How I Handle My Email to Save Time and P

How I Handle My Email to Save Time and Prevent Email Overload

Probably one of the biggest time thief of today is email. Many of us have this need to check it frequently throughout the day and see what news there is or what is going on with friends, colleagues and family. I have been guilty of this myself and it is only when I have logged the amount of time with a time log that I have gotten the full scope of what a terrible time waster email can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying email is bad, I’m saying my habit of checking email frequently was disastrous to my daily productivity. I was guilty of not having an email strategy!

Because we all need and use email in different ways based upon our business and position there is no one hard and fast set of rules that will suit everyone.

That being the case let me share what I have put together for myself and perhaps it may give you some ideas to help you put together your email strategy. I am always open to new methods, techniques and ideas that will help me improve anything I do and I would suggest being open to new ways could be a useful way for anyone to look at things too.

I only check email once a day at 2:00 pm.

You might think this is a bit drastic just like I did at let me explain something here; I realized that other people’s emails were driving my daily productivity and my agenda was secondary. I do not know where that habit came from but none the less I knew that it had to change. I felt I had a duty to get right back to people with an answer and that answer often needed a little research which in turn was just eating up my time. I also noticed that the more I responded to people and helped them out the more they used me and my time to solve small challenges they could easily solve themselves.

Once I started only checking emails at 2:00 pm some people were upset that I had missed a deadline or not responded on time. I politely let them know that if something was so urgent that they could always get hold of me face to face or call my cell phone. The key here was being polite and firm and let them know that I was sure they would support me getting my work done as I had key production indicators to meet as well.

I do not use email as an instant messaging system.
I have work to do so “Please Do Not Disturb” when people would whine about this I make it clear that if it is important they can call me or they can swing by my office. I actually had a “Please Do Not Disturb” sign that I would hang on my office door when I was working on my own tasks. When folks found that I was not so easily accessible or they had to actually talk to me instead of using email their need to communicate with me seemed to fade away.

Where possible use only the subject line for the communication.
I ask people to do this as this saves time and keeps us both on point

One topic per email.
This helps me keep the email thread focused on one idea only. If the subject line is clear then this makes it easier to reference any communication on that topic. If there is more than one topic in the email then I have to start going through different emails looking for answers to any questions I may have.
Use BOXBe or some other filtering app to keep your inbox lean

For an email to get through to me it has to go through BoxBe first. I have just under 400 approved senders and anything else will be kept in the Boxbe waiting list folder to be reviewed by me when I choose.

I sign up for a lot of newsletters and blogs that I feel may have some value for me and when I receive them I realize that they may not be a good fit. If this is the case I take the time to unsubscribe so that I do not have to deal with anymore emails from that site. I do not want to be one of those people that end up deleted mail on a frequent basis that could have been avoided in the first place.

Use Folders
I have many folders and once I have dealt with an email I save it to the appropriate folder which could be a person’s name or a project name. This keeps my in box clear and makes it easy to reference the email should the need come up in the future.

Deal with it or delete it.
I answer emails when I read them so I do not have to go back to them. This is a great way of dealing with them straight away and saving time later on. If the person needs a reply I reply immediately upon reading it. If I need more time to find some more information to be able to respond I reply with a bcc to myself saying when I will get back to them so they know when to expect the complete answer. I then make an appointment in my calendar with a reminder so that I have blocked of time to do the necessary research and respond appropriately. If the email has information about a meeting or a reservation or other similar details I put that information immediately onto my calendar with the appropriate invites and reminders so that I remember to do what is necessary. After making additions to the calendar I save the email to the appropriate folder.

Switch off email reminder and turn off your email
Unless your job requires that you answer emails as they come in then turn off your email when not using it. I put a reminder on my calendar to check emails from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. This one hour is more than enough time for me to respond to the emails that have arrived over the last 24 hours. This works for me but for some people you may need to schedule a time slot two or maybe even three times a day.

I made a decision to make email work for me. Email does not require me to be at everyone else’s beck and call. I have made some firm decisions in a polite way to control my email to serve me the way I want it to. The reason for this is because time is very important to me and I demand of myself not to be a victim to the needs of others and that I spend my time the way I choose.

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Why You Need to Know Your Own Mission St

Why You Need to Know Your Own Mission Statement.

Do you ever feel like you are so busy, but you are not getting all the things done that you need to get done?

Maybe you feel like you are being pulled in too many directions and would love to just focus on fewer vectors? Either way it’s just too much.

