Monday, February 18, 2008

Manager Tools

I've been listening to a podcast called Manager Tools. I really appreciate the advice that they give out (for free!) but sometimes it really irritates me too.

For instance, the most recent cast I listened to is from September 2005 (seriously, the cast is so good that I decided to go back to the beginning and start from there) titled "Got Email?"

Four actions are identified as necessary for managing your email.

  1. Check email three times a day.
  2. Schedule the time on your calendar to check.
  3. Don't answer email while someone is standing in front of you.
  4. Use filters to automatically sort email.

My company relies heavily on email. Way too heavily. I'm a culprit too, but I've found that if I don't email it, I later don't have "proof" that I did said action. The recommendation is to have face time or utilize voice mail. If I did that, I'd seldom accomplish anything since people are much more likely to check and respond to emails.

As much as I enjoy the podcast, I wonder, as a non-manager, how can I implement some of the ideas that I do like? It is frustrating.

My other problem with face-to-face meetings is the recommendation of some "chit-chat" about family and life outside of work. I used to be in a spot where one person did this, right before unloading his request. It felt more like buttering up -- Look at me, I'm the nice guy that cares about your family! -- instead of building a relationship.

Maybe it was me. Maybe my perception is screwy from my years of emailed messages.

But it is definitely food for thought. And some day, I just might find myself in a position to make some changes.


Daisy said...

If you're not the change-maker, you can at least be a role model for others in using this technology properly. A coworker once told me she worked by the rule "three emails, then face to face." After three emails, she abandoned email and called or visited. It worked for her!

Stacie Penney said...

That's a good idea too. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who leave this message "Hi, it's X, call me" with no clue as to what they are going to ask about.

So when I call back and get their voicemail, I'm forced to leave the same message, instead of the answer. Nice, huh?

Now, I do have a friend that is an ex-reporter who would deliberately leave this message so as to get accurate reaction to her questions. That I get. But in business? Save the time and let me know what you want. Otherwise we could play phone tag for days.

Bethany K. Warner said...

Ah, yes, I would do that as a reporter. I always wondered if my sources ever caught on.

I use email filters all the time. The emails from the boss go to a separate folder so I can't miss them in the rest. I route listservs and others to folders I know aren't as high a priority.

Sorority in the City said...

Email is my life. In regards to work that is. 3 times a day is so unrealistic for me.