Jan 132010

One of the quickest and most versatile forms of communication today is the Email.  Most people have at least one email address, if not two or more.  However, email can be counter-productive if you don’t manage it properly.

Here are some practical suggestions for increasing YOUR email productivity:

Strive to keep your Inbox “clean” Do not use your Inbox to store your old emails.  Instead, use your Inbox only for emails that you still need to process or follow up on.   Alternatively, use a separate folder to store emails that you need to respond to.  However, remember to set up regular times to go through and respond to these emails.

Turn off the auto-check feature Most email programs check for new mail automatically at regular intervals.  This serves no useful purpose unless you are waiting for an important email.  It can be very distracting.  Instead of letting the computer decided when to check email for you, turn the auto-check off and do it consciously at pre-determined times during the day.

Keep your email organized Create folders and sub-folders to store messages in a way that makes sense for you.  You can set-up message rules that deliver them directly to these folders.  Organising your email is a balance between making it easy to file new emails as they arrive.  Also, you will be able to find what you are looking for faster.

Use templates for repetitive emails Use templates if you frequently send emails that are the same.  Just type the part of the message that remains the same and leave space for variable such as the person’s name.  Then, when you need to send the email, just open the saved file, paste it into the email addressed to the recipient and add the person’s name.

Use technology to your advantage Spam is annoying and a waste of time.  It can be dangerous as some spam contains viruses or links to malicious websites.  Do no open them!  Use filters to keep most of the garbage out of your Inbox.

Use effective subject lines Some people get dozens of emails per day.  Hence, they have to pick and choose which email they want to read.  You need to use a effective subject line to catch the eye of the recipient or your important message could get lost in the shuffle.  On the other hand, if the subject resembles spam, it will probably be deleted! (if it makes it to the recipient’s Inbox in the first place!)

Email is not always the best method to communicate.

Sometimes it is much more effective to pick up the phone and call someone directly 🙂

Dec 162009

Let me do it later!

Each time when I asked people what are some of the things they would like to change in themselves, procrastination is probably ranked the highest.  Procrastination seems like a “bad” thing or behavior in perception of many.  Well, the good news is EVERYONE PROCRASTINATES! The trick is having a whole new perception towards procrastination.  Used intentionally and creatively, procrastination can be one of the most empowering techniques in personal effectiveness.

In fact, it can change your life!

You cannot possibly do everything that you have to do.  You need to procrastinate on something or the other, especially the small tasks.  The difference between the highly effective and the less effective people is largely determined by what they intentionally choose to procrastinate on.

However, most people procrastinate without thinking about it.  In other words, they are procrastinating unconsciously.  As a result of that, they push aside or delay big, important tasks that may have significant long-term effect in their lives, relationships and careers.  One must learn to intentionally procrastinate on tasks that are small and of low importance just so you have more time for things that can make the big difference in your life.

How do you do that?  Simple.  Set a list proper priorities.  A priority is something that you do more of and sooner.  You must also set a list of things you do less and later, if at all.   One of the most powerful words in managing your lists is NO!  Say it politely and clearly just so that it does not cause misunderstandings.  Practise using “no” as a normal part of setting your daily priorities.  For you to change and do something new, you must stop doing something old.

Review your life and work daily.  What are the time-consuming, small and less important tasks and activities that you can abandon.  For example, procrastinating television watching can allow you to spend more quality time with your family, read, exercise or do activities that can improve the quality of your life.  What about your work activities?  What are the tasks that you can delegate or eliminate so that you have more time to plan and do work that really matter.

Begin today to practise intentional procrastination.  You find that you will have more time for the more important things in life.  Set a list of things that you want to procrastinate wherever and whenever you can.  This action alone allows you to take control of your time and life.

What is one activity that you can abandon immediately or intentionally push aside until your more important goals are achieved?

Have a wonderful day procrastinating! 🙂