Monday, December 23
Wednesday, December 18
Point-and-shoot may be okay for a group shot at a historical monument, but illustrating your item for sale is a whole different idea. Whether you’re using a smartphone or a digital camera to capture your the images of your item, there are some basic photographic guidelines can give you better results:
- Do avoid getting yourself in the photo by shooting your pictures from an angle (see photo). If you see your reflection in the item, move and try again.
- Do forget about fancy backgrounds; they distract viewers from your item. Put small items on a neutral-colored, nonreflective towel or cloth; put larger items in front of a neutral-colored wall or curtain. You’ll crop out almost all the background when you prepare the picture before uploading the image to eBay.
- Do avoid getting yourself in the photo by shooting your pictures from an angle. If you see your reflection in the item, move and try again .For an embarassing see below.
- Do use extra lighting. You can do this with your camera’s flash mode or (even better) with extra photo lighting. Use extra lighting, even when you’re taking the picture outside. The extra lighting acts as fill light — it adds more light to the item, filling in some of the shadowed spots.
- Do us a photo tent or a Cloud Dome (or their new Nimbus Dome for use with smartphones) when shooting pictures of jewelery or collectible merchandise. These devices diffuse the light and allow the details and proper colors to shine.
- Do remember that eBay requires the images must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side. Adjust your camera so you get the largest representaion of your item.
- Do take several acceptable versions of your image. You can choose the best ones later for your listing.
- Do take a close-up or two of detailed areas in macro mode that you want buyers to see (in addition to wide shots of the entire item) if your item relies on detail.
- Do make sure that the items are clean. Cellophane on boxes can get nasty-looking, clothing can get linty, and all merchandise can get dirt smudges. Not only will your items photograph better if they’re clean, they’ll sell better, too.
- Do make sure that you focus the camera; nothing is worse than a blurry picture. If your camera is a fixed-focus model (it can’t be adjusted), get only as close as the manufacturer recommends. Automatic-focus cameras measure the distance and change the lens setting as needed. But just because a camera has an autofocus feature doesn’t mean that pictures automatically come out crisp and clear.
Tuesday, October 1
Millennials may also be known as the Gen Y preceded by Generation Next, this group is the largest consumer market since the Baby Boomers. They are the approximately 80 million individuals born between 1977 and 1995 to possibly the early 2000s who grew up with the Internet. Although generations generally span twenty years, some demographic definers suggest the actual dates are 1975 to 2000, while others suggest a time frame of 1985 to 2005. Advertising Age, the influential magazine for advertising, marketing and media professionals coined the term “Gen Y” in 1993 targeting late X-ers born between 1974 and 1980-- so these are truly children of the advertising era. Having been raised in the 1990s, their parents worked extra hard to strike a balance between work and family after the workaholic atmosphere of the ’80s.
Generation Y comprises the children of the Boomers, and is sometimes called “Echo Boomers” since their large numbers are due to the fact that the huge parental cohort chose to reproduce at this time. This generation has an estimated 80 million members and has finally eclipsed the last birth explosion of 78.2 million Baby Boomers.
Members of Generation Y have been influenced by their parents to value education. They’ve worked several part-time jobs and already know what they want from their careers once they reach the marketplace. To Gen Y, technology is a fait accompli. They’re aware of every up-and-coming trend and are the first to embrace or reject it. The spontaneity of the Internet keeps them ahead of most businesses; for instance, they seem to know what their favorite stars are wearing almost before the designers and retailers do. To this cohort, online customer service is crucial to their decision making as they have the experience to research one company over another; benefits such as expedited shipping and generous return policies rank high. They’re style-conscious, tech-savvy, and "prematurely affluent" due to their boomer parents’ prosperity. Millennials appreciate when entertainment is part of the message they receive from retailers. Retro themes are very popular in this group -- even reflecting times as recent as the ‘80s.
Online marketing expert Kelly Mooney, in a 2006 study, found that while Gen Y’s are “self-expressive, confident and optimistic, they are also assimilative, risk averse and rarely make a purchase decision without consulting their peer networks. Just like Boomers, they have strong opinions, but more so than Boomers, they feel compelled to share their opinions with their massive peer networks.”Authenticity and transparency in the way you do business is important to this group. Their interpretation of how things should be done gives them the innate talent to sniff out sleazy sales techniques. Give them community to share with their peers instead of marketing at them.
