Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

12 May 2017

Inbox Hero with Inbox Zero

Be an Inbox Hero with Inbox Zero!

Check out any article on email management and you’ll see the phrase ‘Inbox Zero’. Although it’s a been a concept for many years, the current definition explains that having zero emails in your inbox is a sign of success. But did you know that wasn’t the original intent? Merlin Mann, the guy behind Inbox Zero, didn’t see the zero as a reference to the number of messages in an inbox, but “the amount of time an employee’s brain is in his inbox”.

So how do you go about spending less time in your inbox? Especially when your unread messages are climbing past triple digits. Sorting and clearing out email is rewarding because it is a finite task, you can check it off your daily list, but constantly shuffling and organizing email isn’t necessarily productive.

Too often, people use the inbox as a type of to-do list. Emails that need attention are left in the inbox because it’s a ‘safe’ spot, but as more emails come in, it’s easy for these action items to get lost. The goal of Inbox Zero is to spend less time playing with your email and more time doing stuff. Achieve this by having a strategy for approaching your email inbox.

  • Take back control of your time – turn off email notifications on your computer and mobile devices. Instead of letting email constantly interrupt your day, schedule email breaks throughout the day, and resist the temptation to check in between times.
  • When you do approach your inbox
    • Decide what a message is – Action OR Reference OR Trash
    • Decide what must be done – Trash, Action (2 min task or add to To Do), File into reference
    • Do the task or Delegate the task (Not all emails require an answer)
  • And finally, send the type of emails you want to receive

 


Inbox Zero Tools

 

There are a multitude of tools available these days to help you achieve Inbox Zero – some of which may be part of your current email provider!

Canned Responses /Templates – Create these for your most asked questions, this can take a 5-minute email down to a 2-minute task
Filters – Use these for those frequently mailed items that don’t need immediate attention, but you want to keep to view later.
SaneBox – Filters emails for you, learns your needs the more you use it, starts at $7/mo
Zapier – Use to link your email and your to-do list app; once you decide an email needs action, send it to your task list
Sort’d & Boomerang – Designed for Gmail

Is there an email productivity app you love? Let me know – either here or over on Facebook!

 

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Continue Reading
4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Continue Reading
9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!
7 March 2018

3 Ways To Close Those Open Browser Tabs

So you have nine million browser tabs open on your computer. Some of them are for projects you’re in the middle of, other tabs are for articles you want to read, or information you need to grab to use later. I would bet some of your open tabs are active tabs – email, calendar, CRM – all of which are great to have open so you can easily check them. But is open tab practice really the best way to manage your information? What happens if your computer suddenly restarts? Windows users, you know what I am talking about! Or what if you accidentally close your browser? I’ve done that more often than I’d like and I bet you have too.

 

But how do you take care of all these open tabs? The first step is to figure out what you are using the open tabs for. Is this your version of a to-do list? A visual reminder of what you want to work on? Are you unsure where to put the information so you can reference it later? Do you just not have time to read those articles you’ve opened? There are better options for all of these issues!
Continue Reading
9 February 2018

How to use Dropbox, G Drive, and OneDrive

Online file storage services.
What are you using them for? Long term storage? Another place to store your photos? A backup site?
Did you know that these services are designed to “store all your files online and keep them synced across your devices (G Drive)” These online file storage services allow you to to access your files when you need them, regardless of where you are or what device you are using.  In addition, these services allow you to easily share files with collaborators. (They are not designed as online backup! There are better programs for that.)
I currently use all three services. I use Dropbox to store my active business files because this lets me get to the same information regardless of using my Mac or my PC. G Drive is used to share files and collaborate with my professional organization. One Drive is used with a specific client to share important files.
Regardless of which file storage/sharing program you use, I recommend keeping one type of business all in one area – don’t let your business work spread over three different services. This type of organization will let you find what you need quicker and reduce the amount of duplication.
Questions? Are you ready to learn more about online file storage? Contact us or schedule a session!
30 January 2018

Too much to read! 3 ways to manage your online reading pile

To read or not to read

Is your online to-do reading pile growing? Are you using your browser bookmarks to keep track of all those articles? There is a better way! Check out the following apps –
RSS Readers – collate all your articles in one area so you can quickly check them and see what you want to read – either now or later.  Feedly is an example
Pocket – a great option for ‘read it later’ articles. Great aspect of Pocket is that you can read articles when you are ‘off line’, which makes it perfect for long airplane or car rides. Get your copy of Pocket at their website!
 Evernote – another option for storing articles until you are ready for them. There is an option for taking the articles offline as well.
If you’ve got a lot of articles saved to ‘read later’, maybe take some time to review that reading list and see which ones you still want to make time to read, and which you can just delete.
Need help organizing your reference articles? Contact Ilios and we can get you started!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Read More

4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Read More

9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!

7 March 2018

3 Ways To Close Those Open Browser Tabs

So you have nine million browser tabs open on your computer. Some of them are for projects you’re in the middle of, other tabs are for articles you want to read, or information you need to grab to use later. I would bet some of your open tabs are active tabs – email, calendar, CRM – all of which are great to have open so you can easily check them. But is open tab practice really the best way to manage your information? What happens if your computer suddenly restarts? Windows users, you know what I am talking about! Or what if you accidentally close your browser? I’ve done that more often than I’d like and I bet you have too.

 

But how do you take care of all these open tabs? The first step is to figure out what you are using the open tabs for. Is this your version of a to-do list? A visual reminder of what you want to work on? Are you unsure where to put the information so you can reference it later? Do you just not have time to read those articles you’ve opened? There are better options for all of these issues!
Read More

9 February 2018

How to use Dropbox, G Drive, and OneDrive

Online file storage services.
What are you using them for? Long term storage? Another place to store your photos? A backup site?
Did you know that these services are designed to “store all your files online and keep them synced across your devices (G Drive)” These online file storage services allow you to to access your files when you need them, regardless of where you are or what device you are using.  In addition, these services allow you to easily share files with collaborators. (They are not designed as online backup! There are better programs for that.)
I currently use all three services. I use Dropbox to store my active business files because this lets me get to the same information regardless of using my Mac or my PC. G Drive is used to share files and collaborate with my professional organization. One Drive is used with a specific client to share important files.
Regardless of which file storage/sharing program you use, I recommend keeping one type of business all in one area – don’t let your business work spread over three different services. This type of organization will let you find what you need quicker and reduce the amount of duplication.
Questions? Are you ready to learn more about online file storage? Contact us or schedule a session!

30 January 2018

Too much to read! 3 ways to manage your online reading pile

To read or not to read

Is your online to-do reading pile growing? Are you using your browser bookmarks to keep track of all those articles? There is a better way! Check out the following apps –
RSS Readers – collate all your articles in one area so you can quickly check them and see what you want to read – either now or later.  Feedly is an example
Pocket – a great option for ‘read it later’ articles. Great aspect of Pocket is that you can read articles when you are ‘off line’, which makes it perfect for long airplane or car rides. Get your copy of Pocket at their website!
 Evernote – another option for storing articles until you are ready for them. There is an option for taking the articles offline as well.
If you’ve got a lot of articles saved to ‘read later’, maybe take some time to review that reading list and see which ones you still want to make time to read, and which you can just delete.
Need help organizing your reference articles? Contact Ilios and we can get you started!