Monday, December 22, 2008

Zzzmailing -- a new late-night culprit?!!

We’ve all heard of sleep walking, sleep talking, and even sleep eating, but now there’s a new late-night culprit – sleep e-mailing, or zzzmailing, as it’s now been dubbed.

The first reported case, as told by the University of Toledo to the Telegraph, involved a 44-year-old woman getting up two hours after she’d gone to sleep, logging on to her computer, and e-mailing her friends to invite them to a wine and caviar party. The woman didn’t realize what she’d done until a friend accepted her invitation.

What this says to me is that e-mail use has clearly become a deeply-ingrained habit. The constant connectivity offered by email and PDA tools has people logging on so frequently that we’re even starting to do it in our sleep.

While people have been sleepwalking for ages, reports are only now beginning to surface about sleepers undertaking complex, detailed tasks – such as logging onto computers to send emails. Egan, an internationally renowned e-mail productivity expert, finds this new trend disturbing because, even though this may be an amusing anecdote, this says something very real about the extent to which e-mail has become a part of our lives.

We need to take steps to break the habits of e-mail addiction and misuse. We need to take charge of our inboxes instead of letting them take charge of us.
To read the complete Telegraph article, visit

Monday, December 15, 2008

Work induced ADD?

More interesting "stuff" from "Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"

by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006

"Over the past decade, psychiatrist Edward Hallowell has seen a tenfold rise in the number of patients with symptoms that closely resemble those of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), but of a work-induced variety.

“They complained that they were more irritable than they wanted to be. Their productivity was declining. They couldn’t get organised.”

Hallowell and his frequent collaborator, Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, believe that the neurochemistry of addiction may underlie the compulsive use of cell phones, computers and blackberrys.

Psychologists call the increasingly common addiction to web-based activity ‘online compulsive disorder,’ Hallowell calls it ‘screen sucking’." THAT'S a label!

Here's the link to the press release:

Friday, December 12, 2008

And you think Email interruptions aren't costly?

This is the most recent survey we could find... we can only assume the numbers are growing.

"Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"
by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006
Here is an excerpt:

Interruptions consume 2.1 hours a day or 28% of the workday and cost American economy $588 billion a year, a 2005 survey showed.

The survey by Basex, an information technology research firm, found that the time lost for productivity included not only unimportant interruptions and distractions but also recovery time associated with getting back on the task.

The survey reported in an issue of Time Magazine, was based on study of 1,000 office workers.

Estimating an average salary of $21 an hour for knowledge workers, those who perform tasks involving information, Basex calculated that workplace interruptions cost the US economy $588 billion a year.

A team led by Gloria Mark and Victor Gonzalez of the University of California at Irvine tracked 36 office workers and found that the employees devoted an average of just 11 minutes to a project before the ping of an e-mail, the ring of the phone or a knock on the cubicle pulled them in another direction.

Once they were interrupted, it took, on average, 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they managed to do so at all that day, Time reports. Workers in the study were juggling an average of 12 projects apiece, a situation one subject described as ‘constant, multitasking craziness.’

The five biggest causes of interruption in descending order, according to Gloria Mark of the University of California, were: a colleague stopping by, worker being called away from the desk (or leaving voluntarily), arrival of new e-mail, worker doing another task on the computer and a phone call

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Attention Deficit? Conference Board Review article...

James Krohe, Jr wrote a great article about technology and its influence on productivity published in The Conference Board Review. He even quoted me in the article!

Here's the link.
What do you think?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Into Tomorrow -with Dave Graveline

When it rains, it pours! I'm a guest for our national radio show "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" this week, so please visit to listen in. We talked about how email habits can really get in the way of your productivity. Dave's a funster - it was a great interview.

Computer America interview

Hey folks!
The widely synicated Computer America radio show interviewed me last night on the subject of email "e-ddiction." The link will be available for only 3 days, so click this link to listen now!

Some really good stuff on texting while driving!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Follow “The Golden Rule”

Following the “Golden Rule” applies just as much in e-mail transactions as in other life situations. By embracing the concept that you should treat your recipients the way you want to be treated, your e-mail transactions will bring fruitful and productive returns.

So, as you consider whether to send an e-mail, compose a message, or respond to a message, ask yourself how you would react upon receiving the communication.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Save the jokes for your personal e-mail

We all know the person who continually shares many jokes daily with his or her group list. Most people “ugh” when they see these come through, especially when they’re trying to sift through their 100 other e-mails.

With so many people getting so much e-mail in their business day, the last thing colleagues and others need is another e-mail to open and to read. Rest assured that when your coworkers access their personal e-mail accounts, they will find enough uplifting jokes and inspirational messages there. Respect your recipient, and respect your business: stop with the personal stuff!

I can almost hear the groans when people open and read either a joke or an inspirational message that closes with the usual “Send this to 10 extraordinary human beings within the next 24 hours, or else..."

One of the frequent questions we receive from clients has to do with e-mail jokes and forwarded messages. “How can you tell one of your dearest friends that you really don't need to see the jokes or inspirational messages they send daily to their ever growing group joke list? You surely don't want to hurt the person or lose a friend.”

