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.
Training is always the first item to be cut during an economic downturn. If Mesmo Consultancy’s order books (for email best practice training) are a barometer of the state of economy, then as others are experiencing there is a distinctive feel good factor in business. We have had our busiest six months since 2011. Working with organisations of all sizes and from all sectors we are still seeing considerable scope for ways to improve personal and business performance and productivity.
Here is our pick of the top five articles and blogs from the past few weeks on ways to improve personal and business performance from reducing email overload to proof reading apps.
Suffering from email and social media disruption, feeling you have no time to stand still? This is our top pick.
A cyber attack not only dents your reputation but can also absorbs valuable time and resources on the damage limitation exercise.
Sometimes reaching for a pen and paper is the quickest way to take notes. No waiting either for the technology to boot-up or hassle if it runs out of juice.
How long does it take to get back to real productive work after you stoop to peek at either email or social media post? Sufficient time to run five miles in Roger Banister style. To be precise 23 minutes according to research from Microsoft) The moral as we have said many times before – limit all those distractions and stay in the present for at least 2o minutes.
Many top executives have amazing speed reading skills. In today’s age of information overload speed reading is an essential survival skill for all of us regardless of our position in the organisational food chain.
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.
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.
Traveling around the D-Day beaches made me pause for thought about just how different the records would have been if electronic records (emails etc) had been kept rather than traditional pen and paper? Would many of us still treasure troves of beautiful love letters written by our parents (and grandparents) such as Janie Emaus discovered. Would J. D. Salinger have completed ‘Catcher in the Rye’ had he not carried the manuscript in his backpack?
Looking at the beaches and conditions which our troops braved, made me wonder how well a mobile device like an iphone would have endured. After all there were no sockets for recharging such devices then, no wifi (or 3G to send our messages) and wet devices as we all know are prone to failure. Whereas pen and paper can be used anywhere and in the most adverse weather (witness Scott’s diaries).
With pen and paper whether to write a love letter, diary, one feels compelled to think before hitting the paper after all who wants to send a document with lots of crossing outs. Moreover, it is very much more personal and definitely one to one unless of course you send carbon copies. Additionally there is the whole art of graphology and what your writing says about your character. All this is missing from email and texts.
Yes, clearly electronic messages can be preserved but somehow an email does not feel as interesting as a well preserved letter (document). Emails lack the tactile attributes which certainly for me make old letters look and feel so interesting.
With email of course there is always the danger of sending your love letter to the wrong person and ending up on gardening leave as has happened to many a person.
Whilst many organisations are working hard at creating paperless offices, for myself and many others, pen and paper still have a role and especially for the more emotional communications such as love letters, diaries and thank you notes to someone who has gone the extra mile.
Indeed the fountain pen is becoming as much a status symbol as the latest electronic devices: Mont Blanc has just re-released the original Meisterstück 149 which has been used at one time or another by many leaders from J.F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.
Even in meetings I confess to working with a fountain pen and beautiful leather bound notebook from BomoArt. It does not need any electricity (or wifi), it works every time I open it, is often quicker to find jottings in than on my ipad, and there is no chance of being distracted by seeing new emails! And it makes me stand out from the crowd. Call me old fashioned, but I feel as efficient as all my colleagues.
Ipads can be very destructive seductive travel companion, seducing you to check your email every few minutes and playing computer games like Candy Crush. Books on the other hand are soothing and make instructive travel companions. Here are a couple which have recently traveled with us to clients.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington. Arianna Huffington’s own take on how to be successful and maintain a sound work-life balance. In essence peruse your own dreams and balance the cost of power to your personal well being. Although one does wonder if she followed her own advice would she have been so successful.
Faldo/Norman: The 1996 Masters – A Duel that Defined and Era by Andy Farrell. A must for any golf addict. I remember watching this dual unfold and being gripped by it. If demonstrates yet again what a phenomenal golfer Faldo was in his time. Also how fragile we all are under stress. And how golf above many sports is a game of both skill and mental psychic.
Privacy continues as a dominate theme. Here are four thought provoking articles which yet again highlight the need to be judicious about what we post on social media sites and alike. The first is my top pick – not just the month but possible the year.
Millennials are growing up with very different ideas about privacy and information security than those of us who actually built the digital world we now live in. The question is what is best practice?
Although this article has a US slant much will ring bells for us in the UK and especially the use of social media and the interact to research potential job applicants.
Health tech will boom but privacy effects may be ‘pernicious’. Oh, and ‘we will all have cyberservants’.
As you would expect from Nancy Flynn, head of the e-policy institute this is a very well written article on the pros and cons of such actions.