I always like to have other experts featured on our blog – read Tracey’s great post below…
Gmail is the go-to email client for many people nowadays. It has a wide variety of features and is super easy to organize. Now, Gmail goes further in its never-ending quest for a user-friendly experience.
Have you ever used the chat function, Gchat? It’s pretty simple: click on a contact name marked as available (as indicated by the green dot next to the person’s name) and a nice little window pops up and lets you chat right from your inbox. Google aims to make email exchanges this simple too.
Gmail will now have a pop-up compose window.
Before, we all had to click the “Compose” button and leave our inboxes to type a new email message. Now, users have the freedom to stay on the inbox page and type an email at the same time. You can chat with friends on Gchat and write an email in a different window!
Now, while the new compose function is similar to chat, the window is a little bigger. After all, no one wants to write a lengthy message and have half of it out of sight because the window is too tiny! Some of us like to go back and check our spelling, which is much easier to do when everything is in view.
This is an awesome update from the folks at Google, because users can navigate to other messages to reference information while they compose. Check out the official announcement for more information!
Tracey Bauer has written on the topics of Gmail productivity, social media, software for email management, and much more.
Social Media at work? Here is a great infographic describing the issues and opportunities surrounding enabling socila media at work, courtesy of http://complianceandsafety.com.
In addition to all the email we process, it is important to have a well organized desk.
Here is a great article published by LifeHacker, “The Best Ways to Set Up and Organize Your Desk”
In a quickie summary, they suggest using the P-L-A-C-E system to clean out and organize your stuff: Purge unnecessary items, group Like with like, place groupings according to your Access needs, Contain loose items, and Evaluate how well your system works.
“I am so overwhelmed!” “I have so much to do, I don’t know where to begin!” “How am I going to get it all done?!”
These are not uncommon comments or pleas that we hear it these days. It seems that everyone’s plates are full or are becoming fuller. The pressures created by these recessionary times are only adding to our frustrations. Here are FIVE strategies to deal with these feelings of being overwhelmed:
Accept that you will never get it all done. For people of action, there will always be more to do. If you give yourself permission to not get it all done, you can minimize some stress. Once you’ve made this agreement with yourself, it enables you to more freely choose what you will focus on.
Decide what is most important, and work on that item. Some people save the most important stuff for a block of time that they think they will have in the future, and instead, knockoff several of the lesser important, easier items. This is a poor use of that precious commodity – time. While handling the small stuff may help people feel good for the moment, the big, important project is still not getting done. By taking a few moments to plan your work, each day, you will be able to decide what is most important, and focus your efforts there.
Focus only on the task at hand. Many times, people will be thinking about everything else on their to do list while they are working on a certain project. This not only distracts people from doing a good job on the project at hand, but it can add stress. Therefore by focusing on the task, fully and completely, you can do a better job on it, and reduce your stress about the other things on your list. This also means that you should minimize your interruptions as best you can—as an example, close down your email so the ding or flash cannot destroy your concentration.
Say no. Some of us have a hard time saying no to requests from others. For you to get the most important items done, there may be times that you need to simply say no! Many folks who feel overwhelmed feel that way because of an inability to say no to requests from others. So, before you say yes, next time, take a breath and figure out where it will lie among your priorities.
Own your attitude. If you feel overwhelmed, it is most likely because you have allowed yourself to feel that way. You can choose to feel overwhelmed by all of the work on your list, or you can choose to focus on the task at hand. When you feel yourself being sapped by an emotional response to your to-do list, try to stand back and recognize that your emotions are your choice. By shifting your response to one that is positive and focused on the task at hand, you can enjoy the progress you are making. Your attitude is your choice. Which one will you choose?
What other tips do you have to share about conquering the overwhelm?
According to a survey conducted by Esselte, 50 percent of managers in the United States say that their desk is messy, but they can still find the things they need quickly. Even though people may think they’re finding things in the clutter quickly, they’re actually wasting more time than they realize; for example, the Wall Street Journal published a study claiming that the average United States executive spends six weeks every year looking for important documents lost in the mess of their desks.
If you’d like to avoid being one of the 47 percent of Americans who feel that they are trapped in a never-ending cycle of messiness, consider using custom labels in the office. You can use custom labels to physically label everything in your cubicle. For example, if you store all your pens in a labeled drawer instead of having them hidden under papers all over your desk, you’ll be able to save time when you need to use a pen.
Custom labels are also great for files. Instead of filing papers into unmarked files, use custom labels to identify and separate important folders. Custom labels can be used to label all of the wires under your desk, so you can figure out which wires are which when you need to poke around behind the computer.
You can use custom labels to organize your bookshelves by topic, alphabetical order or author. Custom labels aren’t just for organizing physical objects; you can also use custom labels to organize your emails and transform your cluttered inbox into something that’s a pleasure to look through.
Bio: Jessica is a specialist in custom labels and online printing. When she is not writing for Print360.com, you can find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen.
With a hectic schedule, modern distractions such as social networking sites, email, and the vast amount of information the Internet has to offer it is easy to get distracted and see your productivity levels crash. Without productivity, however, you will not get everything done. Increasing your productivity is the best way to ensure that you finish important tasks, but how do you avoid the perils of distraction and procrastination? The best way to become more productive is to break everything in your life down step-by-step and make solid, timessaving plans.