Here is one suggestion. Remember, the issue is best handled in person rather than by e-mail. Find a time when you are having a friendly conversation either in person or over the telephone, because an e-mail will most likely be hurtful. Be direct; say “it would be great if you could send me only your very best e-mails, because I am inundated with e-mail, though I could definitely use an uplifting message once or twice a week.”

Another solution is to create a separate personal joke email account, i.e., and ask your joking friends to send all future jokes to that account. You can then access it when you need a laugh, rather than to have to deal with it as part of your business inbox.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Always consider the recipient

Many etiquette blunders can be avoided by simply considering your recipient(s) and trying to “ receive” the message from their eyes. There aren’t enough etiquette rules to account for every situation, so consider the perspective of each recipient every time you send an e-mail.

Have you ever saved business e-mails from the previous week and sacrificed the weekend to handle them? If so, you probably felt like you were efficient and committed, figuring you were contributing to the organization’s productivity by using your precious personal weekend time taking care of business. You’re not alone: research shows that Saturdays and Sundays account for the highest percentage of “open and click” rates by e-mail users.[1][1]

In fact, when business e-mails are “saved” for weekend handling, it creates a huge e-mail bubble among the Monday morning recipients. People who think that they are giving more to the company by committing weekend time to catch up on their e-mail may actually be creating more challenges for their co-workers.

I worked for a boss who was a “weekend warrior.” Frankly, I couldn’t stand the thought of going to work on Monday morning. Before I arrived at the office, I knew I would have a minimum of 30, sometimes up to 50 e-mails from my boss. These were items that I could have managed the prior week, and some of them became unnecessarily urgent because he sat on them. It severely impacted all of his direct reports’ abilities to manage their workloads. Mondays were relabeled as “Stress-days.” We finally got together with him and convinced him to spread things out. What a difference that made!

[1][1] See “Q2 2006 E-mail Statistics: Breaking Down E-mail Behaviors and Trends” by eRoi, Inc., 2006.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Avoid emoticons, abbreviations, and smiley faces

While some of these may be cute, there is little need for them in a business environment. Emoticons sent via a business e-mail can paint an employee as puerile and unprofessional. Smiley faces should be left for personal e-mailing. In addition, unknown abbreviations can cause confusion.

For instance, do you understand the following message?

From: Howard
Sent: February 23, 11:16 AM

To: Betty
Subject: F2F Mtg Req

Am req a F2F w/ u ITNF, 2 discuss upcoming PRs. R U available Mon @ 3? Pls lv a msg on my vm, as I w/b OOO. L8R, H

Translation: Face to face Meeting Request

I am requesting a face-to-face meeting with you in the near future to discuss upcoming performance reviews. Are you available Monday at 3:00? Please leave a message on my voice mail, as I will be out of the office. Later, Howard

While some common and universally understood abbreviations—such as FYI (For Your Information) and EOM (End Of Message)—can be appropriate, others, like BTW (By The Way,) and TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) may be confusing. They may even prompt a needless return e-mail by the recipient asking what they mean.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Remember: the recipient cannot hear your tone

When crafting an e-mail message, always keep in mind that the receiver cannot hear your tone of voice or notice your body language. Be aware of the potential for misinterpretation, and create your message with the recipient in mind. By re-reading, you may be able to avoid misinterpretations.

Just remember, e-mail can not be equated to conversation. E-mail presents information in one dump, without any feedback. You can not see the body language that allows you to “read” the recipient, adjust your tone or respond differently. That is why it is unfortunately misread and misinterpreted regularly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Beware the use of the BCC

Your use of the BCC option could be interpreted as backstabbing, end runs, or mistrust. Consider this e-mail blind copied to "the boss":

From: Howdy
Sent: January 19, 2:41 PM
To: Doodie
BCC: Boss Bob
Subject: 4th Quarter Training Report

Good morning, Doodie;
When do you plan to submit your 4th Quarter Training Report?

It was due the 15th, and this is now my third follow-up. I’ve received the reports from all other managers, and will appreciate your getting the information to me ASAP.


Before you use this feature, think about the reasons you are really considering doing so, and determine whether the use is truly necessary. Consider also how its use might make you look to other recipients. In the above example, it is plain to the BCC recipient that Howdy is “tattling” to Boss Bob. Very disrespectful. Very poor etiquette.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Do not share large lists of e-mail addresses via CC

Placing a large number of e-mail addresses of recipients who don’t know each other in the CC shares private information with many recipients. Indiscriminate copying can actually be viewed as an invasion of privacy.

Instead, either or enter the e-mail addresses in the BCC line or use the mail merge feature.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Personalize the message

This practice could be the easiest and most effective etiquette practice. By incorporating the person’s first name in to the body of the e-mail, you will go a long way in showing respect. A simple greeting—for instance, “Dear Donna,” Good morning, Harry,” or “It was nice to hear from you, Pat” —can show great e-mail etiquette in a matter of seconds.

Remember, everyone loves to hear (or see) their name.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are you willing to die for your e-mail?

E-mail can be a deadly habit….

A few months ago, an executive proudly explained to me how he holds his Blackberry with his thumbs and forefingers at the top of the steering wheel so that he can effectively read and respond to e-mail messages while on the road… I told him he was playing a dangerous game.
Last week, The Dallas Morning News reported that a Dallas citizen videotaped a DART bus driver texting while operating a public transportation bus. Two weeks ago, 25 people were killed in a commuter train crash in California, in which investigators have confirmed that the MetroLink train's engineer was texting while on the job and apparently missed a warning light signaling another train on the same track. It cost him his life, not to mention ruining 100s of others.

