Newsletters are One of the Best Mediums, but You’re Using Them Wrong

4 min readApr 5, 2022

The best tools are the worst for us.

In an experiment, 2-groups were given the same game with slight variations.

In the first version, there were hints, guiding players every step of the way.

In the second version, there was no guardrails and it was up to the players to learn how to play.

In the book, The Shallows, an unexpected discovery was made during this experiment.

User-friendliness is not brain friendly.

The players who played the game without any guardrails were terrible at the game and the players with hints forged ahead.

As time passed, the players who started and stuck to a game of no hints, excelled.

This is a feat of the brain. Brains do better in environments of restrictions and limits.

Now, how does this story fit into newsletters? And how are newsletters the best medium?

Newsletters, the Best Medium

Newsletters are the best medium because they have a design that no other internet medium has.

Newsletters are designed to avoid the rabbit hole.

Again, our brains our wired to work best under restrictions. Think ofthe most famous people you know. What do they do?

Most famous, successful, & talented people all do one thing.

They focus.

If you focus on one thing long enough, people take notice, but when you scatter your attention & desires, you become useless.

Newsletters focus the internet, but not if you use them wrong.

Here’s how we’re gonna use them right.

Use Newsletters the Best Way

Here’s why newsletters work:

  1. Your inbox is your domain.
  2. You can schedule when you consume content since it’s waiting in your inbox.
  3. Creating content is easier when your inspiration is directly influenced by the top minds in the world.

Let’s jump right in.

Locating great Newsletters

The best newsletter website to get started is Substack.

I used Substack to launch, and end, 2 newsletters myself.

Go on Substack or Google and search for newsletters presenting topics you love.

I would aim for 3–5 newsletters at first.

For an easy start, here’s a list of my 4 favorite newsletters:

Stop Using Email Wrong, Inbox Zero

First step, inbox zero.

Inbox zero is using your email how it’s designed to be used.

Right now, do this…

Inbox Zero

Don’t worry, all of your emails are still searchable via “all mail”.

Now that you have a clean slate. Let’s get to the next step…

Focus Better with Time Batching

Second step, time batching.

My dad told me he threw a gross french-fry into the backyard.

The next day, when he went to take the dog out, the dog made a beeline for the french-fry.

My dog knew exactly where to look.

Time batching + newsletters gives your brain a beeline for the best content. Less effort = more creative energy.

Instead of searching around the thousands of articles and videos on the internet, high quality content can be consumed in a focused, localized state.

a info consumption “time-batch”

My usual strategy is to block of 1–2 hours on my calendar, then open my inbox, then read away.

I avoid clicking on links and instead focus on the ideas that I can use to take action with.

Links are a killer of focus.

Leveraging Peak Times

Third step, peak times.

Everyday our energy levels go up and down.

Peak times

It’s important to schedule your content consumption for times in which you are low physical energy, but lots of creative energy.

When we are tired we are less likely to be critical of our ideas, and therefore we can open our mind to innovation.

This differs from person to person.

You probably know when you’ve been most creative.

Plan your creativity.

Final Thoughts

That’s it.

Give newsletters a whirl! If you’d like to follow and subscribe to my Medium to get started, do that below.

See you next time.




I skipped college, now I write for fun and not for grades.