Conquer Your To-Do List With The Power of Three

Do you have a to-do list that never ends because every time you cross one thing off of it, you add three more? If this sounds like you, watch this video below to find out how to use one of my favorite strategies, the Power of Three, to end your to-do list tyranny.

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Overwhelmed? Try This Calendar Hack

If you feel overwhelmed from the moment you arrive at work until the moment you leave, perhaps you’re not using one of the best – and easiest to use – tools effectively. And that tool is your calendar.

In this video, I talk about how you can use your calendar not just to record when work is due, but also to find the time to do the work.

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How NOT to Use Email

Email is a fantastic tool – but it isn’t the right tool for every job. Email is especially poor for scheduling meetings, particularly meetings for more than two people. Use a dedicated scheduling tool instead. Learn more in the video below.

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Use QuickParts to Streamline Your Workload

My latest video talks about how you can use Quick Parts in Word or Outlook to help streamline your workload. Instead of reinventing the wheel all of the time, create a Quick Part for frequently asked questions, email responses, or other repetitive copy.

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Automate Your Email Inbox

Why waste time sorting through your email inbox to find the most relevant messages when you can set up your email program to do it for you?

This is the latest in our series of tips about handling your email more effectively. In the previous two videos, we talked about eliminating email as a source of distraction throughout your day and using the triage method to handle email when you do look at your inbox.

In this next installment in the series, I discuss ways you can set up your inbox to automate the process of sorting your email so you can concentrate on the emails that are the most important to your practice.

Triage Your Email Inbox

Email is a HUGE time-waster, as we can see from this short video on how to prevent email from becoming a distraction.

But when you do choose to look at your email inbox, what’s the best approach? The video below outlines the triage approach.

What happens when it is time for you to check your email? How do you manage your email inbox efficiently and effectively?

First, try to touch every email only once. That may not be possible with everything, but for the majority of your email, you should be able to go through only one time touching it.

Many of us default to use in our email inbox as our to-do list or as a reminder of something that needs to be done or an appointment that we have. Here are a few strategies to keep you from doing that.

Delete liberally. I love my delete button on my computer. I delete anything that’s junk right away to clear out so that I can really focus on the email communications that are important to me and to my clients.

Next, look at your email and see if there’s anything that you can delegate. Is there something that you’re assistant can handle, or that you need an answer from somebody else, either in your office or outside of your office that you can delegate that email to or that response to and get it out of your inbox?

Can you handle an email in under two minutes? I recommend that if it’s an under two-minute activity that you respond or handle that email right away during the period of time that you’ve scheduled to through your email.

What happens if an email represents something that will take you longer to do – longer than two minutes? In that case, either create an “Action” folder and move that email to the Action folder to handle when you have time to handle it, or – even better – move it to your calendar or designate a time and block it out to handle that email response or take the action that you need to take.

Your email inbox likely includes things that are not communications or tasks but something else, for example, an email about a meeting or an appointment. Get that email out of your email inbox and move it where it belongs on your calendar. If you use Outlook, I recommend you use the drag and drop method to drag and drop that email right into that slot on your calendar, and you’ll retain all of the information in the appointment.

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Email Tips: Don’t Let Email Be A Distraction!

Email can be a great productivity tool or it can be a huge distraction that puts others’ priorities ahead of your own and prevents you from getting important work done. This short video includes a few quick tips for keeping email from being a distraction.

Email can be a real productivity tool or a productivity killer. So, let’s talk about four ways that  you can combat email as a productivity killer.

The first way is by turning off all of your email notifications. That includes the little pop-up on your desktop or laptop, as well as the alert sound that you get from your email, and also turning off those notifications on your smartphone, especially during the work day.

Second, I recommend for most people that you don’t check your email first thing in the morning. What that does, again, is put others’ priorities ahead of your own. So what I recommend you do instead is work on the item or task that you have identified to be your highest priority for the day and do that first, before checking your email. That might mean that you work on it only for an hour, and at least make some progress, and then take a break and check your email. But at least you’ll feel at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished something on your own priority list before putting those priorities of others ahead of your own.

And then schedule some time throughout the day to check your email again periodically instead of constantly checking it,  maybe check it at 10 a.m. after you’ve worked for an hour, and then before lunch, maybe at 3 in the afternoon, and again before you leave for the day. This makes sure that you’re checking your email and responding to things appropriately, but also not getting distracted throughout your day.

And then finally, you want to set expectations with those who you communicate regularly, and clients. So, for example, when you first meet with a client, you might tell them that you communicate by email with clients, but you’ll get back to them within the day or within a few hours – whatever works for you – so that they know in advance that you’re not going to be always available and that they can’t expect as soon as they send you an email that you’re going to send them a response.

To recap:

  • Turn off those email notifications
  • Don’t check email first thing in the morning
  • Make sure you’re scheduling time throughout the day to check your email
  • Set expectations with clients and others

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