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Showing items tagged with "email stress" - 10 found.

Reduce email stress: disconnect at Christmas and improve your well-being

Posted Monday December 14th, 2015, 11:12 pm by

Technology is a great source of help over the Christmas period, for example shopping on-line, e-cards, looking up how to cook the turkey etc. However, there is a downside too, smart devices entice us to stay connected to the office even over the Christmas period when let’s face it many organisations are effectively shut for business.

Meanwhile, cyber-crime is not only increasing but taking on different forms. Rather like flu you find a vaccination for one strain and along comes another. In the case of cyber-crime it’s called Ransomware. The hackers tease you into downloading malware which locks down all your files. Then they demand a ransom to unlock the files. Here is an excellent article from Norton on dealing with Ransomware.

Here are five tips to help you relax and reduce the risk of email stress and a cyber-attack to either you or your business. The key is to disconnect (from both emails and work social media feeds).

  1. Email connect or disconnect?

    Email connect or disconnect?

    Never email under the influence of drink (before during or after Christmas) when your judgement and vision could be impaired.

  1. Wipe your inbox clean before taking a break. Move all old emails out into a separate file just in case you really do need them again.
  1. Go ‘cold turkey’ over the holiday. Either switch off your office smart phone or disconnect the work email feed (if you see them on your personal device).
  1. Set a safe and simple Out of Office. Give away as little information to prying eyes as possible. Be bold, tell sad senders that all your emails are being deleted and to resend anything important on your return.
  1. Be extra vigilant about any unfamiliar emails either from unknown senders or contacts where the email has an unusual subject-line/content. They may have been hacked and the hackers are now extending their tentacles.   Such unusual emails nearly always are either taking you to bogus websites to capture your personal details or the start of a ransom demand scam.

If all else fails buy one of those magnificent colouring books and get colouring. It a great way to relax and re-connect with others (very young and old).

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Spring clean your inbox to reduce email overload stress

Posted Saturday April 12th, 2014, 4:21 pm by

The boss asks you what happened to the email from Client A who says they are still waiting for a reply.  Panic sets in because you know you saw the email but now it’s lost somewhere in your bulging inbox.  It has happened to most of us at some point in our digital lives.

The challenge is to reduce the risk of it happening too often.  With the pressure of year end over and with spring in the air, now is a great time to reduce email overload stress by dusting down your inbox.  There are some who profess to being able to work effectively in chaos but for most of us having some order in our lives helps improve performance.  A clean inbox makes a great foundation to bring order to your inbox and limit the risk of an email disaster by missing an important email.

For each new email which pops into your inbox (often uninvited), your aim to is ensure it is handled once and once only.  That is to say, you apply one of the four Ds and if the option is ‘Defer’ ensure you have a fail safe process for keeping track on when you will action it.  Your inbox should be ‘work in hand’.  Yet over the last month I have heard tales of people with 1,000+ emails lingering in the inbox.  Little wonder some emails go unread and unanswered.

For those who want to do a really deep inbox clean up you can follow the Clean Inbox Week programme.  For those who want the quick flick of the duster approach here are seven easy steps.

  1. Set aside a defined amount of time for this exercise, for example one hour.  Don’t let yourself get distracted by anyone.

    Clean inbox - quick dust down

    Clean inbox – a quick dusting

  2. Sort by subject and person and delete all those old chains.  For those with Outlook 2013 use the View by Thread options.
  3. Flag (or create a task from) any emails which still need action and move them to a separate ‘Pending’ folder.
  4. Move to a relevant folder, blocks of emails from the same person, related to a specific project etc.
  5. Delete all the trivial emails and newsletters (they are old and past their sell by date).
  6. Move all the remaining emails over a week old into a separate folder, eg called ‘Old’.  Start this folder with a full stop ‘.’ and it will sit at the top of the folder list. You might also add it to your Favorites to make it easy to find.
  7. Review your progress when time is up and move onto the next task.  If needs be set aside time in the coming weeks to continue to dust down and clean out the Old emails folder.

Now with a relatively empty inbox apply the 4Ds to each new email as it arrives and implement a process for you that will help you keep track of the emails which have outstanding actions.

If you feel you and your colleagues would benefit from more better email management, please do contact us about Mesmo Consultancy’s Brilliant Email Masterclasses.  Over the last month we have helped many clients save 45 minutes plus per day dealing with their email.

 

 

 

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Is email and social media effecting your health? Guest Post from Ann McCracken

Posted Monday March 11th, 2013, 5:55 pm by

Do you feel emails and social media are taking over your life? According to a University of California, Irvine and US Army Researchers, people who check their work email regularly exhibit higher states of ‘alertness’ and less focus than they do if they are cut off from email entirely.

Heart rate

Email overload heartbeat

Heart rate monitors were attached to computer users in a suburban office setting, while software sensors detected how often the users switched windows. People who read email, changed screens twice as often and were in a continuous “high alert” state, with more constant heart rates. Those removed from email for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates but reported feeling isolated from on-going information.

