8 June 2021

Email is a Trap




 https://xkcd.com/2181/

28 May 2021

Fixing Email – Step 5




Need to catch up on How to Fix Email? Check out previous entries in the Ilios Digital Organizing Blog!

The final step to fixing too much email? Just say nothing!

Not every email needs a response. When we’re talking and someone says thank you, of course we say ‘you’re welcome’. But do we really need to say that in follow up on a ‘thank you’ email?  How about  ‘got it’ in response to a reference email?

As always, it depends. Did the sender ask for confirmation? Will it benefit them to know you received it?

Like I’ve said for each step, the most important thing to do is to stop and think before you send an email.  Remember, the solution to too much email might just be in how you handle the messages you send, not in how you handle the messages you receive.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on managing email. Comment below or send me a message!

12 May 2021

Fixing Email – Step 4




Are you just joining us for How to Fix Email? Check out the earlier steps here on my blog!

How many times have you been cc’d on an email and wondered ‘why is this coming to me?’ Or on the flip side, how many times have you sent an email where you cc’d someone, just in case?

Fixing email requires stopping and thinking before you send an email out. This is especially true when you are trying to decide who to include in a group email.  Before you send the message, ask yourself, who really needs to know this information? Are they directly involved in the situation? Directly impacted by it? Will they even care?

And let’s not get started on the close cousin of the cc – the dreaded “reply all” option. Have you been part of one of those email discussions? Clogging up your inbox with stuff you don’t need to know? Just don’t do it. Not unless you’re directly told to include the group in your response.

So what are your next steps? Think before you cc. And watch out for that reply all button!

How’s your email going this week? I’d love to know – drop me a comment below!

28 April 2021

Fixing Email – Step 3




Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about email and how the answer to fixing email might be in how you handle the messages you send, rather than how you handle the messages you receive. There are five steps we can take to fix email. The first step we discussed was brevity and the second step was using better subject lines (you can read that post here: Step 2 to Fixing Email) .

The third step I wanted to talk about has to do with what you’re actually writing the email about. That’s right, the content of your message is always important.

We all know people who can cover three or four topics in a single conversational breath.  They’ve got lots to share and you to share it with. While this might be fine when it’s time to catch up, it’s not that great for an email exchange. Following up to better subject lines, try and keep your emails focused on one topic or issue of concern.  This makes it easier to file a reference email and gives you a clear focus for your next steps with an action email.

However, this is one of those “use your best judgement” steps. If you’re writing a newsy email to grandma then multiple subjects are okay. You’re catching her up on all that is your life. But in the business world, it helps to stay focused. A short, one topic email may be more likely to get a response than an email that jumps all over the place.

So what’s your next step? Before you send another email, take a moment and consider what the email is really about. Does the subject line reflect that? Is the content of the email just as long as it needs to be, and focused on one topic? If so, hit send!

How’s your email looking this week? Are you overwhelmed with incoming mail or do you feel like you’ve got it under control? Drop me an email (april@iliosdigital.com) or comment here and let me know!

Don’t forget to join us next week for Step 4 to fixing email!

14 April 2021

Fixing Email – Step 2




Last week we talked about email and how the answer to fixing email might be in how you handle the messages you send, rather than how you handle the messages you receive. There are five steps we can take to fix email, and the first step we discussed was brevity (and you can read the entire post here: Step 1 to Fixing Email).

The second step to fixing email has to do with clear subject lines. Every email needs a subject or a header – some programs will actually stop you from sending if you don’t have a subject listed – but not every subject line is a good one.

We’ve all seen those emails that hit our inbox and say ‘Zoom’ or ‘Deadline’ or even ‘Don’t forget’. At a glance how are we supposed to know what’s actually inside those emails until we take a moment and open them up to look?  And every time we go to our email we end up having to reopen that same message to remind us of what is inside.

That’s why I’m a big proponent of clear and descriptive subject lines in your email.  They allow you to quickly prioritize and categorize an email, letting you get back to your day that much faster. I’m talking about subject lines like ‘Zoom meeting at 7?’ or ‘Miller project deadline extended to Feb’ or even ‘Don’t forget to feed the fish’. See the difference?

So what’s your next step? Before you send another email, take a moment and consider what the email is really about. Does the subject line reflect that? Could the recipient tell at a glance what might be inside the email? Don’t forget either, that you may be able to change the subject line of an email before you respond to it.

How’s your email looking this week? Are you overwhelmed with incoming mail or do you feel like you’ve got it under control? Drop me an email (april@iliosdigital.com) or comment here and let me know!

Don’t forget to join us next week for Step 3 to fixing email!

6 April 2021

How to Fix Email




How many times are you checking your email each day? Either because you’re bored or because you’re trying to stay on top of your unread count? How much spam are you getting? Cat memes you didn’t ask for (but why not, they’re about cats!), and messages you didn’t need to be cc’d on. That’s not including all the newsletters and ads you subscribed to at one point.

We’re overloaded by email. And the worse part is, the business world runs on email. Love it or hate it, you can’t leave it behind or pretend it doesn’t exist. Google ’email overload’ and you’ll see lots of discussion on how to make it better. How many times have you tried to fix your email problem? Inbox Zero marathons, filters, changing email address, the options are out there.

But maybe the answer isn’t in how you handle the messages you receive, but in how you handle the messages you send.  I believe that one of the ways to fix email is to send better messages.  You can’t change how someone else uses email, but you can lead by example of how email should be used.

So where do we start? The first step is Brevity.

I’m as guilty as the next person of sending long messages. There are always things I want to explain or points I think I need to clarify. But what if I didn’t do that? What if I just responded with what was asked instead of elaborating?

Now, I’m not saying to forgo all the niceties like hello and thanks. Those are an important part of every email. But before you respond, consider the question being asked and how much information you really need to share.  (This is one I’ve got to work on myself!)

So what’s your next step? Look at that email you were about to send. Can it be shortened up? Is there a better, more concise way to say what you were about to say? Not all emails call for brevity, but you’d be surprised at how many do.

What about you? How’s your email count feeling lately? Drop me an email (april@iliosdigital.com) or comment here and let me know!

Then join me next week for Step 2 to fixing email!

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