Monday, September 24, 2018

Increasing Productivity- Jeff Bezos Style

It’s no secret that Amazon is a giant success… But how did Jeff Bezos manage to grow the company to where it is today? As the world’s richest person and CEO of Amazon, he has had his share of success. Bezos gave some insight into his business tactics recently when he disclosed his three key productivity tips. While we may not all reach Bezos’ level of success, we can all apply these tips to further advancement in our own careers.  

 1. He gets plenty of sleep. Studies have shown for years that good sleep "helps us to think clearly, remember information, and make decisions," according to The National Sleep Foundation. "When we don't get enough quality sleep, it impairs our 'executive function'--a set of abilities we need to do well in school, at work, and in all realms of daily life."
Bezos is a believer. He goes to bed early and makes sure he gets eight hours of sleep. "I think better, I have more energy, my mood's better," he said.
2. He doesn't schedule meetings before 10 a.m. Unlike high-powered executives who start at dawn, Bezos says he likes to "putter" in the morning--reading the newspaper, drinking a cup of coffee and eating breakfast with his children.
That may seem like wasting time, but Bezos is actually gearing up for the day. As Laura Vanderkam writes in Fast Company, too many morning meetings can be viewed as an opportunity cost--yes, you've checked that meeting off your list, but you could be using your time for more productive work. "Researchers with Johnson & Johnson that measured people's energy levels throughout the day found we hit our peak right at 8 a.m.," explains Vanderkam. "That is game time. We are ready to execute. But an 8 a.m. meeting supplants a time you would have been motivated to start something big."
For Bezos, the strategy is to schedule "high IQ" meetings starting at 10 a.m. and ending at lunch.
3. He makes just a few decisions a day. As a senior executive, Bezos says that his primary job is to make a small number of high-quality decisions. "If I have three good decisions a day, that's enough," he said. "They should just be as high quality as I can make them."
That doesn't mean that Bezos makes decisions slowly. In fact, as he wrote in his 2017 letter to shareholders, Bezos believes that for a company to maintain the energy and dynamism of a start-up, "you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organizations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business--plus a high-velocity decision making environment is more fun, too."
So Bezos works to make a few crucial decisions that will keep Amazon--and his other ventures--moving ahead. "Even though Amazon is a large company, I want it to have the heart and spirit of a small one," he said.

Monday, September 10, 2018

"Per my last email..." And Other Phrases to Never Use

Have you ever received a reply to an email asking you to clarify a detail you explained in your original email? Or maybe you've been stuck waiting for a reply to a time sensitive email? While it may be all too easy to reply to these emails with passive aggressive comments such as “per my last email” or "did you receive my email?", it’s important to take a step back- after all, you’ve probably been guilty of the same behavior in the past. Check out Inc’s guide to improving your emotional intelligence- and patience- below:

1. Your cold email was totally impersonal and irrelevant.
You may be in a position in which you have to cold email people for work. That's fine. But make sure the emails you send are really compelling and captivating. Otherwise, you can expect to get a lot of radio silence -- which is a loud and clear message the recipients aren't interested.
Remember, from important work emails to spam-y marketing emails, the email bombardment never stops. Your recipients can't reply to every single one. So make sure to personalize your email. Sending the same blanket email to 100 people is a sure-fire way to get ignored.
Oh, and a super-duper important tip: Triple check the recipient's name before hitting Send. Yes, I definitely saw your last email. But you didn't just spell my name wrong. You used someone else's name entirely because you're copying and pasting the same message to 100 people. If you didn't take the time to get my name right, why should I take the time to reply? Ignore.

2. You're being passive aggressive.
"Not sure if you saw my last email" is the digital version of the passive-aggressive note posted above the break room sink about washing your dirty dishes.
Yes, they probably saw it. Reminding them of it is not going to make the situation any better. Take a page out of Mark Cuban's book and just get to the point. Keep the email brief and tell them what you need and why. For example, if you're waiting on them for a decision and you have a deadline, let the person know. Don't expect them to be a mind reader.

3. You're potentially being disrespectful of your recipient's time.
How long has your email been sitting in this person's inbox? A day? Maybe two? Remember, not every email demands an instant reply. So following up 24 hours later to ask if they got your last email might not be necessary. Give them a chance to reply first!
And on that note of respecting people's time, was the request in your last email clear? If you're prone to writing emails several paragraphs long, that could be part of the problem. People might be ignoring your emails because they don't have the energy or time to wade through the epic novels you send.
And while you may be writing your emails on your computer, it's likely that people are checking them on their phone. The Adobe survey found that more employees are checking emails on their smartphones compared with last year.
Your long-winded emails feel even longer on a tiny screen. Reread your emails before sending and see if you can slim them down.

4. Email might not be the right medium.
If this is someone you work closely with but can never seem to get a reply, consider a different medium. Maybe this isn't the ideal way to get in front of this person. Consider that they might be overwhelmed by their inbox. It's entirely possible they didn't see your last email because there are hundreds of others demanding their attention.
Perhaps scheduling a regular one-on-one meeting with this person every week could be more productive. Even if it's just for 30 minutes, you can quickly run through all your requests when you have their undivided attention.
Don't beat yourself up too much if you've recently used this phrase. "Not sure if you saw my last email" is simply a symptom that we all send -- and receive -- too much email! But you still want to stay on people's good sides. So it's wise to try to phase it out and improve how you craft your emails.