5 Steps to Conquering Email Overload

Conquer email overload

If you’re like me, you can check your email, go into a meeting, and come out to find 30 new emails in your inbox. And, for me, it used to be worse.  That is, until I realized the direct correlation between the fullness of my inbox and my daily stress level.

A former boss once told me that a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.  The same definitely goes for a cluttered inbox.

So, how can you beat email overload?  Here are five tips that have helped me in a big way. Continue reading “5 Steps to Conquering Email Overload”

App Review: Morning

Morning app review

One of the newest in a growing line of mobile productivity apps is Morning (by Tamper) for iPad. Billed as an app designed “to make your routine easier than ever before,” I loaded it on our iPad mini to check it out.

My first reaction? Nice, simple, and clean.  As you can see from the screenshot above, it’s mean to be a simple morning dashboard where you can quickly view your to-dos, the time, some news, the weather and your favorite stock picks.

The Good:

  • As I wrote above, it’s nice, simple and clean. 
  • The ability to pick a variety of different colors for the dashboard is nice.
  • For someone, like me, who likes to focus on 2-4 key priorities each day (rather than an endless and growing to-do list), the “reminders” panel is perfect for a quick glance and “check off” of those priorities.

The Bad:

  • The app developers write that, “with 8 customizable panels, the possibilities are endless.”  But, in reality, it isn’t that customizable. It’s rather limited.
  • For example, as of now, the reminders panel is only able to pull from your iOS “Reminders” app. I would’ve preferred the ability to choose from a variety of to-do apps, such as Google Tasks or (this would be excellent, though I’m sure complicated to develop) from a to-do list in Springpad or Evernote.
  • I don’t have any favorite stocks that I watch on a daily (or even yearly) basis, so that panel is useless to me.  But there’s nothing else with which to replace it, so I’m stuck looking at stocks every morning.
  • The news panel is customizable, in so far as I can enter various news Web sites and select how many stories I’d like to be delivered. However, you can’t click on the summaries or headlines to view the full stories. It would also be nice to be able to share the stories (via social, email, etc.)

Summary:

I can’t help but feel that this app is a Google Now-wannabee.  There’s nothing wrong with that — but this app is much more static, simple and limited than Google Now. To be sure, Google Now isn’t perfect, but it’s ability to send me predictive updates based on my recent search history, my calendar, and even my airline reservations, puts it way ahead of Morning.

I think Morning could be made much better with some of the basic tweaks I mentioned previously.  For now, I don’t think the app is worth the $3 entry fee.

Part of the problem is that I’d really like a dashboard for my iPad that is more like … well … my Android phone.  That is, the ability to add helpful widgets that allow me to glimpse at my calendar, the weather, my latest text messages or calls — without having to open up an app.

But that’s the topic of a separate, future blog post.

Picture of the Week: Sunrise on the Folly River

As part of my Morning Ritual, I love to spend some time near water first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s the beach, sometimes it’s near the river.  As I previously posted, having a morning ritual (rather than rolling out of bed into a sea of email and conference calls) is vital to improving your mental health — and your daily productivity.

Here’s a nice picture to start off your week — the sun rising over the Folly River in Folly Beach, SC:

Sunrise on the Folly River