E-mail is convenient. E-mail is timely. It can be an immediate. Staying connected can be fun.

It can also kill you - or someone else...

Consider this… A recent survey by AOL reported that approximately 50 percent of respondents to said they have checked their email while driving. This is up from last year, when 37 percent of respondents said they engaged in this activity. In addition, according to a survey by, answering text messages while driving is popular among individuals 18 to 24 years of age, with 48 percent texting while behind the wheel of car. In addition, 27 percent of drivers 25 to 34 years of age text while driving, and 19 percent of respondents who were 35 to 44 years of age admitted to texting while driving.

A new study done by the Transport Research Laboratory for the British Royal Automobile Club Foundation appears to confirm that texting behind the wheel can be more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol.

It used to be that people feared being on the road after midnight, because chances were that one out of every two drivers coming at them could be under the influence of alcohol. With these trends, it's not just about the wee hours anymore. If the AOL study is true, it could be that one out of every two drivers coming at you any time during the day could be texting while driving.
Researchers observing drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 found their reaction was slowed by 35 percent when they were writing or reading text messages. That's more than twice the slowed reaction time after drinking alcohol.

The British study also found texting drivers were less able to maintain safe distances from other cars and tended to drift out of their lanes.

Does this cause concern for anyone out there?!!

We are regularly putting ourselves — not to mention others — in harm’s way by checking our email when we need to be concentrating on something else.

Although some state legislators are starting to address this, with at least five states already prohibiting all drivers from using hand-held phones, and 24 more have considered similar legislation, let's just remember that you can't legislate common sense.

Because of the proliferation of email, don't let yourself get sucked into feeling compelled to keep up with electronic communication while performing other tasks, including driving.

Individuals, friends, relatives, parents, and employers can do more to prevent these senseless accidents and deaths while driving. What we really need to do is stop, think, and get control of ourselves, our loved ones and our co-workers. We need to stop putting our desire to stay connected and our obsession with technology above our basic need for safety.

The cost can be catastrophic. Resolve now to stop reading or tapping while driving, and to be adamant with others around you to do the same. No tolerance. It could be deadly, like it was for those 25 victims in California.

For the Transport Research Laboratory report, visit
For more information on FindLaw’s survey, visit
To read the complete AOL Study, visit
For the Dallas article, view

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reducing the Amount of Email You Receive - The Secret!

No, this is not rocket science. But one of the best kept secrets to reducing the amount of email you receive is...


E-mail begets e-mail. By reducing the number of e-mails you send daily, and by implementing some simple steps when sending e-mail, you will in return reduce the number of e-mails you receive.

There is no question that people who use e-mail more frequently in turn receive more e-mails in response.

Ask yourself, “Is this e-mail really necessary?” Consider that each e-mail you send to one recipient could create at least one return e-mail to you. For messages sent to groups, there is an obvious potential mutliplier effect. By envisioning the e-mail you send as a potential trigger for a return e-mail, you will help yourself receive less e-mail.

Sending less email implies doing more of something else...

Yes. Pick up the phone. Situations requiring true dialogue are best served with a phone call. Many times even a voice mail message can be better in advancing the conversation.
If you're overwhelmed with incoming email, try sending less, and calling more. Let us know how it works!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More on Daily Planning

If you read our last post, we're prescribing the re-invention of the concept of once a day daily planning. Why?Because too many emailers are allowing newly receive email messages to trump the plan they've already set for the day. Here's how it works:

Let’s assume that you’ll take the first half-hour of your morning to plan your schedule for the day and to figure out which tasks need your attention. In the planning process, you need to assess e-mail delivered tasks the same way you prioritize other work-related tasks such as return phone calls, meetings, and projects. Once daily, gather and assess ALL your work priorities, and make decisions about how and when you can best use your time. This is when you access your diary system, find the appropriate messages in your action folders, plan meetings, prioritize tasks and phone calls, and set the appropriate schedule that will enable great results for the day.

This can give you the "strength" to look away from those new email messages which are tugging at you, threatening to pull you from what is truly important. Just look at that daily plan, and ask yourself, is this more important than what I've already decided? Chances are, it won't be. Diversion diverted!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Email has obliterated people's daily planning efforts. How 'bout you?

Toxic e-mail habits have diffused the importance of daily planning, a key component of time management. People allow the delivery of new messages to continually interrupt and impose on their daily plan. Your know what we're talking about... You start by planning your day, then an email message arrives. Before you know it, you're working on THAT rather than the stuff you decided was most important when you first started your day.

Wanna take control. Bring back once a day, daily planning! Prioritizing your tasks each day gives you a daily roadmap that will help you resist the tempting interruptions brought by new e-mail.

Establish a consistent time each day to plan your work. Some people prefer first thing in the morning, others find it makes more sense to do this at the end of the day. This is the time to plan all of your daily activities, including phone calls, projects, meetings, and tasks delivered by e-mail. Open your action folders and decide which of those tasks you will choose to work on during the day.

