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5 Ways to Bring Your Emails Under Control

How much do you hate your email? Many people see a new message and are instantly filled with dread because it means there’s another task that needs to be resolved. If you could manage that email and make it work for you instead of against you, could it become a more useful tool to manage your day?

For many people, that is their reality. Here’s a few ways that you could make it your reality too!

#1. Talk More, Send Less

Email is wonderful for when written communication is necessary. When a simple question or a quick conversation could resolve an issue, however, why is it that email is the first place that people tend to go? Try to get into the habit of picking up your phone and calling the person you’d normally ask a question to through email to see how fast your inbox traffic drops and your productivity rises.

#2. Use Your Email Flags and Options

Instead of letting your email inbox fill up with read messages that you need to search through to find, try using different flags or other options available to you. Even if you just mark an email as “unread” after reading it, you’ll be able to better organize what needs to be done now, what can wait until later, and what can be deleted from your account and your memory immediately.

#3. Find a Routine and Stick With It

When it comes to managing your email, your routine is extremely important. People who tend to check all of their messages in the morning right away tend to be less productive because they try to resolve each incoming email before taking on other responsibilities. As a way to establish your routine, try setting aside 10 minutes per hour to get caught up on your emails, respond to immediate ones, and take care of issues as they come up.

#4. Be Precise

Email isn’t like a conversation that goes back and forth immediately. One wrong interpretation of what you’ve said can cause anger to fester and frustration to mount on the other end of the message for a very long time! Be precise with your words, choose them carefully, and be open for questions so that a clear picture can always be seen. When you give some thought to who will be reading the email and personalize it, you’ll further reduce complications too.

#5. Be Responsive

How long does it take to write a quick response to tell someone that you got their email. Even a simple “I got it – thanks” goes a long way today to let people know that you understand the message and can implement what needs to happen. You can also be too responsive – emotional emails cause a lot of problems, so anything that may be considered to be sensitive should be taken care of in person instead of through email.

You can be in control. Email can work for you! Implement these ideas and you’ll be able to become more productive and communicative, yet still reduce your overall workload!

Could Computer Science Help To Solve the Wage Gap?

For decades, women have struggled to earn the same amount as men for the exact same job duties. In some career fields, such as sales, a woman may only earn as much as 68% of a man’s salary on average! In the field of computer science, however, there could be the foundation of finally changing this issue. Even though there is still a wage gap for women, the need for qualified people is great. This need gives women the power to negotiate and that power may be the final straw that helps women achieve true professional equality.

Agencies Are Recruiting Directly From Educational Programs

In Silicon Valley, the need for qualified computer science professionals is so great that agencies like Facebook, Apple, and even Google are recruiting directly from the classroom because the need for people is so great. Stock options and other financial perks are rising as fast as salaries for qualified personnel because there is basically a static pool of people from which to choose.

According to Kimber Lockhart, who works for Box as senior director of engineering, the need is so great that she can’t even do the job that she was hired to do. “It’s extremely hard to hire well-qualified engineers,” she told the Mercury News recently. “And if we could get anybody else in the pipeline, that could make it easier. If that’s women, great.”

At this very moment, four out of the top 20 jobs for women in the United States are in computer science – a place where only about 1 in every 4 employees is a woman. Computer programming, software development, IT systems management, analyst positions – they’re all in desperate need for qualified people. It is this need that women can use to shrink or eliminate the wage gap, but only if they have the skills to back up their negotiating power.

How Can These Skills Be Developed?

It ultimately boils down to passion. Many women believe that there is a lot of boredom associated with the computer science industry. The thought of sitting down at a computer all day to do their job is, at best, considered to be boring. Yet because every business needs to have some sort of internet presence in order to be successful, there is an opportunity for every woman to find success in the computer science industry in any field they have a passion to work within.

Why is this passion important? Because it is this passion that drives more consistency, value, and reliability in the work that is completed. Women who have been in charge of start-ups in this field have shown a definite competitive advantage when it comes to innovative products that consumers are using globally. Just ask Sandy Jen – she sold Meebo to Google in 2012 for a reported nine figures.

It starts with the decision to pursue computer science in a formal educational setting. That’s where recruiting is happening today… and that’s where the wage gap could finally start becoming a distant memory.

It’s Not Procrastination Holding You Back – It’s Hatred

The creeping feeling comes from the pit of your stomach. It begins to spread out through your chest, into your arms, and down into your legs. It seems to sap the very strength right out of your body! As this feeling continues to spread, it enters your mind and one thought begins to perculate over and over again: I hate this.

