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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Business Email Overload Day 5

Posted Thursday May 11th, 2017, 9:33 pm by

Day 5 – Pulling It All Together

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. Niccolo Machiavelli

Email overload is stressful and can also be an underlying cause of mental health issues.  Hopefully  you have reduced the email overload, have a clean inbox and improved your productivity and well-being.

Now the trick is to keep your inbox under control and encourage others to follow suit.

Email addiction is one of the major causes of email overload. It’s the feeling that you must constantly check your inbox no matter where you are, what you are doing or what the time of day.  Moreover, we often default to email when of course there are a myriad of other ways to communicate. As many of you will know I am a great fan of pen and paper especially for saying thank you and taking ownership when being asked to do something rather than retorting with ‘send me an email’.

Day five is about taking stock, checking you are not suffering from email addiction and making plans to keep your inbox out of the email overload zone.  Here is our three step plan for the last day.

Step 1  – Check your level of email addiction

Use Mesmo Consultancy’s free Email Addiction self-assessment tool.  Identify your strengths and weaknesses and if necessary seek advice about how to control the urge to have another email fix.

In the coming days and weeks as you are about either to Reply/Forward or even ‘Send’ pause and ask yourself would an alternative be more efficient (eg talking, a discussion group on something like SharePoint, instant message etc)?

Step 2 – Review your action plan and goals

Look back to Day 1 and how much time you were losing. Now re-calibrate using our Cost of Email Misuse Calculator.  Where do you still need to make some changes?

Step 3 – Moving forward

How will you keep your inbox slim and control the business email overload in the coming weeks?  Don’t let email rule your day.  Don’t feel you must check your email either first thing in the morning or every five minutes.  Rather try disconnect from time to time. The most productive people are those who prioritise their time and stay focused on the task in hand.

Do you have colleagues who would benefit from managing their email more effectively as you have now done?  Yes, then call  us now to ask about our Brilliant Email Management master classes. Otherwise how about giving them a copy of either ‘Brilliant Email’ or ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’?

Celebrate – Dare to share

Share your progress; EmailFacebookTwitter  (using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek)  There are two prize  for the two people who have made the most outstanding progress (a copy of ‘Brilliant Email‘ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox”).  For instance, had five days of empty inboxes, reduced the number of rounds of email ping-pong by improving their email etiquette etc.

For  more resource

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Thank you for joining us for this the re-run of Clean Out Your Inbox Week to support Mental Health Awareness week  We hope we have made a small contribution to helping people re-focus their work-life balance and de-stress..  Feedback on how we can improve this event for next year is always appreciated.

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload Day 4

Posted Wednesday May 10th, 2017, 10:35 pm by

Day 4 – Brilliant Email Etiquette to Keep the Reduce Email Stress

I can feel the twinkle of his eyes in his handshake.  Helen Keller

One of the quickest ways to stop email overload is to reduce the rounds of email ping-pong.  Using brilliant business email etiquette to convey the right message, right first time will help. Moreover, you have less than five seconds before the recipient has formed an opinion of you for better or worse.  Poor email etiquette can damage your reputation in a nanosecond.

Based on using brilliant business email etiquette, here are today’s four steps to reduce even further the level of email overload and hence improve performance, well-being and mental health.

Step 1 – Benchmark your email etiquette

Use our special free email Business Etiquette Check List to benchmark your email etiquette.  Where and how can you improve?

Step 2 – Review your inbox for existing chains

Are there any email chains which could have been prevented if you had either communicated more clearly or planned ahead?  What lessons can you learn from these?

Step 3 – Review your email before hitting send

Ask yourself, what image am I conveying of myself? How clear and concise is my email based in the checklist at Step 1.

Did you include an adequate greeting and closure to entice the recipient to respond properly?  For more tips on how email etiquette can help you achieve an empty inbox and reduce email overload see Brilliant Email chapter 12 and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox‘ chapter 11.

Step 4 – Help others improve their email etiquette

Be bold. If you receive an email you cannot understand on the first reading, ask the sender what they are trying to say.  Send them a link to our Email Etiquette Checklist.

