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8 Ways Not to Manage Your Email (and 5 and a Half Tactics that Work)

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In 1635, England’s Charles I expanded the island’s mail delivery service to the public — with postage paid by the recipient and based on the weight of the letter. If Great Aunt Henrietta wrote you a 10-page letter asking why you weren’t married yet, throughout most of the country you paid for the privilege of receiving it. It wasn’t until 1840 that the Royal Mail switched to a system in which postage was prepaid by the sender.

I think of this fact often when checking my email. I hope it doesn’t take 200 years to figure out how to make the initiators of these messages — rather than their beleaguered recipients — bear the burden of their sending. But until then, recipients have to manage. And often, we have to manage without the kind of administrative support 20th century executives relied on.

Two years ago, frustrated by this state of affairs, I published a cri de coeur on this site railing against the lamentable state of inboxes everywhere. Making my despair public had an unanticipated side effect: I started hearing from people who’d discovered tips and tools that could help. In the months since, I’ve experimented with a range of different options. There were several oft-recommended tactics that failed utterly for me, and a few that did work. The way I see it, we’ve got to band together to defeat the email Hydra, so here’s what worked for me and what didn’t. Notably, most of the successful tactics had less to do with email and more to do with general time management — although there were two important exceptions.

What worked:

  • I stopped seeing it as separate from my “real work.” In the information economy, email is real work. So I made a conscious decision to stop looking at email as something that took me away from important work and start viewing it as part of building  relationships — something that’s really important to me. Once I made this mindset shift, it was easier to make time for email.
  • I stopped using email to manage my to-do list. This post describes my pre-conversion life pretty well: I’d leave important messages marked as unread to remember to come back to them later (but then they’d get buried by new messages fairly quickly) and I’d email to-do lists to myself. Having tried paper to-do lists and several different task tracking apps (including one that transformed my list into a quest — though I never advanced beyond “Junior Ent Sapling”) I’ve finally settled on Trello, which is super-simple and has a fantastic app/desktop integration.
  • I stopped allowing days of back-to-back meetings. I used to let my calendar get filled up with meetings; at the end of the day, I would return to an inbox filled with hundreds of unread messages and a sinking feeling in my heart. I tried to fight back by blocking out large chunks of my calendar a couple of times a week, but my coworkers, seeing a 2-hour “meeting” in my calendar would know it was a fake and book me anyway. Now I book 30-min or 1-hour meetings at random times throughout my week, so that I always have about two hours “free” per day. (Try to catch me now, suckers!)
  • Two weeks before I go on vacation, I put the dates I’ll be away in my email signature. This is a much better way of giving colleagues a heads-up than a mass email message, which few people will read or remember, and it lets me deal with last-minute requests before I leave so that I can fully disconnect while I’m away. When I return, I steadfastly avoid meetings for a couple of days so that I can catch up. Unless you are a sitting head of state, I don’t see why you should have to check your work email from a vineyard in Tuscany, or the back of a burro in the mountains of Patagonia, or sitting by grandma’s Christmas tree. I realize that some people’s bosses are unreasonable about this; part of why I work at HBR is to convince these bosses that they are wrong.
  • I stopped expecting a human brain to solve a problem created by technology. I used to feel bad — really bad — when important emails would get lost in the impenetrable wall of unimportant near-spam that took over my inbox every day. (No, I do not think HBR should publish an article on the start-up selling a toilet seat for cats, but thank you, Ms. Publicist, for suggesting it — three times.) I finally accepted that this was a technology problem that required a technological solution. After looking into a few options, I installed SaneBox, a filtering system that uses an algorithm to decide which emails are the most important. Those are shunted into your inbox, which suddenly looks much less cluttered; the rest go into a “SaneLater” folder. I go through the SaneLater folder every other day to make sure nothing crucial is languishing in there. I also started using Unroll.me, which combines your newsletter subscriptions into one daily digest and unsubscribes you from the lists you don’t want to be on.
  • I use my smartphone much more. (This is the “half” tactic.) While most of the published advice I’ve read on managing email urged me to avoid relying on my phone, I’ve found that it helps me craft quicker responses that get right to the point (in case you haven’t noticed already, I have a tendency towards the verbose). And since it says “sent from my phone” in the signature, people aren’t as likely to be offended by brevity.

