Keeping Your Inbox Clear

Keeping Your Inbox Clear
Keeping Your Inbox Clear

Greek mythology tells of Sisyphus, a Corinthian king who was punished in Hades by being forced to continually roll a giant boulder up a hill. As soon as he would reach the top, the boulder would roll right back down, and his task would start over.

If keeping your e-mail inbox clear feels like a Sisyphean task, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve put together some tips to help you cope with the challenge and manage your inbox like a pro.

Intentionality

Just like checking your actual physical mailbox, checking your e-mail inbox should be an intentional act that’s accomplished at set times. Barring the rare case of emergency, you should not allow the ding of your e-mail alert to rule your day.

Though the frequency of how often you check and respond to messages will depend on your situation, one thing you should not do is just keep your inbox open on a rolling basis. Instead, intentionally set aside times to read and respond to e-mails.

Prioritization

As you deal with your e-mails, prioritize organization over responses. Allow us to explain why. If your goal is to respond to each e-mail as it comes in, you will quickly feel overwhelmed with the task and due to the enormity of the task, you may lose important messages in the shuffle.

Instead of responding to each e-mail one by one, quickly toggle through all your current messages, organizing them into folders as you go. Only e-mails that require an immediate response should be left in the inbox, to be cleared as soon as you’ve responded. If e-mails do not require an immediate response (that is, if they’re informational or require thought or research on your part first), they should be sent to a different folder. In this way, only your immediate tasks at hand will be left for you to deal with.

Consistency

This program only works, of course, if you make it work. If you set up your times and your folders but then fall quickly back into bad habits, you’ll see no results. Consistency, however, makes a huge difference. Plan your work and work your plan — always.

We Can Help

For more information on best practices for keeping up with e-mail, or if you would like to hear more about our premium services, please feel free to contact us at any time. 

We look forward to serving you. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Office 365

A Beginner's Guide to Office 365

Office 365 has evolved and transformed to stay relevant in today’s business world. Yet many businesses still use it exclusively for Microsoft Word and Excel. If you find yourself looking at the other apps and features and wondering what they do, keep reading.

Office 365

Applications

So, we all know about Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. These applications are essential for creating documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and communicating internally and externally.

But we encourage you to take a look at other apps like SharePoint, which we’ll talk about later, as well as Microsoft Teams, a group chat tool.

Cloud storage

Office 365 makes use of cloud computing to store and secure your files. This makes it easy to retrieve them if something happens to one of your computers.

Cloud storage is great, but migrating to it can be tricky. You need to make sure you can find all of your documents and keep them all safe.

Collaboration 

Some businesses still collaborate by having their employees send email attachments back and forth to each other. This method is slow and confusing. It’s easy to mix up the files and send the wrong one.

Microsoft SharePoint is an Office 365 app dedicated to collaboration and file sharing. With it, your employees can work on the same file, so they don’t have to send anything through email.

The beginner’s learning curve 

There’s a lot of information here, and we’ll admit that there’s a beginner’s learning curve. Once you get over it, however, using the applications comes naturally. Just consider getting some outside help so you can get comfortable with the apps and migrate your data over.

To talk more about Office 365, or anything else, contact us today.

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Sometimes it takes a disastrous cyber attack to remind businesses how important it is to back up data. Backup for small business is always important.

Backup for Small Business

A recent article from Small Business Trends, for example, mentions how ransomware has opened up discussions on the need for backups.

Keep in mind that backups are helpful not only for cyber attacks; they’ll save you from other disasters or problems as well. If a major storm hits your area, causing a power surge or outage that wipes out some of your data, you’ll have backups to retrieve and work off of. If an employee accidentally deletes a critical file, you’ll be able to restore the original.

What should small businesses consider when coming up with a data backup plan?

