Computer Aid Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:41:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Find the Critical Audience for Your Startup Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:00:00 +0000 For new startups, planning phases seem to never end. One important part of any plan is identifying the critical audience which has ...]]> auditorium-572776_640For new startups, planning phases seem to never end. One important part of any plan is identifying the critical audience which has the most to gain from whatever product or service you are bringing to the market. There are several steps you can take to make this process easier and help guarantee that you choose the best market to target when you are ready to release your new products.

Consult Your Business Plan

Before you even began to create that very first line of products or services, you slaved over a business plan for your startup. In this plan, you already did some of the research you need about your potential customers giving you a baseline from where you started. Look at the basic customer profile in your business plan and examine the goals you set in your initial plan to help you navigate and plan for the road ahead.

Do Extensive Research

Research is a big part of every aspect of business and is job that is never finished. Consult information about the industry in which you are operating and learn about your future consumers’ habits in those markets. If you have extra money in your budget consider adding consumer interviews and focus groups to your research endeavors to learn directly from potential customers what they expect and need. You can even gain early insights into what they think of your new products before you release them to the world.

Create a Customer Profile

This is more than a brief statement about your customer. For this you must seek out great details about your potential customers with data that include both demographic and psychographic information. You should search for external data about your potential buyers such as their age, gender, location, but also you need to understand your customer by learning their habits, hobbies and lifestyle.

Find Where Your Audience Is

It’s not enough to know who your audience is, you need to know where they are as well. Remember, just because you release this great new product doesn’t mean they will be able to find it. You have to bring it to them, and knowing how they interact with media and where they hang out will help you. For example, does your audience prefer a specific social media outlet over another? Do they use mobile apps more than others? What websites do they use? Details such as these will help point you in the right direction when it comes time to market your product to your audience.

Monitor and Evolve

The work doesn’t stop once you know who your target audience is and where you can find them. You have to continue monitoring the success of your marketing strategies and keep track of who is actually buying your product along the way. You may discover additional markets that expand your target audience, or you could even find that the audience your initial research point to isn’t interested at all. Keep a close eye on your successes and failures, and be prepared to adjust to the changing dynamics of the market.

Taking the necessary steps to discover your critical audience so you know how to target your marketing campaigns is a necessity if you want to reduce your chances of failure. Knowing who and where your critical audience is will give you great insight into how you should approach them to ensure a great first impression that could turn into a sale.

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Hackers Cheat Goodwill – Are You Vulnerable Too? Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:21:00 +0000 The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is a story we hear repeated far too often in the ...]]> lock-156641_640The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is a story we hear repeated far too often in the press. A company, or in this case, a non-profit, seemed to believe itself to be immune from hacking because it’s performing a worthy mission. Under the misguided belief that nobody would hack them because they’re doing a good deed, their security was minimal, and they got hit.

No One Is Immune

It is true that there’s a certain class of hacker who wouldn’t bother with a company that had no real protection. They wouldn’t bother because there’s no challenge in it. Sadly, this does not describe all hackers. There are plenty of the other sort who will hit a company just because they can, as the folks at Goodwill recently learned.

Every company has enemies. Every company is vulnerable on some level. It’s naive to think otherwise, and yet, we see that attitude in the market every single day.

In this particular instance, the individual consumers did not help themselves at all. Many of the accounts compromised were compromised by simple reuse. In other words, because individual consumers tend to reuse the same password for multiple accounts, once a hacker breaks into one account that they own, the rest of their accounts become easy pickings.

Twin Problems

Here then, we’ve got two core issues in play. Individually, either of these issues are bad news, both for agencies (for profit or otherwise) and for the individuals who use those agencies. Taken together, however, they are just simply ruinous.

Companies that exist in a state of denial and who cannot or will not take basic steps to protect themselves set themselves up to be easy pickings for even moderately talented hackers. Consumers who use those unprotected or under protected agencies and recycle the same passwords from one account to the next open themselves up to tremendous personal and financial exposure and potential loss.

There Is No Magic Answer

There is no one thing that can provide bullet-proof protection, but there are a number of fairly obvious, straightforward strategies you can employ to protect yourself. From the agency perspective, even if you have no budget for security, there are free software solutions that provide at least reasonably good protection against hacking. Even a cheap lock on your door is better than no lock at all.

From the perspective of the consumer, the first and best thing you can do for yourself to minimize risk would be to use a different password for every account you’ve got.

