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

24 September 2018

One Software to Rule Them All

Unitasker or Multitasker?

 

Should you have one software for each task, and rely on Zapier to link them, or find a software that can multitask?

I talk a lot about having the right tech for the right task. But what does that mean? A favorite blog of mine, Unclutterer, frequently highlights what she calls unitaskers. These are organizing or productivity tools that only have one use – like a banana slicer. A unitasker can also be a tool/gadget that can be replaced by something you already own – why buy a grilled cheese sandwich toaster when you already have a frying pan?

When we apply the concept of unitaskers to the digital world, we start looking at the concept of software that only focuses on one thing. Is it better to have one software for financials, one for CRM, and one for email marketing, or is it better to have one software (like 17Hats) which provides all of those programs?

The question of unitasker software also comes up when we talk about automation. Do you have multiple software options and rely on Zapier to connect them, or do you go with software that automatically integrates with each other? For example, Acuity software automatically connects to your Google calendar, PayPal, and Stripe. But Acuity does not automatically connect with Evernote, so I have to use Zapier to get that information where I want it.

I don’t have one software that does it all. Right now my Quicken Online account links to PayPal, my Acuity scheduling account links to PayPal and to Google Calendar, and Insightly CRM links to MailChimp and my Gmail account. The great thing about Google is that so many programs link to it natively. But would I be more productive if I had one software – like 17Hats – which does my financials, scheduling, email marketing, and email?

Unitasker or not, the more important question is are you using the right tech for the right task. It is rare to find one software that does multiple things well. In addition, there is automation software like Zapier which will connect your individual software programs to each other in order to reduce your admin work and make it seem like everything works together. So find what works best for you, and seek expert answers to your questions when you have them!

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6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

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Talk to you soon 🙂
25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

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Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…

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Continue Reading
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.

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Talk to you soon 🙂
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?

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Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Continue Reading

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

24 September 2018

One Software to Rule Them All

Unitasker or Multitasker?

 

Should you have one software for each task, and rely on Zapier to link them, or find a software that can multitask?

I talk a lot about having the right tech for the right task. But what does that mean? A favorite blog of mine, Unclutterer, frequently highlights what she calls unitaskers. These are organizing or productivity tools that only have one use – like a banana slicer. A unitasker can also be a tool/gadget that can be replaced by something you already own – why buy a grilled cheese sandwich toaster when you already have a frying pan?

When we apply the concept of unitaskers to the digital world, we start looking at the concept of software that only focuses on one thing. Is it better to have one software for financials, one for CRM, and one for email marketing, or is it better to have one software (like 17Hats) which provides all of those programs?

The question of unitasker software also comes up when we talk about automation. Do you have multiple software options and rely on Zapier to connect them, or do you go with software that automatically integrates with each other? For example, Acuity software automatically connects to your Google calendar, PayPal, and Stripe. But Acuity does not automatically connect with Evernote, so I have to use Zapier to get that information where I want it.

I don’t have one software that does it all. Right now my Quicken Online account links to PayPal, my Acuity scheduling account links to PayPal and to Google Calendar, and Insightly CRM links to MailChimp and my Gmail account. The great thing about Google is that so many programs link to it natively. But would I be more productive if I had one software – like 17Hats – which does my financials, scheduling, email marketing, and email?

Unitasker or not, the more important question is are you using the right tech for the right task. It is rare to find one software that does multiple things well. In addition, there is automation software like Zapier which will connect your individual software programs to each other in order to reduce your admin work and make it seem like everything works together. So find what works best for you, and seek expert answers to your questions when you have them!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Read More

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.

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
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?

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Read More