According to Ken Gronback, author of The Age Curve: How to profit From the Coming Demographic Storm, “Gen Y is already consuming at 500% of the level of their Boomer parents age for age in adjusted dollars.” In other words, this generation may just become the largest spenders in history.
However, the perception of entitlement issue rears its ugly head with this group. They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Trophy Generation’, which reflects a current trend in children’s competitive sports -- as well as in many other aspects of their lives -- where “no one loses” and everyone gets a trophy to promote the sense that they’ve all done well. Many in this cohort are the aforementioned “boomerang” generation; delaying the transition of passing into adulthood by living at home.
Members of this generation tend to want lots of attention and have the need to feel “special.” If you approach this crowd with “what you can do for them” and offer a community with spontaneity, you’re got their attention.
Friday, September 6
- Uplaod a profile photo: Click the pen icon in the corner of the square next to your user ID. The page will prompt you to upload your profile image. Choose a profile photo that portrays you and your personality. There are no set requirements for size at this point, so I suggest using a close to square headshot. If you do not select a headshot, your face might be too small for folks to see.
- Cover Photo: Just like Facebook,you may upload a photo for the top of your page. Keep inmind that text covers a good deal or the cover photo, so don’t select a picture where the most important spot is at the bottom. When selecting (or cropping) for use as a cover photo, keep in mind eBay’s recommended 1200 pixels x 270 pixels size for best viewing. Also eBay prefers they be smaller than 5MB in size.
- Add Content: Here you have 250 characters to talk about yourself, your business or the items you enjoy selling or buying.
Thursday, August 22
Thursday, August 8
As an online writer -which YOU are- it's your duty to develop content that attracts people and make them want to share. A short (emphasis on the word short) video review can tell a story and be fun to watch. Check the example below posted by +John Lawson for my newly published eBay Business All-in-One For Dummies which he posted yesterday during his Google Hangout. It's a fun take on a serious title.
I hope, if you took the 3 minutes to watch the review, you might want to click the link above and buy my book. Its for any eBay seller, or e-Commerce business who wants to ramp up to professional grade. I'm sure it will give you enough tips to justify the purchase.
Saturday, July 27
For more quick video tips, please stop by my website.
Friday, May 31
Tuesday, May 21
There are several ways to leave feedback for a seller:
- If you’re on the transaction page, click the Leave Feedback link; the Leave Feedback page appears.
- In the Purchase History area of your My eBay page, click the Leave Feedback link next to the transaction.
- In the Feedback Forum, click the Leave Feedback link to see a list of all your completed auctions from the last 60 days for which you haven’t left feedback.
- On your My eBay page, scroll down and on the left side you will see your purchase history. Click there to find the item that's just arrived. Under Actions to the right of the item, you will see a Leave Feedback link, which will take you to the Feedback page.
- Click the Community-->Announcements link, in the main navigation bar, and then click eBay Feedback Forum. On the next page that appears, click the Leave Feedback link.
- Enter the required information.
Note that your item number is usually filled in, but if you’re placing feedback from the user’s feedback page, you need to have the number at hand.
- Choose whether you want your feedback to be positive, negative, or neutral.
- Type your feedback comment.
- Fill in your star ratings by clicking the stars next to the questions (see further on, "Giving Detailed Star Ratings Properly ").
If you decide that the seller’s description was inaccurate, you will have to explain why by clicking next to the explanations that appear
- Click the Leave Feedback button
To see the rest of the tips (and my personal take on the eBay Star ratings) please click visit the article on my website.