The reason there are so many successful hacking attacks year in and year out is the simple fact that people assume it can never happen to them. That’s a very dangerous assumption, and it leads to all manner of bad behavior that seems almost designed to maximize the pain inflicted when it inevitably does happen to them. Much of this is avoidable. We are often our own worst enemies, making our own crises woven from the fabric of a false sense of security, then we wonder how and where it all went wrong.

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How To Travel Smarter Sat, 13 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Business travel is a fact of life for many of us. Some people dread it, others love it, most of us simply ...]]> plane-50893_640Business travel is a fact of life for many of us. Some people dread it, others love it, most of us simply endure it. Here are some ways to make it cheaper, more effective and more endurable.

Booking Flights And Accommodation

When you are searching for those bargain flights online, remember to browse privately or clear your cache after each search. This is because the travel companies keep a record of what you have already seen, and aren’t going to deliver to you those real bargain flights which they have to offer, rather, they’ll show you flights at or around the prices you’ve already seen.

When booking accommodation, don’t just automatically go for the big name business hotels. Are you really using all those facilities that you’re paying for – the gym, the pool, the business center? Chances are you aren’t especially if it’s just a one night stay. Instead seek out smaller boutique hotels and even bed and breakfasts. For example, when staying in Belize City, I always choose The Nest Inn ( This is a typical b and b, with wi-fi in every room, and knowledgeable hosts who can help you find your way around the intricacies of the City – a real home from home.

Another favorite for me when I am in New York City is the Chelsea Lodge, which is off the beaten track, but makes up for that by having inexpensive (by New York standards) quiet and comfortable rooms with kitchens, and even a small garden.

Taking Your Tech

Remember before you travel to check if your telephone company offers a roaming plan, and understand how it works. When I’m traveling I use Skype as much as possible for phone calls. My documents are in the Cloud, and the amount of papers I have to carry is minimal. Remember if you’re going overseas to take with you a universal outlet converter, battery chargers and ideally, spare batteries if it’s going to be a long trip.

If you’re flying, remember that security requires all your electronic devices to be charged up so that you can demonstrate them powering on.

It goes without saying that you should carry your e Reader, so that you have a way of passing the time for those inevitable delays. You may plan to work every minute, but traveling is stressful, so build in some relaxation time, particularly if you are traveling across a number of time zones.

What To Pack

It’s a business travel truism that you should just take a carry on rather than checked luggage. Buy the best, lightest one that you can, and also invest in a large satchel which can be packed with all kinds of extras, and which will be allowed as well as your carry on. Check what your ticket allows you to take, and use the allowances to the maximum. If you are heading to a cold climate from a warm one, you can take a coat – so stuff the pockets with your hat, gloves and scarf. Safety pin them so they don’t fall out. Check out companies like TravelSmith for specialist light weight business travel clothing.
Silk is the traveler’s friend; it’s lightweight, cool when it’s warm, warm when it’s cool and looks good. Pack silk pajamas, underwear, shirts, to lighten your load. Collect travel sizes of everything, and remember the prohibition on more than 2oz of liquids in your on board luggage. Put all those little travel packs, and your toiletries, into a quart sized zip lip bag for security inspections.

Refreshments Along The Way

If you are traveling within the US, this is likely not an issue. International travel is another matter. Remember that you can’t take liquids through airport security as a rule, but generally you can get as much water as you like once on a flight. Snacks are another matter. Airline food is often horrible, so, I like to take some good sandwiches and packs of dried fruit and nuts especially when flying trans Atlantic or trans Pacific, so I can be sure of having something decent to eat independent of airlines and airports.

Air Miles, Points And The Like

Don’t book anything just because it will get you reward points. Shop around and buy things for less, and use the money you save to buy things you need instead of collecting points for them.

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How To Spot A Facebook Scam Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 A fool and his identity are soon parted. Don’t be a fool, and don’t fall for Facebook or other scams. Facebook isn’t ...]]> facebook-388078_640A fool and his identity are soon parted. Don’t be a fool, and don’t fall for Facebook or other scams. Facebook isn’t the only place you’ll find these, but the social media giant has ushered in a new wave of them. It’s aA wave of Tsunami-sized proportions; you almost can’t help tripping over them on the world’s most popular social media site.

What Is It And How Does It Work?

