Are you drowning in constant emails, phone calls, paperwork, interruptions and meeting actions? You need to work smarter.
Now, if you’re looking at us to give you some tips on how to do this, let me set you straight. We all need to learn to work smarter. Yes, even us.
And since we didn’t have the answers, we went searching and come up trumps with this handy little eBook in our Books 24×7 database:
- Crowley, D. (2015). Smart work: Centralise, organise, realise. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Smart Work is the busy professional’s guide to getting organised in the digital workplace.
This book ‘throws you a lifeline by showing you how to take advantage of your digital tools to reprioritise, refocus and get back to doing the important work’.
According to Smart Work, one way to boost productivity is to reduce email noise (Chapter 4):
Minimise the emails hitting your inbox
Manage the amount of information and junk emails in your inbox by setting up filing rules, unsubscribing from distributions lists (when they add no value) and reporting spam.
Turn off email alerts
Research ‘suggests that the intrusion of constant email alerts causes a loss of focus and can lead to our concentration work taking one-third longer to complete’.
Check email proactively
Schedule time to check your emails. Crowley suggests you should ‘aim to put aside two, maybe three blocks of time during each day to process your emails’.
Batch information emails to be reviewed later
Keep all your valuable, not time-critical, information emails in one convenient location. Simply, create a separate folder and use either a manual or an automated strategy to direct relevant mail into it. Then, just allocate time to read the messages.
Manage other people’s expectations
When you receive an email that isn’t a priority for you, be sure to set a clear expectation about the work and when you will be able to do it. The SSSH strategy can help you with this (see Chapter 4 for details).
There are so many rules in life.
Don’t chew with your mouth open. Don’t eat after 7.30pm (you can thank Oprah for that one). And the wardrobe-limiting – blue and green should never be seen unless there’s something in between.
Nobody can follow all the rules. You have to pick and choose ones that resonate with you.
Whether you are partial to a midnight snack in your blue and green onesie, or you chow down at a work function with your mouth open, you have to consider which ones may have a negative impact on your life.
Let’s be honest, wearing an olive green blouse under a navy suit will hardly hold you back at work. Unless you work at Vogue, and even then, it could be perceived as fashion-forward.
And it’s the same with email. There are some email etiquette rules that you should absolutely follow so you don’t horrify your colleagues with your awful email manners.
Then there are others which you can flagrantly break with no consequences. For instance, a clear subject line is super helpful, but if you forget to write one, it’s no biggie (or is it? You tell me).
And if you happen to overuse exclamation marks in a friendly email to a colleague, they’ll know you’re just enthusiastic, and not childish and unprofessional.
So what are the email etiquette rules you should absolutely follow?
Tim Sanders discusses the 12 immutable laws of email etiquette in a video series on Books24/7 (yes, there are videos in the popular eBook database). Here’s 10 of his immutable laws:
- 1. Don’t give bad news over email
- 2. Don’t copy an email over someone’s head
- 3. Stamp out ‘reply to all’
- 4. Think before you forward
- 5. Never pre-address an email
- 6. Don’t send an email at unprofessional hours
- 7. Don’t write War and Peace over email
- 8. Break the thread with a phone call
- 9. Don’t send an email to someone that you could hit with a rock (figuratively-speaking)
- 10. Don’t send massive attachments (without warning)
To access the video, search for ’email etiquette series’ in Books24/7.
Being able to understand body language is almost like reading people’s minds. And wouldn’t we all love to know what our colleagues (read: boss) are thinking.
If you want to learn how to use body language to enhance your personal and business relationships, you should read Body Language for Dummies by Elizabeth Kuhnke (2015).
Kuhnke teaches you how to interpret what people really mean by observing their posture, gestures, eye movements, and more. Body Language for Dummies is your guide to decoding body language, and adjusting your own habits to improve your interactions with others.
How do you know if someone is deceiving you? Here are 10 ways to spot a liar (see Chapter 17, ‘Ten ways to spot deception’, Body Language for Dummies).
- Fleeting facial expressions
Look for muscular twitches, dilation and contraction of the pupils, flushed cheeks and sweating. Disregard this if your suspected fibber has just returned from running an errand outside in forty degree heat!
- Suppressed facial expressions
Lady Gaga sang ‘he can’t read my poker face’. But you can! Concealing an expression or emotion takes effort. Look for narrowed eyes, a tense forehead and twitching lips.
- Little or no eye contact
Possible signs of deception include eye rubbing, and an inability to look you in the eye. There’s also a small possibility they just have something in their eye, or you have remnants of lunch stuck between your teeth and they are embarrassed for you.
- Covering the face
Do you typically put you hand to your mouth when you tell a porky? So do others.
- Touching the nose
‘When someone lies, it releases chemicals called catecholamines, causing the nasal tissues to swell’ says Kuhnke (Chapter 17). ‘This is known as the Pinocchio Response because the nose becomes slightly enlarged…’ And this means the storyteller will touch, tug or scratch their schnoz. On the other hand, they could have allergies, a cold or a rogue nose hair…
What are the other five signs of a fibber? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Say whaaaat? Staff employed by a company in Silicon Valley do not eat from Monday evening until Wednesday morning. They can only consume water, tea or coffee during this period.
That’s right; they consume no food. Nada. All in the name of productivity.
According to an article in Fortune magazine, ‘the team fasts as a group… They’re attempting to improve productivity through sharper cognition and better overall health’ (2016, p.40).
Apparently, intermittent fasting isn’t just limited to this one company; it’s a growing fad amongst San Francisco’s start-ups where staff can go without food for 16 hours to several days (Fortune 2016, p.42).
If you want to increase your productivity and still eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (and many healthy snacks in between), then check out these helpful eBooks.
The secret to peak productivity: a simple guide to reaching your personal best
New York : AMACOM, American Management Association, 
Presenting an actionable framework for anyone to achieve better results, this practical guide will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoint where to focus for immediate results.
The productivity habits: a simple approach to become more productive
London : LID, c2015.
Packed full of tips, hints, diagrams and anecdotes, this book offers a tool to help turn ideas into action, make the best use of time, make decisions more quickly, manage projects, achieve goals or just get tasks done.
Low-hanging fruit: 77 eye-opening ways to improve productivity and profits
Jeremy Eden, Terri Long.
Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, 
If you think you don’t have the resources to be faster, better, and more profitable, think again. Whether you are a member of a small team or an executive of a multinational company, this practical book will teach you how to identify and solve hidden problems.
You probably already know about all the business, technical and engineering eBooks available in the Books24x7 database. But did you know that it now includes video?
Let’s face it, we all know people who are irrational. No matter how hard you try to reason with them, it never works. So what’s the solution? How do you talk to someone who’s out of control?
According to Mark Goulston, the author of Talking to Crazy, the key to handling irrational people is to learn to lean into the crazy — to empathize with it. That radically changes the dynamic and transforms you from a threat into an ally.
Talking to Crazy is available online via the Library’s Books 24×7 database. You can also find other helpful eBooks on dealing with difficult people in the Books 24×7 database. Read the rest of this entry »
The secret is out! Google has an abundance of apps that can help you be your most productive at home and in the office.
The university provides a Google Apps account for all students and active staff. Using Google Apps you can email, schedule, chat, create, share, store, organize and collaborate with others. For more information about Griffith Google Apps, visit Google Apps Support.
Griffith library also has databases, journals, articles, books and eBooks that can help you learn more about Google Apps. Check out the Books 24×7 database. It contains hundreds of full-text electronic books and journals covering over 100 different technology topics.
Here is a selection of Google eBooks in the Books 24×7 database you may find interesting: