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Showing items tagged with "out of office message" - 7 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.

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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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Distracted Beyond Belief

Posted Wednesday March 2nd, 2016, 9:31 pm by

One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.
Daniel Goleman

Are you distracted by each and every new email as it arrives in your inbox? Over the last few weeks it amazed us as to how many people still have all those new email alerts turned on. The reasons why range from ‘we are acting for clients in the middle of a merger’ to ‘my boss will ask for more coffee during a meeting’. The latter might just be valid, but and it’s a big but, often better decisions are made given a little extra time and space to think. Ever looked back and thought if only?

As to the second reason, can the boss not phone, walk to their PAs office? Would not any self respecting PA check on such matters during important meetings?

We live in an age of instant gratification so the faster we reply the better we feel. Or do we? Constant distractions have been shown irrevocably to reduce our performance. Moreover our brain becomes re-wired to think tactically and we lose the ability to think strategically. This is one of the first major challenges facing Sophie in Dr Seeley’s new book Taking Control of Your Inbox. Max the email genie from the Clean Inbox Kingdom provide some solutions.

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  1. Turn off all those wretched new email alerts from the ding dong to the floating box. Stay focused for 20 to 30 minutes then review the inbox. For Outlook users go to File/Options/Mail. Under the Message arrival block, uncheck all the boxes. Click OK.
  2. Apply either the Pomodoro or Swiss Cheese Approach when you do switch to dealing with email. In each case it’s about identifying what is really important and dealing with those emails then returning to the task in hand.
  3. Manage sender’s expectations. Tell them when you will respond.
  4. Set aside specific time to deal with the rest of the emails.
  5. If needs be use your Out of Office message to buy time when dealing with an important task which requires your undivided attention.

Clients who have switched off all the new email alerts are always amazed at how much more they achieve in a day. As one client said last week – ‘you made me realise that the inbox is no more than a post box. When ready I will go and see that the postman has for me’.

For more help to take control of your day why not invest in a copy of Taking Control of Your Inbox (and life)?

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Articles of Note – October 2015

Posted Monday October 26th, 2015, 10:31 pm by

Even prior to the TalkTalk hack, password protection and the on going stream of email spoofs were a significant focus of the last few months.  The latter are always phishing to relieve you very cheaply and easily of your hard earned money.Typewritter

  1. TalkTalk’s was hacked by a 15 year old.  The number of customers’ financial information stolen might be less than expected.  But it reveals just how vulnerable such websites are to the determined hacker.
  2. The worst fifteen hacks – it’s to early to know the full extent of the TalkTalk hack and whether or not it ranks in the top twenty worst cyber crimes. Here is the list thus far.
  3. Password protection.  There are a number of good password protection applications.  Here is a useful summary of the best of the bunch.
  4. Spotting spam emails still seems to defy some.  This is a very good reminder of the key signs that the email you think is genuine is not.
  5. Out of office messages are a two fold hazard.  They act as a cheap backdoor to cyber criminals and an excuse to take a peek at emails whilst technically on leave.

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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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To check or not to check ….email on holiday…that IS the question

Posted Friday August 16th, 2013, 2:27 pm by

Will you or won’t you?  Should you or shouldn’t you … check your emails while you are on leave?  These questions remain hot topics judging by recent press coverage.  Some feel their bosses and today’s 24/7 way of working means it is required of you as a professional.  Others say you can’t really switch off properly and get the benefits of your break if you are constantly on line.

Many of you will be just about to go away or just coming back.  So I thought you might like to take a look at the coverage and be reminded of some useful things you can do to minimise email intruding on your vacation and making your return a misery.

Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times, not surprisingly, dislikes those Out of Office messages saying you are on leave and feels that staying connected is the right image for those who want to survive in today’s full on business world.

Email stress free vacation

Email stress free vacation

My view? – well I believe in disconnecting if possible but being realistic.  I would say restrict yourself to logging on once a day but don’t let yourself get dragged back into work detail.

Delegate responsibilities and do some work to cut your inbox before you go as summarised in an article by Darren Slade business editor of the Daily Echo.

With respect to Out of Office message, I agree with Lucy about banal ones.  However, setting a professional Out of Office message can help manage sender’s expectations and reduce cyber crime risks.

Whether or not you disconnect or stay connected you will undoubtedly return to a bulging inbox and Timothy Stenovec on Huffington.Com provides five very useful top tips to take back control of your inbox.

  1. Ruthlessly unsubscribe
  2. Send fewer emails
  3. Empty your inbox!
  4. Eliminate distractions
  5. Own your inbox (Don’t let it own you)

Click here for the full article by Tim Stenovec.

For more tips and hints on how to deal with email both on leave and on your return see my recent blog on email security over the vacation and the seven step plan for dealing with the vacation back log.

But this is not just about individuals making the decision to log on or not during the holiday season.  Companies need to give clear guidlines about what they expect.  Just as you should provide guidelines on what is acceptable email etiquette/style for your business, you should also include what is expected from employees on leave and especially in relation to their Out of Office message.

This is an area where we can and would be delighted to provide advice and guidance on email best practice to ensure you and your most valuable asset (your employees) have stress and email free vacations and minimise the cyber crime risks associated with Out of Office messages.

Have a great holiday.

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