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.
Being alerted when each and every new email arrives is now accepted as one of the major drains on our productivity along wit the general email overload it causes. Working efficiently means turning off all those new email alerts.
Ah but ‘I need to see emails from X as they arrive’ is usually the most common rebuff. Well you can be selective. Write a rule which does indeed alert you to such new arrivals. Here is how for Outlook users.
Now you can focus on the task in hand without being distracted by every new as it arrives, and just allow emails from X pop-up as they arrive.
For more tips like this to help you improve your personal productivity and work-life balance see ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox‘
Whilst Sheryl Sandberg in ‘Lean In’ urges us to work full on, others such as Arianna Huffington have recognised the effect lack of sleep can have on ones well being, creativity and overall productivity – see ‘Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life’. If billionaire’s with all the support they need are struggling what hope is there for us mere mortals? France and Germany are attempting to address the situation by passing a law prohibiting managers sending employers work emails after 6.00 pm.
Yet in the 24x7x365 many feel they must remain connected at all times, a fact highlighted at several recent Smart Email Management workshops we have run over the last few weeks. Many feel that their clients expect them to be available and respond to emails no matter what time of day. But do they? Is this more about either a perception that they are the only ones who can deal with the situation whatever that might be or a chronic case of email addiction.
My personal opinion is that it is a combination of both which is damaging to ones work performance and personal life and not least your sex life. We all need a certain amount of privacy and down time. Here are my five top tips to improve the quality of both ones sleep and hence performance (at work and home) by switching off from email.
It’s interesting that research we conducted revealed that it is generally internal senders who expect the quickest reply. It is probably these internal senders who also are driving up the 24x7x365 culture and not the clients themselves.
What is your opinion? Do you ever disconnect from email for more than three hours? If so, what is the impact on you and your business?
If either you or your colleagues need help with email addiction please call us to help how we have helped others reduce their email addiction and improve their performance and work-life balance.