Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Monthly Archives: August 2015

How to clean up your inbox

Mailboxes On Monitors Showing Emails Inbox And Online Communication

Mailboxes On Monitors Showing Emails Inbox And Online Communication

An email in box seems innocent enough. It’s just bits and bytes in a digital format that you look at a few times a day to see if anything important has popped up.

  • BUT — did you ever open your inbox and realize that you haven’t really cleaned it in a while (like years)?
  • Did you ever open your inbox and realize you have no clue how to prioritize, not the 50 new messages you’ve received today, but the 50 new messages you’ve received today plus the 50 new you’ve received each day for the last 50 days?

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to muddle through way too many messages.

One idea (developed by Merlin Mann) that has taken hold over the past few years is Inbox Zero:

This is probably a great goal to aspire to, but realistically speaking, there are people I know (heck I’m one of them) that might give up on something if it seems unattainable. So I’ve always been about actually DOING 85% instead of procrastinating if I think 100% is too difficult or time consuming.
evie quote
With that in mind, what are some TIPS for attaining Inbox Manageable:
  • Limit the time you spend reading email. Check email a few times a day (for longer periods of time) instead of many times a day. Perhaps pick 3 or 4 times a day you’ll just muddle through your mail instead of checking every 5 minutes. (Though I’ll admit to doing that at times – perhaps if a friend has run off to the hospital because a new grand-baby is about to appear).
  • Turn off notifications. Even if you don’t instantly jump to check what’s happening when you hear a “ding” or a “buzz,” you are still slightly distracted by it.
  • Your Inbox is NOT your To-Do list. You can make a separate folder for ToDo – or “Items Needing Action,” but don’t keep these “front and center”
  • Touch it once. Many organizational gurus suggest “touching it once” for paper that comes into your home (file it or toss it or act on it). The same works for electronic communication. Look at it and decide where it needs to go. If it’s something that needs to go on your schedule, put it on your calendar and delete the email.
  • User folders. Using filters you can create folders, and send mail from certain parties directly to a folder. In Gmail (and I assume in other email applications), if you have a folder with something “new” in it, you can look at it when you have the time.
  • Don’t use folders. One suggestion I’ve run across is to only use “inbox,” “trash,” “draft,” “sent,” and “archive.” With current search engines, you’re often able to find a message if you can use the proper search parameters.
    (Yes – I know that’s the exact opposite of what I said above – but your mileage may vary on any of these points, so take what works and leave the rest).
  • Make subject lines clear. This helps if you’re looking for something later, because it makes things easier to identify.
  • PICK UP THE PHONE. Sometimes you can be more productive by spending a few minutes talking to someone than going back and forth by email.
  • Print – or print to PDF. For myself, for information I need to retain from clients, I will “print” an email to PDF, and save the email in my client folder. Sometimes that’s the best place for me to find it.
  • Kill ’em while you’re killing time. Two years ago Gmail rolled out the tabs. (I wrote this at the time about the Gmail changes). I love the “new” (is it “new” if it’s two years old?) Gmail tabs, but sometimes I ignore things in my tabs. Sometimes you really need to go through and remove things, but this is great use for down time, for instance while you’re in the cell phone lot at the airport or while you’re waiting in line at the DMV.
Gain control of your email and don’t let other people prioritize your day.

Tuesday Tip – What small business owners SHOULD do

ID-10079666Tuesday Tip – if you are a small business owner, you SHOULD be doing this!

Backstory – for a few years I was a La Leche League leader. During training it was oft repeated that we needed to meet people where they were and help them as was best for them (meaning, no matter how much you wanted to tell someone “THE ONE RIGHT WAY” to do something, you needed to remember that there really isn’t one right way for most things).

I try to continue to live that (and I hope I do) but DANG it – sometimes there ISone right way” to do something.

  • Did you know that there are 1.44 *BILLION* (that’s billion with a B people) on Facebook?
  • Did you know that on averagem Smartphone users check Facebook about times per day?
  • Did you know there’s an incredibly EASY way for you to have your friends find your business page?

 

Untitled

First, you need to have a Facebook business page. Once you have that, you can go into your personal Facebook profile and edit it so that your business page can be easily accessed from your personal page.

After that, all your “real-life” friends can actually FIND your Facebook business page.

SOCIAL TIP: One consultant I know didn’t do this UNTIL after she had a strong Facebook publishing plan and a month’s worth of posts. Then she invited not only her clients and prospects to “like” her page, she also invited her family and friends to “like” her page. Now, in addition to getting referrals from her business associates, she also gets referrals from her college classmates, neighbors, and former coworkers.

“Tips” image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday Tip – Facebook Group Posting

fbiconFor some people, Facebook Group posting is somewhat fun and distracting. For other people, Facebook Group posting is essential to their business. Some businesses take advantage of Facebook Groups to keep in touch with their “tribe,” be it a networking group or a group of their ideal clients.

I’m seeing more people re-purposing content from their Facebook (personal) Profile or their Facebook (business) Page and using this content in groups they belong to. Generally speaking, re-purposing content is a good thing, and I’m all for using something multiple times in multiple places.  When you share content from your Facebook (business) Page, it’s easy to share, is public, and has the added benefit of possibly driving people back to your Facebook (business) Page to see what else is there.

There’s a bit of a different twist, however, if you’re on your Facebook (personal) Profile page and want to share something to one of the groups you belong to. As you go to share the item, you may notice the following message.

ShareStatus

“You chose a specific audience for this post. Only people in that audience will be able to see this when you share it.”

If you continue on with this posting — your audience (possibly made up of potential clients) will see …

attachmentUnavailable

“Attachment Unavailable
This attachment may have been removed or the person who shared it may not have permission to share it with you.” 

This same issue can happen if you’re trying to share content from one group to another group. If a group is NOT a “public” group, and if you try to share information outside of the group, the share will be visible to anyone that belongs to the group, but it will not be able to be seen by someone that’s not in the group. So if you’re in a private coaching group and your coach has a spectacular program she’s mentioned that you’d like to share outside the group – it needs to be FIRST posted in a public place.

If you’re trying to share an event or a special or a meme or a photo with a Facebook group, make sure what you’re trying to share is public, otherwise things will get really boring, really quickly and all your audience will see is a rather dull box.

Struggling with social media?  

Click here to arrange a social media consult. 

*There are details in the Facebook Terms of Use that are incredibly boring but very significant to people that are using Facebook profiles for business use. That will likely be covered in a future blog post.

OOOPS They Did it Again

 

 

 

 

And then THIS happened. 
mariSmith

 

Say WHAT??? Another major overhaul coming to Facebook Pages. Didn’t they just do that a few months ago??

And people who manage their own Facebook business pages went

Stress Meter Showing  Panic Attack From Stress And Worry

Stress Meter Showing Panic Attack From Stress And Worry

 

And then they went Stress. Woman stressed

And the people who have a social media manager went

Lovely shopping girl talking on the phone in mall

“call me if I need to know anything.”

And the Social Media Managers went

Student Reading Book Showing Research And Studying

And then called their clients and said

"RELAX - I got this!"

“RELAX – I got this” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moral of the story — if you’re using Facebook for business – and you panic every time they make a change, RELAX and find someone who can always have your back in the social media world.