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.
You receive an Out of Office Message, what is your natural reaction next time you want to email that person? Aside from a touch of jealousy as they are on leave and have escaped the daily dose of email overload, you just send them another email.
Is that the best email behaviour for those serious about stopping email overload and reducing the resulting wanton waste of time (estimated now to be half a day week).
One in five business users now receive in excess of seventy email a day. Yet our own and that of others research shows that less than a third of all incoming email is ever read. Take a week off and there will be at least 350 emails waiting for you.
|My notebooks from our sponsor BomoArt|
There is a very high chance that your email will either be missed or redundant by the time its read. However the recipient may not know that and so more unecessary emails flood back into your inbox.
Be innovative. Don’t firing of more emails. Instead write down the things you want to email the person about and either send them one email on their return or and better still talk to them.
Now watch the email traffic go down along with the email overload. You might even find you too reach the empty inbox status more quickly.
Dr Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy has spent the last fifteen years coaching and training people from a wide range of organisations and businesses to use email more effectively to improve personal and business performance and manage the risk associated with cyber crime. Monica is a Visiting Senior Fellow at Cass Business School City University and Bournemouth University Business School. She is passionate about helping people to save time by using email effectively and has written several books on the subject, the latest being Brilliant Email. She runs regular workshops,webinars and masterclasses on email best practice.
Can pen and paper help stop email overload and reach inbox zero? Yes. No, I am neither mad nor suffering from the first stages of dementia. Keep a check today on how many times people ask you to do something (from arrange a meeting to join them for lunch):
|My BomoArt Daybook|
Walking around any office, going to a meeting and I see most people with a notebook and pen in addition to all the technical gizmos. We seem to use the traditional writing tools for doodling (when the meeting is boring) and making our own personal notes but rarely for jotting down what someone has asked us to do. Why? One reason is because we want a record so we can play cover my backside. Many such emails are unnecessary and just drive up the email overload and hence reduce the chance of reaching inbox overload.
Email is just one of a multitude of communications and organisation tools one of which is the traditional notebook. Picking the right tool for the right purpose is key to saving time dealing with your email.
If you are serious about stopping email overload and reaching the inbox zero status quo, then next time someone asks you to do something, take ownership and make a note in your own day book. Don’t ask them to send you an email. It smacks of playing politics and laziness. Here is my beautiful day book (from BomoArt) which goes everywhere with me.