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Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Articles of Note – June 2017

Sunday June 25th, 2017, 3:44 pm

A mixed bag this month, including email etiquette to improve sustainability and why reaching inbox zero might not be the right goal.

1  Business email etiquette for sustainability – top tips on how to reduce the energy and resources needed to manage your inbox.

The problem with email overload – the author suggests that reaching inbox zero is  not sustainable. Unlike climbing Everest, once there you have achieved something. No sooner have you reached inbox zero, the inbox rapidly fills up again and you are in effect back to ground zero. And especially for those who receive in excess of 100 emails a day. We would argue it is about reducing the number your receive, changing your email behaviour and using the software etc to help you manage the inbox.

2. Think about saying no more often as advocated by Lucy Kellaway.  Although more in relation to time management it also applies to helping reduce email overload.

3. MPs email accounts hacked – perhaps with all the chaos surrounding the recent election it was not surprising that hackers took advantage of it and hacked several MPs accounts! Interestingly those most vulnerable were those with weak passwords.  Click here for how to create strong passwords.

4. We now spend 13 hours a week on email. Yes, its true according to a recent survey from McKinsey. Is this realistic and the best use of our time? The article suggests not surprisingly ridding yourself of all unwanted emails and learning to use the technology better.

How good are you with Outlook? Benchmark yourself now with our on-line tool.

5. All is revealed by Johnny Depp’s business manager. In the midst of an acrimonious lawsuit Johnny Depp’s business manager has revealed very personal emails to show that Depp did indeed know about his dire financial situation. Again this like Beckham email faux pass which demonstrates that you only have control over one aspect of email – choosing to hit Send. After that you have no control over where the email goes.

 

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Business email etiquette to improve sustainability

Friday June 2nd, 2017, 11:08 am

A very easy way reduce your own and your organisation’s carbon footprint is by using proper business email etiquette.  This reduces the size of the actual email.  The smaller the email and the fewer emails, the less resources needed to run your inbox.  Hence the lower your carbon footprint.  Here are five ways of using brilliant business email etiquette to make a positive contribution to the climate change debate.

  1. Shorten the content of your emails by 10 to 25%.
  2. Edit emails you forward and delete all unnecessary previous entries.
  3. Say it in the subject-line where it is short.
  4. Plan ahead and make sure you have asked the right questions and given the right information for the recipient to reply fully.
  5. Avoid email discussion, instead talk or use a collaborative tool like OneNote, Yammer etc.

For more tips like this see either ‘Brilliant Email’ or ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ and like our new   Facebook Page.

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Business Email Overload Day 5

Thursday May 11th, 2017, 9:33 pm

Day 5 – Pulling It All Together

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. Niccolo Machiavelli

Email overload is stressful and can also be an underlying cause of mental health issues.  Hopefully  you have reduced the email overload, have a clean inbox and improved your productivity and well-being.

Now the trick is to keep your inbox under control and encourage others to follow suit.

Email addiction is one of the major causes of email overload. It’s the feeling that you must constantly check your inbox no matter where you are, what you are doing or what the time of day.  Moreover, we often default to email when of course there are a myriad of other ways to communicate. As many of you will know I am a great fan of pen and paper especially for saying thank you and taking ownership when being asked to do something rather than retorting with ‘send me an email’.

Day five is about taking stock, checking you are not suffering from email addiction and making plans to keep your inbox out of the email overload zone.  Here is our three step plan for the last day.

Step 1  – Check your level of email addiction

Use Mesmo Consultancy’s free Email Addiction self-assessment tool.  Identify your strengths and weaknesses and if necessary seek advice about how to control the urge to have another email fix.

In the coming days and weeks as you are about either to Reply/Forward or even ‘Send’ pause and ask yourself would an alternative be more efficient (eg talking, a discussion group on something like SharePoint, instant message etc)?

Step 2 – Review your action plan and goals

Look back to Day 1 and how much time you were losing. Now re-calibrate using our Cost of Email Misuse Calculator.  Where do you still need to make some changes?

Step 3 – Moving forward

How will you keep your inbox slim and control the business email overload in the coming weeks?  Don’t let email rule your day.  Don’t feel you must check your email either first thing in the morning or every five minutes.  Rather try disconnect from time to time. The most productive people are those who prioritise their time and stay focused on the task in hand.

Do you have colleagues who would benefit from managing their email more effectively as you have now done?  Yes, then call  us now to ask about our Brilliant Email Management master classes. Otherwise how about giving them a copy of either ‘Brilliant Email’ or ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’?

