Quick Fact: Email Efficiency is Still Possible
Email remains one of the simplest, quickest means to communicate. Here are a few techniques to keep your emailing efficient and productive.
1. Put deadlines, meeting dates, important, relevant information in the subject line. Your message will standout when someone is scanning through unread email.
2. Have all important, essential information at the beginning of the email. Include specific action you may be requesting of the recipient.
3. Reduce wasting time emailing back and forth. When a reply is unnecessary, make it clear. A simple, "It isn't necessary to reply back to this email " works wonders.
Quick Fact: Not Planning = Lost Time
If you don't think you have time to plan and organize, think again!
Take a few minutes (5-10 max.), everyday to regroup, evaluate and plan. Not only does planning reduce your stress and anxiety, it keeps you focused and your priorities on track. Not planning is a major timetrap. Saying you're too busy to plan is an excuse to be reactive rather than proactive. Don't fall into the trap.
Daily planning is preventative, proactive action that works.
The start of 2010 has been quite busy with our many speaking engagements. I would like to thank everyone involved in Yankee Dental Congress 35, Boston's largest conference. The many room monitors and participants of "Go For It! Gettting To Your Goal!" and "Balance? Juggle? Find Time For You!" programs made this conference a wonderful 3 day experience.
Also a big thank you to all who attended The RDH Study Group and Abington Child Study Group. What amazing energy emanated during each of these special events.
Your feedback and ideas to write about are important to me, so please stay in touch.
One Final Time Thought!
"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently, I emailed a friend asking for some information. In our back and forth emails, we inquired about family and summer, etc. Laurie told me that her family had just returned from taking their oldest son to college. He's a freshman and it's his first time away from home for an extended period of time. As she ended her email, Laurie said that she, her husband and daughter need to "find our new normal."
For some reason the phrase "new normal" stood out and stayed with me, even weeks later. I kept thinking about how most of us look at change and can squirm and fight it. But thinking about change in the context of finding a new normal seems almost calming, consoling and encouraging.
Here's how I learned about being tagged. I had just seen a mom from my son's school at a little league game. This was the first time I had seen her in months. She had a new puppy with her.
Ironically a couple of hours later I received an email from her (or I thought it was from her). The subject line was that my friend (it used her full name) sent me photos. I thought she had sent me pictures of the new puppy. After I opened the email, it read that if I want to see the photos, I
need to fill out a form and submit it. It seemed like another "social networking" website. I chose not to take any action.
You can't go anywhere these days and not hear people talking about the economy, corruption, bailouts and job loss.
With no guarantees of having a job tomorrow, what steps can you take today to give you a fighting chance to keep your job and your positive reputation in these uncertain times?
I posed that question to three experts in the area of Wardrobe Management and Etiquette and Human Resources. I ask them for 3 key strategies that will make a positive impact on employers and help you be a standout. I also added my 3 key strategies in the area of productivity.
Mary Lou Andre, founder and president of dressingwell.com and Organization By Design, Inc. is a nationally recognized wardrobe consultant, speaker and author. She suggests that executives need to, "package themselves for success in today's competitive business environment." Mary Lou's suggests:
View your professional image as communications tool. An appropriate and effective professional image enhances communication and allows you to present ideas and information in a highly effective way. Eliminating distractions commonly caused by ill fitting clothes, poor grooming and a lack of attention to how clothing and accessories are coordinated together is one sure way to come across as credible and confident, even if you are nervous on the inside.
Hi Miss M -
Thank you for your New Year wishes - I send the same to you.
I hope your holiday celebrations were wonderful.
Guess what I asked for as my gifts from family and friends - time ! That's right, the amazing Miss M gave me another idea this year - If anyone complained that they wanted to "BUY" me something, I would just tell them that time was money, only even more valuable.
These are some of the gifts I received:
- Time alone with my grandson
In these uncertain times -- aren't you tired of hearing that? Aren't you tired of all the negativity and talking about all the negativity? Is everyone stressed out? Enough!
The truth of the matter is so much of what happens in the world is out of our control. Not having control is a major cause of stress. The Serenity Prayer has a simple but powerful message:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
So, now is the time to look at what you do have control over and do something to reduce some of your stress.
Choose to shift from a negative attitude to an attitude of sincere gratitude
- I talk to so many people at work and they are outright busy. When they tell me how busy they are, the tone in their voice sounds negative. I point out that having a job and a job that's keeping them busy is a good thing. The alternative is not so good.
Surround yourself with what makes you smile or laugh
- Aren't there certain people who just put a smile on your face when you talk to them?
- Change your screensaver so that it displays a favorite picture, scene,
memory or event, etc.
- Music: For me music is a very important part of my life and has such a strong impact on my mood. I recently stumbled upon www.pandora.com. Pandora is free and allows you to create as many music "stations" as you want by choosing your favorite songs or artists. Your favorite music can play softly in the background as you are working on your computer (as long as it won't disturb co-workers).