What didn’t work:

  • Checking email at certain times of the day only. This frequently suggestedtactic has never worked for me. When I’ve tried, I end up reading and answering email straight through until my next appointed “check-in” time; or I get left out of important online conversations happening among my colleagues between my check-in times; or I miss timely messages.
  • Strategic use of out-of-office messages. I’ve tried putting up an auto-response if there’s a day I really am booked in meetings or when I’m simply buried in deadlines and trying to get manuscripts out the door; my recipients found this defensive. For longer breaks, I’ve also tried the trick of saying, “Please re-send your message when I am back in the office on such-and-such date,” another widely cited tactic. Recipients found that arrogant.
  • Keeping emails incredibly short. It’s one thing to be concise; it’s another to omit both salutation and sign-off — and punctuation. As an editor, sending these sorts of emails (“sounds great thanks”) bothered me on a personal level. Did I really not have time to say “Hello, Professor Fitz-Herbert” or insert a comma? Really? These super-brief emails made me feel icky. I also think they made me sound like kind of an asshole.
  • Aiming for Inbox Zero. I think we will look back on the brief craze for Inbox Zero the way we now look back at the 80s aerobics craze: evidence of a mad and ultimately warping desire for perfection. Inboxes are not meant to be at zero any more than women’s upper thighs are meant to look like aluminum tubes. I now aim to keep the unread messages in my inbox to the double-digits. When things start ballooning up, I sigh, get into to work a little earlier, and hammer away at them until they’re back down to size — the same way I reluctantly (but temporarily) switch from pastrami to arugula when my favorite jeans feel tight.
  • Following the “only handle it once,” rule. This is a really difficult one for most knowledge workers, not only editors. Thinking takes time. Sometimes even answering a simple yes-or-no question means asking for other people’s input, doing background reading, or conducting a bit of research. I can usually make those judgment calls fairly efficiently — or else I wouldn’t be good at my job — but I can’t do it obeying the “OHIO” rule.
  • Setting up elaborate folder systems. How can a person who barely has time to read her email possibly have time to sort it? That’s what the search box is for.
  • Asking other people to change their behavior. I did try asking people to put key information in the subject line, use the Red Exclamation Point of Doom if — and only if — it was truly an urgent message, or to send me one email with all of their questions rather than five short emails each with a different query. Despite the efforts of a few (which I appreciated!), by and large this was a predictably Quixotic quest.
  • Complaining. Treating email like the enemy made important people hesitant to email me; I’d be left out of important conversations because, “Sarah’s always so busy.” Instead of being able to dip in and out of the discussion based on what I thought was important, people started turning off the spigot. I was not a fan of that, as it turned out.

My reformation is far from complete. Messages still slip through the cracks. A bad flu messes up my entire carefully constructed system. And I still get irritated when people send a second email “just to make sure you got my email!” — especially if 24 hours haven’t elapsed since the first message. (With tools likeSignals, no one needs to ask that question anymore.) But since becoming more disciplined about managing my email, I find I get fewer of those messages.

There is an old saying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: to drink from a firehose, you need to use a straw. If email is the firehose, apps like Signals, Trello, SaneBox, and others are the straws. And modern missivists can at least be thankful that, unlike the letter-writers of 17th century Britain, we have keyboard shortcuts for “copy” and “paste.”

source:https://hbr.org/2014/04/8-ways-not-to-manage-your-email-and-5-tactics-that-work/

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Internet

How to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to a Mac or other Apple devices

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  • Hands down, AirDrop is the easiest way to send files like photos, documents, and even web pages from an iPhone to a Mac (or to another Apple device).
  • AirDrop is automatically available on your iPhone ‘s sharing option whenever there’s another AirDrop-compatible device in range.
  • You may need to set up AirDrop on your Mac before being able to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to that computer.

