Blogs

Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Email reminder – best practice

Tuesday June 30th, 2020, 8:37 pm

Email reminder, which is best practice, to add it to the task list or flag it?  Neither one is better.  It is about:

  • personal preference;

    Email reminders

  • how much time you spend out of the office looking at your inbox on a mobile device;
  • whether or not you are managing another person’s inbox;
  • level of added data you need about the reminder.

Here are the pros and cons of each email reminder process. This is an extract out the new book being co-authored with Meslissa Esquibel for Executive Secretary Magazine

1. Task List

Pros

  • Excellent if you like working from task lists.
  • You can add more information such as Categorize and notes – see diagram below.
  • You can assign the task to someone else.
  • They turn red after their due date.
  • If you are sharing your inbox or looking after another person’s task list, you can see the complete list.
  • For Outlook users, you can add extra information, including forwarding the task to another person.: see below

Cons

  • You need to complete the Task dialogue box.
  • Takes about 15 to 30 seconds longer than adding a Flag.
  • On an iOs mobile device the task list does not automatically show up.  You must add either the ‘Reminder’ or ‘To Do’ app.  The latter is the more sophisticated.

2. Flags

Pros

  • Quick and easy.  If you add Reminder date, they will be added to your Task List (even if the reminder is ‘No due Date’).
  • You can see all flagged items in the ‘For Follow Up’ (smart) Search Folder.

Cons

  • On a mobile device you must be add the Flagged folder.
  • For iOs users you need to add this as follows:
  • Open the Mail app./Tap Edit in the upper-right corner./Select Flagged./Tap Done.
  • If you also use the Task List this can become very cluttered.

Thus,as you can see which procees you use for an email reminder it is very much a matter of prsonal preference.  If you want more time saving tips like this why not book one of our Smart Email Management webinars or a one-to-one coaching session?

Tags: , , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Punctuation in the Digital Age

Tuesday June 30th, 2020, 7:48 pm

Punctuation in the digital age helps improve productivity and wellbeing.  We are all time poor.  We are used to using ‘text speak’ on social media apps where we have autocorrect, or it doesn’t matter if we make a typo, miss a comma, forget a full stop (period) and so on.  The question we are often asked in this digital age is, ‘Do I really need to bother using correct punctuation with email’?

The answer is Yes!  A well-punctuated email helps save everyone’s time and thus contributes to improving performance.

To download the full article, click here.

This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe.  www.executivesecretary.com subscriptions@executivesecretary.com

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Polite reminder emails – top tips

Wednesday May 13th, 2020, 12:34 pm

Golf is fundamentally about being honest. I see people hit eight shots and tell me they shot five. I never say a word. It is a reminder to me of what is at stake.
Martin Sheen

What are the top tips for sending polite reminder emails that don’t look like you are either pushy or nagging. Writing polite reminder emails can be nearly as tricky as this situation the golfer finds himself in. Do nothing and there might be a disaster. Insert either a read receipt or high priority marker and if the other person is anything like me, this will ensure they ignore you.

A survey by Adobe in 2018 revealed that the top five most annoying email reminders are:

  • Not sure if you saw my last email
  • Per my last email
  • Per our conversation
  • Any update on this?
  • Sorry for the double email

Where does that leave us.  Here are five top tips for sending polite email reminders. Underlying each tip is the assumption that like you others too are suffering from email overload and not intentionally ignoring you.

They also maybe reading their emails on a mobile device. You need to draw their attention to your email in a way which is assertive and flatters their ego.

  1. Use the subject line. Tell me in the original email exactly by when you need action.
  2. Send a follow-up email which is: short; assumes the other person is busy; reminds them about why you need a reply quickly and contains any relevant information (and files) sent in the original email.
  3. Insert a reminder flag in the original email.
  4. Have the email turn red immediately it enters their inbox.
  5. Call the person.

For Outlook users, to see how to insert reminder flags and have the email turn red, click here.