For  more resource

Don’t forget there are lots more tips and advice like this on ‘Brilliant Email’ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ a book written especially for PAs and EAs.And there are our Brilliant Email Masterclasses.

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PS. Don’t forget to keep cleaning up that folder of old emails which you created on Day 1 (and indeed any other bulging folders).

 

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload Day 3

Posted Wednesday May 10th, 2017, 8:25 am by

Day 3 – How to Reduce Business Email Overload

Develop an uncanny ability to be selectively ignorant.  Timothy Ferriss.

Managing stress is about managing what is under your control.  The same is true about reducing the time you spend (and waste dealing with email).  To save time and reduce the email stress,  you need to reduce the number of emails you receive each day.  Deleting simply is not an option. You have be proactive and keep all unwanted emails out of your inbox and reduce the number of times you check for new email.  here is our three stage business email management strategy to do so.

Step 1 – Prioritise each new email you receive today 

How many of the emails you receive do you really need?  Triage your emails as you deal with them.  Ask yourself  ‘Do I really need this email?’ ‘How useful is this to me?’  For more guidance on prioritising see Brilliant Email chapter 3 and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’  if you are a PA or EA.

Step 2 – Stop all non-essential emails from reaching your inbox

For all those low priority emails, either get yourself off the sender’s list or automatically move them out of your inbox so they don’t distract you from the really important ones.   Your inbox should be your ‘work in hand’ just like an old fashioned in-tray.  Ways to reduce the incoming email traffic and hence email overload are:

  • Unsubscribe.
  • Ask the sender to remove you from their list.
  • Use rules to send them automatically to a folder/Trash.

Click here to see how to write rules that allow you see only the important emails (and not waste time on email distractions dealing with the lower priority ones).

Step 3 – Reduce the number of times you deal with email

How often do you currently check for new emails?  When was the last time you received an email which would mean a catastrophe if you did not respond for about an hour?  Give yourself a break from the inbox to allow yourself to focus on the task in-hand for at least 30 minutes and preferably one hour.  Try not deal with your email too late into the night as that can seriously effect your quality of sleep and your work-life balance.

For  more resource

Don’t forget there are lots more tips and advice like this on ‘Brilliant Email’ and ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’ a book written especially for PAs and EAs.

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Do you feel others colleagues would benefit from help cleaning out their inboxes?  Why not either join them up to this week’s programme or ask MesmoConsultancy to run one of our Brilliant Email Management master classes?

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload Day 2

Posted Tuesday May 9th, 2017, 6:08 pm by

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

Mental health issues are often exacerbated by stress at work.  Email overload is a major source of stress.  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.  This will help you reduce the email related stress and improve your well-being and mental health.

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).

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

 

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Mental Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload

Posted Monday May 8th, 2017, 7:28 am by

Business email overload remains one of the top ten causes of stress.  It saps our performance and well-being.  As part of Mental Health Awareness Week we are posting a series of daily tips and strategies to help you clean out your inbox and reduce the email related stress.  We thank the Mental Health Foundation for their support.

Day 1 – Why Bother?

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

Why bother to take time to clean out your inbox?  Primarily, because email overload is expensive.

Email overload means our potential to be productive and creative is significantly reduced. The starting point for Cleaning Out Your Inbox is to assess just how much time you can save by cleaning out your inbox this week.

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

Use our Cost of Email Misuse Calculator and dare to share the results – see below.

Step 2 – Weigh in

  • Check how many emails are in your inbox.
  • What is the date of the oldest.
  • How many are unread.

Step 3 – Move all those emails over 10 days old out of your inbox into a folder.

They are long since dead and if they are not you can be sure the sender will re-contact you.

Step 4 – Set yourself SMART goals for the week and plan how they will be achieved.

For example, do you want to find ways to spend less time dealing with email and more on revenue generating tasks, reduce the volume of emails you receive, find ways to stop people expecting an instant reply etc.

If these tips are helpful why not cajole other colleagues to join you?

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