Blogs - Archive

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.

International Clean Out Your Inbox Week 2019 Day 2

Monday January 21st, 2019, 10:16 pm

Day 2 – Keeping the Inbox Clean

There is a huge stress (associated) with disorganisation and there is also a cost to being disorganised. Carolee Cannata

The real work of reducing email overload starts today. Having cleared out all the old emails, the goal is keep the inbox clean.  Develop the habit of  handling each email once and only once.

Step 1 – Handle each (new) email once and do something with it

Use the Ds principle as you open each email:

Deal; Delegate; Delete or Defer.

Never, never open an email and then close it without taking action. This just wastes time as you then go back and forth re-reading emails.

Step 2 – Develop a robust strategy for deferred emails

Develop a process for you for making sure you keep tabs on those emails which still need action. For example, create a task, add a flag, move them to a ‘Pending’ folder. What ever happens don’t just leave them lying around in your inbox.

For more resource

Invest in a copy of either ‘Brilliant Email’ or for ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ (written especially for PAs, EAs and VAs).

 

Do you still have colleagues who need convincing about why they should invest in better email management?  Watch this video.

Tomorrow we look at how to reduce the volume of email traffic through your inbox.

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International Clean Out Your Inbox Week 2019 – Day 1

Sunday January 20th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Day 1 – Clean Out Your Inbox week: Why Bother?

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. Peter Drucker

 

Clean Out Your Inbox Week 2019

Clean Out Your Inbox Inbox week 2019 is here. Why join in?  Business email overload is still one executive’s main concerns according to recent surveys.  They worry about cleaning out their inboxes and will stay up until 10.00pm clearing the backlog only to find their inbox full again in the morning.  All this leads to increased stress and potential mental health problems.  Sounds familiar?  Join the club.  This is why we have been running the International Clean Out Your Inbox Inbox week for over a decade to help you improve performance and creativity whilst reducing the stress and mental health issues arising from business email overload.

During Clean Out Your Inbox week we will share tips and hints on how to clean out your inbox, help other also clean out their inbox and then change people’s email behaviour to reduce business email overload long term.

It doesn’t matter what your role is in the organisation, PA, EA, CEO, Sales Director, etc., business email overload will be impacting you and your colleagues  and can mean time wasted, an important email is overlooked, an email is sent in haste and causes the next email media disaster, an email is open quickly and initiates a cyber attack.

So lets get started aiming for a clean inbox by Friday.

Step 1 – Check the Cost of Business Email Overload to yourself and your business

Calibrate how clean is your inbox.  Use our Cost of BusinessEmail Overload Calculator and dare to share the results as above.

Step 2 – Weigh in

  • Check how many emails are in your inbox.
  • What is the date of the oldest.
  • How many are unread.
  • Daring to share the results by one of the following: Email; Facebook: Twitter (using #cleaninbox)

Step 3 – Set yourself SMART goals for Clean Out Your Inbox Week and plan how to achieve them

Dare to share

Share your  Clean Out Your Inbox week SMART goals and plans (see above). There are two a prizes for the best sets (copy of ‘Brilliant Email‘ and for PAs and EAs ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox‘).

Each day we will post the Clean Inbox week action for that day.  Meanwhile ..

For more resource during Clean Out Your Inbox Week

Twitter_logo_blueFollow me on Twitter using #cleaninbox.

Facebook-Buttons-1-10-Join our Facebook page and Like us please.

 

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Reduce Business Email Overload in 2019 – Top ten tips

Tuesday January 8th, 2019, 10:26 pm

Here are my top 10 tips (and resolutions) to reduce business email overload in 2019.  These tips will enable you to take control of your inbox instead of allowing it to control your working day.  This will enable you to improve your performance and well-being and reduce the risks of an email borne cyber attack through stupidity.

  1. Educate colleagues (internally and externally) not to expect an instant reply.
  2. Avoid sending ‘naked’ emails (ie ones with no proper salutation and sign-off).
  3. Never send an email when under the influence of alcohol, drugs.
  4. Always attach first then write the email content.
  5. Clean out the inbox regularly and move out all emails more than one month old.
  6. When using your mobile device on the move as a diary etc, lock the screen with a photo of the day’s schedule.
  7. Use ‘Google Translate’ when sending emails to an international audience to check the content translates properly.
  8. Reduce the number of emails you send by at least 20%.
  9. Limit the number of times your inbox is checked for emails each day.
  10. Have a digital detox at least once a fortnight.

