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Showing items tagged with "inbox zero" - 18 found.

At the mercy of your inbox? How to cope with email overload

Posted Friday November 17th, 2017, 10:04 pm by

Email is over 30 years old and hasn’t changed that much since its inception. But over the years we have been letting it take over our lives. It started out as a basic electronic messaging system, and we now use it to communicate everything – from the simplest to the most complex messages.  This blog reviews some of different approaches to managing email overload and their pros and cons, including inbox zero and the goldfish techniques.

Published in The Guardian November 2017

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Business Email Overload and Etiquette articles of note – November 2017

Posted Thursday November 16th, 2017, 9:51 pm by

For the last five years, Inbox Zero was the holly grail for many who wanted to save time dealing with email. But did it really help and reduce email overload?  Is your business email etiquette and social media footprint helping or hampering your chances of a new job? How quickly can you spot fake news? These are some of the topics we highlight for this month.

1. What is the best way to manage your inbox and email overload? Over the years many different approaches to email management have been touted as the salvation for everyone suffering from business email overload. These include Inbox zero which many pursued as the holy of grail of business email management. Now Merlin Mann its inventor doubts its effectiveness and suggest that it might indeed be a complete waste of time. So what are we left with, the sledge hammer or goldfish approaches? In this Guardian guest blog, Monica reviews the options.

2.Eight email (etiquette) mistakes which bug your colleagues. Adding kisses and emoticons, not including a greeting and informal content are just some of the things you might be doing with email which annoys your colleagues. This is what a recent study by CV-Library revealed. Sending emails well out-side normal office hours is also very annoying. None of this is new but these are also business email etiquette habits which might be costing you your next job (including when emailing recruitment companies).

Check your business email etiquette using the Mesmo Consultancy on-line analytical tool. It is so easy to fall into sloppy habits as we work under increasing time pressures. Make sure this is not happening to you and that your business email etiquette is not jeopardising your next job.  For more tips see the Mesmo Business Email Etiquette video the Five S Formula for Writing Effective Emails.

3. Deep clean your internet activity. Yes, the first port of call for recruiters is often the internet. What will they find out about you? Old social media posts which you forgot to remove. One of us was recruiting for a CEO. After finding information about a potential candidate they phoned a business associate who might know more. Yes, you guessed, the candidate did not make it past the first round.  You cannot remove all the content for example reputable news content. However, you can clean up your social media posts as this article explains.

4. Corporate leaders: keep your Yammering in check. It is not just the Millenials and Snowflakes that need to be mindful of what they post on the web. CEOs too can sometimes wreak havoc with their posts as Jean- Sébastien Jacques CEO of Rio Tinto found. It is easy to get carried away by the ease of posting and one’s own self-importance. In the process as Mr Jacques and others have found they can reveal too much personal information and sensitive data which causes mayhem. On the other hand there is a line of thought which says there is no such thing as bad publicity. It’s a very fine dividing line as these articles have demonstrated and which need treading with great care and attention.

5. Spotting fake news. Pre the web, we used to say there are lies and dam lies. We were taught to study the statistics used and look for inconsistencies etc. Whilst this is still a vital skill, the challenge is how to spot news on social media which is fake. Here is an excellent concise guide on how to do it.

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Limit the holiday email overload

Posted Friday July 29th, 2016, 12:13 pm by

Before you go on vacation, will you be apply lashing of sun tan lotion to your inbox or exposing it to the risk of going red and swelling out of proportion? Here are five easy and simple actions you can take before going on leave to limit the risk of self-induced holiday email overload.

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  1. Reduce the current inbox to as near to inbox zero as possible – see 2 and 3 below.
  2. Check for any important emails which if left unattended will be urgent when you return. If there are then either deal with them now or send a holding reply which allows you time on your return to deal with them.
  3. Move out all the remaining emails over a week old. They are past their sell by date and if they are not, rest assured, someone will re-email you.

You should just be left with emails needing attention on your return. You could be bold and move these too into a folder ‘awaiting action’. Now you have an empty inbox. How does that feel? To keep the inbox clean and de-cluttered see item 4.