Compared to the ancient days of floppy disks, it’s like we’re living in a science fiction future today. After all, it’s easy to share large files via email or on cloud services like Dropbox.

But Apple offers an even easier option: AirDrop. Armed with AirDrop, you can send files even ones too big for email from your iPhone to a Mac with just a tap, as long as the Mac is in range to receive them.

What’s “in range”? AirDrop uses a combination of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transmit files, so your Mac or other Apple device has to be within about 30 feet of the phone, according to Apple .

To successfully AirDrop, you’ll need to configure AirDrop on a Mac you only need to do that once and then you can send files from your iPhone quickly and easily.

Activate AirDrop on your Mac or another Apple device

1. Click “Go” in the Finder menu and then click “AirDrop.”

 

airdrop mac
airdrop mac

2. If your Mac’s Bluetooth or Wi-fi is turned off, you will be asked to turn them on.

3. In the AirDrop window, choose who can AirDrop you. Click “Allow me to be discovered by” and choose either “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.”

 

apple airdrop
apple airdrop

For Apple devices other than a Mac, including an iPhone, you can access the same permissions by going into your Settings, clicking General, and then selecting AirDrop to choose whether you can receive an AirDrop from “contacts only” or “everyone.”

Limiting AirDrop only to your contacts is more secure, but choosing “everyone” is more convenient if you frequently have to receive files from a lot of different people.

It’s generally easier to choose “Everyone.” But be aware that if you are working in a public place (like a coffee shop), anyone in your vicinity will be able to try to send you files, so be careful whom you accept AirDrop files from.

Send a file from your iPhone

1. On your iPhone, open the app that you want to AirDrop from. To send a photo, for example, open Photos.

2. Select the file or photo you want to send (you can select more than one at a time).

3. Click the Share button.

4. In the AirDrop section of the Share screen, you should see icons for all of the AirDrop-compatible devices in range (it might take a moment for them to appear). Tap the icon for the Mac you want to send the file to.

 

airdrop 3
airdrop 3

If you’re in range, you should see a button for your Mac (and other AirDrop-compatible devices).

That’s all you need to do on the iPhone; now the Mac or other device needs to accept the file.

Receive a file on your Mac or another Apple device

1. You should see a notification appear on your desktop or device’s screen. Choose “Accept.”

2. On a Mac, choose whether to open the file or save it to the Downloads folder.

 

airdrop 4
airdrop 4

3. Open Downloads in Finder on your Mac. The file should be the most recent.

If you run into trouble

Like any technology, sometimes it doesn’t work the way you expect. If you’re having trouble with AirDrop, there are a few common things to check:

  • Is your Mac AirDrop-compatible? It needs to be running Mac OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-fi are enabled on both your Mac and your iPhone.
  • It’s possible the devices are too far apart, especially if you can’t see the Mac on the iPhone’s AirDrop list. Bring the two devices closer together.
  • Make sure that the iPhone isn’t connecting to the Internet via a personal hotspot. Open Settings and make sure Personal Hotspot is “Off.”

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Hardwares

Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10 and 5G phones unveiled at Unpacked event

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  • Samsung has revealed its latest S10 smartphone in San Francisco
  • Here is a hands-on first look at the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E
  • The Korean giant has unveiled a folding phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Samsung has launched a new 5G smartphone
  • Why Samsung’s folding phone could be a blueprint of the future

Samsung has unveiled a folding phone that doubles as a tablet, which the Korean company hailed as the biggest development in smartphones in a decade.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was launched alongside four other smartphones on Wednesday evening, functions as a typical smartphone but can be unfolded to a second 7.3-inch touchscreen.

The device, which will be released in April, will cost at least $1,980 (£1,516), making it by far the most expensive smartphone on the market.

It is the first of its kind from a major smartphone company, with Samsung claiming the device “answers sceptics” who claim that innovation has dried up in the industry

Samsung’s folding smartphone that transforms into a tablet

Samsung also unveiled the latest version of its flagship smartphone line, the Galaxy S10, releasing three models that cost between £669 and £1,099.