Wednesday, May 15
Facebook gives you options to adding your mood (or activity) – to your own posts – or to comments you write on your friend’s content. Below are keystrokes you can use to form emoji, and further on I show you how to use Facebook's new mood and activities emoticons within your own posts
When you’re commenting, or in chat, you can type in these characters to add punch to your words:
Tuesday, May 7
|Press This||Firefox Will|
|Backspace||Go to the previous page you’ve viewed|
|Ctrl + O||Open files from your computer in the browser|
|F5||Refresh current page|
|Ctrl + B||View or search your bookmarks in sidebar|
|Ctrl + T||New Tab|
|Ctrl + N||New Window|
|Ctrl + Shift + T||Undo Previously Closed Tab (oops command)|
|Ctrln + H||View or search your History in a sidebar|
|Ctrl + U||View Page source (to study HTML)|
|F11||Display full-screen, reducing the amount of icons and stuff displayed|
|Esc||Stop loading the current page|
|Ctrl + P||Print the page|
|Ctrl + S||Save the current page to a file on your computer|
|Ctrl + F||Find an occurrence of a word on a webpage|
|Ctrl and + or Ctrl and -||Enlarge or reduce the text on the screen (Zoom)|
|Ctrl + 0||Return to default browser text size|
View more in the full post at Cool eBay Tools
Sunday, April 28
Posterous, was acquired by Twitter a while ago and Twitter decided to shut Posterous down as of April 30.
Everyone with a blog on Posterous has to move it to another platform. I imagine most people with a Posterous blog moved their stuff to another platform a while ago, but I'm one of those "last minute" kind of people.
Unfortunately I won't be able to take my current subscriber list with me, so if you want to stay in the loop and continue to get interesting content about how to maximize your online endeavors, please consider subscribing to my main blog, Marsha Collier's Musings, online since 2004. It will incorporate the Posterous posts, as well as future ...um ...musings.
In a few weeks, the blog will be incorporated into the latest iteration of Cool eBay Tools. A site a I founded in 1999, which now includes articles tools and tip that encompass eCommerce, Social Media, Customer Service ...and of course, succeeding on eBay.
Thank you all for tuning into my Posterous blog over the last two years. See you on the other, brand spanking new side!
Image credit: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo
Monday, April 15
Need a little weekend reading? We’ve compiled our top ten Twitter stories of the week, which includes the late Roger Ebert’s 8 rules for using Twitter, 5 ways that social media content is evolving for brands, news that men are far more likely that women to use social media whilst on the toilet (or drunk), how small business are using social media (and what they might be doing wrong) and a look at the many hats of a community manager.
Here are our top 10 Twitter stories of the week.
1. Roger Ebert’s 8 Rules For Using Twitter
Much-loved film critic Roger Ebert died on Thursday after a long battle with thyroid cancer. Surgery in 2006 had left him unable to speak, but he continued to be a prominent user of social media, and Twitter was a particular favourite. Indeed, after some initial resistance, with Ebert proclaiming that he would “never become a Twit” and that Twitter represented “the end of civilisation”, he would go on to write more than 30,000 tweets before his death.
2. 5 Ways Social Media Content is Rapidly Evolving For Brands
Anyone working in social media marketing appreciates the unique challenges of attempting to budget and plan for the upcoming year’s social media strategy. How can we know the type and level of resources we’ll need to be successful when the mix of social content is evolving so quickly? And when most social marketers have only recently secured budgets commensurate with the amount of time and resources required to succeed in social media marketing, how do we stay ahead of emerging trends in 2013? Did we know we’d need a Pinterest budget a year ago? Probably. Do we need a Vine budget today? Probably not.
Read More on MediaBistro
(Twitter image via Shutterstock.)
Tuesday, March 26
- +Carla Saavedra Kochalski "Manager of Social Media & Digital Content for Samsung Mobile USA's Customer Care Team" - but in reality a very talented young woman who truly "gets' the customer and can apply balance to social media custiomer service. She's been a driving force in enterprise-level social media strategy since 2010.
- +Bianca Buckridee "Social Media Operations Manager @ChaseSupport" American Banker Magazine said: "She has a thousand-watt smail that never seems to sitch off and a sunny personality that has surely servived her well on the front lines of customer service." She grasped the value of customer social media comments as early as 2009, and has been on a mission to perfect the outreach ever since.
- +Brooks Thomas "Southwest Air: Emerging Media. A journalist who's defined "emerging media for his brand. He personalizes the airline's blog with words like, "I know how your morning went down. Your synchronized yawn-and-stretch routine happened as it always does. You almost tripped on a Tonka truck on your way to the bathroom. You groggily stumbled down..." Customers can related to a brand through his words.
Our Powerpoint - thanks to +Bianca Buckridee ...
Thursday, March 14
The crowd responded with a ton of Tweets including comments, quotes and links that carried actionable insights. Before I post the deck online, I thought I'd share this valuable collection
The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with Your Customers to Sell More (Google Affiliate Ad)
Wednesday, March 6
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers and found just 9 percent of the sample group said same-day delivery is a top factor that would improve their online shopping experience, while 74 percent cited free delivery and 50 percent cited lower prices.
