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Ashton Kutcher reveals the simple strategy that helps him avoid email overload

Ashton Kutcher
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Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher may be known as a wildly successful television and film actor, but his resume stretches far beyond Hollywood. In addition to starting his own venture capital firm, Sound Ventures, Kutcher is a philanthropist, producer, father and husband.

Like many successful people juggling a hectic schedule, the 39-year-old has implemented different methods to help him balance out his day.

In an interview with Arianna Huffington for "The Thrive Global Podcast," Kutcher reveals the simple strategy he uses to help him avoid email overload.

Unlike many people who open their computer or smartphone first thing in the morning, Kutcher says he spends the first hour of his day purposely not looking at his email. Instead, he writes down what he wants to get accomplished for the day.

Actor Ashton Kutcher named Lenovo product engineer and launches Yoga Tablet at YouTube Space LA on October 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
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Actor Ashton Kutcher named Lenovo product engineer and launches Yoga Tablet at YouTube Space LA on October 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

"Then, before I go through my emails, I'll do all my outgoing, outbound stuff, which is what I want everyone else to do for me," he adds. "And then I'll go and get reactive to whatever's going on."

He refers to emails as "everyone else's to-do list for you" and says before implementing this strategy he found himself losing two hours of his morning responding to messages.

"It became an impossible hole to get out of," he said. "Because then every response I had had three more responses. All I was doing was other people's work all day long, and I never actually got to the things that I wanted to accomplish on that given day."

To avoid the pressure of an overwhelming inbox, Kutcher says he sets clear expectations with his venture capital firm. Every time a new company is added to the firm, its founder receives an email outlining who to contact for a specific task.

"If you want X, go to this person. If you want Y, go to that person. If you want Z, go to this person," he said. "If you go to me, the likelihood of me responding within 24 to 48 hours is very, very low, so go to these individuals who are responsible for these things."

Boomerang CEO and email productivity expert Alex Moore agrees with Kutcher. He says he's found himself to be most productive when he checks off at least one thing from his to-do list before checking his email.

"Right before I go home [from work] the last thing I do is look at the stuff I need to do and try to organize it by priority," he tells CNBC Make It. "I try to make sure as soon as I get to work, I make progress on those at least for an hour before I look at my emails."

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