There are a wide variety of data backup solutions available. Not all of them will work well for your business or your data. When coming up with a data backup plan, consider the following points:

  1. Your main risks. How are you most likely to lose data? What kinds of disasters are you most vulnerable to? Answering these questions helps you choose the best kinds of data backup solutions for your business – file-level vs. image-based, cloud vs. local vs. hybrid solutions.
  2. Your most important data. Consider the data and applications that are critical to your business’s functioning and success. For them, you want the quickest restoration┬ápossible to avoid costly downtime and permanent losses. You want to ensure that the backups are comprehensive, timely, and well-protected.
  3. Your most sensitive data. Whatever backup solutions you choose, ensure that you’re safeguarding copies of your data – particularly the most sensitive data – from theft and destruction.
  4. Your metrics for backup success. How will you determine if your backup plan is a success? For example, you can set goals for maximum allowable recovery time or maximum amount of data you can afford to lose; does your backup plan fall within these parameters, or would you experience unsustainable losses? Always make sure to test your data backup measures.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance. Choosing the right backup solutions is critical for your business. When implemented thoughtfully, data backups become your business’s lifesaver, protecting you from the severe effects of IT disasters.

To Boost Productivity, Have You Tried Automation Apps For Multitasking?

To Boost Productivity, Have You Tried Automation Apps For Multitasking?

Companies regularly aim to boost productivity among employees. Employees themselves often look for ways to achieve more in a shorter amount of time, free up time for other activities, and avoid getting bogged down in costly errors and inefficiencies. There’s no shortage of articles advising people on how to become more productive.

boost productivity

One strategy is to rely on automation apps for multitasking.

Automation apps help employees handle a variety of work-related tasks by creating automated processes that make each workflow more smooth and rapid. As employees tackle multiple projects, field phone calls and emails, write up reports, attend meetings, and complete other assignments, an automation app will help them improve their efficiency, use their time wisely, and make their workload easier.

The following are a few examples of these kinds of apps:

Zapier: This can create automated processes between a wide variety of apps (you can use Zapier with hundreds of apps). One example of an automated process is whenever people subscribe to your blog, they automatically get added as contacts to your CRM software; you don’t have to remember to do this and waste time manually transferring the relevant information.

IFTTT: One of the best-known automation apps, this one is also easy to use and involves a variety of time-savers. For instance, you can have texts on an Android phone backed up automatically to a Google spreadsheet and immediately save attachments from your Gmail account in Dropbox. IFTTT works with hundreds of different web services.

Launch Center Pro: This app helps you create shortcuts for tasks you frequently perform – such as emailing certain files to a supervisor or checking particular websites important to your work. Launch Center reduces the number of steps you need to take to complete these tasks.

These are only a few examples of automation apps that can streamline your workflows. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further advice about the kinds of apps that could prove most useful to you and your employees.

Four Key Tips to Encourage Collaboration at Work

Four Key Tips to Encourage Collaboration at Work

Workplace collaboration serves important purposes. It helps employees work more productively. They complete projects by pooling their various abilities and insights. They’re also less likely to feel isolated, cut off from each other and from your company’s culture as a whole.

When managed wisely, collaboration opens up new possibilities for efficiency, innovation, and improved morale. The following are four tips to encourage collaboration at work:

1) Give them a sense of purpose

It’s easier for employees to collaborate when they understand why they’re doing so. What’s their shared goal or mission? What’s the point of the specific project they’re teaming up for? Give them clarity about their work and about the benefits of collaboration for the business as a whole and for each employee as an individual.

2) Create a culture of trust and respect

Employees are less likely to collaborate with each other when they’re afraid of speaking up and sharing their work. Maybe they’re concerned their colleagues will turn on them in some way, or that they’ll suffer ridicule and humiliation for their ideas and other contributions. Collaboration depends on mutual respect and trust; it doesn’t thrive in a cutthroat environment.

3) Show them by example

One of the best ways to demonstrate that you encourage collaborative activities is to participate in them yourself in meaningful ways. Granted, you have to be careful not to intrude too much or micromanage your employees, which will wind up dampening their collaborative spirit. But you can demonstrate collaboration by soliciting feedback and suggestions, and showing an understanding of your employees’ strengths and how each of them can uniquely contribute to your business. Don’t complete all of your own work in isolation.

4) Equip them with the right tools

There’s a proliferation of digital tools that encourage collaboration even among employees who aren’t in the same physical location (or time zone). As discussed in a recent article from IT World, not all tools will prove popular or useful for your employees; you need to choose them carefully, based on your employees’ needs and preferences, along with what works best for your business.

Because so much of communication occurs via computing devices, strong IT support services will help you foster collaboration among employees. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how you can create a collaborative environment at your workplace.