All posts in Productivity Ideas

Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 7

Over the last few weeks, we’ve shown you how some Top CEOs manage their email. Not inspired yet? Well, here are some general tips you can use to manage your email:

 

  1. Get rid of the junk. Of my average 400 emails per day, easily a third are spam. The rest are important messages I want to address in some manner.So I use the “Junk” file to capture most spam and scan it quickly twice a day.
  1. Set up smart folders. About 25 percent of my emails are some sort of advertising or less important notifications to which I stay subscribed.In less than 10 minutes you can tell your email program to automatically move them into a specific smart folder. Then you can limit your perusal of that folder to once a day or at your leisure.
  1. Use the cloud.Rather than storing these files on a single computer, I store them in the cloud so I can access them anytime, anywhere. If you learn how to use simple sort and search features you can easily find any recent or old email by subject or sender.
  1. A clear day means a clear mind. If you make it a point to look at everything within 24 hours you’ll have fewer surprises and less frustration.It’s not always possible to make a full reply immediately, especially if it’s a low priority request that you can’t delegate. But when a request or notification is read, simply ask if they can connect with you the next day.  By putting the onus on them, they’ll remind you or manage the problem themselves.

 

Next week we’ll show you a few more tips you can use to manage your email process, so stay tuned!

We got this at Inc.com, you can visit them for more on this and beyond!

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Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 6

When you receive almost 150 work emails every day, your inbox can quickly become the bane of your existence. So how do top CEOs like Bill Gates and Tim Cook manage their overwhelming inbox flux?

This week, we’ll discuss how Ryan Holmes conquers his email with “inbox bankruptcy” and how Eric Schmidt replies to every email quickly:

 

Hootsuite CEO and founder Ryan Holmes goes for email broke

When overwhelmed with his inbox, Holmes likes to “declare inbox bankruptcy” and delete everything so he can start fresh.

He recommends only doing this once every few years, and practitioners should add a disclaimer message to their email signature after deleting unread mails.

Something like, “Sorry if I didn’t get back to your last email. To become a better communicator in 2015, I’ve recently declared email bankruptcy,” he advises.

 

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt responds quickly to every email

In his book “How Google Works,” the former Google CEO wrote, “Most of the best — and busiest — people we know act quickly on their emails, not just to us or to a select few senders, but to everyone.”

Even if the answer is a simple “got it,” Schmidt says being responsive establishes a positive communication loop and a culture focused on merit.

 

That ends our adventures through some Top CEOs email habits. If you’d like to catch up on them, or find even more, visit businessinsider.com.

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Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 5

When you receive almost 150 work emails every day, your inbox can quickly become the bane of your existence. So how do top CEOs like Bill Gates and Tim Cook manage their overwhelming inbox flux?

This week, we’ll discuss how Chad Dickerson uses a system for remembering contacts, while Kara Goldin simply wakes up early to check her email:

 

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson has a system for remembering contacts

For example, whenever he meets someone new and adds their contact information to his address book, he includes a note about when they met and what they discussed. That way, whenever he emails someone, he can directly reference their meeting before he moves on to the ask.

 

Hint Water founder and CEO Kara Goldin wakes up early to check email

Goldin considers her morning a critical part of her day and devotes the wee hours of the morning to checking her email and schedule.

She says she heads straight to her inbox at 5:30 a.m. because “doing this gives me a clear understanding of what the next 12 hours are going to look like and what my priorities are once I get to the office.”

 

Next week, we’ll show you the email habits of Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Hootsuite CEO and founder, Ryan Holmes. Stay tuned.

We got these at businessinsider.com, you can visit them for insight into everything from business to sports!

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 4

When you receive almost 150 work emails every day, your inbox can quickly become the bane of your existence. So how do top CEOs like Bill Gates and Tim Cook manage their overwhelming inbox flux?

This week, we’ll discuss how Tony Hsieh employs a team of “email ninjas” to handle his mail and how Katia Beauchamp uses response deadlines to prioritize her email:

 

Birchbox cofounder Katia Beauchamp makes employees include a response deadline

The beauty-sample subscription service cofounder told Lifehacker that insisting people on the team indicate when they need a response in all emails is one of her best time-saving tricks.

“It makes prioritization so much faster,” she said.

 

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh employs a full-time team of email ninjas

In a fascinating Quora thread about CEO email habits, Michael Chen, a responder who once met Hsieh, wrote that the Zappos CEO told him he had a team of four or five full-time email handlers.

“Fun fact, I think their official titles are Email Ninja,” Chen said.

 

Next week, we’ll show you the email habits of Hint Water founder and CEO, Kara Goldin, and Etsy CEO, Chad Dickerson. Stay tuned.

We got these at businessinsider.com, you can visit them for insight into everything from business to sports!