What are your New Year’s resolutions to reduce the level of business email overload in 2019?

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Business Email Overload 2019 Part 4 – thinking outside the inbox

Monday December 3rd, 2018, 6:43 pm

As IORG Social Media Chair, for the past four weeks my theme has been whether or not business email overload will still be a problem in 2019 and if so can we reduce it. Thinking outside the inbox will a key way to reduce business email overload in 2019. (A shorter version was published on the IORG website).

Thinking outside the inbox is neither easy nor intuitive,   There are now multiple excellent other ways to communicate electronically from instant messaging via Skype for Business or What’s App to sophisticated collaborative tools like Slack or SharePoint.  Sadly, what often happens is that organisations adopt alternatives to email with no clear guidelines on what to use when. With no clear conventions and frameworks all that happens is that email overload turns into a severe attack of information overload because now you have at least three if not four or five different channels to check.

In the absence of organisational guidelines, here is a simple framework which others with whom I have worked have found very useful.  Its called the PNPD Framework for Thinking Outside the Inbox

 

For any form of communication, there are basically four factors to consider when deciding which medium to use.

  1. Privacy – what level of privacy is needed?
  2. Numbers – is it one-to-one or one-to-many
  3. Permanency – do you need an audit trail of the exchange?
  4. Delicacy – how important is it to be able to see the other persons reaction as you converse so as to moderate what you say accordingly?

Here are two examples of how to apply the PNPD framwork to think outside the inbox to reduce email and information overload.

Scenario 1 – Conversation

Private between two people, delicate but a permanent record of the final discussion will be needed (eg performance appraisal, salary negotiation, disciplinary meeting).

Best option – conversation (face-to-face if possible otherwise virtual) followed up by an email confirming the discussion.

Privacy is high: Numbers are low: Permanency is high: Delicacy is high.

Scenario 2 – Instant messaging

A public message for several people if not the whole office which if not seen here and now is of no relevance later. It does not matter how people react. For example, testing the fire alarm, cakes for your birthday.

Best option – Instant messaging.

Privacy is low: Numbers are high: Permanency is low: Delicacy is low.

For more information on the PNPD Thinking Outside the Inbox Framework see Taking Control of Your Inbox.

It is my view that email is here to stay and the real challenge is how to manage our use of it better.  Clearly one way is to manage the actual flow of email traffic in and out of your inbox more efficiently.  In relation to the former this means being brave and thinking outside the inbox and consciously choosing to use an alternative.

What is your view?

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Business email overload 2019 Part 3 – fast or slow lane to your inbox

Wednesday November 21st, 2018, 9:42 pm

A constant problem associated with business email overload and hence information overload is picking out the important emails from all the dross. Deleting the less important ones often results in deleting those you really wanted, especially when using a mobile device.  They key is to remember it is your inbox and no one (at least no email) should arrive without your permission.

See the path to your inbox as an information highway along which emails travel but you and you alone decide which travel in the fast lane and arrive directly in your inbox and which travel in the slow lane via a width restrictor (folder).

Over the next week if you truly want to reduce your business email overload intake, do an inbox audit to benchmark your email intake using this simple five step exercise.

  1. Review each email you receive and assign it a basic priority – high; medium or low.
  2. For the emails you want, decide whether they travel in either the fast lane direct to your inbox or the slow lane via a folder.
  3. Write rules for all those which are to travel in the slow lane to divert them away from the inbox to a safe holding place.
  4. For all the low priority emails try to find a way to stop them arriving in the first place (eg unsubscribe, tell the sender to remove you from their list).
  5. For all the high priority emails decide whether or not you need to be alerted when they arrive. If so implement a suitable mechanism.

You must be absolutely ruthless otherwise at the end of the week you will still be suffering with business email and information overload and your inbox will remain heavily congested.

This blog is part of the series being written for IORG on whether or not business email overload will still be a problem in 2019.

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