June 30, 2011
Now that I have multiple ways to access my inbox (iPhone, laptop, desktop) but only one way to permanently delete them (desktop), I have been in search of an Email Charter that will help me save my time…or should I say my life?
One such charter has been circulating the Internet by none other than TED curator Chris Anderson. For those of you unfamiliar with TED, visit the site for 18-minute videos of dazzling inspiration on technology, innovation and design.
But I digress. The point of this post is to list the ten items on Chris’ list to see if you agree. If you do, then vote on EmailCharter.org. And pass it on. Because we could all use a little more inbox sanity in our lives.
The below has been retrieved from http://emailcharter.org. I’ve committed every one of these cybercrimes at one point or another. Have you?
|10 Rules to Reverse the Email Spiral|
|1. Respect Recipients’ Time
This is the fundamental rule. As the message sender, the onus is on YOU to minimize the time your email will take to process. Even if it means taking more time at your end before sending.
2. Short or Slow is not Rude
3. Celebrate Clarity
4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
5. Slash Surplus CCs
|6. Tighten the Thread
Some emails depend for their meaning on context. Which means it’s usually right to include the thread being responded to. But it’s rare that a thread should extend to more than 3 emails. Before sending, cut what’s not relevant. Or consider making a phone call instead.
7. Attack Attachments
8. Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
9. Cut Contentless Responses
- Help Create an Email Charter! (tedchris.posterous.com)
June 27, 2011
Every once in a while, my dad sends me some really great tips. Here’s a feel good three-minute award-winning short to start your week.
Bottom line: It’s never too late to be kind.
June 26, 2011
Life getting to you? Take a walk. It could literally save your life.
I’ve said this before, but now I have even more scientific proof that a few minutes outside can change your perspective.
According to a study reported on ScienceDaily.com, just five minutes outside can dramatically improve your mental health. Jules Pretty and Jo Barten, co-authors of the study, found that whether gardening, walking or cycling can lift your mood in no time.
Another thing: how you start your day makes all the difference in the world (I recently told Health magazine this). So if you tend to leap out of bed in a panic, you may wish to consider a different alarm clock. I usually awaken with the sun (which can be problematic in the wintertime here in Germany ~ it typically gets light out around 8:30 in the morning and the kids, well, they have to catch the bus at 6:45). But there are sun simulating alarm clocks that slowly guide you to consciousness. If your alarm clock jangles your nerves before you’re even vertical, it might be worth a try.
Yoga is another great way to find mental balance. A few stretches and poses can help you find your inner warrior when the going gets tough.
And let’s not forget tree-hugging, my personal favorite. If you’ve got one near by, give it some love. You may find yourself a lot more grounded afterwards ~ in just five minutes.
June 17, 2011
Fortune 500 magazine recently reported on research conducted by Harvard Business School, the London School of Economics and others on how much time CEOs spend at work. Entitled CEO Time Use Project, this study is headed by Raffaella Sadun, an Italian academic at Harvard who released the first findings of Italian CEOs in a pool of over 200 from around the world. On average, Italian CEOs work 48 hours a week.
What researchers have found is people themselves tend to stretch the truth about how much time they spend at work, a finding that places John Robinson’s Time Use Survey research into question (the next one is due to be release later this month). While many of his respondentsclaimed to work up to 80 hours, many of them really only worked 60. Even back in 1998, the self-reporting methodology was called into a question.
This finding drives home a point The Power of Slow makes, well, time and again.
Time is a subjective thing.
But the folks at LSE, Harvard and elsewhere believe they can translate time into money by quantifying productivity through hours work and profits made. The point of diminishing returns is an important one to make. And I’m relieved to see they’ve factored that into the equation.
The underlying motivation for looking at how CEOs spend their time (as reported by their assistants who have a stronghold on their calendars) is to find the correlation between how CEOs spend their time and firm performance.
Reconstructed from their time use diary, researchers were able to determine what they did when:
• Activities type (meetings, phone calls, travel)
• People they interact with (e.g. function, links with the firm)
• Physical location (e.g. HQ vs out of firm)
• Scheduling (e.g. planned vs. unplanned)
And they found that there is indeed a point of diminishing return. But for one percentage point rise in work hours translated into a 2.14% increase in productivity (as defined by revenue per employee). Interestingly, however, researchers dissected how they spent their time and the ability to translate that into direct productivity. For instance, meeting with employees brought more productivity than meeting with consultants or other outsourced personnel.
