Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

11 December 2018

Keeping in touch when you’re away

All the mental health articles tell us to, but do you ever manage to leave your email behind? I’ll admit that it’s the first thing I check when I get up in the morning, and I usually check it again right before I get ready for bed. Not because there is usually anything urgent, but it’s more of a habit than anything else. There are some days, though, where we do want to leave email behind. Vacation time, baby leave, even sick days are times when you might not be in your inbox regularly. I know that as entrepreneurs, ignoring email isn’t really an option. However, there are things you can do to manage expectations for those who are trying to get in touch with you when you’d rather be out of touch.

If you need to be away from your email, or just aren’t going to be able to check it frequently, set an out of office style message. I’ve received auto responses from people that said “Hi! I check my mail once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and will follow up with you shortly. If this is urgent, please feel free to call me.” Although this person probably wasn’t out of the office, I knew that they would get back to me, just not right away. If it had truly been an urgent matter, the phone was right there.

Another option if you want to be or need to be away from your email as much as possible, is to create canned responses. These are template answers to your most common questions. Although the how varies, you can set up templates in most email programs. Having a set of canned responses means that when you do check your email you can take two minutes to customize an already created response rather than taking 5 or more minutes writing one from scratch. No, this won’t cover all emails you receive but should help out some.

Finally, if you have to be away from your email but can’t quite leave it behind, set a schedule for when you’ll check it. Like above, pick a time in the morning or a time in the afternoon and try to stick with it. It might also help to turn off those notifications you get on your phone or computer. You don’t need the digital equivalent of a toddler tugging at your clothes every time an email arrives. Email isn’t going away, but we can manage it, instead of letting it manage us!

Interested in more productivity tips? Schedule a Discovery Call and let’s talk about how to get you more time and less stress!

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

14 February 2019

3 Awesome Tools for Finding Duplicate Files

I have two of the exact same necklace. Not on purpose, mind you, but I received one as a gift after I had already bought it myself. That’s happened before with clothes – I get home with a new shirt and find out it’s almost exactly the same as one in my closet. The same thing happens with computers, too.

We all end up with duplicate files. No matter how hard you try not to, eventually there is an extra copy somewhere in your system. When that happens, you’ve got two options. You can take time out of your busy day to go looking through your files for that extra, unnecessary one, or you can let a duplicate checker do the work for you.

What duplicate finders do I like?

In some cases, you only need to run a duplicate checker once. However, if you have a tendency to download the same file multiple times, or recreate a form every other time you need it, then you might want to make duplicate checking a regular part of your quarterly maintenance.

If you’re interested in more ways to manage duplicates – and save yourself valuable time in the process – let’s get together and talk.

7 February 2019

When a document goes lost and can’t be found

Girl with stickers and rubber duck

My niece loves her stickers. Loves stickers on her duck, on her shirt, and laid out on the couch so she can see all of them at once. Life can be like that. Sometimes you’ve got everything lined up in a nice neat row. But sometimes everything’s a mess and it’s hard to find that thing you need.

It can be that way on your computer too. You need to work on a client’s project, so you go to your files, certain you’ll find the document you need to work on. But…it’s not there. And it’s not in your email, or your downloads folder, or anywhere else you look. You’re certain your client sent it, but now you can’t find it.

So what can you do? You’ve got to contact your client and ask them to resend the document. There’s no way around it. And no way to avoid feeling unprofessional.

But you don’t have to feel that way!

Let’s get together and talk about how you can avoid this embarrassing situation. Schedule your Discovery Call today!

31 January 2019

Using Evernote and Getting Things Done to Rock Your To-Do List!

How do you stay on task when it comes to getting things done?

Evernote + GTD + The Secret Weapon

I talk a lot about using the right tool for the right task, and how some tools aren’t designed to do everything. Evernote is an example of an app that, although it excels at content management,  can be almost anything you need it to be. I use Evernote for task management and was talking recently with another professional organizer about how exactly I made that work. So….I thought I’d share with you how I’ve set up Evernote to be my to-do list. 

I use some of the principles of Getting Things Done by David Allen when using Evernote for task management. The program called The Secret Weapon really helped me figure out how to marry the two. How I use Evernote is as follows:

Continue Reading
18 January 2019

Sync Up!

Are You In Sync?

When you move from one computer to another, do your bookmarks and settings follow you? Can you be reading an article in your office, then switch to your phone to finish the article as you wait in line at the store? If no, then what are you waiting for? 

Chrome and Firefox both offer a version of account sync. You create an account, set up your browser to your preference – certain extensions, zoom level, home page, etc. – then when you log into another digital device and open the browser you will see the exact same setup. I have sync set up for Chrome, which is my primary browser, and Firefox which is my secondary browser. 

Productivity wise, sync has been awesome because no matter what computer or device I am on, I have access to my bookmarks and recent tabs. I currently operate on three different computers and two mobile devices, so sync makes it mostly seamless. There have been a few hiccups trying to access recent tabs from another device (pulling up a web page I saw on my desktop when I am using my laptop), but overall its been great. 

For more info about sync, check out the following articles about sync:

Chrome Sync

Firefox Sync

4 January 2019

Too much to read, not enough time

I was the girl who always had a book in her hand. At home, I stored books on bookshelves, under my pillow, or under the bed (that was where the romance novels were stashed when I was in high school!).  In school I got in trouble multiple times for reading a paperback behind my textbook when I was supposed to be working. But what was I supposed to do? There were all these great things to read and not nearly enough time to read them all in!


These days I am more likely to be found reading online – books and fan fiction mostly, and articles or blogs that I follow. But just like the pile that used to stack up beside my bed, the online reading pile can get to be overwhelming. The amount of online fiction I’ve bookmarked should keep me busy till summer. To keep track of all the blogs I follow and articles I want to read, I used to use my browser bookmarks. But that was just another pile of things to go through. The great thing is, today there are several different options for keeping track of what you need to read.

