How do you use yours?
There has been a lot of talk recently about inbox zero and managing your email inbox. Actually, this is not a new thing (well, in relative terms based on general access to the internet). In fact prior to email management it was all about time management. So let’s think this through, you now worry about how many emails that you have to “manage”. You constantly complain about how many people are sending you emails. You are amazed at how often you get copied in to things that don’t need your input (although how often do you find yourself reading the whole email before deciding that it is not relevant. Oh and then of course you need to call 4 or 5 other people who also received the email to compare notes on how irrelevant it was to each of you).
What did you do with your time before email? Surely the answer is that you were much more productive. Well based on a Harvard Business Review article “Who’s got the Monkey” this may not be the case. This is a great article and creates a lot of “a-ha moments” for many. However, the most poignant paragraph for me is… (this is where you play a drum roll in your head)… the very first paragraph, that points out the article was originally published in November-December 1974 and has been one of the two best selling reprints ever. How amazing is that? So nearly 40 years later, this is information is not just relevant, it is seen as vital. So does this mean that we are having an “a-ha moment” but not applying it?
So actually email and managing your inbox is not really the issue. There are many systems to help you with this. In my research I found that advice I got from James Schramko for this, was simple straightforward and actionable (which of course all good systems should be). James is a straight talking, system focused business man. Previously the top selling BMW and Mercedes sales guy in Australia, he set up his own businesses and now shares his knowledge and tools. James simply said “your inbox is like a to-do list that many people let others fill up for them”. Why would you do that?
So of course it is important to take control of your inbox, but it is now time to consider your relationship with it and the tools that you use. Whether you are on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Take a minute to consider whether it is a tool that you are using or are you the tool that is being used by it? (Oh and these principles also applies to facebook, twitter, youtube and all other media streams)
We live in a connected world, but how effective are our connections?
We have used our connection mapping tool within a number of businesses and had massive impact, through understanding and analysis of the relationships (and of course the action needed to improve the situation). The thing is, it doesn’t just apply to business. So if you want to improve any relationships (with colleagues, friends, family and even the tools and systems that you use), then maybe taking the time to analyse and understand them will actually help you with that “time management” issue you have.