This is a summary of the recent Smart Email Management to Improve Performance Lunch and Learn webinars given by Mesmo Consultancy & Sawbucks.  Click here for more about these which are also part of a new book being co-authored by Dr Seeley with Melissa Esquibel of Sawbucks Seminars.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Rules to Reduce Email Overload

Tuesday April 7th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Suffering from email overload?  Rules are the way to reduce email overload.  Finding it hard to see the important emails from the less important one, maybe even the dross which you never really wanted in the first place. Rules are the most powerful and effective way to de-clutter you inbox.  Here is how to set a simple and more complex rule in Outlook 365 to filter out all the less important emails and allow you to see only those emails which really need your immediate attention.

1. Simple rules

Right click on the email. Select Create Rule. Then choose either the relevant action and appropriate folder to move the emails. Either an existing one or create a new one.

Click on the folder, then OK. From the next box ‘Success’, click the box marked ‘Run this rule..’ and click OK.  This will clear out all the existing emails in your inbox which meet the new rule’s criteria. A great way to start decluttering end reduce the existing email overload.

This type of simple rule is useful for automatically moving emails out of the inbox to a folder to look at later, eg newsletters and emails from specific organisations/person.

2. Complex rules

Let’s suppose you want to highlight emails from a key contact (eg CEO, key client etc.).  Proceed as above, BUT now click the Advance button.  Click the initial action, ie the person or words on which you want the rule to action.  For example from Julie Perinne.  Then click next and tell it what you want to do eg mark all emails from Julie as ‘Important’.  Then in the box called Step 2 click on the word ‘Importance’.  Now select the level of importance.  Then click OK.  Again click through the Next buttons slowly until the last screen and run the rule and click OK.

To delete/edit rules go to File/Manage Rules & Alerts and edit/delete rules as appropriate.

3. Viewing all the unread emails in folders

To see all your unread emails in one place use the Search Folders at the bottom of your inbox.  See below.

Using the Rules and Search Folders in Outlook 365 (and most other versions) will allow you to reduce email overload and save time dealing with email.  It will also help you manage the risk of missing an important email amongst all the less important emails.  Click here for more tips like this one.

 

Tags: , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Seven Top Tips for Effective Home Working

Wednesday March 25th, 2020, 9:51 pm

Seven top tips for home working to make you more productive and effective.  Home working has been talked about for years rather like the paperless office.  It takes the COVID-19 virus to turn prophesy into reality.  The question is how to be productive and effective whilst working from home and avoid all the surrounding distractions.  Not least of which is information and email overload which is something several clients say has escalated out of hand.

At Mesmo Consultancy we have over 30 years experience helping people like you reduce email overload and work from home effectively.  Over the coming week we will share our knowledge on both fronts.

Today, we want to share our seven top tips for effective and productive home working.

Effective home working

1.The home desk. Make it as safe and set up as possible to avoid stressing your muscles. We have seen some amazing make-shift desks from ironing boards to wine creates.  Click here for some guidelines on the best desk set-up.

2.Stay focused on the task in hand. That means turning off all the new mail and social media alerts.

3.Practice slow email. Agree acceptable response times with colleagues internally and externally.  You might have thought this impossible in the past but if ever there was a time to slow down the ridiculous pace of email exchanges it’s now.

4. Maintain your physical well-being. This means setting working time boundaries such as having a proper lunch break and after what time in the evening you stop checking your email etc. Maybe join an on-line gym, meditation, yoga group etc. Click here for more.

5. Limit the number of times you check your trusted news channels. Too much information can be worse than too little. No sooner have you recovered from one wave of bad news than another set knock you back again.

6. Keep talking. Allocate time to talk to colleagues whether through a conference call, text or chat app like what’s app.  Ironically, we are hearing people say they are now talking more to colleagues than when they were in the office.

7. Up-skill yourself. Learning is a lifelong exercise.  Without colleagues near by to show you how to do things eg set up a rule in Outlook, again this is the time to learn more about all the software you use and maybe some you have never thought about. Click here to see how well you use Outlook.

As we said at the outset, Mesmo Consultancy will be providing a series of tips on effective home working and smart email management including how to use Outlook and other related communications tools.  These will be through a free fifteen minute lunch and learn webinar.

For more details (if you are not already on our database receiving our e-briefing) sign-up now.  Email us with your name and put E-BRIEFING in the subject-line.

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post