Technology

Actors, Take Control of Your Emails in 8 Steps

DeathtoStock_Creative-Community7.jpg

DeathtoStock_Creative Community7

Email technology is amazing, I love it. However, as much as it can empower us, it can overwhelm us. Staying in control of your emails allows you to focus on what you need to get done with your time. 

With computers in our pockets, our biggest challenge today as successful actors is avoiding interruption by our emails. Most successful professionals know how to control their emails instead of letting them run their day, and so we need to be able to do that too.

There are some emails that we must answer immediately and there is a way to track these without having to look at your inbox every minute for that dopamine hit.

1. Unsubscribe from what doesn’t count. You should only be subscribed to services and organizations that you consistently use. Be ruthless with your unsubscribing; you won’t miss it. Promise! Unsubscribing will save you so much time and release so much stress. 

2. Be alerted when important emails come in. Flag important emails as VIP with your iPhone or Android. They allow you to mark an email VIP so when your agent or manager contact you, your phone vibrates and rings. Use it to stay relaxed and not worrying about missing a very important or urgent email. 

3. Don’t answer emails immediately as they come in. You should plan to check all other emails at a certain times of the day, when you have a break between auditions, for example. This allows you to define when they impact your schedule as opposed to the other way around. 

4. Empty your inbox and use your sent box. I only keep about 20 emails in my inbox. Yes, 20. Everything else is filed away into a folder or deleted. If an email comes in and you reply to it, move it out of your inbox by filing or deleting. Leave the reply in your sent box to remind you to check back or that you are waiting for a reply. 

Once the information has been answered, either file the original thread or delete it. Do not use your inbox as an archive folder. It is either relevant or it not. File or delete. Be ruthless. If you do this, your inbox becomes your to-do list which will help you become more productive. 

5. File everything away. I have over 100 folders, all structured in a way they are easy to access. One suggestion for a folder structure, have one for agents, one for managers, and one for projects. Then underneath each of these folders have the next level of detail using either manager names, dates, or projects.

6. Use Evernote. I have mentioned this software before but it is one of the most powerful pieces of software that you can ever add to your arsenal. If there is link or file you need to file somewhere, don’t keep it our inbox or sent box, clip it to Evernote. Its search capabilities is unbelievable and you can have it on you Mac, iPhone, Android, or PC. Use Evernote. 

7. Use your flags option. If there is a very important email that you need to access all the time for a particle reason, either for information or if it has a link that you need to log into, flag it. All emails services from Gmail to Mac create an automatic flag folder for you. But only flag what is relevant, and review your flag folder on a regular basis to file what is out of date. Alternatively, create a folder called “Must Keep.”

8. Only keep 20 emails in your inbox and 20 in your sent box. Be ruthlessly disciplined about this rule. If you let it grow to 50, it will be 100 by the end of the week and the email virus that was stressing you out will be back with a vengeance. 

Technology is great, but like all good things, there is always some bad that comes with it. Learning how to stay in control of your technology so that it doesn’t overwhelm you is power and control you are giving back to yourself. 

Read about getting the most out of your calendar.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.04.45 AM

Control Your Career by Controlling Your Calendar

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_3.jpg

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_3

Controlling your calendar is controlling your time, and since time is your most precious commodity, when you manage your calendar, you stay in control of your life and your career. Managing your calendar will allow you to focus your time and energy on what it is you want and need to get done as an actor. You will squeeze the most productivity out of yourself and your day.

Once you decide on what tasks, goals, or projects you want to work on, schedule those tasks into your calendar for the day, week, and month, and be disciplined in sticking to them. Write them into your calendar as you would an appointment or audition. Break down tasks into 30-minute or one or two-hour chunks so that you can achieve them. 

Focus on the tasks that are critical, and understand which ones are time sensitive and which ones you simply enjoy. Plan them into your day accordingly, making sure you are getting some time to focus on what you really enjoy and what makes you tick. Be realistic. Understand what appointments and tasks you have planned for the day and don’t over schedule. 

It is a big mistake to wake up in the morning and schedule your day ahead for the first time over coffee. Plan ahead. Like any CEO or company, their days, weeks, and months are scheduled by their assistant for maximum productivity. You need to be your own assistant and be disciplined in scheduling your calendar. If you don’t, it is more likely that you will feel out of control and stressed about the things you need to get done because you are constantly reacting to what is coming at you. 

Schedule less in the day so that you can have the energy to accomplish more in the week and methodically complete all of your goals. Success breeds success, so if you can complete the tasks you have planned for the day, you are more likely to be motivated to keep working on the ones you have planned for tomorrow.

Once you have set yourself up for a productive day, work through the items. And once you have finished your tasks for the day, relax and reward yourself for your work. Finishing your tasks doesn’t mean you need to find more tasks to do so that you keep working like a robot. When you don’t rest and reward yourself, you will never feel like you’re resting, and you will feel like you aways need to be working. It’s a horrible and vicious cycle to be in and it leads to feeling overwhelmed and out of control. Draw your lines clearly as to determine when you are working and when you are resting. 

If something comes up that is not in your calendar, do not work on it now. Schedule it for another day in the week. Obviously if it is an audition, you have to make that a priority, but then you move what you are going to work on for that day to another day in the week. By keeping the tasks as appointments on your calendar, it is very easy to move them to another day and to block the appropriate time for them. 

In order for you to have the most impact, schedule and control your calendar and make it your most critical action on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even inter-daily, basis.

https://twitter.com/Backstage/status/711130246171463681 

Actors: It's a big mistake to wake up in the morning—and have no schedule for the day!Posted by Backstage on Friday, March 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.47.40 AM