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What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

1000 877 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach


This is the fifth in a series of articles to help you focus on a different aspect of your life and to inspire and motivate you to make a change in one or more areas.

What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

• How often do you see close family?
• Do you have a circle of good friends?
• How often do you spend time with them?
• Do you have a good relationship with your children?

This week is about focusing on the important people in your lives.

When you’re putting in the hours at work, it’s too easy to ignore or take for granted those closest to you and those that know you best. You snatch a couple of hours in the evening and maybe you manage a bit of time at the weekend. Are you zoning out or trying to relax with a bit of TV, eating meals while you work or check social media or emails? Are you still thinking about work as you read the children a bedtime story, catching up on work when they’re in bed or getting home so late you miss their evening routine?

Maybe friends have moved away and you don’t see members of your family as often. You keep meaning to call and arrange to meet up but ‘you’re too busy this week’, you’ve got a report due next month, you’re busy for the next two weekends … Next week becomes next month and then next year and before you know it years have passed and you’ve lost touch.

You’ll have friends you don’t see often but when you reconnect it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

While social media can help you to stay connected with friends and family you don’t get a chance to see as often, it can also make you more isolated. Even families living together retreat to separate locations to chat to their ‘online’ friends but forget to have real conversations with the people right there in front of them.

Friends come and go during the course of our lives. You may have friends you’ve known since childhood. Friends you’ve met at different stages of your life and then move on to new and different friends.


What difference could you make to your Family & Friends this week?

• Who in your family haven’t you spoken to in a while?
• Phone a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to for a while.
• Write a letter or send an email to a friend or family.

Spend time this week with the important people in your life. Not just time you would normally spend together but plan something different.

Re-evaluate your relationships with your friends. Do you have friends who always seem to want something from you? Do some of your friends drag you down more than they lift you up.

Only have people around you who respect and support you, who you enjoy being with and make the time and effort to see or talk to them regularly.

Enjoy the time spent with your family and friends this week.


Lawyers Email Overload

1024 557 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

Email Overloaded

Are you deluged with email?  Is your Inbox full of emails you never get time to read? The volume of email is becoming a big problem these days.

2 million emails are sent every second.

62% of us check work emails when we’re at home or on holiday!

A third of office workers suffer from “email stress”.

So, is email a problem for you? Do you waste time on your emails rather than actually getting on with more important work? Are you checking your email constantly throughout the day?

Take control of your Inbox so that you don’t waste time and can get on with the more important tasks.

Switch off all email alerts so that they’re not pinging, flashing or popping up little envelopes at you every time an email arrives.This is a major source of distraction.

Only check your emails two or three times a day. Unless you need to respond instantly to clients as soon as an email hits your inbox (unlikely), you really only need to check your inbox a couple of times a day, morning and afternoon.

Check email AFTER you’ve achieved your first important task of the day. You’re less likely to get side-tracked early on in the day.

Set aside a specific time to respond to emails – 15-20 minutes at a time. Don’t jump straight in and start responding to the first one. Take a few minutes to sort them into urgent/action, non-urgent and reading. If you can’t deal with an email straight away, schedule time to deal with it later.

Do it, delegate it, dump it. Don’t keep coming back to an email or putting it to one side ‘for later’.  Flag it if you don’t need to deal with it there and then and deal with the next one.

Set a time limit to read and deal with your email – this is critical if you don’t want to get totally side-tracked and waste more time than necessary.

Many of us spend far longer composing an email response than we really need to. If all it requires is a quick one-liner or a couple of minutes, don’t spend hours on it.  Get through the quick responses in one go.

Don’t get emotionally attached to your emails – you don’t need to read and respond to every single one and you don’t need to keep every single copy for ever and a day ‘just in case’.   Archive the ones you do need to keep.

Keep your Inbox clear.

It doesn’t have to be empty but you need to know that your emails have been dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner.

Create folders and filters to organise your incoming mail – automatically sort mail into the appropriate folder by subject or sender as it comes in, this helps weed out the less important and clears out some of the ‘clutter’.

Reduce what comes in – only subscribe to mailing lists and newsletters that you will read or use on a regular basis. Go through every few months and clear out and unsubscribe from those you no longer read.  You can always catch up online.

N.B. Never ‘unsubscribe’ from spam emails – you’re likely to end up with even more.  Make it easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe from your own newsletters and mailings by using an autoresponder like Aweber.

Use a different email address for different types of email – business, personal, newsletters etc. It’s also useful to have one for ‘junk mail’ for registering on websites that may result in spam.  Check the important ones regularly and the less important ones, less often.

Once an email’s been dealt with – delete it or file/archive it.

Email is not a 100% safe, guaranteed means of communication.  It can and does go wrong.  If it’s important or urgent – pick up the phone.

If you plan your time for emails in the same way you plan the rest of your time it doesn’t have to take over your life!

email load

Email – Be Bold And Take Control

1024 768 Nick Clench


The rapid development of technology has a lot to answer for, both good and bad. One such outcome has been the proliferation of emails and our apparent inability to cope with the sheer volume that we receive each day. Well, here’s how to change that and take control of your inbox.

Allocate time each day and stick to it. You may have heard this before, and seen people successfully doing it, but the key here is stick to it! Experiment with what works best for you, but many will find that two slots – one at the start of the day and one at the end – or three – perhaps at lunchtime as well – are sufficient. Send important emails first, then urgent ones, and if there’s time any others. Then shut down your email and ignore it. “But what if something important comes up?” I hear you cry, see later in the piece for dealing with that.

Don’t contribute to the problem. Many companies have an ’email culture’ – you hear people say “It’s what we do around here, we get so many emails!” Yeah, well I bet you send quite a few too! Try this: in one of your email sessions (see above) try dealing with every email with either a phone call or a face-to-face meeting and see if you get a reduction in emails. Time consuming you say? So is emailing! Every time you send one, you’re inviting the recipient to send you one back. Nip it in the bud where possible.

Don’t be a dawn and dusk emailer. I’m guilty of this, as many of us are, now we have email sent to our phones which sleep next to us on the bedside table. First thing in the morning as soon as your eyes open and last thing at night before we close them again, we check our emails. Ask yourself why. How is that helping you? I would advise against this, unless you intend to reply immediately, as you are simply giving yourself something to potentially worry or become stressed about. Ask yourself if it can wait until you get into the office. Also, consider others’ perception of you if you’re sending emails at 6am or 11pm – are you coping? Are you stressed? Are you disorganised? What kind of work-life balance do you have? And when you send an email, do you honestly expect a reply at 11pm or 6am? So why do you think that’s what is expected of you?

Urgent issues shouldn’t be dealt with on email. A senior manager I coached was addicted to his emails and was constantly distracted by checking them to the point where he found it difficult to get anything else done. Why? In case something bad happened and he missed it. The solution? Get people to phone you when something urgent happens. The phone rings, emails don’t. In the safe knowledge that the phone will ring in an emergency, you can get on with other things without having to check your emails.

Don’t ask to be kept in the loop. Easy to say isn’t it? “Keep me posted”, “Copy me in.” Cue the glut of emails which are not directly useful, actionable or relevant. Be bold, trust your colleagues, just ask for a summary at the end or when your input is directly required.

Delete all CC’d emails. Go on, be brave, do it now, delete all emails where you’ve only received them because you were copied in. It’s very liberating! You might want to tell everyone that you ‘delete without reading’ CC’d emails, but this is bound to lead to a reduction in volume without a reduction in key information.
Be bold and take control of your email before it takes control of you!