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Top 5 time savers for high volume email users

Studies show that email overload is bad for your mental and physical health, so taking steps to reduce the stress is critical to any professional’s productivity.

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Email overload is rampant

A recent study reveals that email obsession is not only unproductive, but actually has health implications, as the heart rate of a frequent email checker is in constant high alert mode, meaning it does not rest or increase like a normal heart should. According to SaneBox, the average employee receives 200 emails per day, with only about 20 of importance. The company also says that typical office worker spends 13 hours each week sending 110 emails per day.

Clearly, the inbox holds a lot of weight in terms of how productive an office is capable of being. As a full suite of email management tools, SaneBox says they save users an average of 2 hours per week from digging through their inboxes.

Dmitri Leonov of the SaneBox team tells AGBeat that is it not uncommon for people to struggle with a huge volume of email that exceeds their ability to manage. “Rather than being a convenient way to communicate, it’s become a source of stress. Sound familiar?”

Five ways to end email overload

Leonov offers a five-step solution:

1. Admit the problem – yes, really! You’re in denial. You aren’t able to handle your daily deluge of emails, and you need serious help. Recognize this and move on to step 2.

2. Understand that you have two options for dealing with your emails: find someone else to handle part of your email traffic, or just ignore whatever emails for which you don’t have the time.

3. Begin by finding someone who has the time to assume a portion of your email responsibilities. Forward them some of your less important emails so you have more time to focus on crucial messages.

4. If that unfortunate person in #3 doesn’t exist in your company, admit that not all email messages carry equal weight. Some are important, some can wait, and others are just taking up space in your email account – and this doesn’t include spam emails that are sent straight to your trash folder. Identify the hierarchy of your inbox, and always address the most important emails first.

This is where a tool like Sanebox comes in. It calculates the importance of your emails (with exceptional accuracy) based only on history of your communications, as well as social network connections – without ever looking at the content of the emails. It keeps important emails in your inbox, filters unimportant ones into a separate folder, and summarizes them in a daily digest. This way you don’t miss anything, but your inbox only contains the important messages!

5. Don’t open ANY emails until you’re prepared to take action; failure to follow this rule often results in opened emails that never get addressed and are eventually “lost in the sauce.” Every email needs to be either forwarded elsewhere, deleted, filed, tagged or responded to. Force yourself to see each of these through to completion.

The takeaway

There are two primary ways to solve email overload – changing your behavior patterns and adopting email management tools can go a long way toward reducing the stress levels associated with email. Doing so can improve productivity and have a positive impact on any company’s bottom line.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. allyhwltt

    May 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Great advice here. Email management tools are essential to maintaining my inbox and are the gateway to keeping proficient response time on my emails. I’d also recommend using PowerInbox, which brings apps not only to emails themselves, but to the user’s inbox as well. It allows the user to interactively view and respond to messages, comments, requests, reminders all inside the email – for example, a Twitter email lets you post, favor, and reply to tweets as well as follow users. A Groupon email shows a live countdown to expiry and how many have been sold. Try it out or learn more at https://powerinbox.com/learnmore

  2. Emailogic

    May 30, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Yes some useful tools for improved email management.
     
    However consider that changing email behaviour can have an immediate impact on volume and irrelevant email traffic – and professional email etiquette training is such a quick win.
     
    For some ideas on improving staff efficiency visit http://www.emailogic.com
     
     
     

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Business News

Too connected: FTC eyes Facebook antitrust lawsuit

(BUSINESS NEWS) Following other antitrust hearings, we’re expecting to hear more about the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, soon.

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Facebook being crossed out by a stylus on a mobile device.

Facebook might be wishing it had kept the “dislike” button.

On September 15, the Wall Street Journal announced that the Federal Trade Commission was preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against the social media titan. Although the FTC has not made an official decision on whether to pursue the case, sources familiar with the situation expect a determination will be made on the matter sometime before the end of 2020. Facebook and the FTC both declined to comment when asked about the story.

The news comes following a year-long investigation by the FTC that has looked into anti-competitive practices by the Menlo Park-based company. This past July, the United States House of Representatives held hearings in which they grilled the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook regarding their business practices. In August, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also testified in front of the FTC as part of the department’s antitrust probe into the organization.

The FTC seems to be especially interested in Facebook’s past acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, which they believe may have been done to stifle competition. In internal emails sent between Zuckerberg and Facebook’s former CFO David Ebersman back in 2012, the 36-year-old seemed worried that the apps could eventually pose a threat to the social media conglomerate.

“These businesses are nascent but the networks established, the brands are already meaningful, and if they grow to a large scale the could be very disruptive to us,” Zuckerberg wrote to Ebersman, “Given that we think our own valuation is fairly aggressive and that we’re vulnerable in mobile, I’m curious if we should consider going after one or two of them.”

When Ebersman asked him to clarify the benefits of the acquisitions, Zuckerberg stated the purchases would neutralize a competitor while improving Facebook.

“One way of looking at this is that what we’re really buying is time. Even if some new competitors springs up, buying Instagram, Path, Foursquare, etc. now will give us a year or more to integrate their dynamics before anyone can get close to their scale again.” Zuckerberg said.

