Email Productivity Tips
00:00 Hello and good evening to you all and a warm welcome to the productivity show. And if you were with us last week, you'll know that this show is all designed about helping you become more productive and efficient in your business and helping you to deliver product and value to your customers quicker and easier. Now last week I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to deliver an hour long session to about 30, 40 people around mindfulness and mindset. And although we're talking about something very different in this show, the first thing that I said to everybody was very, very relevant because if you think about today, in 2019 we are absolutely bombarded by information. We getting information through hundreds of emails every day. We've got text messages, whatsapp, Facebook Messenger. We're using social media in our business. Um, some of us even still get letters and phone calls. We are absolutely bombarded with information.
01:16 And I think back about 30, just over 30 years ago when I first got married, um, I was working shifts as a computer operator when computers were the size of size of this room. And, uh, things were measured in megabytes, not gigabytes and things were very different because on the way home from work on a morning, um, I take my 20 pence coin, I'd find a find a public payphone. And remember those phones where you entered into a box, I mean there was a telephone receiver with a cable on it and you have to dial with a dial. Some of us all remember those, some of the obviously a far too young. Um, but that was our only source of communicating communication other than face to face. Yes, we use letters and email hadn't arrived. Um, any business things were communicated by letter, by memo, and then we wind blew inundated by information and what this is doing to us seats, adding to that overload because we're struggling to find our way through all of this information.
02:29 Some of it isn't actually information, it's just noise and data, but nevertheless it hits us. And the big challenge is what do we do about it? Now? I did say earlier on today in today's show, I'm actually going to cover two things. One is a story around how one person I've worked with believe that email, his job was to answer email. But I'll explain a little bit more about that. And if we do get time, I'm going to cover your minimum viable products you've had done and get it time. I'm actually going to do that in a further session. So bad. I, two months ago I was working with a chaplain, I won't say his name because he might well listening to this. Um, he was struggling with email and we worked in a large office. Um, it was an it function. We were delivering projects I was running and the program office, which brings all the it projects together and most of his day was spent writing and answering emails.
03:38 And on one specific occasion at this chap had spent all weekend working. He couldn't sleep one night. So he actually worked for about two o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, right through until early Sunday morning with no sleep but worked solid. So Monday morning came and he got called in to see the it director and came back with these tail somewhat between his legs, head bowed and said, I've just been told off while he's, words are a little bit stronger than that. Um, and there was myself and two other people in the office. Um, and he said his words where things have to change. I just had a severe Italian golf from the it director and things have to change on working excessive hours. The backlogs building up and my health is suffering.
04:36 So I asked one question, which stung the other two people in the office because I said to him, I said, okay, when you're up at five o'clock in the morning and you're working late at night and over the weekend, what is it that you're doing? What can we do to lighten your workload? And there was silence, deathly silence. He said, what do you mean? I said, I'll rephrase the question. What is it you do in your day to day job? That means you have to work long hours early in the morning, late at night and every weekend. And he paused. He said, I'm answering emails. So I said, but surely your job as head of program management is to prioritize the work that's coming in to the office and make sure that the projects we're working on are the right projects based on the agreed mechanism for prioritizing projects. And again, he paused because at that point the penny dropped. He was spending so much time answering emails that they said become his job.
06:06 Now we all get emails and I go through a process frequently of unsubscribing from things that I no longer want. I'll often opt in to something to have a radio it to see how it's written, to see if it's of benefit to me. If it isn't and I don't want to hear from that person anymore, Holland subscribe. Then we get all of the unsolicited emails that people have got hold of our email address and decided to bombard us with all sorts of stuff. Now what I do, and this is one of our tips around how to become more productive with email, I managed multiple email addresses. So anything that he's low priority, uh, from a business point of view, I send that to one specific email address, anything that comes via linkedin and that goes to another email address. All of my business ones, the main business go to a single email address, so I manage multiple leaves of three take men thing that, so we use a g mail account that specifically picks up everything that comes out of linkedin. So it's very easy for me then to look at specific email accounts based on what it is on what to do.
07:39 Now, one of the tips I gave Adrian and if you're using outlook or exchange or outlook online, and this is very easy to do, you might be able to do it to another email programs. I'm really not sure I work on the basis that if somebody wants me they will send information to me. So the one thing that I advise people to do is if you're using outlook or you're able to do it in your email program is to create a rule where if you're copied into something or blind copied, you dump that into a separate folder. Because you know it's probably been sent to somebody but you're the copied in email address so you're less of a priority. You may be copied in for information and then you can go to that as a later date and sift through it and read what's relevant, but it limits the amount of information that you're having to handle.
