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How Important is Email?

How Important is Email?


    How much time do you spend being consumed by your email? Do you feel like you’re constantly being pulled away from other, important tasks because you can never keep your inbox satisfied?

    If the answer is yes, here’s the question you need to ask yourself: Have you ever stopped to think about just how important your emails are?

    Since the humble email arrived it has managed to supersede most things in our lives! As soon as an email arrives in our inbox, we feel a compelling urge to reply immediately.

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    But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    New research has shown that only 1 in 3 emails are actually essential for work and require an action.

    Chief scientist, Nathaniel Borenstein from Mimecast, (who conducted the research) said:

    “What is clear is that the average employee faces a significant challenge in simply processing the information that comes into their inbox and identifying which messages are genuinely business critical.”

    I’m sure you yourself have experienced this. On average I receive over 100 emails every day. How many of these are really important? Probably less than 10. (Most of them are more of a distraction than of any use.)

    So why not take this new research as a sign to do some spring cleaning? It’s time to create some space in your inbox so you can really focus on the tasks that make a difference to your business or work.

    3 Steps to Spring Clean Your Inbox

    1. Unsubscribe. Be ruthless and unsubscribe from any email newsletter that has not been read over the past 2 weeks. If you’ve not read it, then really how likely are you to in the future? Be realistic and remove those unnecessary subscriptions.

    2. Deal with ‘subscription fear of missing out’. Remember that by unsubscribing you are not missing out. You can always visit the website or blog at your own leisure and access the information. It’s not a final goodbye!

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    3. Set up ‘email rules’. You can set up ‘rules’ so that certain types of emails are immediately placed into an email folder of your choice. This means you keep your inbox clear from emails that are not important. I use this tool to move any ‘newsletter’ emails, as I find these can easily consumer 30 – 40% of my inbox. (Note: I’m a Mac girl so I only know how to do this on a Mac.)

    Here’s the process using Entourage:

    Create a new folder first…

    1. Create a new email folder by going to ‘File’ drop down menu.
    2. Select ‘New’ and then ‘Folder’.
    3. Make sure you give your folder a relevant title such as ‘newsletters’ or ‘personal friends’ (depending on your subject).

    Then, set up some rules…

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    Email Rules
      1. Go to ‘Tools’ drop-down menu.
      2. Select ‘Rules’ and then ‘New’.
      3. Give your rule a title.
      4. Select ‘Add Criterion’ – this should see a box underneath appear that says ‘from’ (if it doesn’t say ‘from’ then select ‘from’ in the drop down menu).
      5. Ensure the box next to ‘from’ says ‘contains’ and then in the box next to this add in the email address that you are creating the rule for.
      6. Underneath you will see a section that says ‘Then’ ‘Add Action’ ‘Remove Action’, here you should see two more boxes alongside each other.
      7. Make sure the first box says ‘move to’ (you may need to select this from the drop down).
      8. In the box next to this you need to select the name of th folder you created in step 1.
      9. Hit ‘OK’ and your rule has been set up! Entourage will now move any emails form the address you inputted into your selected folder!
      10. Go through and create rules for all emails that you think are ‘not urgent’.

      That’s it. Enjoy your new clean and clear inbox!

      (Photo credit: Mail Icon on Screen via Shutterstock)

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      Zoe B

      A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain 12 Inspiring Quotes from Richard Branson that Enrich your Life 7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track How to Overcome Boredom

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      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

      The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

      The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

      In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

      Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

      Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

      Conflicts are literally everywhere.

      Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

      Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

      Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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      Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

      Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

      Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

      The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

      Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

      Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

      How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

      Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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      Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

      Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

      How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

      Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

      Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

      Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

      How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

      Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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      Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

      Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

      How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

      Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

      Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

      Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

      How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

      Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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      Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

      Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

      How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

      Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

      Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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