The phones – the cheaper S10E, the S10 and the S10+, feature a fingerprint scanner embedded within the touchscreen and three rear cameras that allow for wider-angle photos.

The smartphone-maker also teased its largest phone yet, the S10 5G, which offers 6.7 inch display and promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity. The phone will be available later this year, when 5G networks, that offer faster mobile data connections, come online.

The company is hoping 5G support will give it a leg up over Apple, which is not expected to unveil a 5G phone until next year.  All these devices are capable of wirelessly charging other Samsung phones and accessories.

Image result for samsung fold

The Galaxy Fold in its “closed” form

Phone makers have spent years attempting to develop flexible touchscreens that allow devices to fold in two, answering consumers’ demands for ever-bigger phone screens, without sacrificing portability. Several manufacturers are now working on their own foldable phones, hoping the technology will breathe life into a saturated smartphone market.

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market,” Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh said. “We are here to prove them wrong.”

Samsung said folding the phone out into a bigger-screened version will allow multi-tasking features such as split-screen apps and better video watching.

However, the high price of the device means it is likely to sell in small numbers. Some versions are likely to sell for more than $2,000, just 18 months after Apple introduced the first $1,000 17 months ago.

The presentations are winding down, and Samsung has left us with their vision of the future in their latest commercial featuring the classic song made famous by Doris Day.

But there’s more to come, keep up to date with the latest Samsung news here and follow @JamesTitcomb on the ground as he elbows everyone out of the way for a first look at the folding phone.

Samsung’s 5G phone

The Galaxy S10 5G is being introduced with a fanfare – a 6.7 inch display that promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity.

This is the biggest screen on a Galaxy device. It comes with a 25-watt charger, so it will charge a lot faster. It has a 3D depth-sensing camera.

Verizon customers will be the first to receive the handsets.

New smartwatch with a full week’s charge

Samsung’s new Galaxy watch features a battery that lasts up to a week and can continually analyse your stages of sleep – this is a huge part of the company’s push into healthcare.

They include heart monitors and “continuous stress tracking when life gets overwhelming”.

Galaxy Buds with Bixby

Samsung has just launched wireless, Apple-style earbuds. Hot take from the Samsung stage: “They are so cool”.

They feature a high efficiency chip set for which allows for 5 hours of calls on a single charge. They are also Bixby-enabled, so you can interact with them remotely and give them instructions (and why wouldn’t you?). They will be available from March.

Incidentally, Bixby can now apparently tell the difference between the Queen’s English and English from Queens (cue laughter from stage). Samsung’s AI assistant also understand three different languages.

S10 price starts at £799 and will be available from March 8

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will start at £799, up to £999. The S10 Plus will start at £899 with a £1,099 version. The S10E will begin at £669.

You can find pre-order details on the Samsung Galaxy S10 here.

Samsung bets on Instagram feature with the S10

The S10 presentation featured Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri, who presented an “Instagram mode” that will allow users to quickly post any photo onto the social media site.

Of course, there was a rather awkward selfie on stage with DJ Koh….

Here is everything you need to know about the new S10

Matt Field has gone through all of the bells and whistles of the new phones here – here are the highlights and how they differ from the S9.

S10 specs

First photos of the Samsung S10

Here’s the S10

The S10 introduction has come hot on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. But what does it bring to the table? Read Matthew Field’s guide to the new devices to find out more.

Forget the £1,000 smartphone.

“Samsung just announced the price of the fold – $1,980 and up – and the crowd here literally went ‘ooooooooh'” like a pantomime,” says James Titcomb.

The era for smartphone innovation is not over

DJ Koh Samsung presents the Galaxy Fold.

Samsung chief executive DJ Koh said that the company will prove critics wrong with the lineup of products and services launched this evening. He said:

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the Smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market, we are here to prove them wrong”

“Today marks a new beginning, a shift.

