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my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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Word Up Wednesday – Out of Office Assistant/Reply

Do you ever get those auto replies that say something like

“I’m out of the office this week, I’ll be in touch with you when I return.”  

This auto reply function on your email server has become named the “Out of Office Assistant” and that my friends, is today’s Word Up Wednesday!

This auto reply is very helpful for people who send and receive a lot of email.  It is a courtesy  for those on the sending end to be notified that you are planning on being away from your normal routine for a set period of time and when they can expect to hear back from you.

This function is available on most email servers and to use this option isn’t limited to only professionals or small business owners.  I suggest setting it for your personal email as well.

A couple of key points to remember:

  • Turn it on – it is important to set it up as you are planning on being away.  Maybe you are going on vacation, a business trip, a conference or maybe your week is just full of meetings that are keeping you away from your normal turnaround rate.
  • Turn it off. Once you have returned back to your regular routine, be sure to turn the reply off.
  • Don’t over explain where you will be.  You don’t have to say “I’m getting crown put in on my bottom, left molar and I usually take a couple of days to recover from any dental procedure.”  TMI!  Just state stimply…”I’ll be out of the office from this date to this date.  I’ll return your email as soon as I get back into the office.”
  • But do offer a contact of someone in your office who is covering for you if this is necessary.
  • Consider giving yourself an extra day to catch up upon your return.  By saying “I’ll be returning on Monday and I’ll get back to you as soon as I get back.” implies that you’ll get back to them Monday.  Give yourself a little time to catch up on details that happened while you were gone instead of promising an immediate response.  You won’t be able to give an immediate response to everyone.

People appreciate quick responses and we’ve come to expect it.  The handy Out of Office Assistant relieves the issues of “I haven’t heard back from Tom.”  This will keep your clients and customers satisfied and takes the stress off of you of having to be available 24/7.

What’s your experience with using an Out of Office Assistant?  I’d love to hear if you love it or never use it – – and why.

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy

PS – do you love inspirational quotes as much as I do.  Subscribe to my ” a minute, a thought” blog for a once daily, positive message.  It helps set the tone for your day.  This month we’re doing all Buddha quotes.

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Tips on Tuesday – Running on empty

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Yesterday I suggestion an article that offered nine ways to prevent that overwhelmed feeling.

Number Four said “don’t let yourself fall into empty.”

A couple of years ago, my friend Julie and I were talking.  She mentioned to me that one of the time-saving tips she always did was if her gas tank was getting low, she would force herself to fill it up on her way home from work and not leave it to “do in the morning”.  She confessed that she had to really fight that urge to “do it later” and just suck it up and do it – not matter how tired she was, how hungry she was, no matter how much she just wanted to go home.

That tip has always stuck with me – especially every time my gas tank is getting low and I’m on my way home.  Many times I can totally relate with that feeling of “I just want to go home….”.  But it never fails, the times I don’t stop for gas….I regret not getting it when I get into my car the next time.

Do you have a time-saving habit that you always do – even if you have to fight to do it?

Hope your day is a good one!

~Amy

PS – I recently told my seven-year old son that as soon as he starts driving, I’m going to have him fill up my gas tank every Sunday afternoon, whether it needs it or not.  Nine more years….nine more years!


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Word Up Wednesdays – QR Codes

Good Morning Peeps!

This week’s  we’ll be having a Thursday edition of Word Up Wednesday

Today’s Word – QR Code

 

Have you seen these popping up all over and wondered what they were?  Maybe you haven’t noticed them – but I bet you well now.  This newest tracking method is becoming quite popular, especially with the increase use of smart phones.

QR Code (as taken from www. Wikipedia.com)

QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or through supported extensions, virtually any kind of data.[1]

Invented by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR Code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.[2] It was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[3]

Formerly confined to industrial uses, they have in recent years become common in consumer advertising and packaging, because the dissemination of smartphones “has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket” for the first time. As a result, the QR code has become a focus of advertising strategy, since it provides quick and effortless access to the brand’s website.[4][5] Beyond mere convenience to the consumer, the importance of this capability is that it increases the conversion rate (that is, increase the chance that contact with the advertisement will convert to a sale), by coaxing qualified prospects further down the conversion funnel without any delay or effort, bringing the viewer to the advertiser’s site immediately, where a longer and more targeted sales pitch may continue.

This is a new concept to me too – so I did a little digging and found a very helpful article on the topic and how it can be used to enhance your small business.

Practical Uses of QR Codes

Here are some ways for using QR codes that are mostly in practice now, as well as a few that I believe we will be seeing in the very near future.

Where QR Codes could be used:

  • The back (or front and back) of your business card.
  • Your brochures and other marketing materials.
  • The sides of trucks and trailers.
  • Product tags and packaging
  • Convention and event nametags
  • Restaurant menus
  • Event ticket stubs
  • Point-of-sale receipts

What QR Codes could link to:

  • Installation instructions
  • Sources for replacement parts and service
  • Directions to your business
  • The process for hiring your professional services
  • Valuable coupons and special offers
  • Recommendations for complementary products and services
  • Free mp3 downloads
  • Customer feedback forms

How you can you maximize your effectiveness with QR codes:

  • Provide explanations about their use and benefits
  • Encourage actions that support your marketing plan
  • Assuage the fears of the technically challenged
  • Give reasons to come back
  • Experiment with the size, location, and color of your QR codes
  • Study your analytics
  • Make the process fun, such as a QR code scavenger hunt
  • Experiment

You can read the entire article here:  How QR Codes Can Grow Your Business

I think if you are new to this concept (like me), the best thing to do is to experiment.  Next time you see a QR Code at a store or on a menu, give it a scan and see what pops up.

Happy Thursday everyone!

~Amy