How to Respond to 100 Emails in Under 20 Minutes

Funny quick story to tell you about today. I launched my 16 Copybombs report on autopilot over the weekend... I actually put it together back in early June but my autoresponder was filled with blog posts and e-mails about Product University 2.0 at the time, so I had to schedule it.

Long story short, I messed up the download link and when I checked my e-mail today (Monday -- I never check e-mail on weekends) to find literally over 100 e-mails from my buyers asking where the file was.  Some of them e-mailed me 2 or 3 times about it.

Replying to 100 people, sounds like something that might take all day or even all week, right?  Wrong... when you're Robert Plank it takes 20 minutes.

Because I have a separate autoresponder list for each product, and I automatically capture my PayPal payments to those lists, I blasted the corrected link to that list... but I still needed to reply to those 100 messages to make sure everyone got the new link.

As you know I use Gmail and I use it PROPERLY.  Get an e-mail, either respond to it or not, and then either Archive or Delete it. Delete means you'll never need that message again.  Archive means you can get back to it by clicking "All Mail" or searching for it, but it's out of your Inbox now.

My second secret weapon is the "Send & Archive" button in Gmail. You can install this by going to Gmail Labs -- there's a green beaker icon in the top right corner where you can add experimental features to Gmail.  Hit Ctrl+F to search the page and type "archive" and you'll be brought right to it.


Enable the app and now when you reply to a message, you can hit "Send and Archive" which will send you response to that person and then archive the message.  When that person replies to you, it'll show their conversation in the thread, but for now, it's out of your inbox.

That's how I responded to 100 e-mails in under 20 minutes.  First I checked the boxes for the e-mails I didn't need to reply to, like notifications of payments and so on.  Hint: You can tick one checkbox, hold down the Shift key, tick a checkbox 10 messages down, and all the checkboxes in between will be checked.  Very powerful.

After clearing out the messages I didn't need, I opened the first e-mail complaining about no download link.  I typed a quick response, copied it to the clipboard, then did a Send and Archive.  From that point on, it took me about 5 seconds to skim each e-mail and 5 seconds to paste and do a Send-Archive.


If you need to send a bunch of messages fast, that's the way to do it:

  1. Clear out the messages you don't need (Shift-click checkboxes then Delete)
  2. Copy and paste the message you need to repeat.
  3. Send-Archive each message.

I customized a couple of the responses which is why it took me a whole 20 minutes to reply to 100 people.

I have a whole section on e-mail productivity in my 100 Timesavers product if you're interested.  (I know you are.)

What's your best e-mail productivity tip?  Leave me a comment telling me below...

Filed in: Productivity

Comments (10)

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  1. Izzy says:


    You taught me to use labels and the archive folder. since then, my email box is usually empty, and its a breeze to find something with labels.

    I have also begun to unsubscribe from pretty much every list that I am on, to reduce the amount of email i get.

    if its an email I want to dissect in the future, i have a filter sending it straight to archive skipping the in box. so I have it if i need it, but I don;t have to see it or spend time on it.

    And Robert, I love the way you discuss your messups and make them into positives- like this post!

    will it lead to a new product? only time will tell.. but I don’t put it beyond you.


    PS. Come check out the forum on Product University! Respond to my video I made for ya!

  2. Michael says:

    “when you’re Robert Plank it takes 20 minutes.” haha

    Thanks for the tip Robert. =)

  3. John Nada says:

    Awesome tip Robert, thank you! I like Gmail and am really accustomed to using it but it’s nice to tweak it with tools
    and of course, save time!

  4. Dear Robert,

    Just my tip, instead of copying the response to clipboard and then pasting it in each message, enable “Canned Responses” in the Labs, page and then you can simply save your response as a canned response and select it to send it to the person.

    Bonus: If you get your query string proper, you can even create a filter that sends the canned response automatically! 😉

  5. Robert Plank says:

    Ashish, I do use canned responses, but this time when I had the one message to send to 100 people immediately, it was faster to hit Ctrl+V than to select the canned response from a dropdown menu.

    But I still do use canned responses regularly for support issues, refund requests, and lost download links.

  6. Jason Fladlien says:

    Even better – you need to add the shorcuts feature… then you can hit just one letter – O – to open the top email message, then paste… then hit tab twice to send and archive it…

    Or even better still… hire an assistant! 20 minutes of your time is worth about $30 to $40 right? You can hire someone for $10 an hour, and now it took you a minute to give them directions, and if it takes them an hour, you still save at least $20 🙂


  7. Robert Plank says:

    Jason, I’m always paranoid about adding too much overhead to my business, and I suck at training people to do new things.

    But I do like the Tab-Space tip to Send & Archive… I use Gmail shortcuts and I always wanted a shortcut to send and archive… now I have it.

  8. Mike Adams says:

    Thanks for the tip, Robert. You have to be one of the most productive people I’ve ever seen!

  9. Robert Plank says:

    Thanks Mike I appreciate it, do you use Gmail?

  10. Eddie says:

    send and archive rocks robert!
    i just did this an hour ago and
    my gmail is clean.

    thanks for putting that up.
    i just found your site and
    find your information
    vital and helpful.

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