Sure, you may have one or two items that trump your work plan. Urgencies happen. But not to the extent that email interrupts you consistently throughout the day...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Case for Emptying Your Inbox - EVERY time!

Leaving e-mail messages you have already read in your inbox is just as counter-productive as leaving old mail in the box at the end of your driveway. Yet people routinely leave received items in their inboxes, even after they have been read. This transforms the inbox into one enormous pending file. Worse, it is a very disorganized pending file. If you have 200 items in your inbox, it's like having 200 pieces of paper, on your desk, in NO organized fashion.

Get it outa there!

By placing items requiring your attention in a folder, you will enable yourself to properly triage your work. (See our last post on this...) By setting up Action Folders, you can take control of your inbox rather than it controlling you. See all of our March 2008 posts for the elements of the 12 Step Program.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Difference between "Sorting" and "Working" e-mail

Too many people confuse sorting e-mails and handling e-mails as one task. They are not. To be most effective at managing your inbox, it is important to understand and embrace the distinction between the two. Sorting denotes viewing, grouping, moving, and assessing priorities, while handling means actually working within the details of the e-mail. You need to commit to sort the work delivered by e-mail, and then handle it in the priority that it deserves. Each time you go into your inbox, it should be with the intention to sort your mail, not handle it.

Think of it like an emergency room nurse. The nurse “triages” patients based on their priority, not based on when they arrived or how quickly they can be served. Instead, patients are triaged according to priority. As an example, a person with a head injury will be seen immediately, while someone with a broken finger may wait for hours. This is the way we need to approach our incoming e-mail in order to manage it expertly, every day.

Just remember, E-mail itself is not a task. It delivers tasks. When you shift your thinking from, “I’ve got to do e-mail,” to “I’ve got work to do” (regardless of whether it was delivered by e-mail or a visit by the boss), you are on the road to better and faster results.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Are you "married to your office?"

Technology is great. There have been so many advancements that make things so efficient, effective, and yes, inexpensive. I still think that the advent of the e-mail is one of the best technological inventions of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, anything done to excess can be a liability. The June AOL e-mail addiction survey reported that 30% of the mobile users said that since getting a mobile device with e-mail capabilities, they feel "married to the office." I'm sure this does a lot for stress relief.

The interesting thing is that there is a lot of assuming going on about all this. While there may be some idiots, er, I mean executives who do expect that their employees are connected 24/7 once they are given a mobile e-mail device. They are in the minority. I have talked to one too many employees who have assumed, without asking, that they are expected to be connected 24/7. I was actually asked by a CEO to emphasize during my "Tame the E-mail Tiger" program that he expected blackberries to be used more efficiently, for example, while waiting for an appointment, rather than to have it ringing on the bed stand at 2:00 a.m. He felt that his employees didn't believe him. So, who was assuming what?

I am a believer that balance creates energy. And without turning those dang things off, you could be married to the wrong thing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You are putting yourself at risk.

This AOL survey has given us a lot of fodder for comment and humor. But there is one statistic that has nothing funny about it.

50% of the respondents admitted to checking their e-mail while driving, up from 37% last year. This is insipid. This is ridiculous. This is downright stupid. I'm sorry - - I can not use strong enough words.

Having been born and bred in the insurance business, I am very well tuned in to the pain automobile accidents can cause. People are driving two ton killing machines, and need to focus on the act of driving, not who has e-mailed or texted them.

At last count, five states have outlawed people talking on cell phones while driving. Kudos to them. But as my father always said, "you can't legislate common sense."

If one out of every two people has admitted to checking e-mail while driving, my hope is that you were the one who didn't.

For the full survey, visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Does the big guy in the sky use e-mail?

AOL's e-mail addiction survey had a very interesting statistic. 15% of the respondents admitted to checking e-mail in church, up from 12% last year. Now, I haven't heard any reports of divine e-mails being sent, so whose e-mail message could be more important?

For the full survey visit

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So who is more important, your date or your e-mail?

I'm having trouble getting off of this latest AOL e-mail addiction survey..

25%, or one out of four people who responded to the survey, admitted to checking their e-mail while they were on a date. Yes, you are thinking what I'm thinking... Either these people are not dating people they really want to date, or they won't be soon. 'Nuff said. What do you think?

For the full survey visit

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is checking e-mail during business meetings career suicide?

AOL's recent study has affirmed to me a lot of what I've suspected. 38% of the people in the survey have checked their e-mail in a business meeting. This does not mean when they are waiting for the meeting to begin, it means during the meeting.
What could these people be thinking?
I saw another study recently where top executives were surveyed regarding their opinions of people who use their blackberries or PDAs during a business meeting. A full third of them considered it to be unacceptable. So if one out of three top executives considers checking the Blackberry as inappropriate, and 38% of the survey admitted to doing it, it looks like some careers could be in jeopardy!

For the full survey visit

Thursday, August 14, 2008

AOL Email Addiction Survey is Frightening!

I am troubled by the findings of AOL’s recent email addiction survey. While almost all US citizens check their email frequently, this new research shows that a significant percentage of the population is addicted to email – and in more egregious ways than ever before.

The results of this survey are disturbing. When 67 percent of the survey participants admit to checking their email while they’re in their pajamas in bed, what does that say about the state of our email habits?