The scam begins as most scams do, with an offer that sounds like it’s too good to be true, but it’s on Facebook, right? So of course it’s legit. Except that it isn’t.

You’ll see something like, “Win a $200 Gift Card in Three Easy Steps!” The store that the gift card is for may vary, but the scam always follows the same basic steps. Step one, of course, is to share the ad on your wall. Step two is to add some comments enticing the members of your social network to participate with you. Step three is to “like” the ad. Once you’ve done those three things, you’ll be told to click a link to go claim your gift card.

The only problem? When you click the link, there’s no gift card. Instead, you’re asked to complete a short survey. Usually this is done under the guise of a security measure to prove you’re not a robot. The questions are usually inane, not well thought out, and it always ends the same way. Sooner or later you’re going to be asked for your personal information. If you do enter it, it will be sold to the highest bidder on the black market and you can expect one or more credit cards opened in your name in short order. If you actually give them your credit card or bank account numbers, you can expect your credit cards to be maxed out shortly, and your bank account emptied. Of course, on top of all that to add insult to injury, you never even get the gift card.

Most of these offers come from PPA (Pay Per Action) sites. The way those offers work is that the scammers get paid for each person who takes a specific action, such as completing a survey or entering in their personal information. In short, they get you three ways. They promise something they never deliver, when you enter your information in good faith thinking that you’ll get the prize at the end, they sell that information to the highest bidder, and they get paid for convincing you to jump through the hoops. Worst of all you’re helping them, because of course, you shared and liked the ad, thus exposing your entire social network to it.

These scams are not new. PPA offers have been around for almost as long as the internet has, but they’ve found new life in the bustling halls of Facebook with its hundreds of millions of users. They only need a fraction of 1% of Facebook’s users to fall for it to make an absolute killing, which of course is why they’re there in the first place.

They know that even if only one half of one percent of the people who see the ad wind up jumping through their hoops, they still stand to make millions. These scams are simple to spot, don’t help the thieves – because that is what they are – by falling for them.

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New Ninjasphere Makes Your Office “Smart” Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 You’ve been hearing about the internet of objects. You’ve been hearing about Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites that are empowering individual inventors ...]]> socket-33137_640You’ve been hearing about the internet of objects. You’ve been hearing about Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites that are empowering individual inventors and ushering in a new wave of innovation. The Ninjasphere is just one of the fantastic new products that have been invented, crowdfunded, and are now in production. You can get yours as early as October, 2014.

 What Is A Ninjasphere & Why Do I Want One?

The Ninjasphere is a device that makes your home or office ‘smart.’ It consists of a wireless and Bluetooth-compatible central control module and one or more smart sockets that plug into wall outlets around your home or office. Any device plugged into a smart socket can be monitored by the Sphere, and the Sphere communicates with you, sending messages to your PC, your handheld, or your smartwatch.

 Master Of Your Universe

Using this technology, you can remotely control lighting, heating and air conditioning, and any other device plugged into a smart socket. The device can send you reminders when you’ve left the building with certain appliances still running, and it allows you to power them down remotely. You can also set up conditional responses, so that if you’re coming in early and it’s still dark outside, you can tell the Sphere to wake up the office, turning lights and equipment on, starting the coffee, and generally making the place nice to walk into. If you experienced a sudden cold snap in your town, you can order the device to turn the heat on to get your office warmed up for you. The possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t stop at just appliances though. You can tag smartphones with the device and keep track of key staff members. Are they in the building, or no? Are they on the move? Where in the building are they? You can pull up a floor plan of your office and tell exactly where your people are.

You can also tag important pieces of equipment, and the Ninjasphere will tell you if and when those items are being moved. In short, it brings your office to life, and puts its control at your fingertips.

Open Source Means Ninjasphere Will Just Get Better

Despite being in its infancy, this is already a robust technology that can handle connections with a vast array of devices, and this is just the first step. Perhaps best of all, the Ninjasphere project is open source, which means that there are a legion of enthusiasts adding to its capabilities all the time. More and more objects being added, more and more communications options, and most excitingly, increasingly advanced if-then-that conditions that can automate vast swaths of your office. The device can even monitor energy usage and using the data collected from it, you can start making smarter decisions about how you can save money month to month on your power bill.