EBay, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, and many other retailers are beginning to offer the same-day delivery option to consumers in selected markets. These retailers face growing pressure from Amazon.com, which has been offering same-day delivery of selected items in certain cities since 2009.
The survey did find that “affluent millennials”—ages 18 to 34 and with a household income exceeding $150,000—who live in urban areas might be an attractive market for same-day delivery. While these consumers make up only 2 percent of the market, their online spending is about two times more than that of the average U.S. consumer.
BCG suggests that retailers should offer same-day delivery for only a select number of products that are small and light and that carry high margins. Electronics, office supplies, and apparel are likely candidates.
“Same-day delivery will be a niche service in the near future,” Rob Souza, a partner at BCG, said in a release. “Retailers may choose to offer it to build customer loyalty, enhance brand awareness, or keep up with the competition. But it is unlikely to generate significant revenues for either retailers or carriers.”
Affluent millennials are willing to pay up to $10 to receive a delivery the same day, according to the survey, while other consumers are likely to pay up to $6, less than the fee charged by most retailers today. At those rates, same-day delivery would generate between $425 million and $850 million annually in delivery revenues if—as the consumer survey data suggest—up to 2 percent of online orders are fulfilled on the day of purchase.
Despite the relatively modest levels of anticipated revenue, several startups, such as Shutl, Zipments, Instacart, and Postmates, have flocked to the space, and established carriers, such as the U.S. Postal Service and Federal Express, are also running tests.
New York and San Francisco, densely populated cities, are the sites of many of these tests. BCG’s analysis suggests that Boston and Washington, which have large shares of affluent millennials and population densities similar to other U.S. cities, would be more promising places to test national acceptance of same-day delivery.
BCG fielded the survey in November, eliciting a sample that was representative of the U.S. population in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, and household income.
BCG is a global management consulting firm.
Saturday, February 23
The web can be a pretty cold place when it comes to selling. As customers, it's tough to see through a sales pitch and feel the love for a product or brand. That's the reason why websites need to have comprehensive 'About Us' and Frequently Asked Questions pages. The very best About Us pages tell stories about the people behind the business. The FAQs should be written in an engaging manner - not just filled with techno-fluff and acronyms. Friendly word phrasing is important; just as important as the visual impact of a picture.
If you've heard me speak, you've no doubt heard "post enough pictures to tell the story as if there were no description, and write your description as if there were no pictures." By doing so, the pictures can appeal to those who have a visual learning style and provide equal punch to those of a verbal bent who get far more out of words.
Stories and anecdotes can create just as much magnetism as a dazzling seventy-five year art provenance. Words. When phrased well they speak to people - and carry your message.
Building trust goes a long way to nurture long term customers. One of the best ways to build trust is to tell stories.
blog, I came across SlideShare deck below produced by the Hoffman Agency: “The Return of Storytelling vs. Corporate Speak,” which shares some of the science and anecdotal evidence on why storytelling works. It's well worth the time to take a couple of minutes and enjoy the message.
Tuesday, February 19
Mind you, I enjoy being invited to events that are relevant to my work, but the Google+ invitations are more than invitations. Just about anyone, even if you are not in their circles (or they in yours) can reserve space on your personal calendar.
The settings to prevent this are not obvious (one would think you'd find them under the Calender tab, but no), so I thought I'd share...
- Go to your Google calendar https://www.google.com/calendar/render?tab=mc
- On the far right of the calendar, you will see a cog icon next to the word More. Clicking the cog will open a drop-down menu
- Scroll down the page until you find the following words"Show events you have declined" as shown below
- Click your mouse in the three radio buttons indicated in my screen shot. In essence, what this does is by selecting no, you will no longer see any events on your personal calendar except for those to which you've responded yes.
Thanks to +Kelly Lux for inspiring this post!
Monday, February 11
In an exclusive interview with MSNBC's Craig Melvin, Postmaster General of the United States Patrick Donahoe talks about the future of the U.S. Postal Service;and says the organization will soon start delivering packages on Sundays.
