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I am here” day is a time to “set aside our technology and to-do lists, choose a quarter of the city we wanted to know better, and explore it for a full day… . [It is] a kind of antimodern communal experiment: giving our gadgets a secular Sabbath; reveling in friendship and conversation of a kind that Facebook doesn’t do; being thickly in one place, not thinly everywhere.

Baratunde Thurston on the perks of taking a digital hiatus.
Here are four things that Baratunde Thurston realized during his 25-day hiatus from the internet:

1. I had become obsessed with The Information. 
2. I shared too much. 
3. I was addicted to myself. 
4. I forsook the benefits of the Industrial Age.

"The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness. I don’t need to fill every time slot with an appointment, and I don’t need to fill every mental opening with stimulus."

Here are four things that Baratunde Thurston realized during his 25-day hiatus from the internet:

1. I had become obsessed with The Information.

2. I shared too much.

3. I was addicted to myself.

4. I forsook the benefits of the Industrial Age.

"The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness. I don’t need to fill every time slot with an appointment, and I don’t need to fill every mental opening with stimulus."

I love my devices and services, and I love being connected to the global hive mind. I am neither a Luddite nor a hermit, but I am more aware of the price we pay: lack of depth, reduced accuracy, lower quality, impatience, selfishness, and mental exhaustion, to name but a few. In choosing to digitally enhance, hyperconnect, and constantly share our lives, we risk not living them…

Baratunde Thurston 

From his piece #Unplug: Baratunde Thurston left the internet for 25 days, and you should too.

Here’s more about #unplugging

How To Master The Email Introduction
Bringing people together is awesome. But like most social interactions there are unwritten rules. First Round Capital partner and ‘superconnector’ Chris Falic spells them out here.

Like any good scholar (or leader), Fralic lays out the over-arching goals for email intros: they should help everyone involved, they should make it easy for them tohelp you, and they should build your relationships and reputation along the way. Important stuff, right?

Here are some of his tips:
Always ask “May I?”: Fralic says to first ask permission from the parties involved before you fire off that connecter message. Why? “This makes it a choice for the recipient and doesn’t create an obligation,” he says.
Be personal, not lazy: If you don’t know these people well, then at least do a bit of good-natured Google-stalking before you pelt them with generalities and requests. While in the days of handwritten letters it might have come with the inky territory, you should make sure your recipients know that you are writing for them, not some generalized nonperson.
Tell them why they care: In journalism we call it a nut graf—the paragraph that’s the heart of the story. The reason that you care. An email will be (or should be) shorter than an article, but you still need a few sentences for why your reader cares and what’s in it for them.
Prompt with presentation: Take the time to distill your message. Then, as Fralic says, bold your ask, underline key words, and put your links in your words. This is hypertext, after all, and spilling them across the page looks sloppy.
Respond tactfully: Give the other person some room to breathe, Fralic says. If you’re being introduced via email, don’t inundate them with another message two minutes later. It gets a little overwhelming.
Close that loop: If someone’s taken the time to introduce you to a contact of theirs, the least you can do is keep your karma clean and let them know what came of the connection.
Do you have any tips? 
Read the full story here.

How To Master The Email Introduction

Bringing people together is awesome. But like most social interactions there are unwritten rules. First Round Capital partner and ‘superconnector’ Chris Falic spells them out here.

Like any good scholar (or leader), Fralic lays out the over-arching goals for email intros: they should help everyone involved, they should make it easy for them tohelp you, and they should build your relationships and reputation along the way. Important stuff, right?

  • Here are some of his tips:
  • Always ask “May I?”: Fralic says to first ask permission from the parties involved before you fire off that connecter message. Why? “This makes it a choice for the recipient and doesn’t create an obligation,” he says.
  • Be personal, not lazy: If you don’t know these people well, then at least do a bit of good-natured Google-stalking before you pelt them with generalities and requests. While in the days of handwritten letters it might have come with the inky territory, you should make sure your recipients know that you are writing for them, not some generalized nonperson.
  • Tell them why they care: In journalism we call it a nut graf—the paragraph that’s the heart of the story. The reason that you care. An email will be (or should be) shorter than an article, but you still need a few sentences for why your reader cares and what’s in it for them.
  • Prompt with presentation: Take the time to distill your message. Then, as Fralic says, bold your askunderline key words, and put your links in your words. This is hypertext, after all, and spilling them across the page looks sloppy.
  • Respond tactfully: Give the other person some room to breathe, Fralic says. If you’re being introduced via email, don’t inundate them with another message two minutes later. It gets a little overwhelming.
  • Close that loop: If someone’s taken the time to introduce you to a contact of theirs, the least you can do is keep your karma clean and let them know what came of the connection.