Catch up on your favourite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 3

When you receive almost 150 work emails every day, your inbox can quickly become the bane of your existence. So how do top CEOs like Bill Gates and Tim Cook manage their overwhelming inbox flux?

This week, we’ll discuss how Jeff Bezos manages email with just adding one character and how Arianna Huffington has just 3 simple rules:

 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos forwards pressing emails with one added character

When a customer emails Bezos to complain about something Amazon-related, which they can very easily do, Bezos often forwards the message to the appropriate person at the company, adding just one character: “?”

“When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark email, they react as though they’ve discovered a ticking bomb,” Businessweek reported in 2013. “They’ve typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself.”

 

Huffington Post cofounder Arianna Huffington has three email no-nos

Huffington has three simple rules for email:

  1. No emails for half an hour before bed
  2. No rushing to emails as soon as she wakes
  3. No emails while she is with her children

“The last time my mother got angry with me before she died was when she saw me reading my email and talking to my children at the same time,” Huffington wrote in her book, “Thrive.” “… being connected in a shallow way to the entire world can prevent us from being deeply connected to those closest to us — including ourselves.”

 

Next week, we’ll show you the email habits of Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, and Birchbox cofounder, Katia Beauchamp. Stay tuned.

We got these at businessinsider.com, you can visit them for insight into everything from business to sports!

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 2

CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world receive hundreds of emails a day. They must have some systems in place to manage this mountain of mail.

This week we’re going to show you some of the common steps that these CEOs may take to have a healthy inbox:

 

[I]t’s all about the content of the email that determines how it would be handled. They are humans, they get notifications of new mail, and assuming they’re near their device, they will see it firsthand like the rest of us. Back to the content of the email they receive. I make these assumptions:

  • Direct communication with other leaders of the company, employees, relevant partner companies, important service providers, and of course financial/banking matters. I’d also assume even government and other national and international matters.
  • Basic filters for newsletters, list emails from companies/competitors they’re interested in, and other subject matters they follow.
  • Pre-written personal responses for some frequent inquiries: Can you attend my conference, talk to me on the phone about my project, mentor me, or some other general ask […]. These are replies they can copy/paste from drafts, Evernote, or whatever tool of choice.
  • Forward to the appropriate person. Often times, emails are sent to these figures misguidedly. There are plenty of people who work for them who are far more suited to reply.
  • Personal Assistant(s). For things like scheduling meetings, phone calls, events, and other things that said recipient wants to actually take part in, they are unlikely to coordinate the logistics personally. This is where they may confirm something by email and then pass off to a PA to handle the details. A PA may also convert verbal responses into email responses for convenience and speed.
  • Multiple email addresses. I am less sure of this one, but I’d guess that they have an email address that’s easy enough to guess that they do monitor (first.last@whatever.com) that follows the above protocol that receives a bulk of it. Then, they probably have a secondary company email that is strictly private or even perhaps limited to company and authorized sender list only for what I’ll call “daily biz”. And of course lastly, one or more personal email addresses to communicate with family and others.

In summary, it’s all about what the content of the email is and that will determine any number of filters as to how it’s handled.

 

So there you have it! Those are some of the common ways that CEOs may deal with their email. For more, visit quora.com.

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Email Management Strategies From Top CEOs – Week 1

We’ve shown you how to make sending emails more efficient with our ‘Email Templates’ series. But what do you do with all those emails you receive?

Starting this week, we’re going to show you how some of the Top CEOs manage their email and how that can help you as well!

This week we see how New York-based entrepreneur, Nat Turner, manages his email by prioritizing what needs his attention:

 

“Generally, my strategy is to archive anything that does not need immediate attention so that every item in my inbox represents something that I need to do. This departs from some people’s strategy of using read vs. unread to denote items needing attention. I personally like to keep things clean and as such use the Archive function for inbox management frequently (I’d go crazy if I saw 4,300 messages in my Inbox like most people keep).”

It could also be that by this point you know all the tricks. You’ve read all our articles, you’ve delegated, created filters, refused to look at it between the hours of 2 and 4, or have just shut it straight off. But as NPR’s All Tech Considered points out, “remember that overload is a matter of perspective.”

“We could also say when we walk out the front door of where we live, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s so many blades of grass, I have lawn overload,” says Stone. “It’s really all about what’s our point of view on it? Are these things really flying at us, or are we not making the choices we need to make?”

 

If you’d like to know more, visit 99u.com.

We’ve got a lot more ways that you can learn to manage your email, all from some of the top CEOs in the World. Stay Tuned!

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Track Your Commitment, Not Progress, to Achieve Your Resolutions

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Today, you’ll probably be one the many who set themselves goals for the rest of the year. But, whatever goals you’ve set, it may be better for you to track your commitment, rather the progress you’ve made, towards that goal.