This generally comes about because we are not sure what we are about or where we are going so we just get busy with whatever is directly in front of us.
I have been in the same boat many times. My intentions when I get busy with things that detract from getting everything done are good, but they are not the right ones.

I see an article and I’ll read it because it needs reading and I know I will benefit from the knowledge. I just check face book and other social media to see who is doing what so that I can stay in the loop. I’ll just read that article advertised on Google plus because I may be able to share it with my tribe and so on and so on.

In the sixties the Swiss watch industry, which dominated the world was convinced they were in the watch building industry, but they lost a massive percentage of their market to Japan and the quartz digital display watches because they did not recognize that they were in the time telling business.

Yes, there are people that want the finely engineered gold watches the Swiss are so proud of, yet most people just want to tell the time. They did not keep the main thing the main thing. And it cost them massively.

After World War II, with the advent of the American dream it became possible to fly to other major cities instead of having to take the train. The railway industry knew everything there was to know about moving people from one place to another and were uniquely positioned to take their knowledge to the airways with the new planes that were being built in the early sixties.

Unfortunately, they thought they were in the railway industry and not the People moving business. This left the door wide open for new companies such as Eastern Airlines, Pan American Airways and many others to take over the people moving business.

Not knowing what the main thing is and not keeping the main thing the main thing can be costly to large corporations and yet the same ideas apply to us as individuals.

The challenge is that we need to be able to prioritize our activities and then spend time only on the things we have prioritized in the appropriate order.
This Is where a personal mission statement can come in really useful. Our personal mission statement gives us the direction we need in life.

My own Personal mission statement is I am the possibility of all people reaching their full potential. Through listening, sharing and caring, and believing that the smallest input can make the biggest difference.

So, I do not get involved in activities that do not result in outcomes that are compatible with my mission statement.

Once we take the time to write out our mission statement it helps us know who we are and what we are really about. You can do this for free at

Along with a personal mission statement, it is important to have some key life goals that you are working towards. I shall be writing separate articles on goals and goal setting at a future date.

Once you have done this ground work then you will want to spend some time every day on the most important goals and make sure that they are aligned with your mission. By doing this you are keeping the main thing the main thing. The power of this is that you can now say no to activities that do not fit in with your plan.

Well, probably not a flat no! “Thank you for thinking of me but I will not be able to participate at this time, I do wish you good luck with your project” sounds so much nicer.

As distractions arise and people want you to be a part of their goals, you can gracefully decline if the activity does not suit you and spend the time on your own goals following the guidelines of your won mission statement.

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You Need This Proven Zinger to Get More

You Need This Proven Zinger to Get More Done!

For those of us who are eager to accomplish many things on our day a to-do list is the way to go.

We thoughtfully put all the items we would like to complete in the day on a list and then we go at them hell for leather all day to get them done.

By following this regimen, we believe we will successfully move forward in our lives and have room for plenty of re-energizing “me time” at the end of the day.
The trouble with this is that more often than not at the end of the day it seems we have not stopped being busy and yet the list hardly seems to have been dented with check marks!

One of the keys to accomplishing more meaningful tasks in the day is to use the ABC 123 zinger to prioritize your list. I know it can be a pain to give a lot of thought to a to-do list but believe me it is not as painful as not giving it sufficient thought. So how do we do this?

The first step is to always have your list prepared and prioritized the night before. This way when you arise in the morning and get going with all your energy and enthusiasm you do not have to think, you just follow the plan set the night before.

So how to prioritize?

Be sure that you have your written SMART goals handy as well as your daily planner.

Now put time in your planner for the things you MUST do to get through the day such as feed the kids, drop the kids off, eat breakfast, pick the kids up, house work, meals, daily chores such as walk the dog, get the kids back packs ready, exercise, etc.

Unfortunately, many of us do not put these things our planner so we believe we have more time available to us than we do.

Often it is not necessary to put these daily routine items on the to-do list because we do them automatically, however it is very important to block out the appropriate amount of time in our calendar.

I have found that Google calendar does this very well and I only have to put the entry in once and then complete the appropriate “repeat” function to make multiple entries into the future.

Google calendar allows you to color code your items which also makes it easier when looking at the calendar to see how your day is going.

Next, look at your to-do list and look at your goals and make sure that whatever your daily task might be to help you reach those long-term goals is marked with an “A”.

So often we do not achieve our goals or resolutions because we see them as a large achievement somewhere “out there”.

When we break those goals down into daily actions, -not all need to be addressed every day, but they do need to be addressed- then we will find that we start getting closer to achieving them.

