According to a McKinsey analysis, the average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering emails. While most have adopted two extreme coping mechanisms to deal with the onslaught – namely, striving for “inbox zero” or completely giving up as their inbox continues to rack up messages unchecked – there is a common-sense middle ground of simply checking email less often.
In this article, the author shares time management practices based on his company’s data-supported study, with five detailed takeaways on how we lose valuable time to email (and corresponding tips on how to recover it): over-checking email wastes 21 minutes per day; full inboxes waste 27 minutes per day; using folders to organize and find emails wastes 14 minutes per day; archiving emails into many folders using a mouse wastes 11 minutes per day; and lastly, reading and processing irrelevant emails costs us eight minutes per day. Adding it up, that amounts to 2.6 daily hours spent on email that could be sliced by more than half (one hour and 21 minutes) if the author’s recommendations are implemented.
“Inbox zero isn’t something you need to achieve”, the author states. She continues, “The real problem is in our perception of ‘done’”, meaning that we tend to associate an empty inbox with having taken care of pressing issues, implying effective leadership. She contends that the reality is that 66% of the email you receive is spam, while a lot of the rest is non-urgent.
So how do you tame your inbox? The author suggests a simple technique: instead of working through your messages from top to bottom each day, “scan through your inbox for urgent-looking subject lines that match your objectives, or do a filtered search by keyword or sender if you’re expecting something critical”. Next, move those emails to a folder labeled “Mail That Matters” and then “mass select everything that’s left and move it to a folder labeled ‘Non-Urgent Unread’” so you have a visual indication of what’s truly important. She concludes with, “Judge your success by whether you’re communicating on issues that relate to the company vision, because that’s where real leaders allocate their time”.
In a world that “glorifies confidence and celebrates self-belief”, those who “toot their own horn without inhibition tend to advance their careers more often than their modest counterparts”. The result? A “prevalence of narcissistic leaders”. If you really want to develop your talents and become more competent, the author says, “it is essential to start with a proper reality check to understand your limitations”.
That said, he delves into five “useful parameters for aligning your views with reality rather than your wishful thinking”: help others critique you; engage in upward rather than downward comparison; don’t put all your eggs in one basket; if it hurts (your self-esteem) then act; and finally, don’t take it too far.
In this segment of his series about real-life dysfunctional workplaces, the author states that he is “calling out actual toxic behaviors we may see play out every day, whether between co-workers or in boss-to-subordinate relations”. His nine scenarios range from an atmosphere drenched with gossip to colleagues casting judgment on others.
Anymore, entrepreneurs “can’t afford to acquire talent through traditional hiring alone, and need to revise the perception that ‘talent’ is only full-time employees”, the author states. He continues, “at the same time, more people in the workplace don’t want to be ‘employees’”.
Citing the book “Navigating the Talent Shift”, he outlines eight steps for businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the new “1099” economy that calls for “a new fast and flexible talent strategy based on freelancers, consultants, experts, and specialists”. The steps start with building teams to meet goals rather than organization charts, and end with maintaining budget flexibility as the business changes.
As an entrepreneur, you know it’s never going to be smooth sailing. The author says “even when you get going and have a steady income and a plan in place for how to grow your company, you have to be able to adapt to the day to day”. She rhetorically asks “what was Blockbuster thinking when Netflix appeared?” before launching into five ways entrepreneurs can “prepare for that day when things might go kaboom”: be prepared with some contingency plans; focus on your strengths; be relentlessly optimistic; make decisions quickly; and lastly, always be hungry.
Stuck in a personal or professional rut? The author of this article maintains that King’s “inspirational aphorisms on justice, peace, and equality might also hold the key to creative problem-solving”. How so? She illustrates her point with seven of his quotes, from “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” to “we may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now”.
We’re all subject to procrastination, but as business owners procrastination can erode our drive and ability to grow. While the “just do it” approach works sometimes, the author says, it’s not sustainable. He continues, “If you’re repeatedly avoiding specific tasks, there’s an underlying reason – and odds are it’s highly personal”. He then discusses four factors that might be behind your procrastination, along with ideas to overcome each scenario described: progress doesn’t feel fast enough; you don’t know where to start; you’re afraid to fail; and finally, you simply don’t like the task.
The author of this article starts off with: “If there’s one thing most can agree on, it’s that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a transformative leader”. She then discusses the four elements of Dr. King’s leadership that helped him stir up the needed emotion in others to move them to action: having a meaningful mission; using words that matter; knowing how to deliver an important message; and lastly, leading by example.