“The next decade of progress and innovation. I am excited by what we have achieved, but I am even more excited by what we have enabled.”

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Price and availability

The new device will cost $1,980 (£1,516) and will be available from April 26.

Six cameras, but kind of clunky

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Galaxy Fold: the specs

The new Galaxy Fold has a 9nm processor and 12GB of RAM, making it one of the most powerful smartphones on the market (and ever). It has 512GB of on board memory. Because the phone folds up like a tablet from essentially two “smartphone” bodies, it has a dual battery, one in each side of the device that link together.

Samsung has claimed that the Galaxy Fold will fit in the palm of the hand when it’s folded.

Galaxy Fold, revealed

It’s here – within a couple of minutes of the launch, we’ve seen the first official photo of the foldable phone. The first official description is “It’s gorgeous”.

Samsung has called the new device part of a “whole new category” and confirmed the name: Samsung Galaxy Fold – with a 7.3-inch folding infinity display that folds the phone out into a tablet.

Samsung says it has invented a whole new hinge system with “multiple interlocking gears” that are hidden away.

And… here we go

It’s kicked off in San Francisco, with some distinctly creepy music. It looks like they are starting with the folding phone…

Watch it live here

The expert’s take

We’ve been stuck in a camera race, Peter Jarich of analyst firm GSMA Intelligence argues, as smartphone makers have struggled to stand out with a “series of black rectangles”.

“If you’re trying to convince people to buy, then foldable is the way to go, ” he says. “This is all taking place at the same time as 5G. Will this have 5G? Doubtful.”

Could Samsung launch the iPhone killer?

Samsung’s launch today could provide the smartphone market with a much-needed jolt this year. In January, Samsung was forced to issue a profit warning as sales fell 11pc and profits dropped dropped 29pc on the back of slowing phone and chip sales; just days after Apple chopped its sales forecast due to an economic slowdown.

So can the S10, a foldable phone or a 5G device turn the tide? One market analyst told us this evening that the smartphone market is so competitive that Samsung can’t afford not to try.  “What if this were the next big thing and they missed out on it?”

Live from San Francisco

James Ticomb (@jamestitcomb) is up and running from the launch in San Francisco. First thoughts?

“Samsung has to pull off the trick of convincing us that the S10 matters and is worth buying, and that phones these days are so boring that you need one that folds in half.”

View image on Twitter

A folding phone is on the cards

Rumours ahead of the launch included a foldable phone, nicknamed Samsung Galaxy X or Galaxy F (for fold), which was teased back in November. It would be a first for the technology company and could be a game-changer in the smartphone market.

Why foldable phones are the next big thing

But that’s not all. Several rivals are rumoured to be launching 5G smartphones at Mobile World Congress next month, which could prompt Samsung to release a rival product today.

Here’s what we know so far

Samsung’s main new phone tonight is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S10. It is due to feature some “very significant” design changes, according to Samsung’s mobile chief executive DJ Koh. You can read all the rumours here – but we’re expecting more cameras, more memory and a larger display.

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Business

Mercedes-Benz sells 180,539 vehicles, January

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Mercedes-Benz delivered 180,539 vehicles to its customers worldwide in January (-6.7%).

The second-best start to a year for sales was influenced by important model changes in the high-volume SUV and compact-car segments.

In particular, the model change of the B-Class, CLA and GLE, each with a double-digit sales decrease, had a negative impact on total unit sales worldwide despite the ongoing high demand for the cars with the star insignia.

From today’s perspective, the company expects the model changes to affect deliveries in the first quarter.

With a high degree of probability, the full year will be affected also by exogenous challenges and geopolitical risks, the company announces in its global sale report for January.

A member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz cars marketing and sales, Britta Seeger, said “With more than 180,000 vehicles delivered, Mercedes-Benz has started the year 2019 with the second-best January ever”.

“With the B-Class, the CLA and the GLE, we look forward in the coming months to the new generations of models very popular with our customers and expect the model offensive in our high-volume segments to provide significant sales impetus”.

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