Celebrate – Dare to share

Share your progress; EmailFacebookTwitter  (using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek)  There are two prize  for the two people who have made the most outstanding progress (a copy of ‘Brilliant Email‘ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox”).  For instance, had five days of empty inboxes, reduced the number of rounds of email ping-pong by improving their email etiquette etc.

For  more resource

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Thank you for joining us for this the re-run of Clean Out Your Inbox Week to support Mental Health Awareness week  We hope we have made a small contribution to helping people re-focus their work-life balance and de-stress..  Feedback on how we can improve this event for next year is always appreciated.

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload Day 4

Wednesday May 10th, 2017, 10:35 pm

Day 4 – Brilliant Email Etiquette to Keep the Reduce Email Stress

I can feel the twinkle of his eyes in his handshake.  Helen Keller

One of the quickest ways to stop email overload is to reduce the rounds of email ping-pong.  Using brilliant business email etiquette to convey the right message, right first time will help. Moreover, you have less than five seconds before the recipient has formed an opinion of you for better or worse.  Poor email etiquette can damage your reputation in a nanosecond.

Based on using brilliant business email etiquette, here are today’s four steps to reduce even further the level of email overload and hence improve performance, well-being and mental health.

Step 1 – Benchmark your email etiquette

Use our special free email Business Etiquette Check List to benchmark your email etiquette.  Where and how can you improve?

Step 2 – Review your inbox for existing chains

Are there any email chains which could have been prevented if you had either communicated more clearly or planned ahead?  What lessons can you learn from these?

Step 3 – Review your email before hitting send

Ask yourself, what image am I conveying of myself? How clear and concise is my email based in the checklist at Step 1.

Did you include an adequate greeting and closure to entice the recipient to respond properly?  For more tips on how email etiquette can help you achieve an empty inbox and reduce email overload see Brilliant Email chapter 12 and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox‘ chapter 11.

Step 4 – Help others improve their email etiquette

Be bold. If you receive an email you cannot understand on the first reading, ask the sender what they are trying to say.  Send them a link to our Email Etiquette Checklist.

For  more resource

Don’t forget there are lots more tips and advice like this on ‘Brilliant Email’ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ a book written especially for PAs and EAs.And there are our Brilliant Email Masterclasses.

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PS. Don’t forget to keep cleaning up that folder of old emails which you created on Day 1 (and indeed any other bulging folders).

 

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload Day 3

Wednesday May 10th, 2017, 8:25 am

Day 3 – How to Reduce Business Email Overload

Develop an uncanny ability to be selectively ignorant.  Timothy Ferriss.

Managing stress is about managing what is under your control.  The same is true about reducing the time you spend (and waste dealing with email).  To save time and reduce the email stress,  you need to reduce the number of emails you receive each day.  Deleting simply is not an option. You have be proactive and keep all unwanted emails out of your inbox and reduce the number of times you check for new email.  here is our three stage business email management strategy to do so.

Step 1 – Prioritise each new email you receive today 

How many of the emails you receive do you really need?  Triage your emails as you deal with them.  Ask yourself  ‘Do I really need this email?’ ‘How useful is this to me?’  For more guidance on prioritising see Brilliant Email chapter 3 and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’  if you are a PA or EA.

Step 2 – Stop all non-essential emails from reaching your inbox

For all those low priority emails, either get yourself off the sender’s list or automatically move them out of your inbox so they don’t distract you from the really important ones.   Your inbox should be your ‘work in hand’ just like an old fashioned in-tray.  Ways to reduce the incoming email traffic and hence email overload are:

  • Unsubscribe.
  • Ask the sender to remove you from their list.
  • Use rules to send them automatically to a folder/Trash.

Click here to see how to write rules that allow you see only the important emails (and not waste time on email distractions dealing with the lower priority ones).

Step 3 – Reduce the number of times you deal with email

How often do you currently check for new emails?  When was the last time you received an email which would mean a catastrophe if you did not respond for about an hour?  Give yourself a break from the inbox to allow yourself to focus on the task in-hand for at least 30 minutes and preferably one hour.  Try not deal with your email too late into the night as that can seriously effect your quality of sleep and your work-life balance.

For  more resource

Don’t forget there are lots more tips and advice like this on ‘Brilliant Email’ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ a book written especially for PAs and EAs.

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Do you feel others colleagues would benefit from help cleaning out their inboxes?  Why not either join them up to this week’s programme or ask MesmoConsultancy to run one of our Brilliant Email Management master classes?

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