This hatred is what holds people back from getting jobs done every day. It goes beyond procrastination, which is more of a feeling of ambivalence. Instead of getting a job done tomorrow or maybe the day after, this hatred eats at you because you never want to do it! Then, when you miss a deadline, the hatred turns into guilt… and shame.

This is what holds many people back. This is what needs to be defeated. It can be done.

Why Do We All Hate Doing Certain Tasks?

It’s a simple question, but a complicated answer. To sum it all up, most people hate doing certain tasks because those tasks don’t make them feel good inside. Maybe the task is boring or uninspiring. It could be something difficult or never attempted before. The reasons are numerous, but the outcome is the same: instead of looking at the long-term benefits of each task, we’re stuck looking for short term results. When they aren’t found, hatred begins to fester.

How can you defeat this hatred? There’s three ways to change your approach.

  1. Look at outcomes that happen further down the road, such as job security, having bills paid consistently, or even increased respect.
  2. Acknowledge the feeling, but don’t let it control your actions. Focus instead on the small, perfect moments that are found everywhere that can bring a measure of joy.
  3. Base your actions off of your commitment to the tasks instead of your emotions that are connected to the task.

If we all waited to accomplish things until we felt like doing them, how many of the menial tasks that must be accomplished daily would actually get done? How many times would a project get collated when the copying machine is down? How often would the laundry get folded? Why even bother getting into the care to commute to work?

Passion Is About How You Accomplish Tasks, Not the Tasks Themselves

When it comes to passion, modern society seems to look at it in reverse. We associate passion with the ability to put love into the things we love to do. Anyone can love chasing their own dream, right? Real passion comes from putting love into every aspect of a job that is not loved in any way. From the extra effort to add more sales statistics to a presentation to the carefully worded e-mail sent out to a difficult client, these are not activities we would normally associate with passion, right?

Yet in their accomplishment, there is extreme passion when the focus is on how the task itself is accomplished. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables on expectations and start doing things because they need to get done, not because we want to do them. If we can do that, maybe the hatred that holds us back so much will be reduced and there will be more joy in every life.

5 Ways To Effectively Manage Someone You Don’t Like

 

In a perfect world, we’d all like to manage people that we’d be as comfortable sharing a drink with them as working with them on a professional team. Going beyond the pleasantries and ability to find common ground, when there is general “likeableness,” work is just easier.

Unfortunately not everyone wants to be your friend when you’re the manager. Some are out for blood and want to take your job! Others just hate you for the fact that you’re the one in charge. I once had a direct report try to sabotage a project because he thought that if the job looked bad, then I’d look bad and be replaced.

The reasons why we don’t like someone can vary. What doesn’t vary is how we can effectively manage them. Here are 5 key lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1. Friendships Are Less Important At Work

Having a good friend at work can help the day go by much more quickly. Multiple studies have shown, in fact, that there are higher job satisfaction levels present when people have a best friend at work! When you’re in management, finding friendships is still important, but finding them outside of your team is usually a better idea. When you’re friends with a direct report, it becomes more difficult to discipline them should it become necessary… and if you do, that discipline can end up stopping a friendship cold anyway.

2. Stay Positive In All Things

Those sayings like “find the silver lining” or “look for the sunny side of things” grate on my nerves some days, but the truth in the message is clear. By staying positive in all circumstances, even when you’re around someone you’d rather avoid, you are leading by example as a manager. Every project at work will encounter some sort of difficulty. How you handle it will help show your direct reports where the silver lining can be found.

3. Everyone Contributes Something

I’ve found that the people I tend to dislike the most while working are the people who are the most like me. I find that this dislike stems from the fact that they have the potential to do what I do, only better. As the manager, you’re supposed to be the best right? Not necessarily. As the manager, your role is to be the team leader. That means making sure everyone contributes something based on their best strengths – even if those strengths are similar… or better than your own.

4. Work Closely Together

It’s not about keeping your enemies closer than your friends. It’s about learning what makes a person tick. You don’t have to like a person in order to understand them. Then, when you have managed to understand their perspective, that dislike you have for that person tends to start fading away. It also works in reverse – when those who don’t like you work more closely with you, their understanding of you helps to ease the discomfort.

5. Confront Fast, But Praise Faster

The most common reason to dislike someone is because they don’t contribute like they should. It could be because of laziness, brashness, or even arrogance. If you’re noticing the bad stuff as a manager, your team has known about it for weeks most likely! By fast to confront negative behaviors that could drop your team’s morale, but be faster to praise the good job a person does. Negativity is often brought about because of a lack of recognition, so put the emphasis there.

Just don’t be afraid to be proactive about the bad stuff too.

It’s not always easy to manage someone you don’t like, but it is very doable. Use these tips to work on your own interactions and you just may find that the working relationship is more about respect than it is about how much one is liked.

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