  1. Set up rules to move automatically both essential and non-essential emails to folders eg newsletters, circulars, out of office messages, emails on which you are cc’d, etc. This also means that emails from key people are all in one place on your return and easy to find. Your inbox should then just contain important emails but un-planned for emails.
  2. Set a safe and simple Out of Office message. Take care not to leave the door open to prying eyes and cyber criminals. You might be bold and suggest the sender re-sends any important emails on your return as all emails will be automatically deleted. Such a practice is far more common than you think.

Now go off and relax safe in the knowledge that you have taken adequate precautions to reduce vacation (and even staycation) email overload. Maybe even have an email free vacation.

For more guidelines like these see Brilliant Email and Taking Control of Your Inbox (the latter is especially relevant for PAs and EAs who manage someone else’s inbox.

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Reaching inbox zero after taking a vacation

Posted Monday August 3rd, 2015, 3:29 pm by

Holidays are meant to be a time to relax and unwind.  However, 80% say that dealing with the holiday email backlog is one of the most stressful aspects of being on vacation according to a survey conducted by Mesmo Consultancy.  This is not surprising when you realise that most business people (and especially executives and PAs) feel that at least 50% of the emails they receive are unnecessary.  One survey recently put it as high as 75%.  Little wonder dealing with the holiday back log can seem quite daunting.

It does not have to be that way.  For those just back from leave and who did not either adopt Mesmo Consultancy’s email detox  plan, or take David Grossman’s email free vacation pledge) here is a tried and trusted five point plan to reduce the holiday email backlog and quickly reach inbox zero.

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Spending the first hour talking to your colleagues will help you discover far more rapidly what is high priority and needs your attention rather than trawling unprepared through your inbox.

When you tackle the inbox set aside a specific block of time (eg 3 hours).  Group your emails by person, subject, date etc. Use the conversation view (threads) to see the whole picture before replying too quickly.  You may even feel you want to reply only to the emails sent to you rather than where you are Cc’d.

As you open each email, handle it once and once only.  Avoid scanning emails and then having to go back as this wastes time. Action each selected email as you read it using the four Ds principle; deal, delete, delegate or defer action.  In the latter case flag/mark it for attention and tell the sender when they can expect a reply.

Still too much email, then declare email bankruptcy.  You can be very sure that if an email was that important the sender will soon re-send it once they realise you have not responded.

What ways have you found useful to have a clean inbox and reach inbox zero after being on vacation?

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Are Your Sitting Comfortably – Guest Blog from Guy Osmond

Posted Sunday April 12th, 2015, 8:15 pm by

There has been a lot of talk recently about the need to sit less. Banner headlines like ‘Sitting is the new Smoking’ have gained wide recognition with the help of the Daily Mail and others.

The research does give genuine cause for concern. Well being is high on most organisation’s agendas. The truth is that we do need to sit some of the time because despite the ever-increasing use of smartphones and tablets, most of us still use a computer for sustained periods. Our posture is therefore just as important as it ever was and especially as we try to reach inbox zero.

Many of the rules about seated computer use and workstation layout can be applied to standing postures. Indeed, if you understand (and think about it) the underlying principles of ergonomics and posture, you can use these ideas when using tablets, watching TV, driving the car and countless other situations.

Seven key considerations are:

  1. Adjust your chair to support you in a comfortable posture.

    Good sitting Posture

    Good Sitting Posture

  2. Check the seat is at the right height and use a footrest if you need one.
  3. Ensure the seat depth is suitable for your thigh length. You should have a few centimetres between the front of the seat and the back of your knee.  If it is less, you may not be able to sit back properly on the chair. If it is much more, the front of your thighs are not getting enough support.
  4. Sit with the chair close to the desk.
  5. Put the screen directly in front of you. Set the height so that your head is vertical and you are looking down slightly when viewing it.
  6. Arrange your worktop layout according to which tools you use most frequently. The keyboard should be about 10cm away from the front of your desk.
  7. Keep items in constant use close by eg telephone, mouse and keyboard. Keep the last two as close to each other as possible.  Make sure you don’t have to stretch and turn for other items such as the telephone.

    Good Standing Posture

    Good Standing Posture

If your workstation allows you to stand some of the time, remember the key standing rules:

  • Mix sitting and standing throughout the day.
  • Check your standing posture. Swapping bad sitting posture for bad standing posture is not a good idea!
  • Make sure the desk is high enough so that you avoid a standing slouch.

You can find further sit-stand tips here.  Regular stretches and strengthening of core muscles are also recommended.

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