08:43 What I also do, I work in big businesses predominantly and I see people with two and 3000 emails in their inbox. This is absolute madness. If you collected all of the information, all of the letters that papers that you have in your home or your business, would you put them into one filing box? I guess the answer's no because I wouldn't. So the other tip is to go through your inbox, get rid of the stuff that you don't want, fall the stuff that you do want and really get that inbox down to a manageable level.
09:24 One of the things I'm working on at the moment is an idea. I've had to take all of the training material that I use in corporate business and apply that to to smaller business where specifically they are delivering customer solutions, either in the technical or the creative area. And that training is all designed to help you get your product out to your customer quicker and sooner. I'd love to hear feedback from you about that idea. So when we finished, if you can just drop a comment in the comment box below and we'll have a further conversation about it. Does it say that it's going to be the subject of a new training and that we just putting together all of these tips that I'm giving you and all of the productivity information can be found in? Um, I guide to that. I'm pretty together. It would come out on email and I've just popped that into the comments and saying, go to my website, which is harperhallettconsulting.co.uk/productivity-tips
10:43 That you will subscribe you to all of the productivity content that we're actually developing both through these shows and through the additional material that we post. But it into the group and into other areas. So this will just make sure you get it all into one place. So let's talk a moment about your minimum viable product. This was something that I referred to in last week's show because all too often what happens is that people have this idea, let's say that you're going to launch a new coaching program and in your to do list or however you manage your workload, you and have this thing called the coaching product and we could coach and training, but you're going to create something. Now as you and I know to launch that program, there is a massive amount of work that goes into it. So your minimal, sorry, minimum viable product is the smallest section of that product that you can deliver to your customer. One, so that you get what you wanted, which is either going to be somebody opt in if it's something free or revenue because it's a paid course and your customer get some value out of it.
12:18 But it's thing, it's one of the things a lot of businesses struggle with. So in a further session and then to talk to you about how to value the product that you're delivering and also how to prioritize that delivery. So the minimum viable product is the smallest product that you can deliver. So if the one thing that your customer desperately, desperately wants as of this entire program is a fact sheet or a workbook, then deliver that first. There's a whole process to go through to actually break this product down into, um, I hit the analogy or hate the term, but it's one that's been around for years into bite size chunks. And it goes back to that old saying, you know, how'd you eat an elephant in small chunks? And that's exactly the principle that I want you to think about. I don't want you to adopt is how can you break this thing down, this big program into small pieces that you can deliver quickly and pace so that your customer gets value.
13:33 Now in terms of software, um, so let's talk about business. Let's talk about websites. So in terms of software, um, an example that I can give you is I'm building a website for somebody who sells scented candles. So we could have spent months designing this website. We could have spent some time creating the basic website with the hosting and then delivered all of the content pages, the online shop, a gallery. But what we did was, the first thing was to get the hosting setup is that the client Juan has something, he's got a hosted account. The next delivery was around installing wordpress and setting up a home page. So again, the customer could then start telling people about his website, which at that point had a simple home page on. And then we released an about page. We then set the gallery up so that now people can see a range of these products.
14:45 And then the final piece of the jigsaw is the online shop. And we don't eat that way. So the team can get something of von you soon. The big thing and the most difficult thing to do, which is the shop, he's going to come last because that takes a lot more effort. So what I want you to do after this training is obviously I'd love you to opt into my productivity tips, um, and let me know how much value that's been to you. What I'd also like you to do is to start thinking about how you can break down the products that you're delivering into smaller chunks so that you can deliver the faster pace to your customers.
15:34 Next week, what I'm going to talk to you about his life purpose. Now, one of the things keep people keep asking me is how do I keep on track with everything that I'm doing? And also how do I know that I'm actually doing the right thing? And it doesn't matter whether you're starting a business or going to a new piece of work or in your engagement, how do I know that it actually fits what I want to do? So that's all back to your life purpose, which I'm going to talk to you about in our next session. What I'd love to hear from you is how useful this session has been to he just drop your comments in the comment section below and I look forward to hearing from you and see you on our next session. And this is Chris Hallett from the productivity show and thank you and good evening.