And that’s not even the most shocking statistic. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed admitted to checking their email in the bathroom – and if that’s not proof that our work/life balances are out of whack, I'm not sure what is.

The constant connectivity that email and PDAs provide means that people are becoming less and less capable of setting technology aside to focus on other things in life.I've seen people checking their email everywhere – I’ve even seen someone checking their BlackBerry during a funeral.

What we really need to do is learn productive email habits. Because technology is so pervasive, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid – and the more access we have, the more often we choose to use it. I can only hope that the people who see this survey will realize the extent that email has invaded their balance, and that they decide to take control of their lives.

To read the complete AOL Study, visit
Let us know what YOU think!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How to get a close friend to take you off his or her joke list... (no joke!)

Believe it or not, one of the questions that we frequently receive has to do with how can we tell one of our dearest friends that we really don't need to see the 20 jokes or inspirational messages that he or she sends daily to their large list. They don't want to hurt the person, and they don't want to lose a friend.

Here could be your solution...

What we suggest is that, first of all, the issue is NOT dealt with by e-mail (unless you want to LOSE that friend) -- find a time when you are having a friendly conversation either in person or by telephone -- because an e-mail will most likely be hurtful. And one of the comments that seems to work the best sounds something like this: “it would be great if you could send me only your very very very best e-mails, because I am inundated with e-mail and could use an uplifting e-mail once or twice a week!”

Another option is to create a free email account, something like - marshajokes@ and ask your friends to send to that account. This way, when you need a chuckle, you know where to find it!

Let us know what else works for you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Discuss, THEN Confirm

I am always amazed when I see someone composing a very detailed and complex e-mail on a subject that would be much more appropriately discussed. Are people hiding behind e-mail? Are they trying to avoid confrontation?

My rule of thumb is that if it will take you longer to type out your e-mail, than it will to explain the issue, pick up the phone, get up and visit the person -- explain the situation, and if a record is needed, summarize it later by e-mail. In the long run, it will take you less time, and bring you better results.

Just my two cents!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Greening Your Email Signature

Just hadda share this... I just received an email from one of my clients with this great comment incorporated into the autosignature. I hope you consider adding it. And... please share this idea with everyone you can.

"Please consider the environment before printing this email."

Friday, June 20, 2008

What is SO hard about turning it off???

What is SO hard about turning it off???

This is NOT rocket science. But it IS personal control.

Given all of the email you receive daily, perhaps it is difficult to tear your eyes away from your inbox, even when you’re supposed to be working on other matters. Just as some people feel compelled to answer the phone whenever it rings, others believe it is essential to respond to emails immediately upon receipt. This reactive approach is not only unnecessary, but it is a description of a classic inefficient practice.

Try this. Minimize or close down your email, first for a half hour. Then check it. How many top one priorities did you miss in that time? Do this a few times till you feel comfortable.

Then, expand the time period to an hour. Do the same thing. How much did you miss?

Many of us go to meetings that last more than an hour, and can't access email in that time. What is the difference? Nothing.

But the reality is that if you stop looking up every time your email or blackberry makes a noise or a flash, you'll be amazed at how much better you'll concentrate on the challenge or project at hand.

Try it. Let us know how it works.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Study Shows E-mail Ain't Going Away!

Wish as you may, wish as you might, email is here to stay...

At least that's what a recent study by Habeas sees. 67% of the respondents said they prefer email over other online vehicles, and 65% believe it will continue through 5 years. There's a great chart showing this in The Luon Blog that was offered by E-Marketer this week as well...

Very interesting to note that email was preferred much more significantly than any other medium, including websites (34%,) postal mail (35%,) voicemail (29%,) cell voice mail (12%,) and web meetings/videoconferencing (3%.) The survey respondents expected test messaging, videoconferncing and web meetings to grow in five years, but none of them expected the usage to be more than 20%.

Even the younger respondents, age 18-34, favor email business communications over IM and texting as the trend for business communication in the future.

Bottom line: E-mail is here to stay. It is growing. If you don't get a handle on how to manage it now, you're risking being left in the dust five years from now.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Are you Email Savvy? Try this fun assessment!

Wanna check your email "savviness?" Here's a quick 20 question assessment that you may find verrrrrrrry interrrresting!

It contains assessing questions like
...I close or minimize my email when I am not working on it

...My emails contain only one subject.

...My emails have very detailed subject lines.

Visit or click here for the link.

Where do you rate on the 100 point scale? Let us know!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Have you given too much power to your email?

How many times has your telephone rung while you were having dinner with your family? Some people answer it, some don’t. Some give the control of the moment to the ringing telephone, others take control and choose to let it ring, recognizing that the priority at that moment is the time spent with family. Which better describes you?

Just as some people feel compelled to answer the phone whenever it rings, others believe it is essential to respond to emails immediately upon receipt. Given all of the email you receive daily, perhaps it is difficult to tear your eyes away from the inbox, even when you’re supposed to be working on other matters. This reactive approach is not only unnecessary, but it is a description of a classic inefficient practice.

