It’s that time of year, many of us are either on or planning a vacation. The perpetual question is whether or not to have an email free vacation.
We found that 80% said that dealing with the holiday email overload is one of the most stressful aspects of having a vacation. More stressful even than loosing your passport. Hence why they did not dare have an email detox. As stress and mental health rises up the corporate agenda, the reasons for disconnecting are ever more pressing to preserve our well-being.
Organisations have adopted many ways to lessen the holiday email overload effect from an ‘Out of Office’ messages asking you to re-send the email when the other person is back to adopting an email free vacation charter. But what if your company has no such policy? Here are the top ten actions you can take by yourself to have an email free vacation and reduce the holiday email overload mountain.
Pack the inbox properly
The email free vacation
Unpack the inbox on your return
Do you have any tips to share about dealing with the email free vacation challenge? There is a free copy of either Brilliant Email or Taking Control of Your Inbox for the best response. Email us your suggestions by 10 August.
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.
How did your inbox cope with your absence? Unless you packed it up properly, it might be suffering with acute email overload. Take heart. The key is to prioritise your time and decide what is really worthy of your attention. Which emails must you answer? What is no longer an issue and therefore to reply is wasting both your time and the recipients. What really does not deserve your attention and can be deleted?
Here is a seven point fail-safe plan to help you cool it down and maybe even reach inbox zero.
If all else fails, delete the lot and declare ‘Email Bankruptcy’ safe in the knowledge that if anything was that important the sender will soon follow-up! When they do, bluff and say their email must have got lost.
Game, set and match. Holiday email backlog cleared. And for you ‘inbox zero’ and a clean inbox.
Need more help keeping on top of your email? Call us now and let us run a ‘Brilliant Email Management’ workshop for your and your colleagues.
Top tips on dealing with a backlog of emails (731 almost equivalent to War and Peace). Stylist Magazine July 2015
Tags: holiday email overload
Holidays are meant to be a time to relax and unwind. However, 80% say that dealing with the holiday email backlog is one of the most stressful aspects of being on vacation according to a survey conducted by Mesmo Consultancy. This is not surprising when you realise that most business people (and especially executives and PAs) feel that at least 50% of the emails they receive are unnecessary. One survey recently put it as high as 75%. Little wonder dealing with the holiday back log can seem quite daunting.
It does not have to be that way. For those just back from leave and who did not either adopt Mesmo Consultancy’s email detox plan, or take David Grossman’s email free vacation pledge) here is a tried and trusted five point plan to reduce the holiday email backlog and quickly reach inbox zero.
Spending the first hour talking to your colleagues will help you discover far more rapidly what is high priority and needs your attention rather than trawling unprepared through your inbox.
When you tackle the inbox set aside a specific block of time (eg 3 hours). Group your emails by person, subject, date etc. Use the conversation view (threads) to see the whole picture before replying too quickly. You may even feel you want to reply only to the emails sent to you rather than where you are Cc’d.
As you open each email, handle it once and once only. Avoid scanning emails and then having to go back as this wastes time. Action each selected email as you read it using the four Ds principle; deal, delete, delegate or defer action. In the latter case flag/mark it for attention and tell the sender when they can expect a reply.
Still too much email, then declare email bankruptcy. You can be very sure that if an email was that important the sender will soon re-send it once they realise you have not responded.
What ways have you found useful to have a clean inbox and reach inbox zero after being on vacation?