So how you spend your time really does matter.
According to Jason Fried and David Heinemeir, authors of Rework, “[workaholics] don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done. (page 26)”
So there is power in slow. Working less, and smarter, can translate into higher productivity.
The question is where is your pivotal point? Does working 20 additional hours to an already heavy workload really give you 20 hours’ more productivity? I think not.
Throwing money (consulting hours) at a problem won’t necessarily result in a higher return. There is a balance.
And that’s when you need to push yourself away from your computer, take a walk down the hall, snap off the lights and call it a day.
Or go on vacation, like we are tomorrow. How many work hours are enough depends on you. Research shows we all have our pain point.
And remember: there are only 168 hours a week. What will you do with yours?
June 13, 2011
I love you. I really do. And while many people treat you like the red-headed stepchild, I must say this: You have a monopoly on new starts. Hands down.
Who wouldn’t love the freshness of you? Your uprightness? Your stiff upper lip-ness? Somebody’s gotta do it and it might as well be you. Besides, a lot of national holidays land on you so we could say you are an honorary Sunday for parts of the year.
You express that first-child syndrome, the responsibility of getting things going and keeping it all together. ‘You are, in a phrase, The Uncomplaining One’.
It’s not easy being Monday, of that I’m certain. Most people groan their way through you, wiping their bleary post-weekend eyes and wishing it were Sunday, the day of rest and leisure (or at least abbreviated store hours). Or better yet, people wish it were Saturday. Ha! Saturday, that day of the week popularized by the song that said it’s Saturday night, guess it makes it alright. Prince! That Midwestern Little Red Corvette driving pipsqueak turned pop icon! Who had the right to take away your slot? No one, I say. No one!
Tuesday is a slave to Wednesday, completely detached from your utter fortitude. And we know what they say about Wednesday ~ Hump Day, my foot! If you count the weekend, Wednesday is nowhere near mid-week really. The nerve!
Now Thursday has had its own appreciation in another post. I know. You must be miffed at the Thor’s Day, Thunder Clap reference. I couldn’t help myself and was drawn to the sirens of that day’s promise. Do I sound like I’m making excuses?
But let’s look at Friday, shall we? Well, now you’ve got me started! It even has its own national restaurant chain that thanks God and everything. As if God has anything to do with burgers and fries! But think of it this way: no one’s ever said, “AHHH! It’s Monday the thirteenth!”, which it is. No one is really afraid of you that way.
So I am back to you, Dear Monday, in all your fabulousness. You have had songs written about you. Monday morning! So let’s jazz it up today with impunity.
And remember: no one can steal your thunder, not even Thor whose day is still my favorite.
I love you just the same.
June 10, 2011
What is your favorite day of the week? Is it Monday as you start anew? Sunday, the day of rest? Or do you, like me, adore Thursdays, that is, Thor’s day, the most thunderous day of the week?
Thursday is a delicious time of almost-there-to-weekend jocularity. It holds promise, sweet tension and a hint of seductive grace. We have nearly a week of hard work behind us and on Friday? Well, not too much can be expected of one who has gotten the job done, right?
Thursdays, like the Fridays of entitlement, are a state of mind. I like Thursdays because they embody all that is precious about time ~the savoring of the moment right before the thing, the thunder clap before the storm. And for Thursday, that thing is a routine-busting experience not yet arrived.
Thursday has come and gone, only to return again. Today is Friday, people. How are you going to get your weekend groove on?
June 9, 2011
Life is a journey of learning, but without resources it is hard to continue the formal learning process. Twenty years ago I applied for a Fulbright scholarship as I wanted to study in Berlin. It didn’t pan out, but what the process did for me was to help me focus on my goals and priorities. It was an exciting time in Berlin around the time of German reunification in 1992. In the end I found a way to obtain my master’s degree elsewhere in Germany without the scholarship (by working five jobs at once). The experience taught me humility, resourcefulness and abundant thinking. No matter how little I had at the time, I had more than enough.
I just got word that the Fulbright Hays program has been slashed out of existence by Congress. It makes me sad on so many levels because international study is a cornerstone to international peace. Without foreign exchange we end up trapped in our own bubbles, unknowledgeable about other ways of thinking.
So please join me in signing this petition to save this program. It’s an outrage to think we spend billions of dollars killing other people instead of instilling a sense of international unity.