You can operate under the same principle when it comes to your inbox. Don’t allow yourself to be inconveniently sucked into time-wasting messages and exchanges that are not advancing a specific objective. Control the number of times you open your email during your workday. Make overt decisions regarding your responses and manage the tasks that come your way just like you would with any other work assignment. Analyze your priorities and choose to be or not to be interrupted.

Become proactive rather than reactive. Own your email, rather than allowing it exercise power over you. That means you decide:
· when you will check for new messages and when you will respond
· when and how email will fit into your daily plan
· when you will shut down your Blackberry or PDA
· what you will work on and when
· what sounds and reminders you will use or not use
Let go of a compulsion to respond to emails regardless of their importance. Let go of your assumptions that e-mails need to be responded to immediately. Let go of your checking your computer screen every 10 minutes for newfound treasure.

Decide who owns your email! Decide that it is you!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

There's something more than "No Email Fridays"

Some well known, large companies have declared Fridays as the day when email may NOT be used. Its intention is to force dialogue.

When I think about companies declaring “No E-mail Fridays" it affirmed for me one of the biggest misuses or misunderstandings about email is that people actually think it can replace dialogue!

E-mail is not dialogue. We can't read the recipient's understanding or body language. We can't see whether they agree with us or not. We can't have a group discussion or brainstorm an idea. In the end, many times, emailers spend more overall time fixing a misread or misunderstood e-mail, trying to collect multiple opinions shared via e-mail, or settling down emotional or angry recipients.

It is a sad consequence that companies are having to institute actual programs like “no email Fridays” to force people to dialogue. It is symptomatic of the growing trend of people relying too heavily on e-mail for ALL their communications.

While email free days are a great way bring home to workers the benefit of interpersonal communications, this shouldn’t be a one day thing.

Companies need to start creating a culture on how it handles e-mail. It’s needs to be seen as a tool for the efficient sharing and exchange of impersonal information. And as soon as we determine that dialogue is needed, employees need to pick up the phone, call a meeting, or make a visit. In short, anything benefitting from dialogue should be done with lips rather than fingers—EVERY day of the week—not just Fridays.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Email Tips to Save Trees on Earth Day - Give Printing a Rest!

It is no secret that the amount of paper consumption has increased since the advent of computer automation. And even though the paperless office was supposed to lead to the demise of paper, in many areas, it has actually led to a significant increase.

Just think of how you treat your e-mail... even though it is the electronic, and can be read and responded to electronically, many people print and file those e-mails. What about you? How many times and day do you print an e-mail or its attachments?

Celebrate Earth Day by cutting your paper printing of e-mail in half!

Just think of the impact on the paper consumption in the world, if everyone would print 50% fewer e-mails Tuesday. Just think of the impact if it was done every day!

Why do people print so many messages that could be stored and retrieved electronically? Much of it stems from psychological, aesthetic, and legal reasons. Here are some of them:

+You like to touch and hold the information.

+You like to flip pages back and forth.

+You like to write comments, and make notes.

+You like to physically file items for reference.

+You take information with you to meetings. Paper enables the portability of information.

+You need them for legal reasons.

While some of the above reasons justify the printing of documents, there are electronic means to achieve similar results. Some of these involve the breaking of old comfortable habits, others require a shift in the way you handle your work. C'mon - you can print 50% less!!!

As for touching and holding the information, while it may be comfortable or familiar, you are essentially saying that your caring more about your own needs than those of the environment.

As for the ability to flip pages back and forth, annotate items, and physically filing items, all of these can be done electronically.

Needing to carry documents with you to meetings for reference may be a legitimate reason for printing. The challenge here is to use as little paper as possible, and only what is needed. Some PDAs enable you to carry that information with you electronically.

Regarding the need for legal documentation, there may be very legitimate reasons for the printing of these documents. However, more and more, electronic documents are being accepted more and more as legal documentation, so check the laws in your state and print as few as possible.

Other paper saving practices you can consider are:
· Don't automatically print all pages of a document without reviewing the entire document.
· Print only what you need.
· If you need only a brief item of information, make a note of it in your PDA or planner.
· Single space documents when possible. Make narrower margins.
· When printing, print two pages to a page.
· File electronically.
· Use both sides of the paper.
· Use the "track changes" feature to edit and comment on documents

The most important practice is to "think before you print." In celebration of Earth Day, set a goal to print as few items as possible, and at least 50% less than what you print in a normal day. Just think of the compound is impact! Even though trees are a renewable resource, the less we have to renew, the better for the environment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How EOM can save you time!

What does EOM stand for?
End Of Message

How can this help you save time?
For brief messages, put the entire message in the subject line. End it with - you guessed it - EOM.
That tells the reader that he/she doesn't have to open the message - that the subject line IS the message. Try it. Make it viral. Saves time for everyone!

Share your time saving tips by commenting on this one!

Hope it helps!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 12

Step 12: Celebrate success, and commit to “staying clean!”

Many of my clients have told me that this twelve-step process actually helped them regain their lives! Now that you know the process , your email no longer needs to control you and you can maximize your productivity in your professional and personal life.

Because you have most likely had to invest a month of focused effort into readjusting your email handling habits, acknowledge the shift. Appreciate the increased time you have to do what’s really important.

For all of these steps, and in more detail, in one ebook or mp3, click here .

That IS cause to celebrate!

Kudos to you...


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 11

Step 11: Involve others in conquering your e-ddiction.

