Getting back from vacation: how to recover

A friend sent me the following message the other day:

I’m drowning from re-entry from a 2 week vacation.

Do I prioritize the work I deferred prior to leaving or do I focus time on processing the 1500+ emails I received while I was away?

Do today’s new inputs (e-mails, texts, and voicemails) take precedence over these two other sources of tasks?

Any guidance would be super!

Where to begin?

This can all be tackled and taken care of -- with the right method. David Allen has a fantastic method for taking this overwhelming amount of stuff and converting it into manageable actions. I say this because I've used this approach for more than 20 years, and it works.

I gave my friend the five steps from David's bestseller, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity:

Continue Reading: "Getting back from vacation: how to recover" »

Email in real life

From the makers of "Conference Call in Real Life" comes another viral sensation that's sweeping the nation! See how many email mistakes and bad habits you can spot:

Here are a couple I'd like to point out:

  • If you really need a report (or anything else) ASAP, email is probably not the best way to ask (especially if your reader is getting hundreds of emails a day)
  • Only use "Reply All" if every single person in the conversation needs to know what you're saying

Yes, Tripp & Tyler are right that people use email for the wrong things. But that doesn't make it a bad tool. Like we've said before, email is not the problem: how people use it is the problem.

Would this be a bad time to repeat that you can get our Top 10 Email Tips by following this blog? These are completely, 100% guaranteed to make everyone want to respond to every one of your emails, all the time.*

Best,

Nathan

@eProductivity
FB: eProductivity

*Unless they don't feel like it, or yours is the 180th email they've received today, or they're in a meeting, in which case the full faith of this absolute guarantee is annulled, abrogated, eliminated, invalidated, abolished, expunged, undone, and annihilated. The tips are still good, though, and with them you're still more likely to get a response than without. And they're free!

In an hour, I went from about 120 emails (in five inboxes) to 0.

For the first time in months, I saw this:

iPhone Mail - No Mail.png

This felt so good to achieve.

If you've never experienced this, it's hard to understand -- it just feels so clean and complete. Can you imagine that being your inbox (even if you don't use an iPhone)?

Here's how I did it. As I looked at each email, one at a time, I chose what to:

Continue Reading: "Have you ever experienced an empty inbox? Here's how" » Email frustration

I've been working with electronic messaging (email, etc.) in one form or another for over 30 years. Back in 1992, I (successfully) sold a server-software product that promised to help people deal with the "flood" of 40 emails a day! Much of my executive coaching business has revolved around helping professionals manage their email (many receive up to 400 a day).

I've had a front-row seat to the rise of email along the whole way. For many people, it's grown into a monstrous beast. A couple years ago, McKinsey & Company found that workers spend up to 28% of their day writing and reading emails. Inboxes fill up over lunch breaks. We're all guilty of being too quick to send to others whose email is just as out-of-control as ours.

I think that's at least half of the issue: who's creating the problem. I also think we can definitely find ways to address this together.

Continue Reading: "Email is not the problem. Lack of agreement on how to use it is." » Email late night.jpg

This article points out a very important truth that seems to be slowly gaining recognition in the business world: resting is an important part of producing.

HBR uses the topic of late-night emails to dive into the issue of how we work when our work is always accessible. I remember professionals of my father's generation grumbling that work could reach them at home by phone -- and the issue has grown exponentially since then.

The real problem is not the means of communication, but how a lack of agreement on how to use them and when. As Maura Thomas insightfully points out in this article, after-hours emails (not to mention texts, calls, faxes, Facebook messages, etc.) can easily create a culture where everyone feels they're expected to be connected at all times.

More often than not, this is driven by leaders who feel that they have to do more to keep the company moving forward -- but by doing so in a way that involves their subordinates, they tend to create pressure to keep up.

Here's  a key quote on this mentality:

The (often unconscious) belief that more work equals more success is difficult to overcome, but the truth is that this is neither beneficial nor sustainable.

The bottom line is that being "always on" never leaves you time "off," and that hurts everybody.

Click here for the article from HBR.

Best,

Eric

@EricMack
@eProductivity
FB/eProductivity
LI:EricMack


Image credits:
"Up All Night" by MisterGuy11 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via DeviantArt.
The other day, I came across a blog post from a long-time Notes/Domino application developer. A "decent number of users" at his workplace are about to be migrated from Outlook to Notes 9.

Why would this ever happen, since so many people seem to like Outlook better than Notes? Does the migration even matter?

Honestly, I don't think these switches matter nearly as much as many people think they do (Microsoft's drum-beating notwithstanding). Here's why: many companies have migrated to Outlook after their employees have screamed to kill Notes (or, more often, after they were bought by an Outlook company), and you know what happened?

Continue Reading: "Moving from Outlook to Lotus Notes (or vice versa)? It might not actually matter, and here's why" »

Why you don’t have time to save time

It's because you're working like it's still the Industrial Age, not like it's 2015.



In other words, you're using an outdated definition of what it means to be productive:

Productivity

Noun
[obsolete]
1. The process of producing more output with less input: "working harder."

[modern]
2. The art of accomplishing more with less time and less energy, achieved by learning new ways of doing things.

Which one would you rather work by?

Continue Reading: "Why you don't have time to save time" »

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