The 3 Primary Ways You Are Abusing Your Email Inbox

By Randy Dean, MBA, The “Totally Obsessed” Time Management Tech Guy

As a time and productivity management speaker and author, I see it all the time. People just don’t use their inboxes properly. And these mistakes lead to significant distraction, lost time and rework. Most people use their email inbox in four specific ways, and only one of those ways is correct:

1. (The Correct Use): Receive and process new messages. The key reason you have an inbox is to receive new items in that inbox. Your goal is to quickly and efficiently figure out what those items are, and then properly process them. If you’ve ever attended one of my courses, you know that you handle the quick ones immediately, and you put the longer items on either your task list or your calendar, thus allowing you to plan and prioritize. After you either get them “done” or “tasked,” you can either delete those messages or file them for later reference. And if you don’t have a good place to file them, you make one and put it there. This is really the only way to use an inbox.

2. As your de facto, yet highly disorganized daily task list. So many people use their email inbox as their default task list. It isn’t at all built for that. It is hard to prioritize individual items in an inbox, so you end up looking at the same items multiple times, trying to figure out which ones are important and/or urgent, and which ones aren’t. Most tasking programs, including tools like MS Outlook, Toodledo and Google Tasks, allow you to see your tasks in priority order by either date or by project (I teach courses on this!). Very quickly, you can figure out what is either most urgent or important. (Even a properly designed paper task list can do this!) Thus, you can understand why I’m trying to get people out of the habit of “inbox tasking” and into the habit of building a smarter daily task list using an appropriate task tool each and every day.

3. As your de facto, yet highly disorganized general file box. The other thing people are doing with their inbox is using it to store everything — or nearly everything — with no consistent filing or organizational strategy. Most people have made a few folders, but they rarely file everything they should in the folders they have already created. And they leave literally hundreds of emails, many that have already been attended to, just sitting in their inbox for no good reason. The two big problems with leaving read emails in your inbox: 1) You’ll likely read them again, even if you’ve already dealt with them — a pure waste of time. 2) As you continue to add more and more emails into this inbox, you will lose more and more efficiency. You will “slog” to a halt. How about this instead: Once that email is “done,” put it away. If you can’t do it now, add it to your task list or calendar. Then, put it away — or delete it! It isn’t rocket science.

4. Final mistake: Checking that inbox far too often. A recent study I read found that somewhere between 20-25 percent of working professionals check their email 20 or more times per day! That’s every few minutes if you do the math! How can you possibly maintain any productivity or focus when you are literally distracting yourself every few minutes? Studies have shown that incessantly checking your email and other electronic inputs literally makes you stupid. You have to get off of these “crazy trains” or you will literally lose YEARS of productivity through these abusive inbox activities.

Here’s how:

  1. When checking email, process them the first time you look at them. If they are something you can handle quickly, do them now. If not, add them to your calendar or task list. Make decisions from your calendar and task list — NOT your inbox.
  2. Once you have that email either done or tasked, file it if you might need it for later reference, or delete it. And if there is no good place to file it, MAKE ONE and put it there.
  3. And, stop checking email so often! Get on some form of a regimen that balances your needs to be responsive with your needs to get things done.

This isn’t rocket science, but it does require some discipline, process management and a few new habits. With these new habits, you can get off the email “crazy train” and end your inbox abuse!

 

Randy Dean, MBA, The “Totally Obsessed” Time Management Technology Guy has been one of the most popular expert speakers on the conference, corporate, and university training and speaking circuit for several years. The author of the recent Amazon email bestseller, “Taming the Email Beast,” Randy is a popular and engaging time, email and technology management speaker and trainer. He brings 22 years of speaking and training experience to his programs, and has been popular with programs, including “Taming the Email Beast,” “Finding an Extra Hour Every Day,” “Optimizing Your Outlook,” “Time Management in ‘The Cloud’ Using Google and Other Online Apps,” and “Smart Phone Success and Terrific Tablets.” Learn more at http://www.randalldean.com.