The future is arriving on the crest of a wave of technological advancement the likes of which the world has never seen. Innovation is not being driven by deep pocketed R&D firms and giant corporations, but by millions upon millions of creative individuals with a vision and a dream, and the will to make it a reality. You need but make the choice to participate in the future that is unfolding before you at a blistering pace, and enjoy the journey it will take you on.  If you get a Ninjasphere, you’ll unock the hidden potential of your office and take control of your environment in ways that seemed like science fiction just a few short years ago.

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The Latest Fruits From Apple Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Taking a page from the playbook of the late Steve Jobs, Tim Cook set the Apple world on fire with their latest ...]]> office-336338-300225Taking a page from the playbook of the late Steve Jobs, Tim Cook set the Apple world on fire with their latest product announcements. The event was attended by legendary musician Bono, who joined Cook on stage at various points during the announcement. The presentation was carried off with the usual Apple flair; and featured high production values but was short on particulars.

Here’s What We Know

The new iWatch will be released in early 2015, with a price point of $349. That will make it the most expensive smart watch on the market, fully a hundred dollars more than that Moto 360. Cook told the fans in attendance that he personally uses his iWatch as a remote for his TV, and one of his coworkers uses his as a viewfinder for a camera, while another uses it as a walkie talkie. He was quick to add that the developer pool would be designing apps to extend the uses of the iWatch that “none of us have even imagined.”

That’s a canny strategy. Did you see what Cook did there? He didn’t explain exactly what you could do with the device, but he did toss out a few uses and dangled the promise that the developer community would get busy designing a plethora of “killer apps” to make the iWatch an indispensable tool. Will Apple be the company to finally bring the smart watch mainstream? Time will tell, but it certainly seems that they’ve got a strong offer.

To underscore the usefulness of the iWatch, he hinted at a robust suite of developer tools, along with some fantastic sounding fitness tie-ins. Fitness alone won’t bring the smart watch into the mainstream, but it is an important first step.

The iPhone 6 Features A Bigger Screen – As Predicted

Regarding the iPhone 6, the biggest thing is the new larger screen size. This was pretty much as expected. After all, many of the iPhone’s competitors have since eclipsed the iPhone 5 in terms of screen real estate, so in this regard, Apple is playing a bit of catch up. Even so, it was news that was very well received by fans of the company. Hand in hand with the release of the new iPhone is the new OS. This also, contained no real surprises, but one thing that did ignite some excitement was Apple’s new payment system.

This is a big step for Apple, and it puts them squarely in competition with some big, well established players in the space. Note that Google has gone down this road with their Google Wallet, and has struggled to gain any kind of foothold against the likes of Paypal, so it will be interesting to see if or whether Apple sees more success. They do have a built in customer base, however, since it is all but certain that Apple’s payment platform will be the dominant one in use in the iTunes store.

Speaking of iTunes and music, Bono’s appearance on the stage was foreshadowing of another announcement. At the end of the presentation, Cook made the announcement that U2′s new album, “Songs of Innocence” would be made freely available to iTunes store users.

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The Doors You Leave Open are Making You Vulnerable Tue, 09 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 We may not mean to, but all too often we set ourselves up for failure or attack. In this case, we’re talking about basic network security. You might be thinking that since your network login is password protected, you’re covered. You might make the assumption that since you’ve had your IT guys put up a decent firewall and closely monitor incoming and outgoing traffic for anomalous patterns, you have nothing to worry about. Sadly, you could not be more mistaken.

Hidden Dangers

Not to say that the steps outlined above aren’t important, they definitely are the basic starting points for a secure system. However, if that’s all you’re doing to secure your systems, then you’re not doing nearly enough. As the internet grows, matures, and changes, so too do our means of accessing and interacting with our technology. Each of these new means of access and interaction open up new avenues of potential attack.

VNC, For Example

Take, for example, remote access software like VNC. This software allows one computer to remotely connect to another computer. Consider the implications of that for just a moment. You may have people who work from home some days. If they need files from their computer, they may use a program like this to access them directly, rather than putting them on a Cloud drive somewhere. That’s potentially dangerous for a number of reasons, but two stand out.

First, the remote machine almost certainly isn’t under your direct control, and probably isn’t protected to the same level that your office machines are. Second, if that machine is hacked and taken over, it would allow a hacker a way into your network that totally bypasses all the security measures you have carefully put in place.

Even worse, these kinds of programs are often two way mirrors, meaning that unless you implement some kind of password protection on your machine when you install the software, then anybody who’s snooping can have a look at what you’re doing on the machine, and even outright take it over.