So instead of spending our time on minutiae and “busy-ness” we at least work towards our serious life accomplishments on a regular basis.

Look at your to-do list again and now write a “B” next to the things that need to be done but not necessarily today. This could include getting the car washed or picking up some supplies from the pharmacy for example.

The “C” s written next to the things on our list that we would like to do but our daily life quality will not be affected if they are put off for a while.

Once the list has been prioritized with A, B and C the next task is to go to all the A’s and give them a priority order by putting a number beside the A such as A1, A2, A3 and so on. Do this numerical exercise for all of the letters.

The last step before getting started is to now take the top three items on your list and give them an amount of time necessary for you to work on them and then transfer that time block into your planner.

If A1 is review the household budget and account for all spending this month and you need on hour for that, then put “Budget” in a one-hour block on your planner say from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. Do this for the top three items on your to-do list.
The key now is to work from your planner and not your to-do list.

This way rather than wondering what to do next, which often happens when following the list, you now have a commitment and time frame in your planner so just follow the plan. When you complete something early, or have an open window of time you can now go back to your to-do list and tackle the next prioritized item.

Be sure to put your coffee break and 15-minute reading time in the planner as well so this way you get some me time daily and keep away the stress from feeling overwhelmed.

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To get your FREE time management FOCUS P

To get your FREE time management FOCUS Planner CLICK HERE:

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You too can get our FREE time management

You too can get our FREE time management planner to get More Time in My Day ~

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3 Reliable Actions to Best Diabetes Now

3 Reliable Actions to Best Diabetes Now ~ Peter James

This is my own story and in no way an advice-giving article. Any ideas of replicating anything in this article should discussed with your doctor. I am not a doctor nor a health professional.

I was reading an article about World Diabetes Day which is on November 14th. The article stated that over 60 million people on the American continent have diabetes. The article went on to say that half of all adults are overweight or obese, and that this along with lack of physical activity is a key risk factor for the disease.

The article also said that Diabetes is associated with more than 500,000 deaths each year in the region. That’s frightening!

“Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, can be prevented,” said Alberto Barcelo, PAHO/WHO regional advisor on diabetes. “But there is limited public awareness of how to prevent diabetes.”

I was diagnosed with diabetes in November 2000, I was told by my doctor (he also had diabetes) that there was no cure and that it is something you have for life. Well that was a shock!

Action 1: Monitor blood sugar to find out what I can and cannot eat to maintain a healthy blood sugar reading.

I decided to monitor my blood sugar three times a day as well as before and after any snacks. I had set myself a goal of getting this disease under control by diet and exercise and self-education.

It took me over a year before I cut back on testing my blood sugar so often. The reason I cut back on testing was that I had found out what I could eat that would not impact my sugar reading and what foods to definitely avoid. Naan bread I miss you so much!

Fast forward 18 years and I have maintained that low blood sugar level such that when I go for my A1C blood work every six months there is nothing in the reading to show that I am diabetic, and the doctor tells me that without knowing my history I would be diagnosed as a pre-diabetic.

Action 2: I set a plan to meet and maintain desirable weight.

Part of maintaining that goal was dropping 20 lbs. of weight and maintaining that weight loss which I have done. What I have not done until recently is set a goal to drop another 25 lbs. which I need to do to be even healthier.

I live a pretty good life without too much stress and I think that sometimes that sense of being comfortable stops me from moving forward.

I have started my own business and sometimes I get side tracked because I am quite comfortable and so do not push myself as much as I need to. I am no different from many others in as much as I too can rationalize my actions afterwards when I get distracted and tend to believe my own hogwash sometimes.

So now I have set the intention to lose 25 pounds. I have not set this as a goal, rather I have set the goal of exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, six days of the week and limiting consumption of sugar and saturated fats as advised by the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization.

I weigh myself once a week to make sure that I am on track. When I started my new regimen I had actually put on three pounds! I know that weight is not the only factor and that perhaps my daily walk of five kilometers was building a little heavier muscle in my legs.

Action 3: I monitored and addressed my eating patterns

I started to keep a food log of all that I eat. The log is actually an app for my phone called MyFitnessPal. As long as I am honest with my inputting then I can see where I need to adjust. I am usually great in the day, but my weakness is at night.

So rather than just fight the urge to eat which is probably the result of tiredness I have slowly brought my wake-up time to 5:30 in the morning. Before this I was getting up between 7:30 and 8:30 am.

I have set a list of tasks to achieve when I get up and mostly get these done before I go for my walk at 7:15.

