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Make Email Your Servant (Not Your Master)

Make Email Your Servant (Not Your Master)

Make Email Your Servant (Not Your Master)

    Let’s be clear.  Your email is not your work; it is simply a tool to help you do your work.  But like any tool it can be ineffective or even dangerous when used wrongly.  Here is how to make email your servant not your master.

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    1.  Check your email inbox at set intervals. Do not have your email on and active in front of you all the time.  For most people it is better to check email no more than three or four times a day.  For example you could check email at 9 am, 12 noon and 4 pm.  Then you can spend the rest of the day doing useful work.

    2.  Your do-do list is more important than your email. Write all the most important things you have to do each day on your to-do list and use that to prioritise your activities.  Focus on getting the top priorities completed each day and your performance will soar.

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    3.  Action emails immediately. When you read your inbox action each item immediately if at all possible.  You might reply, forward, delete or file.  Do not read through your inbox over and over.  Read once and action straight away.  If you cannot action an important email then flag it for follow up – in Outlook you right click on the message and then click – follow up today.  This will give the item a red flag and you can find it easily by clicking on the flag status column.

    4.  Declutter your inbox. Eliminate unnecessary emails.  Flag junk as junk or use an external filter system such as ClearMyMail to stop junk.  Unsubscribe from any newsletters that you you do not read.

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    5.  Maintain your contact list. Your contact list is a valuable asset that rewards attention and maintenance.  In most cases when you receive an email from a new business contact then you should add them to your contacts immediately.  Years later you might want to contact them and it is important to have their details.  It is handy to sort your contacts into different categories – social, customer, supplier etc.   Take a back-up of your contact list separately from your main computer so that you still have it even if disaster strikes.

    6.  Use folders sparingly. I have a few folders for really important categories of communication.  Everything else is deleted or stays in my inbox.  Some people have hundreds of folders and put everything into one or other.  If this works for you then fine but beware of folder creep.

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    7.  Sync your mobile and desktop worlds. Keep your messages and contacts synchronsied between your cellphone or pda and your computer.  It is great to use quiet time while travelling to read and send messages provided your important replies are captured for future reference.

    Some people use social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook as their primary communications tool and they are great for short casual messages.  However, email remains the tool of choice for business communications.  Sharpen the tool and use it well.  It is an essential part of your everyday productivity.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

    How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

    There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

    “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

    Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

    To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

    The Reinvention Checklist

    Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

    Resilience

    Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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    Support

    Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

    The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

    Self-Care

    During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

    • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
    • Spending time with your support system
    • Taking some time to walk in nature
    • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

    Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

    How to Reinvent Yourself

    Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

    1. Discover Your Strengths

    This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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    To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

    2. Plan

    This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

    It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

    You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

    Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

    3. Try Things Out

    Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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    By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

    4. Manage Your Finances Well

    Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

    All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

    5. Muster Your Courage

    Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

    Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

    6. Use Your Support Group

    As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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    7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

    Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

    8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

    Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

    Final Thoughts

    If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

    More Tips on How to Reinvent Yourself

    Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

    Reference

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