Showing items tagged with "inbox zero" - 16 found.

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.


  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.

Holiday emailoverload 2015

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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Reduce the holiday email overload to inbox zero

Posted Monday September 1st, 2014, 11:09 am by

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.

Will Rogers

Despite packing up your inbox properly before going on vacation did your colleagues still managed to fill it for you? Did you do nothing and just let the email mount up?

Vacation email overload

Holiday email overload

Here are our top five tips to reduce the email mountain to inbox zero very quickly.  They key is accepting that the more emails you send the more you receive.

  1. Triage your emails into four categories:
    • Important (eg from clients, about key projects)
    • Nice to know about but nonessential
    • Newsletters and circulars
    • No relevance/use whatsoever
  1. Identify the chains/threads/conversations relating to important. (In Outlook 2010 use View by Conversation.) Review them before responding to ensure what you are going say will really add value. If it will not then do not reply, simply file the emails away.
  2. Locate all the newsletters and emails of no relevance and delete them.
  3. Move to a folder all the remaining emails which you think might be useful and take five minutes each day for the rest of the week to review them. After five days delete what is left.
  4. All too much? Declare email bankruptcy and wait for people to write again!

To maintain inbox zero, you now need to train your colleagues to change their email behaviour. More next month. Can’t wait, then contact us now to discuss how Mesmo Consultancy can help you.

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Pack up your inbox for the vacation to avoid post holiday email overload

Posted Monday June 30th, 2014, 9:37 pm by

Do you plan either to log in whilst on leave or pack up your inbox for a well deserved break?  Whilst we all like to think we are indispensable, the benefits of disconnecting from the inbox (and indeed most aspects of the wired world) have been well documented in previous blogs.

For those who do intend to close up their inbox whilst they take a vacation here are our top five tips to help you reduce coming back to a severe case of email overload.

Email stress free vacation

Email stress free vacation

  1. In the weeks leading up to your vacation, start to reduce all the unnecessary noise which finds its way into your inbox (eg newsletter, all user announcements, social media alerts etc). Click here for more tips.
  2. Set up rules to filter out all the non-essential emails eg newsletters.
  3. If you normally pick up your work emails on your own mobile device eg iphone, remember you can turn off the traffic to that email account.
  4. Set an Out of Office message which is safe and reduces the risk of a cyber crime – click here for more tips. To reach inbox zero very quickly on your return you might even consider saying to internal senders that whilst on leave all your emails are being deleted and to resend it on your return!
  5. Block out a day either side of your holiday to clean out your inbox before and after your holiday.

If you feel you really must stay in contact whilst on vacation minimise how many times you check your emails to once and at most twice a day. Otherwise be prepared for some heated family arguments and possible having to deal with a wet iphone/Blackberry.

Past experience suggests that not logging in is like excess cargo which needed to be dumped (to paraphrase Diana Athill).

Reaching inbox zero on your return can be quick and easy by following this seven point plan.

Still need help downsizing your inbox and saving time dealing with email?  Call us now to discuss how our Brilliant Email masterclasses can help you and your business.


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