Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

Fight E-mail Tyranny

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I received this e-mail from Robert Middleton, a marketing expert.  His post is all about how to manage e-mail more efficiently.  We can all benefit from learning a tip or two about how to handle this great slave and horrible master.  E-mail has taken over our lives but it is not too late to make peace with it and to enjoy it for what it is:  A powerful communication tool.  If you wish to subscribe to his e-zine see the bottom for his website link.  Enjoy it!

With energy,

Ana

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Fight Email Tyranny
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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

On Sunday evening while browsing our local Santa Cruz bookstore
I came across a wonderful book: The Tyranny of Email by John
Freeman.

Freeman spends the first six chapters of the book making a
powerful case for one rather sobering insight: We are all
hopelessly addicted to email. It has taken over our lives and we
have virtually no strategies to manage it.

The good news is that in the final chapter, “Don’t Send,” he
presents ten prescriptions for breaking the email addiction and
handling email with a degree of sanity. I’ll summarize them here,
but if you want the full impact, get the book!

1. Don’t Send

Email begets email. The more you send, the more you get. So
before you send an email message, take a few seconds to think:
How essential is this email? What’s it’s purpose? Could I combine
email messages to a single recipient in response to several
emails? It is urgent or could it wait? So slow things down a bit
and don’t be so reactive. Send email intentionally.

2. Don’t Check It First Thing in the Morning or Late at Night

Don’t you have a business so that you can have a life? And if the
very first thing you do in the day is check email, you are a slave
to email, not to your priorities. Much better to take some time to
plan your day, look at the appointments and priorities YOU have
first and plan how you’re going to get them done. Focus on the
big stuff and then email can fit more easily between the cracks.

3. Check It Twice a Day

We often check our email several times an hour. The truth is, it’s
not necessary. You won’t actually get behind. Better to schedule
time to “handle” email, so you can do it more completely. Can’t
reduce it to two times a day? Try three or at the most, hourly.

4. Keep a written To-Do List and Incorporate Email into It

Your best time management tool is a simple to-do list. I make a
weekly list of about 5 to 10 major items I want to complete that
week and then a daily list of 2 or 3 priority items for that day.
Email is something I fit between these priorities but don’t let it
dominate my day.

5. Give Good Email

The best emails are short, concise and clear. After all, email is
about communication not a deluge of information. Take an extra
minute to proof your email, make sure the message is clear and
also makes a specific request or promise for action. Include your
phone number in your email signature so that they can easily call
you if needed. I also proof my email for typos and format the
email for easy readability such as using bold type.

6. Read the Entire Incoming Email before replying

We’ve all done it. We scan an email quickly and dash off a reply.
Then we read the bottom part we missed and realize our response
was incomplete. So we send another email. Meanwhile you’ve
gotten an email back, trying to clarify this… Again, the key is to
do email intentionally. Write and respond with the intention of
moving something forward without confusion.

7. Do not Debate Complex or Sensitive Matters by Email

Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone. Nuances of
emotion are hard to express in writing. Especially when you’re in
the habit of dashing off emails quickly. Remember that you have
a relationship with your correspondent. Treat that relationship
with care, and communicate in a way that will get the best
outcome. Besides, a quick phone call can often be faster than
writing an email.

8. If You Have to Work as a Group by Email, Meet Your
Correspondents Face-to-Face

In my one-year Marketing Mastery Program we connect by
teleconference, email and phone. But I also hold a 3-day
workshop at the beginning of the program so that people can
connect person-to-person. They get to know each other, feel more
comfortable with everyone and a more powerful community is
created this way. When they send emails after the workshop, they
are no longer emailing to strangers.

9. Set Up Your Desk to Do Something Else Besides Email

A big desk helps. My computer is in the middle of a v-shaped
desk and I have four feet on each side of the computer for my
planning books, for taking notes, for my laptop computer that
acts as my “jazz jukebox,” etc. Yes, the computer is the central
hub of my business, but lots of space leaves me options to do
other things than be on my computer.

10. Schedule Media-free Time Every Day

What do we do after our full day at our computers? We visit
Facebook, watch TV and play video games! We are not only
addicted to email, we are addicted to electronic media to the
point of obsession. I include myself in this. If you don’t have a TV,
I honor you! But for the sake of your own well being, make sure
to unplug for several hours a day. If you don’t, you’re opening the
door for serious stress issues.

*

The More Clients Bottom Line: Work at handling email consciously
and intentionally. It’s one of the most powerful communication
mediums in the world but it is both inescapable and addictive. It
can severely damage your quality of life if you don’t take the kind
of steps outlined in the article above. And do your self a favor and
get John Freeman’s book: The Tyranny of Email. Powerful stuff.

What are a few of your tips for managing email consciously?
Please share on the More Clients Blog.

http://actionplan.blogs.com

Procrastination: A Tool for Life!

Monday, October 5th, 2009

procrastination2Most ALL of us use procrastination at some time in our lives, do we not? It seems to me if a tool is so widely used, there must be something to it. As a coach, procrastination is almost always the first thing my clients want to eliminate from their lives. As you will read, I advise them not to eliminate the very tool that is there to help them navigate the rough spots in life and business.

