6 Ways To Save Yourself From Drowning In E-mails

I collect articles like this. Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of articles on email productivity but I’ve never seen anyone write about my favorite which is this:

Don’t give your email address to anyone with whom you don’t want to do business.

Just this one thing will guarantee that your email volume will drop by half. Maybe two thirds or even more.

I don’t care where you collect your personal emails, but your business inbox should be reserved for what I call ‘just in time’ emails — emails that affect relationships, revenue and reporting. Everything else belongs in a second, free email account or a news reader.

Of all the articles I’ve read on the topic, I think this is one of the more amusing conclusions I’ve read but that doesn’t mean the other ideas in it won’t help you.

One way you can cut out 90% of your email time is to hire a personal assistant (PA). These can be hired from outsourcing sites for a reasonable hourly rate. You can then train them by giving them access to your business email and then using a tool such as Skype to go through your email inbox every day for a week. After that, they can log into your email account every morning and only forward emails on to you that are absolutely vital for you to personally deal with.

So the only additional step you will need to take is to set up a different mailbox. If you receive personal emails, then it’s obviously advisable to steer them into your new email account rather than allowing your personal assistant to read them. Yes this will cost money, but a freelance personal assistant will potentially cost a fraction of the money you can make by freeing up several hours per day in some cases.

Go to the source: 6 Ways To Save Yourself From Drowning In E-mails.

How Can Businesses Build Trust?

As a marketing manager, I talk alot about becoming a ‘trusted source’ but what does that really mean? Consider this:

Putting in place a new settlement on trust will not be easy. It will take time, commitment, hard work and investment. It will require a new perspective on the relationship between business and society, the responsibility of corporations, and the norms that govern behavior. But we trust the effort will pay off.

Get the rest of the article here: How Can Businesses Build Trust? | Cynthia Hansen.

Is Your Smartphone Making You Dumb?


Imagine that after a routine medical exam your doctor delivers some devastating news: Since your last checkup your cognitive performance has plummeted. Your ability to connect with others has eroded. And your memory for everyday events is no longer operating as it once did. As it turns out, there is a cure and it won’t cost you a penny. The treatment is simple. All that’s required is that you put away your smartphone. Few of us will have this conversation with our doctors. But perhaps we should. Over the last few years, scientists have begun studying the way cell phones affect the human experience. Early results are alarming.

via Is Your Smartphone Making You Dumb? | Psychology Today.

Two Screens Are Better Than One?

Is this still true? I think not in light of more recent research.

Microsoft researchers haven’t perfected the genie, but they’ve found a tool that can increase your productivity by 9 to 50 percent and make your work day easier. And you can begin using it right away. The researchers conducted user studies that proved the effectiveness of adding a second or even third monitor to your workstation, creating a wide-screen effect. In addition, they found out how the operating system needs to change to accommodate a larger screen area.

via Two Screens Are Better Than One – Microsoft Research.

In my personal path, I went from one, to two and even three monitors before returning to two and settling on a single 27″ monitor. You get some of the benefits of the ‘wide-screen’ effect without much of the productivity killing distraction.

A Focus on Distraction

Stunning, actually.

As economics students know, switching involves costs. But how much? When a consumer switches banks, or a company switches suppliers, it’s relatively easy to count the added expense of the hassle of change. When your brain is switching tasks, the cost is harder to quantify.

There have been a few efforts to do so: Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, found that a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. But there has been scant research on the quality of work done during these periods of rapid toggling.

We decided to investigate further, and asked Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology, and the psychologist Eyal Peer at Carnegie Mellon to design an experiment to measure the brain power lost when someone is interrupted.

To simulate the pull of an expected cellphone call or e-mail, we had subjects sit in a lab and perform a standard cognitive skill test. In the experiment, 136 subjects were asked to read a short passage and answer questions about it. There were three groups of subjects; one merely completed the test. The other two were told they “might be contacted for further instructions” at any moment via instant message.

During an initial test, the second and third groups were interrupted twice. Then a second test was administered, but this time, only the second group was interrupted. The third group awaited an interruption that never came. Let’s call the three groups Control, Interrupted and On High Alert.

We expected the Interrupted group to make some mistakes, but the results were truly dismal, especially for those who think of themselves as multitaskers: during this first test, both interrupted groups answered correctly 20 percent less often than members of the control group.

via A Focus on Distraction – NYTimes.com.

