Even before the pandemic hit, an email glut post a holiday and work-related phone calls during a weekend were a very real prospect for busy executives all over the world. The pandemic has blurred the line between work and life even further and cluttered our inboxes and our Mindspace with non-stop reminders about deadlines. A recent Timbre podcast addressed this issue of the never-ending threads of communication that keep us tied even when we are supposed to be not working.

Living off the grid may not be a practical idea for everyone, however as the podcast suggested, we can all read up on ideas simplifying internal andexternal communication, learn about the negative side effects of an overworked brain and manage personal time and company time better. Timbre Media

Here are some of the suggestions that the Timbre podcast gave to not get overwhelmed by the barrage of notifications that seem to have become the order of the day.

Acknowledge the problem

As Timbre said, it is not normal to never have a moment away from your phone or laptop. Learn to demarcate work time and leisure time by managing both efficiently because if you don’t, your mental and physical health will suffer. Information and communication overload is bad for your health so mark irrelevant posts as spam and answer the ones that need attention during work hours. Mute notifications post-work hours and if you are habitually required to be available after a workday, request a mental health break because most companies, including Timbre, are sensitive to the individual needs of their employees. Figure out what is causing the most amount of stress to you on a daily basis and address the issue because chronic stress can lower immunity, and even lead to high blood pressure and increase episodes of anxiety and depression. Work-life balance is possible to achieve so work towards it.

Constant multitasking isn’t healthy

Burn-outs occur when we don’t stop working or thinking. Plan your day to include device-free time when you are not checking your email or answering phone calls. As Timbre pointed out, even employers are realizing that productivity levels decrease when employees are made to keep aside big chunks of time to only discuss work rather than to actually get on with work.

Team managers are now thinking about how employees can do more inless time rather than spend most of their time answering calls and responding to emails. Streamlining internal communication is now an essential aspect of company productivity. Unclear instructions, needless updates and meetings without goal setting, actionable takeaways, and a clear purpose are time gobblers that neither companies nor employees benefit from.

Simplify, simplify

One way to limit stress while communicating internally is to not bury others under multiple attachments, excel sheets, and complicated processes when a simple email or group message can serve the same purpose and save time, says Timbre.

The cardinal rule of effective communication is clarity and many a time, those you are communicating with will respond with quick responsiveness if they know what is expected of them, by when, and in which format.

On their part, employees can make it a point to answer important emails when they receive them or in order of urgency and then focus on getting actual work done. Work out a method of communication management that is simple and easy to remember.

Do deep cleaning

It is important to not drop communication balls at work so set aside sometime every week to make sure that your inbox has no pending emails with unattended tasks. Use automation tools, unsubscribe from unwanted lists, use messaging apps for quick clarifications rather than sending long laborious emails, pin important messages and delete all unnecessary files in your drive to save precious memory.

Observe email protocol

Know when to CC or BCC someone at work because you don’t want to waste time that is not yours to waste. Use clear language, double-check for errors and ambiguity and be clear and concise. Don’t leave colleagues and team leaders guessing about where you stand with a project or an assignment. Respond promptly when needed and log out when getting work done is more important than keeping track of notifications. Set an automatic reply when you are busy working so people who email you during this period, know when you will revert. Be reachable during emergencies and quickly act on feedback. Keep your communication free of jargon and leave no room for misunderstanding.

Think of new communication strategies

Companies can make sure that all their employees are on the same page by publishing a monthly newsletter about company developments, important milestones, and an overview of achievements by teams and individuals.

Make space for employees to share their experiences and be heard and they will be happier and more productive.

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