Here’s how you can avoid the progress trap when achieving your new year’s resolutions:

 

It’s standard advice to track what steps you have accomplished towards your goal. But that progress can trick you into thinking you can get away with cheating now. Avoid “the progress trap” by questioning your commitment to the goal.

In his New Year’s Resolutions Guidebook, Chris Bailey takes this lesson from The Willpower Instinct. Since tracking progress can trick your brain into cheating, stop looking at it as progress:

View your actions as evidence that you are committed to your goal. After you make positive steps toward a goal, ask yourself: “how committed do you feel toward that goal?” Don’t ask yourself how much progress you’ve made toward it.

Monitoring your progress is good, but you need to keep your eye on the big prize. So to think in terms of the larger goal, question your commitment to the goal, don’t count the small steps.

 

Want to know more, check out the full article here: lifehacker.com

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The Top 5 Time Management Mistakes You’re Making

We keep to-do lists and try to stay on top of our schedules, yet no matter how hard we try, tasks continue to evade us. The to-do list gets longer and it feels like time is slipping away by the hour. Ever wonder why?

This week we’ll show you some of the most common time management mistakes and how to fix them:

 

In a recent survey by the online time-tracking tool Toggl, the following five mistakes were identified by customers as the top things that were standing in their way of time management success.

  1. NOT PRIORITIZING TASKS.

While a to-do list may be an effective way to organize your thoughts about what needs to get done during the day, failing to prioritize tasks means your most important work can slip off your radar. As you’re planning your day, week, or month, ask yourself what are the most important tasks. Don’t ask what tasks you feel like working on, but what you have to work on. It’s more tempting to do those small five-minute tasks throughout the day rather than the one that requires intense focus, even when it’s that larger task that will get you further ahead.

  1. UNDERESTIMATING THE EFFORT SOMETHING WILL TAKE.

Overachievers are especially guilty of this time-management sin. Thinking something will only take a few minutes and it ends up eating up a half hour is a common pitfall of A-type overachievers who never want to turn down an opportunity but don’t calculate how much of their time that opportunity will eat up. To avoid this time-management mistake, Medlock recommends jotting down the amount of time each task on your to-do list will take.

If a task takes 25 or 30 minutes, it should be scheduled on your calendar. Another trick is to double the amount of time you think each task will take. So, if you think a task will take a half-hour, block off an hour, just to be safe. Otherwise, you may end up pulling an all-nighter.

  1. MANAGING DISTRACTIONS.

“Distractions are triggers to procrastination,” says Aho. Among the top distractions are email and social media. To avoid distractions, Medlock recommends turning off email notifications when you’re trying to focus on a particular task or schedule notifications to come once every hour or two so you aren’t distracted every two minutes by a pop-up.

Blocking off a specific time in the day to check email is also a great way to manage this distraction, and will improve your performance. Physical clutter is another distraction that is easily avoided.

 

We have two more ways you can manage your time better, check them out here: fastcompany.com

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3 Reasons Your To Do List Is Stunting Your Growth

The To-Do list is traditionally where productivity begins. But is there a wrong way to do a To-Do list? In short, Yes.

This week on Friday Focus, we’re going to show you how making a To-Do list the wrong way can stunt your growth and how you can make one that actually gets done:

 

I know, it may feel a bit like heresy as you’ve been trained to write down the things you want to accomplish. After all, you’re an achiever and you take pride in crossing items off that list. So let me show you why this perceived productivity tool is actually stunting your growth.

You’re mixing short-term and long-term goals. Because your current To Do list does not take into account which goals are easily accomplished today versus ones that will take weeks or even months, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out over a tool that was designed to make you more productive.

The language you use is demotivating. Language can serve to pump you up or bring you down. Choose different language that gets you excited about the outcome you are looking to achieve. Why go to the gym at all if not to live longer, healthier and with more energy. Use language that will motivate you toward your desired outcomes.

Most of these items are not scheduled. When you use your To Do list as your alternative schedule, you end up bouncing back and forth between your meetings, appointments and To Do list. With short-term and long-term goals given equal weight on your To Do list and not setting specific time aside to accomplish each task, is it any wonder why we feel chronically behind?

There is a better way. It starts by creating three categories that will allow you to separate out any item that comes to mind that you wish to accomplish:

Doing Now–These are items you can finish today (or this week if you like longer To Do lists)

Not Doing Now–These are items that you can accomplish within the next 12 weeks

Not Doing Never–These are items that take more than 12 weeks or that you are unable to begin during this 12 week cycle.

This simple categorization causes you to take a moment and ask yourself, “What is the realistic timeframe in which I can get this task done?” Remember to use motivating language as you transfer your list to your schedule. This becomes much easier if you break down your list into the personal and professional outcomes you seek to accomplish.

  

To know more about how to make a better To-Do list, read the full article here: inc.com

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