Business email management articles for February focus on having a digital detox, what happens when senior managers keep emails late at night and on Sunday evenings and reducing email overload by viewing your inbox as an information toll road.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
This reminded me of how people often say they feel about trying to keep on top of their inbox. Add to that recent research on the toxic effect a senior manager has on his team’s well-being when he sends emails on Sunday, it is therefore little wonder that having a digital detox has been a persistent theme these last two months.
1. If you multitask during a meeting your team will do so to. The theme is not new, as the senior manager your behaviour sets the role model for your team but it seems that they are often blind to it and especially in terms of meeting and email behaviour. Whilst as a senior manager you might want to put aside time on Sunday to prepare for the week, you should not expect your team to do so. However, in reality every hour a senior manager spends on out of hours emails, translates into an extra twenty minutes of additional time for their direct reports.
2. Why quitting smart phones is the new quitting smoking. Had enough of friends and colleagues checking their smart phones whilst you are talking to them? Well you might not have to put up with such bad behaviour for ever.
3. How to Break Up with your Phone. If you need help with your digital detox a new book is at hand by Catherine Price. Click here for review. No we don’t have a copy because in our eyes it is all about that old fashioned skill of restraint and being comfortable with one’s own company. And once you have restrained, treat yourself for reaching your goal. Then stretch the goal a little more. And round the loop you go again.
That said, if you are suffering from serious social media addiction you might find a few useful tips.
Otherwise call us about our cure email addiction coaching programme.
4. Digital distractions are making us dumb and twitchy. I think we already know this but one interesting factor to emerge from a recent study is the role of pen and paper to help re-engage the brain and reduce the impact of information overload. And it can be part of your digital detox tool box.
5. View your inbox as a toll road to reduce email overload. This is a short article from Dr Seeley on how you can use the toll road approach to quickly ensure only the really important emails make it into your main inbox. There is a longer more detailed version in Taking Control of Your Inbox.
Digital detoxing dominated the summer headlines as not just the Millennial generation tried it to recover from lack of sex and poor personal relations. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton’s public profile continued to suffer from the fall-out from using her personal email account for State business. Not quite email, but take a look at the self-assessment on how robust are your social media posts.
Last but not least there is still time to listen to Monica’s email best practice Q&A session on the Sasha Twining show on BBC Radio Solent. It’s about 2hrs 09 minutes into the whole programme.
1. Digital detox the business imperative. Despite it being related to summer vacations, there are some very important messages around taking a digital detox even if only for a few hours. We still spend far too much time with our heads in our mobile devices and not enough seeing and listening properly to the here and now. This is a summary of some of the key articles.
2. How to avoid email overload and enjoy a digital detox. If you have not yet had a break, here are top tips on how to reduce the holiday email overload and enjoy a digital detox.
3. Should I hit Reply All – No. The New York Times devoted nearly half a page to the one word response to a reader’s question about hitting Reply All. That sums up how important the word ‘No’ can be.
4. Cash for favours, emails turn heat up on Clinton. Clinton’s use of a private email server for US Government business continues to dog her Presidential campaign. We’ve think before hitting send. What does this email say about me. What if it fell into the wrong hands. Few of us will make it to such a position of high office but even so emails we wish we had never sent have a habit of coming back to haunt us just as Hilary Clinton is finding out.
5. How safe are your social media posts? A very useful self-assessment exercise to help protect your your professional reputation.
A winning way to stop people checking their phone when out for a meal. Letter to Tyler Brule editor-in-chief of Monocle Magazine. Financial Times 25 September 2015
Not surprisingly most articles which have caught our attention relate to the challenge of whether or not to disconnect whilst on holiday. Here are a few which should give you food for thought about why and how to go for an email detox and disconnect.
And just in case you are careless with your Out of Office message.
So before you take your vacation, be sure to set a safe and simple Out of Office message which discloses as little information as possible. Then switch off and have a proper break to re-charge the batteries.
Will you have a digital detox? This time of year sparks the age old debate about whether you should or shouldn’t stay connected to email when on leave. Recent studies have confirmed that email is the biggest drain on business people’s performance. So when it comes to holidays, those concerned with their own well being or that of their employees – should shout ‘Get a life’, disconnect as we all need time to discharge and recharge our batteries properly.
Last year Daimler introduced an email programme which automatically deletes all employees’ emails whilst they are on leave. Digital detox holidays are now on offer. When you arrive at your hotel you can elect to have all Wi-Fi connections disconnected. In the USA some psychiatrists have now suggested that internet addiction should be treated as a psychiatric disorder.
Technology alone will not cure email overload despite some software providers claims. The real cure lies in changing our email behaviour. It is about re-thinking how we use email and curing what has become the hidden disease of 21st century working life – email addiction. It’s about learning how to use and manage our time and accept that it is OK to disconnect.
Even without such support, we can all self-impose other strategies including an email black-out. This will help while we are away and when we come back from leave. The benefit of your time away from the office it is vital to learn to how to wean yourself off your email/internet fix. If you can stop logging on or taking calls, you will relax more quickly and your friends and family will appreciate your undivided attention. You and they are worth it!
If you find it hard to disconnect then at least limit the distractions.