Worst of all, a significant percentage of people who use this type of software don’t password protect themselves or their own systems. They are leaving themselves wide open to attack, and they’re leaving any other computer that they remote connect to wide open to attack as well.

Just The Starting Point

By itself this is a recipe for disaster. The number of completely wide open, vulnerable systems is staggering, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve been sounding the alarm for months now about the astounding growth of the Internet of Objects, and how virtually all objects on the internet are lacking even the most basic protections to keep them from being hacked.

Absolutely nothing has been done to address this issue so far. Given the rate that new entities are being added to the internet of objects, the percentage of completely vulnerable objects continues to climb. These objects range from sensors that report on the functionality of hundreds of thousands of cars being driven by their owners, to municipal water systems, to power companies, and more. All wide open, all completely vulnerable to attack. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and how much damage will result from a major attack.

Do your part to begin securing the internet before it implodes. Secure your systems now; start with remote access points and move on to objects. This is an excellent project to contact a professional IT company about before it’s too late.

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What You Need to Know About Amazon’s Delivery Drones Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 By now, you’ve probably heard all the buzz and excitement about Amazon’s plan to use drones to deliver at least some of ...]]> box-158523_640By now, you’ve probably heard all the buzz and excitement about Amazon’s plan to use drones to deliver at least some of its packages and parcels. Some critics are saying that it’s merely a publicity stunt, and while that’s certainly possible, it doesn’t seem very likely. Amazon isn’t well known for doing publicity stunts of this sort. More possibly it’s a genuine field test to see if the idea is viable. After all, you don’t hire lobbyists and start winding your way through the FAA approvals process in order to run a little PR campaign.

The Nuts & Bolts Of Amazon’s Plan

For the moment, the company is conducting limited scale tests with a service they’re calling “Amazon Prime Air.” The idea is that in selected locations, when a customer orders something, if their package weighs less than five pounds total, and the customer is in one of the test service areas, they’re promising deliver in about thirty minutes.

Depending on how old you are, when you read that, your brain probably hearkened back to the old Domino’s Pizza slogan, “Delivery in thirty minutes or less, or it’s free!” The parallels are obvious, and the reality is that in the UK, companies have already begun to experiment with drone based pizza delivery, so the idea is definitely coming. It should also be noted that UPS has begun its own limited scale experimentation with drone delivery, so the idea has definitely entered into the public consciousness.

Amazon says that they’ll continue their limited scale testing while they work toward getting the necessary FAA approvals to begin rolling it out on a larger scale. Of course, part of that approvals process is a demonstration that the technology is safe and reliable, which is why the field testing is ongoing. There is an irresistible image of people being knocked to the ground by flying copies of “The Goldfinch”, or your dog waiting in the garden to catch and devour that incoming pizza.


More than 85% of Amazon’s packages fall within the 5 pound or less classification, which means that Amazon could enter the product delivery game in a big way. This, of course, would sorely dent the profits of the major carriers in service today (in the US, this would include UPS, FedEx, and DHL). Needless to say, even as these companies begin their own experiments, they’re also taking steps to curtail Amazon’s progress on this front, and their reasons for doing so are fairly obvious.

Aside from hurting the profitability of major corporations though, this is another technology that stands to end a fair number of blue collar and lower middle class jobs. Delivery drivers would still be needed for some things, including for the moment at least, packages weighing in at more than five pounds, but clearly their numbers would be greatly thinned if the drone delivery idea caught on. If the UK experiments are any indication, it would also render the currently ubiquitous pizza delivery driver all but extinct.

These aren’t, of course, reasons not to employ the technology, at least not in and of themselves, however, it should be noted that a blue collar delivery driver who is still working is in a position to buy goodies from Amazon and have them delivered to his house. A blue collar delivery driver who is unemployed has no such means. This is not a new problem, but the pace of middle class job destruction is increasing, and at some point, it’s going to start hurting aggregate demand. As Henry Ford Famously remarked, he could train monkey to make ford cars, but not to buy them.

So far, there has been no good solution put forth to combat this growing problem, and it casts a dark shadow on what is otherwise an interesting and innovative idea which is bound to catch on with consumers.

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All About Google Cloud Print Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 The Cloud just got a little bit cooler. Have you ever wanted to create your own wireless global network? Have you ever ...]]> search-engine-76519_640The Cloud just got a little bit cooler.