Mr. Dean is an FDC2018 speaker, and will be presenting two courses on Saturday, June 23, 2018. “Smart Phone Success and Terrific Tablets: Finding More Productivity with Your Devices” will be at 9:30 a.m., and “Taming the Email Beast Using MS Outlook and/or Gmail: Key Strategies for Managing Your Email Overload” will be at 2 p.m.

FDC2017 Photo Scavenger Hunt Winner

During the 2017 Florida Dental Convention (FDC), attendees had the opportunity to participate in a photo scavenger hunt through the FDC mobile app. The photo scavenger hunt was an interactive game composed of photo challenges attendees had to accomplish to receive points. The three players with the most points won a prize after the convention. Some challenges included: a photo with FDA President Dr. Bill D’Aiuto; while singing karaoke at “Sweet Success”; and, with Crown Savings providers in the Exhibit Hall. The game was intended to enhance attendees’ experience during FDC by encouraging them to meet new people, interact with exhibitors and attend the many events offered during the convention.

A total of 103 attendees played the photo scavenger hunt game. One of the players was Ms. Kendall Geisenburg, a dental assistant from Jacksonville, Fla. Ms. Geisenburg excitedly played the game during the convention and consequently came in third place! We asked Ms. Geisenburg about her experience playing the game. Below is what she had to say.

  1. Why did you choose to participate in the photo scavenger hunt during FDC?
    It sounded like a lot of fun. My friend and I wanted to use it as a tool to get more involved. We also like a good competitive challenge!
  1. What was your favorite part of the game?
    It was all really fun. I loved keeping my eyes open for anything that may be a part of the challenge.
  1. Did the game allow you to meet convention attendees/exhibitors who you otherwise would not have met?
    It did. I met several people and spent time at several exhibits that I probably would not have stopped at if not for the game.
  1. Do you believe it enhanced your FDC2017 experience? If so, how?
    It did! It helped me to be more involved and made me really thankful for the dental community. I didn’t plan on going to any of the parties, but ended up going because of the game. I enjoyed my time immensely!

 

1498260904631Ms. Kendall Geisenburg snaps a photo with FDA President Dr. Bill D’Aiuto.

(We apologize for the blurriness of the photo, as it was taken with a cell phone.)

 

FDC2017 Was a Huge Success!

The 2017 Florida Dental Convention (FDC), “Get Connected: Team to Technology,” was held June 22-24 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando. More than 7,000 dental professionals, including more than 1,500 Florida Dental Association (FDA) members, came together for abundant learning, networking and buying opportunities.

This year featured more than 130 courses on topics such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers, forensic dentistry, lasers, communicating with patients and much more! The Exhibit Hall thrived each day with attendees learning about the latest technologies and buying products from more than 300 leading dental vendors. Each day was concluded with a vibrant family-friendly social event. On Thursday, attendees had the opportunity to sing karaoke to their favorite songs with a live band. Dr. Reza Ardalan and his team were the hit of the party, singing the 90s classic, “Jump” by Kris Kross. On Friday, live music from Florida’s own Tobacco Rd Band stole the show with a country concert featuring high-energy, sing-along tunes. Then, on Saturday, FDA members honored their fellow colleagues at the FDA Annual Awards Luncheon surrounded by cohorts, family and friends. Click here to view photos from every FDC2017 moment.

Each year, FDC is a memorable event — and 2017 was no exception! Plan to join us for FDC2018, “Elevate your Game,” on June 21-23. These dates do not conflict with Father’s Day weekend! Click here or call 407.586.2000 reserve your hotel room at the Gaylord Palms today!

 

 

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words

In this video, Dr. Mark Kleive shares the value of taking a hands-on photography course for every dental practice.

 

Dr. Mark Kleive will be speaking at FDC2017 and presenting three courses. On Thursday, June 22, his course, “The Fun Way to Proficiency with Digital Photography (Workshop)” will be at 9 a.m., and “A Picture is Worth Two Words: Case Acceptance” will be at 2 p.m. On Friday, June 23, “Successful Hiring, Team Development and Retention” will be at 9:30 a.m. To register, please go to www.floridadentalconvention.com.