Based on this information, is there really an advantage to having two monitors? I think not…

How to Provide Unique Value in Your Content

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin talks about what it means for content providers to offer ‘unique content':

The challenge has been that I’ve seen a lot of people adopt this attitude around, yes, unique content, unique value, but merge those two and not view them as two different things and really not understand what I mean when I say unique value at all, and it’s not just me. A lot of the content marketing and SEO industries are talking about the need for unique value, and they may say other words to describe that. But unfortunately, as an industry, we’ve not yet coalesced around what that idea means, and so this Whiteboard Friday is to try and explain exactly what a lot of these best practices and experts are talking about when they say “unique value.”

Here’s the whiteboard. Go to the source for the explanation behind it!


Source: How to Provide Unique Value in Your Content – Whiteboard Friday – Moz.

Featured Image -- 38957

Make 2015 a Great Blogging Year

Todd Lohenry:

Do you have a blog? I do. Obviously. This about these things for 2015…

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to start things afresh — why should your blog not benefit as well? Here are six things you can do to start your blogging in 2015 energized, recharged, and focused.

Explore your new dashboard

We introduced several major upgrades to the WordPress.com dashboard right before the end of last year, including updated Stats and navigation and the ability to manage and edit all your content across sites from one central hub.

Now is the perfect time to get familiar with some of these new features for a smoother blogging experience. Whether it’s from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can check out which posts generated the most likes and comments (and much more) on your Stats page, browse through all your posts and pages, and easily tweak your account settings, review your billing history, and visit your trophy case from My Profile.

View original 442 more words

Getting Cybersecurity to Work isn’t Going to Work without Doing the Work

Earl Perkins has an interesting post on the Gartner Blog Network about the topic of security.

I thought it would be appropriate to start off 2015 by adding my voice to a rising chorus from advisors, consultants and others in the cybersecurity industry with a short and simple message. We as an industry cannot help you if you’re not willing to help yourselves. And helping yourselves means you have to do (at the very least) the minimum required to secure yourselves from the most common types of cybersecurity threats and attacks.

Now this may seem to be an obvious comment and you may be wondering “why is he wasting my time telling me this”. I’m taking the time to do so because frankly many of you do not appear to be listening. It may be time to be a bit more blunt and direct. There are and have been reams of research and guidance written and delivered over the years that outline the basic principles and practices to establish cybersecurity strategy, governance, planning, management and operations. Descriptions of these steps to core competence can be found not only in Gartner research but from many other sources. Establishing this core competence for many of you does not require large or expensive purchases of technology and services, nor does it require major shifts or changes in process or organization. But it DOES require a level of discipline, structure and cultural change regarding where cybersecurity fits within your organization and the priority that you give changes that must and should occur. This core competence does require a level of communication and awareness that is apparently not working in its current form of delivery. It requires a level of coordination with service providers, supply chain partners and external parties that does not appear to be taking place.

Get the rest of the article here: Getting Cybersecurity to Work isn’t Going to Work without Doing the Work.

Last summer, I read Michael J. Daugherty’s book “The Devil inside the Beltway” and I thought ‘Thank God I don’t have to deal with his issues’, however, I just took a position with a healthcare firm that must comply with HIPAA and HITTECH and as the Marketing Manager who is also involved in technology issues, there is nothing more important than cybersecurity — to ignore it is to risk losing your business!

In our case, we rely heavily on our partner Netgain in St. Cloud to ‘watch our six’ but there’s always the fear that someone could install LimeWire or its modern day equivalent and bring down the house a la LabMD. Every employee must understand that the technology they use is not theirs and that it’s provided to do a job and that they must comply with security requirements. Cybersecurity is the responsibility of EVERY employee…

No More Willpower? Watch This For Practical Productivity Tips

Here are some thoughts that might help you get out of that funk.

When you’re feeling unmotivated or unfocused, it can be hard to get things done. How do you get out of this kind of funk?

It’s more complicated than just trying to force yourself to “try harder.” Indeed, your willpower can only get you so far.

This video gives a few helpful tips that allow you to trick yourself into entering a more productive state of mind. Unlike other productivity tips, these ones are based on science (which makes them both way more interesting and more effective).

My favorite productivity hack is what they describe as the “Zeigarnik Effect,” which is basically the idea that just starting a task makes it infinitely more doable.

via No More Willpower? Watch This For Practical Productivity Tips.