One of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track and won’t “fall off the wagon” is to involve others in your plans to change your email habits and practices. Particularly at your workplace, you can gain much support by simply including your coworkers and employees in your plan to turn your email habits and practices around.

Detail your e-plans to your colleagues and employees. Let people know that you’ve turned off automatic send and receive, and that you’ve changed your email viewing habits to five times a day or to 60-to 90-minute intervals—so, should they need you urgently, they should call or stop by instead of emailing.

Success is about involving others!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 10

Step 10: Reduce the amount of email you receive.


By reducing the number of emails you send daily, and by implementing some simple steps when sending email, you will in return reduce the number of emails you receive: Ask yourself, “Is this email really necessary?”

Remember this thought:

Emails beget emails.

For more detail on these 12 steps, click here.

Send less, get less.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Help for Michael Arrington's 2433 Unread Emails...

Earlier this week I read a blog post by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch (2,433 Unread Emails Is An Opportunity For An Entrepreneur) about his personal issues with email. The following is my response:

Although there may be some technical assists to managing that inbox, I think alot of it boils down to managing yourself, and how you approach all those goodies that show up in your inbox. One possible solution is to think of your inbox in a different way. Think of it like you view a postal mailbox, or the inbin on your desk. I don't know of many people who put their mail back in their postal mailbox after they glance at it, and I haven't seen too many office inboxes with thousands of papers in them. Why not? Because people sort them and put them somewhere else!

Shifting your perspective from using your inbox as a holding tank to that of a delivery tool may help you SORT those new emails faster. And sorting is different from working. This perspective makes way for you to empty that inbox after every sort, just like you do with postal mail.

Here's what works for me... Some time management experts will tell you to touch the item only once. I think that is a bunch of bunk. I have tried it for years, and it just doesn't work for me. Here is my alternative suggestion: Touch each item no more than twice!

Here is the scenario. You receive e-mail. You review it. Then you have to decide what you're going to do with it. If you subscribe to the process of touching it only once, you can really get bogged down in non-important items that may take a long time to read or handle. Instead, I like to suggest that you touch each email no more than twice, with one exception. (We'll get back to that later. ) When you review the email, you determine how important it is, and you move it to a file or a place that gets it out of your e-mail, yet it is held in a place where you can find it and not ignore it. After you have reviewed all your work and slotted these items in their appropriate holding places, then you go about setting the priorities and working on the most important items.

The exception to this is to give yourself permission to handle anything that will take you less than two minutes to handle. In other words if you open an e-mail, and you know you can handle it briefly by sending a quick response, or faxing a form quickly, my suggestion is that you do it, regardless of its urgency or importance.

So, let's get back to all that other work that you estimated would take more than two minutes to handle. What do you do with it? The first question you ask yourself is keep or trash. Trash as much stuff as you don't need -- it creates clutter. Once you have decided that it is not trash, then you need to decide on whether you need to take action, and what type of action, its priority, and whether it is urgent or not. You can set up folders for this. I use three action folders - Action A (priority,) Action B, and Reading. And the stuff I want to keep for reference I file in subject folders. Whatever you do, get all that stuff out of your inbox, because if you leave it in there, you're probably gonna look at it much more than twice or stare at it like a defeated zombie.

Ya can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. There've been alot of great ideas on this post. Perhaps a mindshift will help too!

What other ideas do you have?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 9

Step 9: Budget time to sort email.

Too many people underestimate the amount of time sorting their email will consume. However, email is becoming an increasingly significant part of most people’s work that requires systematic and continuous attention. Sorting email-delivered tasks must be included in the daily schedule that is planned in Step 8.

Figure out the amount of time you’ll need to spend sorting emails each day, and set aside that time on your schedule or to-do list like any other business task.

This is why it is important to go in and retrieve your email at spaced intervals. This program doesn't really work if you go in there every 10 minutes... We like to suggest 5 times a day for the average business. Yup.

Plan to sort. Don't pretend it ain't there.

You can do it!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 8

Step 8: Plan your day.

This is where it all comes together...A lot of folks fear that if they put their emails in a folder, they'll forget them. This step keeps that from happening.Establish a consistent time each day to plan your work. Some people prefer first thing in the morning, others find it makes more sense to do this at the end of the day.

This is the time to plan all of your daily activities, including phone calls, projects, meetings, AND TASKS DELIVERED BY EMAIL.

Open your action folders and decide which of those tasks you will choose to work on during the day.It's not rocket science, but it works. Just remember, this needs to become a habit!For more detailed info on all these steps, click here.

Enjoy planning!M

Friday, March 21, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 7

Step 7: Apply the Two-Minute Rule.

Here’s my golden (secret) rule of email management:

If an email can be handled and responded to in two minutes or less, then take care of it immediately. If not, the second you determine it will take you more than two minutes, stop reading and don’t do any more with the email – instead, file the email in an appropriate action folder and address it later, at a systematically scheduled time.

That's all there is to it.

This way, you'll limit your SORT time, and get your inbox clean. Every time.

For more details, and more background on why this works, click here.

Remember, TWO minutes or LESS!

Happy sorting!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 5

Step 5: Empty your inbox every time you view it.

