E-mail driving you crazy? Every time you delete one, do five more show up? Are you finding it impossible to answer every e-mail you receive? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone!
Some people are even declaring e-mail bankruptcy — they dump every e-mail in their inbox and start over. If that’s not an option for you, then here are 10 tips to reduce e-mail overload.
Get a good spam filter. Even if it saves you just 10 minutes a day, that adds up to over 59 hours a year.
Cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists, and opt-out of LEGITIMATE e-zines. But be careful! Trying to opt-out of spam e-mails will only alert the sender that they have a LIVE address. Also, make sure you are careful to check the “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” box when purchasing items online.
Ask your friends to remove you from joke groups and chain messages. Simply explain your situation and, if they are good friends, they’ll take you out of their message group.
Don’t post or publish your personal e-mail on web sites. Spammers will steal it and put it on their lists. Instead, use a contact form.
Don’t respond to every e-mail you receive. Yes, it’s okay NOT to respond to some e-mails. If it’s a group e-mail, don’t respond with “okay” or “:)” — it’s not necessary unless the sender is specifically asking you a question or requesting a response.
Be succinct. Restrict your messages to a few sentences. If you can’t, pick up the phone or talk in person. This will avoid the back-and-forth of e-mail conversation.
Take advantage of subject lines. If possible, put your question in the subject line, or your message. If that’s not possible, make your subject line very descriptive so the recipient knows what your message is about. Here’s another tip; create a set of codes with your coworkers and place them in the subject line to help them process and prioritize messages. For example, use “FYI” for informational messages. Use “AR” for action required and “URG” 1. for urgent messages.
Block time to answer your e-mail and fight the temptation to check your e-mail every few minutes. You will save yourself a lot of time and be far more productive.
Respond to messages when you open them so you only read them once. If the e-mail requires an action step, schedule the action step and delete it from your inbox.
Set time aside in the morning and the evening to process your inbox. Shoot for a completely empty inbox. File messages you need to keep and set reminders for messages that require you to follow up.
Now, here are some tips to keep from adding to the e-mail overload of others…
Be courteous when forwarding an e-mail: summarize the thread and why you are sending it at the top of the e-mail.
Don’t copy someone on a message unless it is necessary. And explain why you’re copying them. Recipients won’t need to guess your intentions. This means less back and forth messages.
How “Virtual” Meetings Can Help You Close More Sales, Save More Money, And Increase Your Productivity & Profitability
The cost of meeting with prospects and clients is becoming a real financial burden for many businesses. But thanks to advancements in technology, you can not only save money, but also demonstrate your products and services to more customers, faster and easier than ever before.
Two of the most common ways of holding “virtual” meetings are teleseminars and webinars. If you haven’t already conducted a teleseminar or webinar to connect with your clients and prospects, chances are that you’ve at least been invited to one.
Both are simply a presentation delivered to folks via a conference line or online meeting which saves you in travel, hotel rooms, gas, and meals. It also saves an incredible amount of time. GoToMeeting.com and GoToWebinar.com (both owned by Citrix) are the big vendors in this space. Another two in the running are Webex.com and the new Acrobat.com
These web-based meeting services do not require expensive equipment or software; you simply download their application right over the web and you instantly have access to web-based tools that enable you to share your screen or PowerPoint with any number of people.
Paul Hartwell, a marketing consultant in Chicago, takes advantage of “old school” thinking. Following each virtual web meeting, he sends his clients a generous gift certificate to a local restaurant with a note that includes a recap of the meeting and ends with how much he knows the ‘business meal’ will be enjoyed when out with a friend or significant other.
Teleseminars follow the same principle, but are purely phone-based conference calls. The advantage of a teleseminar is that anyone can dial in from any phone; however you lose the ability to show a PowerPoint, poll users, and chat via a Q&A window. If you sell a service that doesn’t need to be demonstrated, a teleseminar will work just fine. I recommend using a company called VoiceText.com out of Austin, Texas.