"Here is what we are doing. the reason we are delivering packages on saturday is because package growth is booming. 14% up in the last two years. 17% christmas this year. year over year. big, big growth in fact, you will see in some areas we will be delivering packages on Sunday starting soon. That is a big innovation. the other thing that you see, is the world of secure and secure digital messages. We are getting into that, people tell us, the same thing you can do from a hard copy, sealed against inspection, we need that in the digital, e-mail world. there's a lot on the table. we have to get the negative finance behind us in the rear view mirror so we can focus on growth."
Thursday, January 24
I had to shake my head, as I knew I hadn't used this email address in years. I examined the email. In the area where eBay would insert the User ID of the buyer, was a series of numbers. Hmmm, strange ID. I try to check out the headers to see if the email came from eBay. This is close to impossible to do on the phone, so I examined the links - and indeed the email did seem authentic.
Within a few hours, an invoice was sent to the same email address, addressed "Dear 2679302013" with my name appearing at the top of the email.
The customer service representative (working from eBay's Salt Lake City hub) answered the call and listened to my tale of woe. I had forgtten several things:
- eBay keeps all the data user's input when you sign up for an account
- IP addresses are attached to transactions
- eBay sends out an email upon opening an account
Lesson learned? If you have old email accounts, be sure to check them regularly. If I would have followed my own advice, I might have noticed the initial registration email that came from eBay (sent 2 days after the user registered the bogus account) welcoming me to the site. I sincerely wonder why eBay no longer requires an email address confirmation from those who open an account. If they'd have, the user would not have been able to make a fraudulent purchase - as I'd not confirmed the authenticity of the address.
I recommend in my books to let brands know when they have done something right; when you are pleased with their service. (They must get so sick of social media complaints, that a compliment usually brightens their day, and the reply with a "thank you." So next morning, I used Twitter to thank @eBay (and @AskeBay) for their CSR's excellent service. All I got back was the sound of crickets - no response.
Saturday, January 19
The world’s largest social network making waves with launch of a new tool called Graph Search.The tool essentially allows people to discover information based on data that Facebook has collected from its users over time. For example, someone could use Graph Search to discover information such as “restaurants in Chicago that my friends like” or “photos of me that I liked.”
While Graph Search is currently in a limited beta release, the tool seems to improve the social network’s lackluster search bar, which previously only allowed users to search for people or pages on the social network. Moreover, Graph Search has the potential to impact businesses on Facebook. Discover five things you should know about Graph Search below:
1. Likes MatterFacebook Likes are now more important than ever, especially for businesses. According to a Facebook blog post, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about businesses on Facebook. This is because the search results are based on Facebook’s robust database, which includes information that has been shared by businesses and individuals alike. That being said, businesses with a large fan base will be more likely to turn up in searches for phrases like “restaurants in Chicago that my friends like.”
2. Engagement is KeyAside from obtaining likes, businesses should focus on maintaining an engaging Page that includes quality interactions with fans. Since the search results are based on information that has been shared by businesses and individuals, interactions between a business and their fans can help the business score higher in the search results. Furthermore, Graph Search also makes interactions like check-ins even more important, because users could potentially search for phrases like “Places in Los Angeles that my friends have been to.”
3. Invest in your PageFacebook’s blog post states that the best thing businesses can do for their Page is to continue to invest in it and make sure that it is complete and up-to-date. Items like the name, category, vanity URL and information within the “About” section of a business Page can help make it easier for people to find the business on Facebook. Additionally, Page owners should make sure that their business’s address is correct because this information could help someone discover a local business when they are searching for places in a specific location.
4. There are No Graph Search Ad Formats…YetAs Graph Search becomes more widely available, so will the speculation of a new ad format from Facebook. However, the social network confirmed in their blog post that there are currently no new ad formats available for Graph Search. However, it is important to note that Pages and apps can still use the Sponsored Results ad format to show up in the search results for all Facebook users, whether they have Graph Search or not.
5. Sign Up to Try ItGraph Search is currently in a limited beta release, which means that you must sign up for a waitlist to gain access to this tool. According to Facebook, the rollout of Graph Search will be gradual, starting with a very small number of users. This means that the company is still working out some of the bugs in order to provide the best search results possible to its users before the tool is available to everyone.