It is not an easy road! The key is to stick with the regimen and make adjustments as necessary as I go along.

I did not get up at 5:30 straight away, it took almost two months to get comfortable with it and now I cannot sleep in after 5:30. I walk every day for 3.14 miles except Sunday. It took a couple of months to get in the habit of going every day and now I do it without too much pain at all.

I know that the weight and the diabetes can come back really quickly, so I need to keep a picture in my mind of myself eating well and being slim and healthy. This is key to avoiding the health complications that I do not want to think about which come with poor health management.

I believe that with my positive outlook, healthy lifestyle habits and persistent focus on being successful with my health will help keep diabetes at bay.

I am not a health or medical professional and I share this as my own story and not as professional advice in any manner, shape or form.

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You Know These 5 Myths about Goal Settin

You Know These 5 Myths about Goal Setting, Right?

If everyone was to set goals in all areas of their lives and stick with those goals until they were achieved, we would all be so much richer for the achievements and the journey we took to hit the target.

Often it is the discipline of writing and achieving goals that can make us better off than the accomplishment of the goal itself. We become more focused and disciplined and take more responsibility for our actions.

So why is that that surveys show that less than five percent of the population set goals on a regular basis?

Here are five myths that help us understand the answer to that question
1. I already have goals!
Actually, if they are not written down in detail and with an action plan, then they are just ideas, dreams or wishes.

2. I don’t need goals I’m doing fine.
That thinking is like leaving your house in your car and driving to a business meeting without knowing the exact destination or route. You will probably get there eventually but you could well get lost along the way and even be late.
When you use a GPS, you need to put in where you are leaving from and the address of where you are going.

The GPS then works out a step by step plan for you to follow and get you there in the best way possible.

Successful goals need the beginning point, the end point, and the necessary steps in between.

3. I don’t need written goals; I have them in my mind.
When goals are floating around in your mind they can often get lost or diluted with the hundreds of other thoughts that are racing through your mind at the same time, so they cannot give you motivation or clarity.

Imagine a cruise ship with all the different departments on board; imagine the shop, entertainment, food and beverage etc. are all doing their jobs well. If the captain on the bridge does not chart a course and get the ship to the correct destination, then all the good work of everyone else would have been in vain.
The captain on a ship has his bridge team involved in the defined course and destination with measurable bench marks along the way called waypoints.

The same goes for a hotel on land; if all departments are efficient at what they do, and the leadership does not market the hotel then the business will fail.

Conversely, if the leadership does a good job and some of the departments have no goals to reach they can let the company down and bring about business failure.

4. I don’t know how to set goals.
Unfortunately, I have yet to see the skill of goal setting as a separate course on any curriculum. We all need practice in writing goals and action plans and we really need that practice in an environment designed just for the task.
There are enough detailed on-line guides for setting your goals down on paper and I shall be publishing a step by step article soon.

It will still be up to you to apply the knowledge you have gained by learning to write out your goals and to acquire the required discipline necessary to become a consistent goal setter and achiever.

When you do this the world really is your oyster and who knows what pearls lie within waiting just for you?

5. Goals don’t work, life is too unpredictable, and things always change.
If you ever flew a plane to a destination, that plane was more often than not pointing away from the destination than exactly at it.

The pilot monitors the wind speed, weather and air traffic while working to be fuel efficient as well as arrive on time. He is constantly making adjustments and sometimes even detours yet invariably arrives at his goal, his pre-set destination.

Goals are plans that can be adjusted and should be adjusted as challenges and obstacles appear. It is by having a goal that you can get beyond the obstacle much easier. Without a goal beyond the obstacle, the obstacle tends to be the only thing in our focus and so can be overbearing and seem insurmountable because it is all we see.

When we focus on a goal way beyond the obstacle, that obstacle just becomes a challenge to be dealt with while we are on our way to a greater goal.

It is important to note that if you are not a part of your own goals then you will definitely be a part of other people’s goals whether you like it or not.

Many people are quick to cite a Harvard or Yale study that shows 5% of their MBA’s make at least ten times more than the rest and this is attributed to the 5% setting goals.

I suggest that probably the main reason of people not setting goals is that when they have tried they have failed.

The reason for failing is often not setting goals in all key areas of their lives and not adopting a habit of daily monitoring, reflection and action to make those goals happen.

Yes, life is unpredictable, and things always change. In 12 months’ time you will be one year older.

The big questions is, will you be doing the same old thing, or will you be 12 months further along the pathway to your goals and dreams?

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