Blogs - Archive

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.

New Year’s Resolutions or Goals to Reduce Email Overload in 2016

Monday January 4th, 2016, 5:44 pm

A resolution is a steadfast decision to do or not to take an action for cycle to work, be more of a team player etc. Once agreed there is no going back. Whereas a goal is about an effort to achieve either a specific result and ambition, for example, reduce your golf handicap, go home on time more often, change career. With a goal you may set some intermediate steps to help you achieve your goal such as improve your golf short game, manage your time more effectively etc.

We are always urged to set New Year’s Resolutions, yet how many of us find that within a week they are shattered and we crawl back into old habits? A better option is to set goals because they are more enduring and we can look back over time and can measure progress.

Reducing email overload should be a goal for everyone who care’s about their own and colleagues’ well-being and performance.  Lets’s all work together to make 2016 the year we regain our perspective and work-life 2016 Start, Two Thousand Sixteen.balance through corporate reducing email overload.

Based on the many workshops and webinars run in 2015 here are seven goals for helping you and your business reduce email overload.

  1. Step away from email for at least one hour a day and use that hour to walk and talk to the senders.
  2. Stay focused on the task in hand and do not allow new emails to distract.
  3. Apply the 80:20 rule to help prioritise what emails are really need (ie 20% of the emails received will provide 80% of the information need).
  4. Reduce the number of people to whom each email is sent.
  5. Take action immediately after reading an email instead glancing at it and leaving it lying fallow in the inbox: that action can simply be to folder/delete it.
  6. Keep emails short which will helps save everyone time (you the writer and the receiving when reading it).
  7. Only deal with emails between 8.30 am and 8.30 pm.

Setting goals like these you can allow yourself an occassional day’s relapses and yet still feel at the end of the week that you have made progress.

Meanwhile, if you need some more help in 2016 why not either call us about how our Brilliant Email workshops or just buy a copy of the ‘Brilliant Email‘?

 

 

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Reduce email stress: disconnect at Christmas and improve your well-being

Monday December 14th, 2015, 11:12 pm

Technology is a great source of help over the Christmas period, for example shopping on-line, e-cards, looking up how to cook the turkey etc. However, there is a downside too, smart devices entice us to stay connected to the office even over the Christmas period when let’s face it many organisations are effectively shut for business.

Meanwhile, cyber-crime is not only increasing but taking on different forms. Rather like flu you find a vaccination for one strain and along comes another. In the case of cyber-crime it’s called Ransomware. The hackers tease you into downloading malware which locks down all your files. Then they demand a ransom to unlock the files. Here is an excellent article from Norton on dealing with Ransomware.

Here are five tips to help you relax and reduce the risk of email stress and a cyber-attack to either you or your business. The key is to disconnect (from both emails and work social media feeds).

  1. Email connect or disconnect?

    Email connect or disconnect?

    Never email under the influence of drink (before during or after Christmas) when your judgement and vision could be impaired.

  1. Wipe your inbox clean before taking a break. Move all old emails out into a separate file just in case you really do need them again.
  1. Go ‘cold turkey’ over the holiday. Either switch off your office smart phone or disconnect the work email feed (if you see them on your personal device).
  1. Set a safe and simple Out of Office. Give away as little information to prying eyes as possible. Be bold, tell sad senders that all your emails are being deleted and to resend anything important on your return.
  1. Be extra vigilant about any unfamiliar emails either from unknown senders or contacts where the email has an unusual subject-line/content. They may have been hacked and the hackers are now extending their tentacles.   Such unusual emails nearly always are either taking you to bogus websites to capture your personal details or the start of a ransom demand scam.

If all else fails buy one of those magnificent colouring books and get colouring. It a great way to relax and re-connect with others (very young and old).