Some suggestions to reduce these unwanted health effects could be:

  • controlling email log-in times
  • batching messages
  • using ‘unavailable’ auto replies to help set expectations of senders

Investor Harj Taggar weaned himself off email on his phone, and noticed a marked improvement in his concentration as a result. Independent research has also found that a large percentage of email adds little value to the individual’s or the organisation’s day.

When Thierry Breton, CEO and chairman of Atos, announced they would be phasing out internal email altogether, it was considered radical, but it has subsequently been shown to be a move in the right direction by Atos Consulting’s own research on workplace well-being and performance.

In one week, 300 people in Atos Consulting sent or received 85,000 messages. The majority of employees found the volume of email unmanageable and many of the messages unimportant.

One in four managers claimed to spend more than 25% of their time writing emails that add no value to their work. Simply reading these messages can swallow up 28% of time in a working day.

The research concluded – At best, they are a “productivity drain”, at worst, they result in under performance and employee disengagement.

If you can’t go that far you could try:

  • summarising the content in the heading, thus focusing the recipient on your message e.g.’Training confirmed for 12th February’ rather than ‘Forthcoming Training’
  • copying only those who should be aware of your message to reduce time wasting and request others do the same
  • resisting the temptation to read and forward ‘fun/cute/outrageous’ circulars and keep that for home computers

Email often results in mis-communication, as intonation and body language are missing from the communication. My own personal experience reinforces this and I find a quick telephone chat can enhance rapport and clarify meanings or talking directly to a colleague if they are in the same room/building is useful and may involve a little walking exercise.  Email is not a substitute for basic conversation with all the nuances you get from face to face interaction.

Constantly checking emails and social media removes an individual from contact with those around them and in a one-to-one or group situation, makes friends/colleagues feel secondary to the unknown person on the end of a smart phone or tablet.AMC logo

We cannot ignore 21st century communication but we CAN choose how we use it, ensuring balanced mental health and well-being.

Ann McCracken is Director of AMC2 and Vice President ISMAUK.  She is author of ‘The Stress Gremlins’.   This originally appeared on on www.amc2.co.uk.

If either you or anyone in your organisation is suffering with stress ask us about how our Brilliant Workshop can hep you and your staff take control of your inbox and your day.

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Smart Email Management Goals for 2013

Posted Friday January 4th, 2013, 9:30 am by

Empty Wardrobe – Empty Inbox

2012 saw the volume for email traffic rise by at least 10% and certainly my inbox is starting to bulge again.  Email overload is rising (and hence email stress its direct descendant).  Do I declare inbox bankruptcy like so many before me.  The only trouble is that unlike a bank there is no bale out if I lose  a valuable email.  Yesterday I  spent four hours clearing out my sent items and lots of old folders.  It felt just like clearing out the wardrobe of all those old clothes which one hangs onto just in case either they come back into fashion or you lose some weight so once more you can get into those skinny fit jeans!

In the case of the inbox it was old projects and possible joint ventures which had long since past their sell by date.

As a result here are my top tips and indeed my own goals for limiting the effects of email overload and email induced stress.

  1. Write like a man – shorten my emails by 10 to 20%.
  2. Reduce the number of time I check my inbox by 20% (to about five times a day).
  3. Stop feeling I must reply to every email out of courtesy – after all I don’t reply to all my phone messages and especially those which are sales calls.
  4. Have at least one ‘No Email Day’ every quarter.
  5. Use a file sharing system like Dropbox for sending large attachments.

What are your goals and plans for 2013 to help you save time and unchain yourself from the inbox?

Do you need some help slimming down your inbox for 2013?   Call us and we can discuss how our Brilliant Email Management workshops and coaching can help you and your business.   Alternatively, subscribe to our free monthly   e-briefing.

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Email bullying – reduce the risks

Posted Wednesday October 24th, 2012, 9:40 am by

Email bullying?

In the USA, October is national prevent bullying month.  We do not appear to have anything similar in the UK which is a shame especially as there have been a few cases of young people committing suicide through feeling bullied on Facebook etc.

Email too can easily be used to bully people.  For example leaving insufficient time to reply, constantly sending email reminders and demands.  Sending rude, arrogant and abrasive emails can be stressful too for the recipient.  Attaching read receipt and reminder flags might also be deemed bully tactics. Such harassment is a drain on productivity as found previously. Perhaps the most serious form of email bullying is expecting people to reply too quickly and often outside acceptable working hours.  Moreover, email bullying adds to the email overload and hence stress levels.

Any form of bullying is to be deplored and is unacceptable.  Social technologies and email have just made it easier to do in a hidden and often covert manner. Deleting and/or ignoring such emails is not an option.

VW recently stopped sending email to workers Blackberrys thirty minutes after their shift ended.  That is taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

At Mesmo Consultancy we have found a more informed a sustainable solution is to implement a proper email management code of conduct and email best practice charter.   It should contain both what is acceptable email behaviour and the procedure if you are on the receiving end of email bullying.

Have you ever been bullied by email?  Does your organisation have such an email management code of conduct?

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