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Mindful : April 2014
Plagued by an overstuffed inbox? If you want to reduce all those incoming messages, look first at your own emailing habits. Because one of the best ways to receive fewer emails is to send fewer. A research team from the University of Glasgow and Modeuro Consulting recently asked executives at the utility company London Power to think twice before hitting send. As a result, email around the office was reduced by half— not to mention that it freed up 11,000 hours of work time annually. Researcher Karen Renaud offers three suggestions: 1. Break the chain. When people email you, consider who really needs a response. “Only send to people who have to see the message and act on it,” says Renaud. “If you keep blasting stuff into people’s inboxes, they will just ignore you—like the boy who cried wolf.” 2. Resist speed. “Email begets email,” says Renaud. If people realize you respond quickly, you’ll get more emails. Carve out intentional times to respond. Four to 12 hours is an acceptable response time. 3. Think outcome, not convenience. If someone is in the office, meet face-to-face or call them. While you might think it’s more productive to send a quick message and move on, an email chain inevitably follows. “The task comes back and in the long run takes much longer,” says Renaud. Connecting personally saves time. ● Email, Interrupted OVERHEARD “Meditation helps because it’s the ultimate way to rest when you’re working. It’s just as simple as that.” Jerry Seinfeld, on Reddit INTENSE FOCUS is taxing. Look into the distance and soften your gaze. Note your other senses, too. Find more on Twitter @mindinterrupter Imagine your child walking into a classroom—except it’s not a typical classroom in a typical building. The students at this school walk up a ramp and enter a small por tico that spor ts fluid, cur ved walls. There, they take their shoes off and stop for a moment. After a shor t transition, which encourages them to see this classroom as a place set apar t, they enter. This is what the students at Bentleigh Secondary College, a publicly funded junior high and high school in Melbourne, Australia, do ever y day in the school’s new Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre (M&ICC). To create this unique space, the administration at Bentleigh worked with an eco-friendly architecture firm called dwp suters, which is the Australian arm of design worldwide par t- nership (dwp). Regular classes on medita- tion, indigenous culture, and environmental sustainability are taught at the center. The inside is designed to be con- ducive to meditation, “using calming forms and materials” such as rounded columns of polished wood, says Nick Cini, the center’s designer. Designing Mindful Classrooms Students at Bentleigh Secondary College in Melbourne, Australia, gather in the school’s Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre. The school’s meditation instructor, Intha Chetty, teaches three classes a week there. She also instructs school staff in mindful techniques. Other regular classes, such as English and science, may also include mindfulness practice led by either the teacher or Chetty. “Mindfulness meditation underpins the entire learning program at Bentleigh,” says teacher Bill Thomas, who is head of sustainable practices at the school. “It provides sup- por t for all subjects.” Students are so keen that many are now requesting more meditation classes. “They can now go out to a dedicated, har- monious space,” says Thomas. “Many consider it a privilege. They know that not ever y class will be held out there, but the ones that are deser ve to be approached with a par ticular mind-set.” ● For more emailing tips and to learn more about this study, go to mindful.org/email See more photos of the Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre at mindful.org/ micc 16 mindful April 2014 now Illustration by Gavin Potenza PHOTOGRAPHBYEMMACROSS