This isn’t the first time the FTC has investigated Facebook either. Last year the agency fined the company $5 billion for the mishandling of user’s personal information, the biggest penalty imposed by the federal government against a technology company. As a part of the settlement with the FTC in that case, Facebook also promised more comprehensive oversight of user data.

If the FTC does pursue an antitrust suit against Facebook, it could end up forcing the social media giant to spin off some of the companies it has acquired or place restrictions on how it does business. Considering how long it will take to file the litigation and prove the case in a courtroom, however, it seems that Zuckerberg will once again be “buying time.”

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Business News

What you need to know about the historic TikTok deal (for now)

(BUSINESS NEWS) No one really knows what’s happening, but the TikTok deal’s impact on business, US-China relations, and the open internet could be huge.

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Male black hands holding app opening TikTok app.

So, maybe you’ve heard that Oracle and Walmart are buying TikTok for national security!

Um, not exactly.

Also, Trump banned TikTok!

Sort of? Maybe?

But then he said he approved the Oracle-Walmart-TikTok deal!

We guess?

The terms of the proposal seem to shift daily, if not hourly. The sheer number of contradictory statements from every player suggests no one really knows what’s going on.

Just one example: Trump said the deal included a $5 billion donation to a fund for education for American youth. TikTok parent ByteDance, said, “Say what now?”

Here’s what we think we know (as of this writing):

Oracle and Walmart would get a combined 20 percent stake in a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global. Combine that with current US investors in China’s ByteDance, TikTok’s parent, that would give American interests 53 percent. European and other investors would have 11 percent. China would retain 36 percent. (On Saturday Trump said China would have no interests at all. But that does not jibe with the reporting on the deal.)

Oracle would host all user data on its cloud, where it is promising “security will be 100 percent” to keep data safe from China’s prying eyes. But reporting has differed on whether Oracle will get full access to TikTok’s code and AI algorithms. Without full control, skeptics say, Oracle could be little more than a hosting service, and potential security issues would remain unaddressed.

Walmart says they’re excited about their “potential investment and commercial agreements,” suggesting they may be exploring e-commerce opportunities in the app.

The US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, still has to approve any deal.

As for the TikTok “ban” – which isn’t really a ban because current users can keep it – the Commerce Department postponed the deadline for kicking TikTok off U.S. app stores to September 27, to give time for the deal to be hammered out. Never mind that it’s still not clear whether the U.S. government has authority to do that. Unsurprisingly, ByteDance says it doesn’t in a lawsuit filed September 18.

Whatever happens with the whiplash of the deal’s particulars, there are bigger issues in play.

According to business news site Quartz, moving data storage to Oracle mirrors what companies like Apple have done in China: Appease the Chinese government by allowing all data hosting to be inside China. A similar move could “mark the US, too, shifting from a more laissez-faire approach to user data, to a more sovereign one,” says China tech reporter Jane Li.

More obvious: Corporate sales and mergers are now part of the parrying between the U.S. and China, which adds a whole new playing field for negotiations among businesses.

In the meantime, TikTokkers keep TikTokking. White suburban moms continue to lip sync to rap songs in their kitchens. Gen Z continues to make fun of the president – and pretty much everything else.

And downloads of the app have skyrocketed.

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Business News

Hobby Lobby increases minimum wage, but how much is just to save face?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Are their efforts to raise their minimum wage to $17/hour sincere, or more about saving face after bungling pandemic concerns?

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Hobby Lobby storefront

The arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby announced this week that they will be raising their minimum full-time wage to $17/hour starting October 1st. This decision makes them the latest big retailer to raise wages during the pandemic (Target raised their minimum wage to $15/hour about three months ago, and Walmart and Amazon have temporarily raised wages). The current minimum wage for Hobby Lobby employees is $15/hour, which was implemented in 2014.

While a $17 minimum wage is a big statement for the company (even a $15 minimum wage cannot be agreed upon on the federal level) – and it is no doubt a coveted wage for the majority of the working class – it’s difficult to not see this move as an attempt to regain public support of the company.

When the pandemic first began, Hobby Lobby – with more than 900 stores and 43,000 employees nationwide – refused to close their stores despite being deemed a nonessential business (subsequently, a Dallas judge accused the company of endangering public health).

In April, Hobby Lobby furloughed almost all store employees and the majority of corporate and distribution employees without notice. They also ended emergency leave pay and suspended the use of company-provided paid time off benefits for employees during the furloughs – a decision that was widely criticized by the public, although the company claims the reason for this was so that employees would be able to take full advantage of government handouts during their furlough.

However, the furloughs are not Hobby Lobby’s first moment under fire. The Oklahoma-based Christian company won a 2014 Supreme Court case – the same year they initially raised their minimum wage – that granted them the right to deny their female employees insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Also, Hobby Lobby settled a federal complaint in 2017 that accused them of purchasing upwards of 5,000 looted ancient Iraqi artifacts, smuggled through the United Arab Emirates and Israel – which is simultaneously strange, exploitative, and highly controversial.

Why does this all matter? While raising their minimum wage to $17 should be regarded as a step in the right direction regarding the overall treatment of employees (and, hopefully, $17 becomes the new standard), Hobby Lobby is not without reason to seek favorable public opinion, especially during a pandemic. Yes, we should be quick to condone the action of increasing minimum wage, but perhaps be a little skeptical when deeming a company “good” or “bad”.

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