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Inbox Issues? Here Is The 4-Step System That Shhhowercap's Founder Uses

For Jacquelyn De Jesu, the only thing getting the "wash, rinse, repeat" treatment on the daily, is her inbox.

That's because the CEO and founder of Shhhowercap is remarkably on top of her emails, which should come as no surprise to loyal fans of the luxury shower cap brand. After all, along with Shhhowercap's fashionability and "It" factor, one of its major perks is productivity: the time saved from not having to wash your hair daily. So while De Jesu proudly proclaims to saving shampoo for certain days of the week, she whittles down her overflowing inbox to zero, every day (an elusive goal for so many people). 

In addition to avoiding the stress of seeing a full inbox, De Jesu shared the key benefits to the email system she swears by:

— Forces her to prioritize;

— Forces her to delegate to her team (allowing her the time to continue to rise up as a leader);

— Makes time for her personal/professional responses to be thoughtful;

— Requires her to say no to things that she doesn't have space for.

So in the spirit of “New Year, New You” and getting those productivity resolutions in check, I spoke to the fearless leader about her email-slaying process. Discover why De Jesu's inbox system is critical to Shhhowercap's success, her email hacks and pet peeves, and why this level of efficiency might actually be the ultimate form of self-care (and would make Marie Kondo proud).

Karin Eldor: Why is clearing your inbox such an important task? 

Jacquelyn De Jesu: I hate clutter. In any area of my life. Having unread emails is so distracting! As an entrepreneur, founder and CEO juggling so many things, an email truly could be about anything. As a result, inbox zero is something I manage to achieve daily.

I started my career in advertising and the expectation was set as a junior creative that when someone emails you, you must respond. Timelines were so crazy that you could blink and miss an important meeting if you left your phone unchecked for even an hour. So, it became part of my workflow early on. It’s also more important than ever that I have a clear focus.

Eldor: Do you check your email regularly throughout the day (for example, when you get a notification on your device), or do you schedule blocks of time in your calendar to clear your email?

De Jesu: Interesting! In thinking of the best response to this question, I realized a valuable piece of the puzzle: I don’t have any notifications turned on, for any of my email accounts. No vibration, audible or banners. I go by the number on the (Gmail) app icon. Since it’s always at below single digits, I know when it’s holding anything more than that. On my personal inbox, I clear promotional emails throughout the day with a quick swipe to delete. If it’s a promo that I’m actually interested in? I’ll read it and leave it there for future search. I’ll swipe to delete consistently throughout the day. It’s so satisfying. A similar feeling to that of popping bubblewrap!

For my work inbox, there’s a system. I usually wake up to at least five “big” emails that came through overnight. I check those over morning coffee or on my commute to work. I like clearing those before the day starts, because 9AM is when it starts speeding up.

Eldor: What do you do once you open your email? 

De Jesu: To put it simply: read, delegate, star, let it go. Read everything that is sent from a person always immediately. I’ll write back with a quick response right away if that will suffice to keep the ball moving. If I can delegate the inquiry to my EA or someone else on my team, then I’ll immediately forward with a short ask for them to handle it. Also, we keep all internal communications alive on Slack; email is only for outside players. If it’s important to me personally and needs a thoughtful response, then I’ll star it on the go. I reply to most urgent emails as soon as possible that day.

Then once a week I go into the catchalls for starred emails that weren’t hot fires and respond at leisure. For example: female founder friends and catchups, mentor requests, longer lead projects, or initial inquiries sent without a specified deadline. Lastly, just let it go. There’s an acceptance in recognizing that if it falls off your radar then that's probably for a reason. You can always revisit if need be.

Eldor: What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to email habits?

De Jesu: I lose my mind over a double email within a 24-hour period. If someone doesn’t write back, it doesn’t mean they didn’t see it. It most likely means they had priorities other than writing back to your email. Which is, and always should be, totally respected in business.

Also, not moving the connector to bcc when responding to an introduction email. That stands true whether I’m the connector or connected party.

Can I add one more? Blind emails from people who want “coffee” without providing any context on what they’re working on! I want to know where I can be most helpful, what they’re hoping to discuss, what the angle is. Even if it’s just a catchup or learning session! Without that it’s more difficult to take next steps in scheduling or even provide a thoughtful response. Always have a clear ask. It benefits everyone involved.

Eldor: And on the flip side, what are some “quick and dirty” email tricks you love?

De Jesu: If an important email comes through and I’m booked solid, unable to respond, I always try my best to make time to write back to the person that day confirming receipt. First, I acknowledge and then set an expectation of when they can plan to hear back from me. Not only is it respectful to the sender, it has proven to be the most valuable way to gauge urgency. A lot of time the response will be, “Don’t worry about it! Whenever you have a second” or “Anytime this week is fine! Talk soon!,” which immediately allows further sorting and prioritization for everything else.

Eldor: As a founder who wears so many hats in your business (pun intended!), how you do achieve work-life balance? 

De Jesu: Every year I learn more of what works and build off of that for the next. I’ve found that established routine and consistency are the best ways for me to make it work. Planned reoccurring days and times for the important personal things makes the rest of my crazy life as an entrepreneur more manageable. Some things I focus on are getting at least eight hours of sleep, cardio workouts, built-in time with best girlfriends, date nights with my husband, and beauty appointments which all have blocked slots on my calendar. Date nights with my husband are phone-free. And, I try (keyword: try) not to work on the weekends unless it’s necessary.

Eldor: What’s your mantra?

De Jesu: “Never Settle.” All day. Every day. Never settle is the mantra that drives everything I do both personally and professionally. There’s no reason to settle for less than what you deserve. No need for bad haircuts, toxic relationships, lackluster food, spaces that don’t inspire you, items that don’t work as well as intended, bad vibes, the wrong job, or anything less than your personal best. This inspiring mantra is not about perfectionism or striving for the unattainable. “Never Settle” reminds me (and my team) that these aspects of life are within our control and that if I don’t like something, I have power to change it. There’s nothing more empowering than that.


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