You hear it all the time from us—back up your data, keep your virus protection current, and install and maintain a firewall to protect yourself from hackers and other online threats.
However, while these precautions will certainly help you avoid problems, they CAN’T do anything if you don’t have a good backup and disaster recovery plan in place.
Are You A Sitting Duck?
We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; yet, disaster recovery planning often takes a distant second to the daily deadlines and pressures of running a business.
That means that most businesses, including your own, may end up offline and without your data after a simple lightening storm.
Don’t think that could ever happen to you? Consider this: “data-erasing disasters” can also take the form of office fires and broken water pipes, not just earthquakes, floods and tornadoes. If a fire started in your building, the parts that weren’t burned beyond recovery would probably be destroyed by the firemen’s efforts. But even more common is software corruption, hardware failures and human error!
We’ve all been there…you take a few hours to organize your desk and then it’s a mess again within a few days. This type of experience only gives people an excuse not to be organized; they argue that it takes too long to stay organized and that it won’t make a difference to their productivity anyway. But research shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
As a matter of fact most people underestimate the effect of working in an ‘intentional environment’ where everything present supports your current effort. Barbara Hemphill, an ‘organizing consultant,’ estimates that 80% of the documents and items we keep never get used.
Do you hate typing your name and contact information at the end of each e-mail you create? Would you like to include legal disclaimers to help protect you and your company? Then use an Outlook “signature” to automate the insertion of this information.
Here’s how… On the Tools menu, click Options. Then click the Mail Format tab. Then click the Signatures button. Click the New… button and give your signature a name when prompted and click Next. Type the text you would like to have appear at the end of each email in the box and click Finished. That’s all there is to it. Be sure the name of the signature you just created appears in the box titled Signature For New Messages: and Signature For Replies and Forwards: and click the OK button. You can test the signature by creating a new email message. The signature you created should automatically appear at the end of your email message.
You can’t beat the convenience of checking e-mail and hopping on the Internet at (Wi-Fi) hotspots found in airports, coffee shops, bookstores, and even in some major parks. For the uninitiated, Wi-Fi hotspots are areas where you can use your wireless laptop to surf the Web and check e-mail.
But the question you have to ask yourself is, just how safe is it to connect? With the proliferation of hackers, viruses and identity theft at an all time high, you are smart to be concerned. Wi-Fi spots are very attractive to hackers because they can use what’s called an “evil twin” connection to access your laptop.
An evil twin is a wireless hotspot set up by a hacker to lure people from a nearby, legitimate hotspot. For example, when you log in at your favorite coffee shop, you might actually be logging onto the evil twin Internet connection set up by the innocent-looking person working on a laptop at the next table.
The most dangerous evil twins remain invisible and allow you to do business as usual. But in the background, they record everything you are typing. Buy something online and they are recording your credit card information. Log on to your bankaccount, and they can grab your password. Some hotspots may even feed you a fake Web page after you log on asking you to update your billing information. This is the same tactic used in phishing scams.
Thousands of viruses are currently circulating on the Internet with more being discovered daily. So how does a virus get it’s name?
There is no official government body or organization that names viruses. In most cases, the anti-virus company that discovers it gets to name it; and, it’s a very competitive race to see who can discover new viruses first!
The criminals creating viruses like to leave clues as to what they want their virus to be named, but researchers who discover (and fight) them don’t give their authors the satisfaction of keeping the name. To hackers, creating a destructive, difficult to disable virus is a badge of honor. So instead of giving these cyber criminals the publicity they crave, virus researchers will name a virus based on the type of system it attacks, what it does, or other random reasons.
For example, the Code Red virus got its name from an eEye Digital Security researcher’s beverage of choice — the cola variety of Mountain Dew soft drink. Apparently he was drinking this the night he cracked the corruptive code.
Creativity aside, most anti-virus companies have policies and letter-number formulas for naming viruses because it’s becoming more and more difficult to come up with unique names for viruses. Symantec’s Norton anti-virus software currently has a catalogue of over 58,193 known viruses—and the number grows every day.