Who's in control?

Sticking with a similar theme to last month, I thought it worth mentioning about 'notifications'. We live in a world of instant access and instant response. It is normal to be constantly checking and responding to email, text, Facebook messages, etc. But if you want to have some relaxation time and spend quality time with family and friends, you need to be "in the room" with them and not constantly worrying about who else is trying to get in touch with you. The easiest way to do this is to turn off your notifications so that your phone isn't pinging and dinging every time a message comes in.

I have an iPhone so I can only give guidance on how to turn things off on that, but I'm guessing it won't be dissimilar on other phones.

So head to your settings icon and scroll down until your find 'Notifications'. When you go into the notifications section every app you have on your phone will be listed and you can go into each one and select your notification options. It would be best to turn them off altogether but at least turn off the sound even if you leave the badge alerts to show. This isn't turning the app off, just the notifications, so you can still go into your email or Facebook apps and see what messages have come in, but at least this way you can do that at a time to suit you, rather than being interrupted every time a message arrives and then feeling obliged to look at it.

So take control of your time and make sure you dictate who you speak to and when rather than being controlled by the little black box in your pocket.

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I'm afraid I can't talk to you today

I'm sure you've all received out-of-office / automatic replies to your emails - you send an email to someone and instantly an email comes back telling you they're out of the office until XX.

These messages help manage expectations when you're not around to respond to messages promptly and they can also give alternative contact details or a link to a FAQ page where answers to common questions can be found.

We live in a time when instant access to people and information is expected but it puts a lot of pressure onto a business owner and their team to always be available to everyone and in the end, to give quality service, you can't be instantly available at all times or you never get a chance to do whatever the job is you're supposed to be doing.

To allow yourself some time and space, particularly if you're out of the office for a meeting/event or on holiday, it's good to decide before hand how often you are going to check your email or if someone else will be dealing with enquiries/support during that time. When you know what the plan is, you simply need to tell everyone else and an automatic response to an email is just the thing. Here's a quick video to show you how to set up an Out Of Office response in Outlook and Gmail.


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How 'doodle' you arrange a meeting

If you ever have to arrange a meeting with more than 2 people are you amazed how difficult it is and how many emails go back and forth to do it??!!

It can be massively time consuming but I want to tell you about a free tool that I use that helps to make the task soooo much easier - www.doodle.com.

Doodle allows you to enter a number of date/time options for a meeting and then you can send the link out to as many people as you want.  They simply click on the link and mark which dates/times they can do. 

When you've had all the responses back and you're ready to finalise the meeting date just click on the admin link (you will have been emailed this when you set up the meeting) and see which date is most convenient.  You then just need to email everyone back with the confirmed date.

No back and forth email conversations between numerous people, just 2 easy emails from you and the jobs done!

Not only does it save you time but it stops your inbox clogging up with unnecessary emails - win-win!

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