Have you ever wanted to create your own wireless global network? Have you ever been in the midst of collaborating with someone, have them design something for you, then have to mail it to you so you could print it out? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could just connect your printer to the cloud and share it with whomever you wanted? Thanks to Google Cloud Print, you now can.

The implications are staggering. This is yet another piece of the puzzle that is slowly being assembled right before our eyes. This puts us one step closer to erasing the lines between the digital world and the virtual.

How It Works

The operation is fairly simple. Just like you can set up a Dropbox account, put files there and share them with whomever you like, this allows you to create an account and register your printer with that account. From there you can give access to the printer to anybody you choose. They pull up a document, tell it to print, select your printer, and out comes the document.

Any number of printers can be configured in this manner and added to your account and of course it doesn’t have to stop at printers. The internet of objects is exploding in size. Soon, you’ll be able to add any object on the net to a similar cloud based service.

This is what will make it possible, for example, for you to order something from Amazon, and rather than have them ship it to you you’ll simply share your home 3d printer with Amazon, and they will send the product schematics to your printer for printing. As soon as it’s done you take the thing you ordered from the print tray and go on about your day.

Likewise, if you plan to be in some other city and want some product samples waiting for you when you arrive, as opposed to packing them, you could simply contact a print hub where you’ll be going, arrange for access to their printers, send your order, and pick up your goodies when you arrive.

Long Term Implications

Google’s latest offering is of course still in its infancy, and even now it presents an almost unlimited array of possibilities. Imagine though, in three to five years time when the system begins to mature. Individuals will be well on their way to creating hundreds of millions, then billions of decentralized networks that know no boundaries. They will cross national boundaries effortlessly. They will tend to take on a form that closely mirrors the shape of the sum total of a person’s social networks plus the eCommerce platforms each individual has dealings with.

Digital and physical goods shared seamlessly. This is not just enormously empowering to individuals, it is paradigm shifting. It transforms manufacturing. It transforms commerce, and it all starts with Google Cloud Print. If you’re not already using it, start today. It is the wave of the future.

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How To Get Your Email Under Control Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Too many of us are slaves to our email. The volume is just crushing, and every year, the total number of emails ...]]> mail-27340_640Too many of us are slaves to our email. The volume is just crushing, and every year, the total number of emails generated keeps increasing. It’s completely out of hand. If you’re being slowly crushed by the weight of your inbox, here are a few simple tricks you can use to help get your life back.

Rules, Rules, Rules

Rules and Filters are your best friend. Start things off by setting up rules to better organize your email. If you’ve got friends who send you primarily cute cat pictures or bawdy jokes, set up a “Fun” folder and route those messages there by sender ID. Then, when you get a free moment or two, all of those types of messages are in one place.

Turn Off Automatic Notifications

Does your email chirp, beep, or otherwise get your attention when you get a new message? If so, it’s probably a bigger time sink than you realize, because it’s the same psychology as a ringing telephone. It demands your attention right that second, even if right that second isn’t the best time. Turn these notifications off and check your email on your own terms, rather than being held captive by notifications.

This is a fantastic free service that keeps track of all the newsletters you’ve gotten signed up for, even if you don’t remember signing up for them. The idea behind the service is that rather than having to open each one up individually and find the unsubscribe links, you get a nice, simple list, with an unsubscribe button next to each item. It is a very quick way to radically reduce the size of your incoming mail stream.

Preemptive Strike

Preemptively end your email conversations. Be clear and decisive in your communications. Instead of inviting an exchange of half a dozen back and forth messages to set up a meeting time, start with, “I can meet Thursday between 2:00 and 4:00, or Friday anytime after 3:00. Pick the one that works best for you and let me know.” By couching your message in this manner, you cut out a lot of the miscellaneous chatter to arrive at the same conclusion about the time of the meeting and you prevent a ton of emails from ever getting to your in box. Getting in the habit of doing this can shrink the number of incoming messages by dozens, if not scores a day.

If you use these tips individually, they will make a notable, measurable difference in terms of getting your in box under control. If you use all of these tips together, the net effect will be nothing short of remarkable. You will no longer feel as though you are at the mercy of the torrent of emails you get on a daily basis, but rather, will once again be in control. Best of all, you don’t have to declare email bankruptcy, which is the sorry condition when you just surrender and delete everything in the hope that the people who sent you really important messages will be kind enough to send them to you again.

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