I prefer to think of procrastination in the same category as a detour in the road. The purpose of a detour is to give us a warning, help us avoid something dangerous and provides a safer route. Detours usually take a little longer, they circumvent the problem, but in the end we arrive at our destination safe and sound. In most cases you will discover that properly employed procrastination, like a detour, will give you an alternate route to the solution of the problem at hand.

Talane Meidaner, in her book, Coach Yourself to Success poses this question: “What if procrastination was a good thing, and we stopped beating ourselves up about it and learned why we do it?” She describes several circumstances in which people find themselves procrastinating and offers solutions to the problem.

The Put Off: We Put off something we do not like doing. Sometimes if we procrastinate long enough it causes another person to do it for us, sometimes it becomes too late to do it and we end up not having to do it at all. What if instead, we looked at what it was we were putting off, determined it was something distasteful to us and immediately found a way to delegate it to another person? There may even be times when it makes sense to decline to do the task. In this instance it would be important to inform any people that may be depending upon us for the result or task, but in the end they are better served if we decide and inform them as soon as we know so they can get the job completed by someone that will probably do a more complete job anyway. And our reward is: the uncomfortable or distasteful task is off our plate and the energy drain caused by its presence is eliminated.

The Fear Factor: Sometimes we find ourselves procrastinating because we are frightened. We may believe we are not capable of completing the task. We may believe we do not have the knowledge or expertise to complete the project. We may believe we do not have anything of value to contribute. We may be frightened of rejection. The project may feel too big to us and we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with its scope and not able to move ahead with the process. Fear is a real emotion and one to be heeded. But the possibility exists, to examine the fears and discover the energy behind them.

  • If lack of knowledge or expertise is the fear, we can find ways to gather the knowledge we need or find experts in the particular field to support our work. We may need to request more time for research, but we can move ahead and complete the project.
  • If the fear is that of not adding value, or being rejected: we can review our strengths, research, brainstorm and discover a method of adding value that may also eliminate the potential for rejection.

Once we can name the fear, we can often find a solution to its source and eliminate it.

There are many reasons why we procrastinate. The above examples are just a few. Think about times when you get stuck or are overwhelmed and procrastinating. What are some of your reasons?

In most cases you will discover that properly employed procrastination, like a detour, will give you an alternate route to the solution of the problem at hand. You can shorten the detour or speed up the process if you treat your procrastination as a tool that can help you through life rather than beating yourself up and wasting time in self-chastisement.

You can learn to use the five steps to using procrastination as a tool for life.

  • First: Recognize when you are in procrastination mode. Speak out loud and call it by name!
  • Second: Congratulate yourself for using so valuable a life tool!
  • Third: Take the time to stop, think and look at why you are procrastinating.
  • Fourth: take each why and discover solutions to those issues. Once you discover the why, and there may be multiple whys, it is much easier to break the problem into smaller parts and approach each issue.
  • Fifth: Create a strategy and timetable to carry it out.

Coach’s challenge:  This week begin to look at procrastination in this more positive light. You will discover that it immediately becomes a friend, not a foe and the energy around it relaxes. Go a step further and begin to employ the five steps to using procrastination as a tool for life.

With energy,

Ana

Become Free of Clutter

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Imagine your home free of clutter, free of unwanted stuff and filled with bright light and clean spaces!  What a vision uh?  Well, I want to share with you a great resource I came across as I was reading my Real Simple magazine that will help you make this vision a reality.  There was an article on blogs and they suggested www.unclutterer.com.  Being the organizing enthusiast that I am, I quickly made my way to the link.  It’s fabulous!  They offer an amazing amount of tips on how to get organized and how to keep yourself organized.  And guess what?  The tips are not exclusively related to the physical aspect of your home!  What makes this blog unique is that they offer tips on how to organize everything; from your online recipes to your music, from your office to your car, from your cable clutter to your kitchen and even on your tracking numbers with TrackMyShipiments.com!  The whole idea is that as you start to implement a bunch of small changes in your life you automatically begin to change your habits and become a more organized and uncluttered person.  

Take this “delicious” tip for instance; Del.icio.us is a website that allows you to:  Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes, and more, and access them from any computer on the web. Share favorites with friends, family, coworkers, and the del.icio.us community. [And] Discover new things. Everything on del.icio.us is someone’s favorite — they’ve already done the work of finding it. So del.icio.us is full of bookmarks about technology, entertainment, useful information, and more.  Most importantly, del.icio.us takes away the need to print out websites you’re afraid you’ll never find again. Instead of printing and then filing the paper, just save the URL to your del.icio.us folder and tag it so that you’ll easily find the website again. 

Being a clutter free enthusiast, I can attest to the freedom that a clean and organized life gives us.  Use this inspiring blog to get ready and excited about spring cleaning!  Ah!  And while you are at it, take the items that you don’t use anymore and donate them to your favorite charity or to someone who needs them.  Recycle is the word!  Unclutter your life and do good; a win-win situation!  Happy cleaning! 

With energy,

Ana