Create Weekly Plans
At the end of the week, write down every single task, even small tasks such as paying the electricity bill or cleaning the bathroom, that you would like to complete next week. This will help you to get a clearer picture of everything that you need to do. Create separate lists from your task list by separating work tasks, chores such as washing the dishes and other projects, such as writing a book, onto different lists.
You should have three lists, or more depending on how many different categories you have, one for work, one for chores and one for other projects. Separating your weekly to-do list will help you to see what categories will require more time, which can help your to delegate your time better throughout the week.
Keep a Daily Schedule
Once you know what tasks need completing during the week, you must incorporate them into your day-to-day schedule. A daily schedule will improve your time management and ensure that you are able to fit all of your tasks in. However, when making a daily schedule keep the following tips in mind:
- Many people often do not give themselves enough time to complete a task. Tasks always take longer than expected, so if you think a particular task should take an hour schedule in an hour and fifteen minutes to complete it. If you happen to finish the task in an hour, then you can give yourself the treat of a fifteen-minute break.
- If you feel like there are so many things you need that it seems impossible, then think of what tasks must be done. Before you even start on your schedule think of three to four tasks that are most important. These are your must-do tasks and everything else should be sidelined until you finish these three or four must-do tasks.
- When writing a schedule, it is tempting to put easy tasks at the start and put-off hard tasks until later. However, if you avoid a task in the morning it is unlikely you will ever complete it later on in the day. Instead, place the tasks you’re avoiding at the start of your schedule to get them out of the way.
Learn to Separate Work and Play
When working on a tedious or difficult task, it is easy to distract yourself with more enjoyable activities such as checking Facebook, or reading a post on your favorite blog. However, this makes the task take twice as long, and leaves less time in your schedule for other tasks, and for real breaks.
Instead, when faced with a tedious task, work in short, focused bursts without distractions, and then give yourself a real break. Do not blur the line between work and play by doing fun things like checking Facebook in the middle of work task.
Samantha Goodings is a professional writer who often writes on time-management and productivity for sites including Degree Jungle a resource for college students @degreejungle.
Maybe you’ve become aware of the fact that you can’t seem to stop yourself from refreshing your Gmail inbox, your Facebook homepage, or your endless Twitter feed. Maybe you’re a student working toward your master’s degree, and you’re working full-time, too, to pay your way through school and you’ve come to realize your dependency on (or perhaps obsession with) the Internet. If you’re starting to think this sounds a lot like you, then maybe it’s time for an Internet detox.
At first it sounds scary. Even impossible. Maybe you’re genuinely perplexed when you begin to wonder how you ever survived before the Internet came along. Maybe you’ve taken after the “digital natives” and have forgotten what answering machines were for.
But we survived. Before the iPhone, we really did survive. And our minds were calmer then. The endless chatter of online communication — whether trivial or business-related — has removed many of us from the simpler life and led us to forget how to relax.
It is okay to take a break. You are allowed a break. You are allowed freedom. And it’s healthy to take a vacation from work, school, the “Twitterverse” every once in a while. Tell yourself you deserve it (because you do).
We live in a fast-paced world of technological communication where we are now able and expected to communicate with our coworkers, bosses, friends, family and community anytime, anywhere, 24/7; the Internet has morphed us into, if not workaholics, webaholics. So, as hard as it may be at first, it’s more important than ever to let yourself take a short-but-sweet vacation from your online responsibilities: to close your laptop, turn off your phone, and unplug your commitments for a while, to enjoy what you’ve probably missed out on for far too long: real life.
Emily Matthews is currently applying to master’s degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.
Here is my argument “pro” e-hoarding is unhealthy: Either comment below or join the commentary at Business week here or at http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/
You say, “So what?” to hoarding gigabytes of mostly useless information. I say, “Get real.”
Information has never been easier to acquire. E-mails fly across the world in milliseconds. The average worker fields more than 100 every day, and you say e-hoarding is healthy? Is clutter healthy?
E-clutter, which results from e-hoarding, is costly, both mentally and monetarily. We have the same capacity to digest information as our forefathers, but the amount of information zinging its way into our lives is increasing exponentially.
According to the research firm Basex, information overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation. It adds time to normal tasks and creates stress.
A recent survey by the technology market research firm Radicati Group reported that “the typical corporate e-mail user sends and receives about 105 e-mail messages per day.” That is a lot of e-mail to process, categorize, or store. Sorting through old messages and rummaging through our in-boxes like we’re after the Holy Grail strips hours from each day.
Additionally, the anxiety that goes with having to scavenge through thousands of pieces of information, hoping that you’ve responded to all your e-mails, can be overwhelming.
Here’s what it all comes down to: The more you save, the more you have to sift through. The less everything is organized, the more time you’ll waste and the more stressed you’ll become.
Organize your e-clutter, trash stuff you don’t need, and free yourself to work on what truly matters.
To see the “con” side of the argument, click here. And leave a comment!
Let’s remember the two minute rule. Take the number of items you have in your inbox and multiply that number by 2. That’s the maximum number of minutes this project should take you. Then, set aside uninterrupted time to start working on your inbox.
This practice is actually a great way to help you get acclimated to the new way you will handle your inbox. If you have a very large amount of items, it may be useful to break this project into a few different time slots. BUT… Don’t stop the project until your inbox is totally clear!
NO. NO. NO. That’s extra work. That will create another email to handle. If you want or need to save an item that you sent, go into your sent mail, as soon as it is sent, and do whatever you were going to do with that blind copied email.