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Articles of note – December 2015

Monday December 14th, 2015, 10:40 pm

A mixed bag including email etiquette, cyber security (as always), the changing face of the consumer experience and time management.Typewritter

  1. What colour are your emails: red, yellow or blue? Do you write in a tone which either annoys or induces a response from the recipient.
  2. Ten cyber security trends to watch for in 2016.
  3. Generation Z may have grown up with technology, but will they use their skills to provide IT for business support?
  4. How Amazon is re-shaping the consumer experience.
  5. Hackers take many website off-line by denial of service attacks.
  6. Pick up the phone, pay the tab.  How to encourage people to disconnect at lunch/dinner.
  7. Bosses battle burn-out in a world that’s always on. A worrying insight into the well-being of the top management team.

Do any of these topics raise warning bells for you and your organisation? Call us now to hear how we have helped organizations like yours tackle such challenges and improve productivity and well-being.

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Books on the bedside table

Monday December 14th, 2015, 9:58 pm

The forthcoming festive season is a great time to read and plan ahead for the new year.  Here are five books which we cannot wait to get stuck into.

  1. Reclaiming conversations by Sherry Turkle.  How few of us live in the present moment.  At a recent formal dinner I was dismayed to see half the table checking their iPhones (and alike) and completely disengaged with conversations at the table.  The art of conversation has been forsaken for connectivity.  Sherry Turkle explores the pluses and minus of this change in social dynamics and consequences for our lives (positive and negative).
  2. The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.  An example of how a self-published e-book can become a paperback hit.  Just a page turner but you need them from time to time.Dec books
  3. Engaged; the neuroscience behind creating productive people in successful organizations by Amy Brann.  With an academic bias, it provides a different insight into understanding how our brain govern how we behave.  Using this insight, Amy provides practical tips on how to apply this knowledge to develop more productive people and organizations.
  4. Alive, Alive Oh! by Diana Athill.  Now in her late nineties, another collection of observations and reflections on life.  It is a rude reminder of how wonderful excellent writing can create a crystal clear picture with word alone.  Anyone struggling to engage their employees in the art of writing good emails should give this as a Christmas present to the offenders.
  5. Mindfulness: 25 ways to live in the moment through art by Christophe André.  Exquisite pictures which help you clear your head and hence practice mindfulness.   A fresh approach and lots of simple, practical exercises to help you relax and chill out not just now but later when the stress builds up again.

What’s on you reading list?

 

 

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What colour is your email: red, yellow or blue?

Wednesday November 25th, 2015, 9:34 pm

‘People don’t read my emails’. This is one of most frequently cited sources annoyance. It begs the question who is to blame? The sender for poor email etiquette and not writing in such a way as to make it easy for the recipient to know either what you want or by when. Alternatively, is it the recipient who probably has 50+ unread emails in their inbox and just missed yours. Senders always blame the recipient’s for poor email etiquette and inbox management. Recipients always say they can instantly spot important emails regardless of how many are in their inbox!

Red card

Red email etiquette

In life, it is always important to make sure we manage and have control over what is within our power to do so. With email, this means how we write and signpost our emails. Do you include a priority marker? This is downright rude and nine out of ten times your email will be given a red card.  After all we all hate aggressive behaviour. Instead take the assertive approach and at the end of the subject-line add ‘action by ….’

Bearing in mind that many people read their emails on a mobile device, they often don’t see past the first sentence. If they are reading emails on a full size PC, they may also be time poor. A rambling email can therefore easily be given a yellow card and parked for later reading.

Whereas emails written in newspaper style and which in the first sentence tell the reader what the email is about will get a blue card and be dealt with promptly.

Other aspects of:

  • Red card emails are: no greeting, sign-off, capitals and spelling mistakes.
  • Yellow card emails are: too long, unstructured and have spelling mistakes. Life is too short so let’s leave this in the pending folder.
  • Blue emails are: cool, calm and properly structured and include a call to action.

Click here to further referee your email etiquette and what colour card the recipient might assign to your emails and hence whether or not it will be answered in a timely and proper manner.

See Brilliant Email: how to win back time and increase your productivity by Monica Seeley for more tips on how to capture and maintain recipient’s attention.

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