Leaving email messages you have already read in your inbox is just as counter-productive as leaving old mail in the box at the end of your driveway. Yet people routinely leave received items in their inboxes, even after they have been read. This transforms the inbox into one enormous pending file.

Once you've committed to this new habit, you can watch your blood pressue go down... fast.

But what do you do with all of those emails? You sort them, NOT work 'em. And you put them somewhere else. Check out our next post for that...

If you'd like to have an expanded version of these steps or an mp3, click here.

Or if you'd like to receive our bi-weekly newsletter, visit and sign up on any page!

Happy emailing! Or should we say "e-sorting?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 6

Step 6: Create and use e-folders

Your efforts to keep your inbox empty will hinge on the effectiveness of the email folder system you establish to manage your messages. Then, commit to moving everything into a folder or the recycle bin EVERY time you SORT your email. Hey folks, this works!!!

This is what we think works best... You will need two basic categories of folders: action folders and reference folders. Action folders contain anything that requires something from you. Reference folders are for all other items that do not require action, but contain information that you may need at a future time.

Most people merge action and reference folders, contributing to confusion and inability to find critical work.For the whole program, in MP3 or eBook format, click here...

Email E-ddiction: Step 4

Step 4: Change your view of the inbox.

Take a minute to think about your postal mailbox. As you pull your mail out, you might flip through each item deciding what you need to read, keep, and file—and what you can just toss out. What you probably don’t do, however, is look through the envelopes, magazines, and postcards you received and then stick them back in your mailbox!

Likewise, the inbox is not a holding tank—it is a delivery tool. Just as your postal mail isn’t meant to stay piled up in your postal mailbox, your emails aren’t meant to be sitting in your inbox. They need to be moved or handled...

EVERY time you go in... Yup. That's what works!!!
You can have the whole series, either in eBook or MP3 format, or both!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 3

Turn off automatic send/receive. That's right! Turn the "dang ding" off!

Once YOU've decided to TAKE CONTROL of your email, this allows you to check your email when it best fits into your day. Get your email on your terms, not the other way around. This action could be one of the most difficult for an email e-ddict. After all, e-ddicted emailers thrive on seeing the new email that comes in! Although it may give you the shakes the first few times you do it, this is a huge step toward taking control.

So, turn off the flashes and reminders. Right now! Get your email when you want to, not when it "wants" you to... Try it, you'll like it!

Want our 12 Steps to Curing your Email E-ddiction eBook? Click here
Check out our 55 minute 12 step workshop DVD... Click here

Monday, March 10, 2008

Email E-ddiction: Step 2

Once you've decided to change (for the better) the next step is:

Take ownership. Believe that it is possible for YOU to take control of your email and to manage how YOU deal with it. You can choose to handle your email at the times that work for you. When you take ownership of your email, you don’t have to answer it as soon as it is received.

You think this sounds too simple? Are you the kind of person who answers the phone during a nice family dinner?

There is hope... it lies with you. YOU decide when you're good and ready to go in and sort that email. Once you've taken back control, it opens the door for GREAT stuff!

Look for our next post!

Our eBook has all 12 steps, too!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Do you know someone with an email addiction?

It may seem ludicrous that you could be addicted to something as simple and benign as email, but email addiction, or e-ddiction as I like to call it, is an epidemic that affects more of us than we realize. Think about it—email is something you check every day, probably multiple times. But once you cross the line and your time becomes consumed by this ‘simple and benign’ technology, then you may have a problem.

Here are some indicators that you may have an e-ddiction. You:
• Choose checking email over career, relationship, family, or education
• Check your email incessantly
• Use email as an escape
• Feel restless and moody when detached from your email
• Plan vacations to only places with Wi-Fi access
• Avoid addressing concerns voiced by family and friends

And unlike many eddicitons, you can't eliminate email. It is here to stay, and growing.

BUT there is hope. First, you've gotta confront it, and decide that you WANT to change. Look for more posts in the next few days and visit our website for more helpful info.

Yup, you CAN change!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

See our FOX News Video for more email productivity tips!

We were excited to have an interview on Fox News Dallas on February 23. It explains why an empty inbox will help your productivity, and gives a few tips.

It was a fun interview. Not sure if Tim will adopt them all...

It should be up for about 2 months...

Click here to view and enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

10 Tips to help you Clean Out Your Inbox

To inaugurate "Clean Out Your Inbox Week" January 28 - February 1, we offer these 10 tips to help you get to "zero" by the end of this week!
1. Create e-folders to hold action items - avoid using your inbox as a "to do" list
2. Rename received e-mails so that you can search them more effectively
3. Return e-mail requests with phone calls
4. Avoid the tendency to "work" newly received e-mails if they are less important than your current project
5. Open your e-mail with the intention of sorting your new items, rather than "knocking the easy ones off"
6. Sort your e-mail in order from top to bottom or bottom to top - avoid scrolling
7. Copy only the people who REALLY need to see your message
8. Use "if/then" verbiage. e.g. "Please e-mail me if you haven't received the package" rather than "Did you receive the pkg?"
9. Turn off automatic send/receive and turn off all dings and flashes. Open your e-mail when it is right for YOU
10. Send less e-mail. The more e-mail you send, the more e-mail you'll get!

For more tips and helpful information, visit