Here are some additional stress busters
- Unclutter your work space and your home
- Take breaks - walk, stretch, exercise, breathe slowly and deeply
- Use positive self-talk toward positive action
- Distance yourself from too much negativity - stay as informed as you like but think about the potential toll the media onslaught is having on you
- Drink lots of water
- If you talk to family, friends, colleagues about your stress, don't just complain; seek out ideas and solutions then take action
- Pray or meditate
- Make a complete to do list and input your action items into your planner, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Blackberry,or PDA, etc. The more you try to remember and keep in your head, the more likely you are to increase your anxiety.
Take inventory: How blessed are you?
- Take a good look around at your life, family, friends, etc. Find the goodness in each day. Do you have a refrigerator, TV, computer, cell phone, too many clothes to choose from in your closet, etc.?
Fortunate? What do you think?
The other day I was speaking at the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) conference and would be arriving home too late for afternoon camp pickup. I told my husband that when he picks up our son he should be at camp no later than 4:00 p.m. He was there at 3:50 p.m. and waited in the long car line for at least 20 minutes before he made his way to the pick up area where Jonathan was brought to his car.
He thought it would be helpful for me to know that as he was leaving camp at 4:10 p.m., he noticed there was no line. If I got to camp around 4:10 p.m., I wouldn't have to wait in line at all.
He was absolutely correct and I knew that. But I had made a conscious decision to wait in the line because it was a good time turn the car off and read. I didn't realize it until then, but I was completely cognizant of my decision and very happy about it.
With school just underway, it's a great time to get the school year off to an organized start. Even though no family is the same and each day is different, there are some solid organizational foundations, when put into place and adjusted as necessary, can make for more tranquil, less harried days for families.
- Use a large monthly calendar that is easily accessible to all members of the family.
- Write all commitments down on the calendar, as far out into the future as you have information. Include: who is picking up and dropping of whom, key homework assignments (projects, book reports, etc.), picture day, extra-curricular, doctor appointments, etc.
Dress for Success provides interview appropriate suits and accessories for disadvantaged women who are entering or re-entering the job market. Dress for Success works with a diverse population of women who come from many different backgrounds. However, they all share one important quality in common: they all are highly motivated to change their lives for the better and Dress for Success exists to assist them in doing so.
Dress for Success doesn't stop there. Dress for Success offers ongoing support after a woman finds a job through their Professional Women's Group (PWG). TimeFinder's program, "From Perception to Reality--Organize for Success!" was extremely well received by PWG attendees.
Keep It Simple!
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~Confucius
1. Breaking down a specific task into small doable actions + blocking out a specific time to do it = Accomplishing the task
2. Taking papers spread out on a desk + putting them in piles + reviewing one item at a time = Decreasing the amount of desk clutter
3. Weighing options + determining a next step action = Reducing anxiety and overwhelm
4. Finding a practical, convenient place to put things + being consistent in putting them away = Saving time looking for things and reducing aggravation
5. Preparing what you need for a meeting + leaving enough time to get there = Having a clear head, less stress and more focus
Do you speak a foreign language? I'm not talking about Spanish or French or Chinese. I am talking about the language of your company and your work. Or as it is called in the 21st century, "speak." Most companies have their own jargon--language filled with acronyms and abbreviations.
When "speak" becomes part of everyday conversation, it is easy to forget not everyone, including clients, customers and associates understands the language.
Not only does this apply to jargon and terminology but also to procedures and processes. Processes that are second nature because you've been doing them routinely, may be unfamiliar to someone else working with you.
This summer I spoke at the Massachusetts Teachers Association Summer Conference. During my program on Blending and Balancing Your Professional and Personal Lives, one of the teachers was looking for help on eliminating a time & energy drain. Our dialogue went something like this:
Teacher: Mitzi, you suggest eliminating time and energy drains so that we can have more time and energy to spend in areas of our life that we want to. I have something that is draining me.
Mitzi: What is it?
Mitzi: Worrying? Is there something specific that you are worrying about?
Sticking to a plan
One of my most difficult challenges is sticking with my plan for the day. I seem to start with something, walk by something else and get involved in a job (that will take five minutes) and do that job and then forget what I was doing before and then get pulled into something else. Any advice? Pat
It's easy to get distracted, even if you have your day planned. Stops and start while working on one thing are "time-costly". According to research done five years ago by psychologists at the University of Michigan, "The 'time cost' of refocusing your attention may be only a few seconds with each switch, but over time, it reduced people's total efficiency by 20% to 40%."
Try working in small chunks of time and plan your activities accordingly.
Seize the Moment and Be In It
When I was sitting in the lobby of a law firm in late September waiting for a client to bring me to her office for our appointment, I overheard two members of the firm talking to each other. One said to the other, "If I can just get through the holidays, then..." I thought, wow, the holidays are 3 months away.
I replayed that phrase, over and over again in my head, "If I can just get through"...and started thinking about how often I've said the very same thing and have heard so many other people say it as well. Whether talking about a special event, holidays, a work project or even the seasons (can't wait until winter is over) etc. that phrase seems prevalent.
Over the years, I have found that there are so many extraordinary words that begin with the letter "C". It's not that other letters don't have amazing words, but using words beginning with the letter "C", as a guide to action, can open the door to making positive changes both professionally and personally.
We all have the ability to make choices. Recognize that you have choices instead of allowing someone else to make them for you.
For example, if you have a constant influx of phone calls and interruptions from clients, managers or associates who need something from you "right now", you can choose how you respond.