Original Post by Allison Howen
Thursday, January 17
While “the cloud” may be the tech buzzword of the year, many Americans remain foggy about what the cloud really is and how it works. A national survey by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Citrix, showed that most respondents believe the cloud is related to weather, while some referred to pillows, drugs and toilet paper. Those in the know claim working from home in their “birthday suit” is the cloud’s greatest advantage. The good news is that even those that don’t know exactly what the cloud is recognize its economic benefits and think the cloud is a catalyst for small business growth.
- 95% of those who think they’re not using the cloud, actually are
- 3 in 5 (59%) believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud
- 40% believe accessing work information at home in their “birthday suit” would be an advantage
- More than 1/3 agree that the cloud allows them to share information with people they’d rather not be interacting with in person
- After being provided with the definition of the cloud, 68% recognized its economic benefits
- 14% have pretended to know what the cloud is during a job interview
Tuesday, January 15
- Parcel Post® is now called Standard Post and is ONLY available at the retail counter. (Parcel Select is a comparable mail class for Endicia customers)
- First-Class Mail International Parcel is now called First Class Package International Service.
- International Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation® will now be available, and FREE, for First-Class Package International Service and select Priority Mail International packages (only on shipments to Canada, 19 countries to be added in April 2013)
- Express Mail International Flat Rate Envelope weight limit has been reduced from 20 lbs to 4 lbs
- Express Mail International now includes the first $200 of USPS insurance
- Optional expedited delivery of USPS packaging is available for $2.50
- Commercial Base discounts are growing in 2013.
- First-Class Mail 1 ounce stamp is increasing by $0.01 to $0.46.
Tuesday, January 1
Most people I know share a common complaint - too many emails! However, I observe many people creating extra work for themselves in their haste to plow through it all. The results include miscommunication, slow response times, and even more emails!
I'm generally on top of my emails and my inbox only contains the current day's messages. I doubt I'm any less busy than the average person, but I do follow a few simple tips.
- Think before you "Reply All"
A boatload of our extra email comes from people hitting the "Reply All" button, even when "All" of us don't need to see the message. Only use this feature when necessary.
- CC and BCC cautiously
A close cousin of the "Reply All" problem is the CC and BCC. Copy someone who doesn't need to be copied and you risk having them add more unnecessary emails to your inbox.
- Read carefully before responding
A lot of unnecessary email traffic comes from people sending partial responses to emails. In their haste to reply, they may miss a key detail. For example, I recently emailed a friend who invited me over for dinner to let her know I was available on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I asked her to choose the day that worked best for her and her husband. She replied, "We can't do Friday, but we can do Saturday or Sunday." Ugh - now I have to send a second message and she'll no doubt send a reply. Two additional emails would have been avoided if she had simply selected the day that worked best for her.
- Write concise but thorough messages
Think of a question your recipient may have about your email and include the answer in your message. A short, well-written email leads to less back and forth which ultimately reduces your email load.
- Describe what you want in the first paragraph
Make it easy for your recipient to understand what you are looking for. Put any request for action or information in the first paragraph of your message so it won't be missed.
- Email isn't for conversations
Look at the messages in your inbox and see how many are from the same conversation. Do you need to discuss something with a colleague? Pick up the phone and knock it out.
- Write descriptive subject lines
The subject line should give the reader a clear idea of what the message is about so he or she can determine how quickly to read it. A descriptive subject line also reinforces what you are asking the reader to do.
- Set rules to automate email management
Outlook and many other popular email programs let you set rules to automatically manage certain types of emails. For example, you can have all your email newsletters automatically routed to a "Reading" folder that you can check once or twice a week. This unclutters your email box and allows you to get to those lower priority items when you have a free moment.
- Use one program to manage all your email addresses
Many of us have multiple email addresses, but that doesn't mean we can't get all our messages in one place. This allows you to manage just one email inbox instead of several. I have rules set up in Outlook that route messages sent to my secondary email addresses to special folders so they don't get mixed in with messages sent to my primary account.
- Check email only a few times per day
Constantly checking your email every time a message arrives is a huge distraction and productivity drain. Instead, set aside blocks of time to focus on email and power through your messages. Force yourself to make a decision about each message (respond, file, or delete) rather than just leaving it sitting in your inbox for later. You'll find this approach allows you to write better messages, get fewer responses in return, and dramatically reduce the number of emails in your inbox.