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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

Wal-mart can’t keep up even with fresh online technology

(BUSINESS NEWS) Wal-mart had hoped to keep online retailers from encroaching on their turf with AI assisted shopping start up Jetblack, but unfortunately that didn’t work.

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Wal-Mart’s exclusive delivery service, JetBlack, is no more. What’s the deal?

Wal-Mart’s acquired start-up, JetBlack, had an interesting challenge: getting affluent New Yorkers to purchase goods from Wal-Mart, instead of other places. Now, about two years after its initial launch, JetBlack has been shut down. So, what’s the deal?

JetBlack was a delivery service with an interesting twist: it utilized AI to respond to text message requests. For instance, users could send a text like “I need more toilet paper” and drawing from initial information input into the system, past experiences, and the occasional “professional shopper,”, JetBlack would hook the user up with a delivery.

The AI could also give suggestions if users asked questions. Don’t want to shop for your niece’s birthday present? No problem, JetBlack would give you ideas of what to purchase and then deliver the gift to your door, gift-wrapped and everything.

By increasing the convenience of the shopping experience, Wal-Mart hoped to use JetBlack to lure wealthy households back to buying from Wal-Mart. Membership fees were $50 a month, which seems steep, but Wal-Mart asserts it was actually losing about $15,000 per member on a yearly basis. Awkward.

So, what went wrong?

Part of the problem might be just how much work went into a small percentage of customers. For instance, it took effort to get new users onboarded. Best case scenario, this was a phone call to tackle basic needs and interests, but users could also opt to have employees visit their home and assess their preferences in person. (It’s also incredibly creepy, but hey, at least there’s additional convenience?) Point is, these personal touches aren’t exactly sustainable for a growing market.

It also might just be that Wal-Mart wasn’t really skilled at putting this newly acquired start-up to work. An interview with Business Insider reveals that the ordeal, while expensive, also served as a massive learning process.

While JetBlack has ended its current run (and lost a number of employees in the process), the technology developed by the company will live on. In fact, Wal-Mart is going to try to strengthen their infrastructure and hopefully integrate JetBlack’s texting and AI capabilities in a wider release. Who knows, maybe in the future, more of us will be able to send off a text to have someone else take on the challenge of purchasing our niece’s birthday present.

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Business News

How remote work has changed over the last decade

(BUSINESS NEWS) let’s reflect on how remote working and telecommuting has changed in recent years and look to how it will continue to change in the 2020s.

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As someone who often works remote, it’s interesting to see how much that means for work has evolved. The increase in commonality has been steady, and shows no signs of slowing down. Go Remotely has developed an insightful graphic showing the changes in trends regarding remote work over the years.

“For decades, the established economy dictated that you should pick one job, visit the same office for the next 40 years, and then retire,” reads the graphic’s intro. “However, recent remote working stats suggest the working world might be in for some revolutionary changes.”

From there, the graphic is broken down into five facets: Flexible Workspace Policy, Entrepreneurial Minds, Telecommuting is a Growing Trend, The Role of Companies in the Remote Working World, and The Future of Telecommuting.

With Flexible Workspace Policy, its suggested that telecommuting could be a solution for costly issues including lack of productivity caused by employee distractions, health problems, etc. It is said that employers lose $1.8 trillion annually due to these issues.

The end of 2018 found 35 percent of the US workforce working remotely. This is only expected to climb. Ten percent of employees don’t know if their company offers flexible work policies (this is something to check into!)

Bills and laws for virtual jobs passed by governments reflect the need for accessibility, economic stability, and emigration concerns. Companies with flexible work policies have reported seeing increases in productivity and profits. (Funny those both start with pro, no?)

With Entrepreneurial Minds, a few interesting things found include: remote workers are less likely to take off if they are sick, the majority reports better productivity when working alone, the majority reported lower stress levels. However, there is a problem with not being able to unplug after work which is an issue for some.

Telecommuting is a Growing Trend finds that there has been a seven percent increase between 2012 and 2016, with the majority (80-100 percent) reporting they work remotely. Industries seen embracing remote work include: transportation, computer/information systems/mathematical, arts/design/entertainment/sports/media, finance/insurance/real estate, law or public policy, community/social services, science/engineering/architecture, manufacturing or construction, healthcare, education/training/library, and retail.

The Role of Companies in the Remote Working World finds that the pros to hiring remote workers includes: finding talent outside of your geographic area, improves retention on work/life balance, increases productivity by decreasing commute time, and saves money by requiring less office space. The cons include lack of timeliness when it comes to receiving information from employers.

Finally, the Future of Telecommuting suggests that in 2020 the US mobile worker population will surpass 105 million (and will account for 72 percent of the US workforce). Hiring managers predict that telecommuting will increase tremendously, most skills will become even more niche over the next decade, and many think that 38 percent of their full-time workers will be working remotely in the next decade.

How do you feel about the increase in remote working and telecommuting?

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Business News

ClickUp team productivity app is gorgeous and wildly efficient

(BUSINESS NEWS) Seeking to improve your productivity and speed up your team, ClickUp is an inexpensive option for those obsessed with efficiency.

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Back again to obsess over productivity apps – ClickUp, is a project management tool seeking to knock the frustration out of PM. It’s getting some good reviews, so I gave it a try for a week by setting up my current job search as a project and getting a feel for the app. And as you’ve read in my other reviews, we will address features and design.

On the feature front, ClickUp offers a pretty standard set up of tools for a productivity app. What stands out first and foremost are the status options. In general, most productivity statuses are simple: not started, started, in progress, done, etc.

But ClickUp lets you set up custom statuses that match your workflow.

For example, if you’re doing instructional design projects, you may assign projects based on where they are flowing in an ADDIE model, or if you are a Realtor, you may have things cataloged by sold, in negotiation, etc.

Customization is king and custom status is the closest you get to building your own app. And if you like it simple, you don’t have to customize it. The assigned comments feature lets you follow up on specific comments that originate action items – which is useful in team collaborations.

You can also assign changes to multiple tasks at once, including changing statuses (I would bulk assign completion tasks when I finished applications that I did in batches). There a lot of features here, but the best feature is how the app allows you to toggle on and off features that you will or won’t use – once again, customization is front and center for this platform.

In terms of design and intuive use, ClickUp nailed it.

It’s super easy to use, and the concept of space is pretty standard in design thinking. If your organization uses Agile methodology, this app is ready for you.

In terms of view, you can declutter the features, but the three viewing modes (list, box, and board) can help you filter the information and make decisions quickly depending on what role you have on a board or project. There is also a “Me” board that removes all the clutter and focuses on your tasks – a great way to do focused productivity bursts. ClickUp describes itself as beautifully intuitive, and I can’t disagree – both the web app and mobile app are insanely easy to use.

No complaints here.

And the horizon looks good for ClickUp – with new features like image markup, Gannt charts (!!!!!! #nerdalert), and threaded comments for starts.

This application is great, and it’s got a lot of growth coming up to an already rich feature base. It’s free with 100MB of storage, but the $5 fee for team member per month that includes team onboarding and set up (say you’re switching from another platform) and Dropbox/Google Docs integration? That’s a bargain, Charlie.

ClickUp is on the way up and it’s got it all – features, a beautifully accessible UI, relentless customization, and lot of new and upcoming features. If you’re into the productivity platform and you’re looking for a new solution for your team, go check it out.

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