Today on Mystery Mondays we have the pleasure of hearing from author Joanne Guidoccio. Joanne writes cosy mysteries and paranormal romances.
Special offer: read to the bottom, and you’ll find a chance to win an Amazon gift card.
In case you missed it, Joanne has also contributed to Mystery Mondays by writing Finding Your Voice.
If you’d like to contribute to Mystery Mondays, let me know.
Over to Joanne…
How to Deal With Information Overload
by Joann Guidoccio
One lost email could cost a life. A bit overly dramatic, but it didn’t stop Constable Leo Mulligan from suggesting that Gilda Greco could have prevented a former student’s death, if only she had read that email.
The storyline of A Different Kind of Reunion revolves around this overlooked email.
I would like to think that a lost email would never set in motion such dire consequences in real life situations. But still, a part of me worries about the increased inflow and outflow of information.
Ten years ago, I had email and other correspondence under control. I was teaching full-time and would check emails and messages three times a day. Dealing with back-to-back classes, meetings, and extra-help sessions left with me with only small pockets of free time during the day. In the evenings, I disciplined myself to check email only after my marking and lesson preparation was complete.
Everything changed when I retired and started a full-time writing career. Suddenly, my in-box overflowed with messages from editors, publishers, and writers in different time zones. When I joined several national and international groups, I also had access to their Yahoo groups. Participating in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media added to the constant flow of information.
My personal numbers:
• 8 Yahoo Groups
• Over 6K Twitter followers
• 500+ connections on each of the following: LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
• 100+ emails each day
• Following 30+ blogs
• Active participant in Twitter chats
Here are five strategies that help me stay on track:
- 1. Schedule blocks of time for email, doing research, completing work-related tasks, and simply browsing. Do not simply jump on anytime you feel like it. If necessary, disconnect from the internet if you need to focus on a particular task. In his book, The Power of Less, Leo Babuta introduces the idea of an “offline hour,” which could be extended to an “offline day.”
- 2. Turn off email notifications. Most programs have alerts like a sound, pop-up message, or blinking icon that let you know when you have received a new email. This interruption can be disruptive and gives power to anyone who wants to email you.
- 3. Work your way from top to bottom, one email at a time. Open each email and deal with it immediately. Reply, delete, or archive for future reference. Whenever possible, limit your response to five or fewer sentences. This forces you to be concise and limits the time spent in the email box. Before deleting any email, ensure there will be no negative consequences.
- 4. Take your breaks away from the Internet. Instead of checking social media during lunch and breaks, get away from your desk: take a walk, meditate, practice yoga, meet with friends.
- 5. Eat the frog. This famous dictum comes from Mark Twain, who strongly recommended completing difficult—and sometimes unpleasant—tasks early in the day. e.g. Writing a synopsis, outlining a novel, completing a round of edits.
How do you deal with Information Overload?
A Different Kind Of Reunion
While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.
Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.
Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?
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In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne Guidoccio