you can do other cool things like blocking "cold emails", bulk newsletter subscription management, and analyzing emails you've received from new senders in any given day or week, to see if you really want to be receiving emails from them ongoing.

Ideally Gmail will eventually have features like this available directly, but for now, I've not found a better solution as someone who doesn't want to have to reply on a separate email client like Superhuman.

And for the next 8 days you can snag this tool on Lifetime deal (one-time payment) from our friends over at the LTDF Community for as low as $99 for their Business plan

People are always asking me to share the lifetime deals that I think are actually worth buying. This is one of them. Grab it while you can.

They have a 14-day no-questions asked refund policy so you can give it a try and see if it adds value to your day.

And in case you are wondering, I am not an affiliate for Inbox Zero. Simply someone who is enjoying using the tool and thought it was worth the share this week!

Simplicity is one of the 9 Fundamental Frequencies of Sacred Business. Finding ways to bring more of it to your day, and taking control of your focus and attention is one of the most valuable things you can do.

Simplicity is instrumental in aligning with your true purpose. It encourages you to strip away the superfluous, focusing on what truly matters. This not only makes your path more manageable but also more fulfilling, as it is free from the noise of extraneous options and distractions.

I think Inbox Zero can help support embodying simplicity more in your daily work life if you are mindful about creating the right processes to not let email rule you, and instead be a source of valuable information, and to support your creativity in the right place at the right time.

Give it a try!

Happenings

We're in the final stages of editing our Sacred Business Manifesto, which has been over 3 months in the making!

Carolina and I are so excited to share it with you soon, as I feel it brings a lot of clarity and context to our message that we share with you here each week through our newsletter and the weekly video messages we put out.

We are also exploring hiring an illustrator to help add some visual touches that will hopefully make some of the ideas even more digestible and easy to understand.

Can't wait to share with you soon!

Who We Are Celebrating:

Matt Brown - Email Deliverability Expert

Matt Brown has been an ally of mine for many years, being one of my early Automated Intimacy students with Ry Schwartz and also doing 1:1 coaching with me around his offers back in the day.

Beyond this professional relationship, he's just an all around amazing human, and someone I now am proud to call a personal friend.

And this week, I'd love to celebrate him for finally launching his own brand new newsletter!

It's called Deliverability Now and you guessed it... it's all about email deliverability which is a pretty important topic in 2024.

Each week he sends out an email with practical tips and actionable advice about how to boost the performance of your emails.

Deliverability is more important than ever with the big changes Google and Yahoo introduced back in February.

The next edition goes out this week on Friday, and I'd love for you to also get the benefit of Matt's value-packed emails.

If you'd like to subscribe to Deliverability Now, you can do so here!

Matt Brown, Deliverability Now

Here is What I Want to Share This Week:

LinkActions (link)

Build Internal Links That Rank—Automatically. As we've begin to amass more and more content on our Sacred Business Flow Website, I've begun to look for opportunities to increase our rankings with Google. And one search optimization strategy is through the use of internal links. But making them by hand, and identifying all the opportunities that exist in your past content? That's a lot of work. Linkactions scans your site's content and automatically creates valuable internal links for you. This boosts your search rankings, brings in more traffic, and turns more of those visitors into customers.

I recently started using this tool, and have been really happy with the results so far!

Internal Link Building Tool
LinkActions

Ghostboard (link)

Exclusive analytics for your Ghost blog. If you've been following me for a while, you know that I often recommend Ghost for hosting your website, and its part of our core Sacred Business Flow stack.

While there are a ton of benefits to using Ghost, one of the downsides is the lack of a strong third-party developer ecosystem when compared to Wordpress.

So naturally I get excited when I find a good tool that works with Ghost. Ghostboard is a SEO and analytics tool designed specifically to work with Ghost content. I've been finding it super helpful for identifying broken links, and getting daily suggestions on ways to improve search rankings through content optimization. If you are using Ghost, I recommend checking it out with a free trial (also not an affiliate link).

Try all Ghostboard features for free for 7 days

Ghostboard dashboard screenshot

Finding Joy in the Midst of Challenges (link)

In this week's video message, Carolina shares a personal experience of going through a big move and the challenges that have been coming with it.

She shares about the importance of finding joy and bliss in the present moment, even when faced with a long to-do list.

Memorable Quote:

This is probably the most complete statement I've found to date that I resonate with in terms of how to live a meaningful life. I freaking love it!

"Choose who you want to love and do so fiercely, with your wide-open, Grand Canyon heart. Let the weight of how much you love ripple over the surface of the world and penetrate deeply below. Create something that is uniquely yours with the unbendable intention of someone who is hell-bent on walking through a wall. Be meticulous in its creation. Let whatever it is be a monument to your truest heart and consciousness. Let the rest go. There just isn’t enough time. Life is short and death is coming. Anyone not in support of or in alignment with your deepest purpose can fuck off. Breathe in the remarkable and mundane beauty around you at every turn. Celebrate it when you can. Smile and bow with a grateful heart. Let go of tasks and duties and allow the Feminine to give you her love. Relax the center of your body and let her shine all that is good in the world upon your weary soul. Let her know how grateful you are. Play with children, yours and others, as if it is your last moment on earth, allowing your presence and love to inform the rest of their lives. It will. Whatever you do, hold nothing back. Not one word of truth, not one ounce of love, not one word of wisdom, not one feeling left unfelt. Leave this world bloody and broken-hearted, smiling and grateful. Free as much love as possible along the way. Let your legacy be your grounded, embodied presence and your fierce, aching heart. This is living from the core. And it’s all that will matter in the end." - John Wineland, From the Core.
Simplicitynewsletter

Phil Powis

Co-Founder & Chief Strategist, Sacred Business Flow


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