Do you have any tips? 

Read the full story here.

7 Tips For Getting Your Inbox To Zero
1. The Save Out

Copy and paste the entire email to a word document and file it there for safekeeping. Word docs are designed to be saved and stored but emails are not. There is an emotional attachment to every email in your inbox so get it out of sight so that it’s out of mind.

2. The Offline Attack

Nothing is more emotionally defeating than spending 2 hours in your inbox and having a net gain of only 2 emails completed because responses were coming in as fast as you were sending them out… Instead, work “offline” every single time you answer emails.

3. The Extended Out of Office

When you go out of town for vacation or a work conference, turn your “out of office responder” for one day longer than you’re actually gone. The magic—which I discovered by accident—is in adding one extra day to it so that you legitimately have a catch-up day to get your feet back under you when you return.

4. Multiple Strings

Unfortunately a large number of people lack what should be required prudence in using the “reply all” button. Therefore it’s incredible the number of emails in your inbox that will be “strings.” In other words, you’ll have 10 emails that are all the same conversation. …Quickly glance at your email list for emails with the same subject line and delete the oldest ones, leaving the newer ones for you to read later. This is a quick way to process several emails all at once.

5. Email Date Night 

Create the same protected time every so often with your inbox. It’s astounding how much you can get accomplished in four uninterrupted hours of office time. 

6. Scan and Flip

When you sit down to finally catch up on email, work with a 2-minute drill. Per #2 above you should be offline and start to build momentum by first tackling any emails that can be processed and completed in less than two minutes. If it will take longer than two minutes to deal with then skip it for now and just continue scanning—get through the easy ones first. Then once you get to the bottom of your inbox (you will likely have made a large dent) “flip” your emails so that the oldest are at the top and the newest are at the bottom. By eliminating the base of emails at your inbox you’ll find that it’s less likely to pile up on top of itself.

7. Learn the “Let Go”

Truly one of the most substantial growth areas for me in managing my office work was learning to let go of my own deep-rooted desire to share my opinion on everything. And even fewer items yet will be handled significantly different in our organization solely because of my one additional insight. People are generally capable of making good decisions and often things end up being better than they would’ve been had I stuck my nose in it. This mental shift in your attitude will show up pragmatically in your inbox by you learning to enjoy the delete button—without needing to share a response.

[Image: Flickr user Chris Gunton]

7 Tips For Getting Your Inbox To Zero

1. The Save Out

Copy and paste the entire email to a word document and file it there for safekeeping. Word docs are designed to be saved and stored but emails are not. There is an emotional attachment to every email in your inbox so get it out of sight so that it’s out of mind.

2. The Offline Attack

Nothing is more emotionally defeating than spending 2 hours in your inbox and having a net gain of only 2 emails completed because responses were coming in as fast as you were sending them out… Instead, work “offline” every single time you answer emails.

3. The Extended Out of Office

When you go out of town for vacation or a work conference, turn your “out of office responder” for one day longer than you’re actually gone. The magic—which I discovered by accident—is in adding one extra day to it so that you legitimately have a catch-up day to get your feet back under you when you return.

4. Multiple Strings

Unfortunately a large number of people lack what should be required prudence in using the “reply all” button. Therefore it’s incredible the number of emails in your inbox that will be “strings.” In other words, you’ll have 10 emails that are all the same conversation. …Quickly glance at your email list for emails with the same subject line and delete the oldest ones, leaving the newer ones for you to read later. This is a quick way to process several emails all at once.

5. Email Date Night 

Create the same protected time every so often with your inbox. It’s astounding how much you can get accomplished in four uninterrupted hours of office time. 

6. Scan and Flip

When you sit down to finally catch up on email, work with a 2-minute drill. Per #2 above you should be offline and start to build momentum by first tackling any emails that can be processed and completed in less than two minutes. If it will take longer than two minutes to deal with then skip it for now and just continue scanning—get through the easy ones first. Then once you get to the bottom of your inbox (you will likely have made a large dent) “flip” your emails so that the oldest are at the top and the newest are at the bottom. By eliminating the base of emails at your inbox you’ll find that it’s less likely to pile up on top of itself.

7. Learn the “Let Go”

Truly one of the most substantial growth areas for me in managing my office work was learning to let go of my own deep-rooted desire to share my opinion on everything. And even fewer items yet will be handled significantly different in our organization solely because of my one additional insight. People are generally capable of making good decisions and often things end up being better than they would’ve been had I stuck my nose in it. This mental shift in your attitude will show up pragmatically in your inbox by you learning to enjoy the delete button—without needing to share a response.

[Image: Flickr user Chris Gunton]