Continue Reading
17 December 2018

3 ways to get ready for 2019

2019 is almost here and I know there’s always the temptation to let things slide as we get to the end of the year. It’s vacation time, holidays, and everyone has so much to do outside of work. But before you take that next snow day – or rain day if you’re here in Southern California – there are three things you can do to set yourself up for success in 2019.

  1. Get your inbox cleaned up – Remember all email is either an Action item, Reference item, and Trash item. Get those reference and trash items out of your inbox, leaving only action items that need your attention. (Psst…check out our post Inbox Hero for more details)
  2. Back up your files – If you don’t have online backup already set, get started now! Don’t let all your hard work from 2018 be at risk. I’m a fan of Backblaze for online backup.
  3. Clean out your Downloads folder – all those items have homes, make sure they get to them!

Take a few minutes today to prep for the new year. Then, take a few minutes for yourself to reflect on all the great things you accomplished in 2018!

Interested in more ways to increase your productivity? Schedule your Discovery Call today and let’s talk about how to get you more time and less stress.

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

14 February 2019

3 Awesome Tools for Finding Duplicate Files

I have two of the exact same necklace. Not on purpose, mind you, but I received one as a gift after I had already bought it myself. That’s happened before with clothes – I get home with a new shirt and find out it’s almost exactly the same as one in my closet. The same thing happens with computers, too.

We all end up with duplicate files. No matter how hard you try not to, eventually there is an extra copy somewhere in your system. When that happens, you’ve got two options. You can take time out of your busy day to go looking through your files for that extra, unnecessary one, or you can let a duplicate checker do the work for you.

What duplicate finders do I like?

In some cases, you only need to run a duplicate checker once. However, if you have a tendency to download the same file multiple times, or recreate a form every other time you need it, then you might want to make duplicate checking a regular part of your quarterly maintenance.

If you’re interested in more ways to manage duplicates – and save yourself valuable time in the process – let’s get together and talk.

7 February 2019

When a document goes lost and can’t be found

Girl with stickers and rubber duck

My niece loves her stickers. Loves stickers on her duck, on her shirt, and laid out on the couch so she can see all of them at once. Life can be like that. Sometimes you’ve got everything lined up in a nice neat row. But sometimes everything’s a mess and it’s hard to find that thing you need.

It can be that way on your computer too. You need to work on a client’s project, so you go to your files, certain you’ll find the document you need to work on. But…it’s not there. And it’s not in your email, or your downloads folder, or anywhere else you look. You’re certain your client sent it, but now you can’t find it.

So what can you do? You’ve got to contact your client and ask them to resend the document. There’s no way around it. And no way to avoid feeling unprofessional.

But you don’t have to feel that way!

Let’s get together and talk about how you can avoid this embarrassing situation. Schedule your Discovery Call today!

31 January 2019

Using Evernote and Getting Things Done to Rock Your To-Do List!

How do you stay on task when it comes to getting things done?

Evernote + GTD + The Secret Weapon

I talk a lot about using the right tool for the right task, and how some tools aren’t designed to do everything. Evernote is an example of an app that, although it excels at content management,  can be almost anything you need it to be. I use Evernote for task management and was talking recently with another professional organizer about how exactly I made that work. So….I thought I’d share with you how I’ve set up Evernote to be my to-do list. 

I use some of the principles of Getting Things Done by David Allen when using Evernote for task management. The program called The Secret Weapon really helped me figure out how to marry the two. How I use Evernote is as follows:

Read More

18 January 2019

Sync Up!

Are You In Sync?

When you move from one computer to another, do your bookmarks and settings follow you? Can you be reading an article in your office, then switch to your phone to finish the article as you wait in line at the store? If no, then what are you waiting for? 

Chrome and Firefox both offer a version of account sync. You create an account, set up your browser to your preference – certain extensions, zoom level, home page, etc. – then when you log into another digital device and open the browser you will see the exact same setup. I have sync set up for Chrome, which is my primary browser, and Firefox which is my secondary browser. 

Productivity wise, sync has been awesome because no matter what computer or device I am on, I have access to my bookmarks and recent tabs. I currently operate on three different computers and two mobile devices, so sync makes it mostly seamless. There have been a few hiccups trying to access recent tabs from another device (pulling up a web page I saw on my desktop when I am using my laptop), but overall its been great. 

For more info about sync, check out the following articles about sync:

Chrome Sync

Firefox Sync

4 January 2019

Too much to read, not enough time

I was the girl who always had a book in her hand. At home, I stored books on bookshelves, under my pillow, or under the bed (that was where the romance novels were stashed when I was in high school!).  In school I got in trouble multiple times for reading a paperback behind my textbook when I was supposed to be working. But what was I supposed to do? There were all these great things to read and not nearly enough time to read them all in!


These days I am more likely to be found reading online – books and fan fiction mostly, and articles or blogs that I follow. But just like the pile that used to stack up beside my bed, the online reading pile can get to be overwhelming. The amount of online fiction I’ve bookmarked should keep me busy till summer. To keep track of all the blogs I follow and articles I want to read, I used to use my browser bookmarks. But that was just another pile of things to go through. The great thing is, today there are several different options for keeping track of what you need to read.

Read More

17 December 2018

3 ways to get ready for 2019

2019 is almost here and I know there’s always the temptation to let things slide as we get to the end of the year. It’s vacation time, holidays, and everyone has so much to do outside of work. But before you take that next snow day – or rain day if you’re here in Southern California – there are three things you can do to set yourself up for success in 2019.

  1. Get your inbox cleaned up – Remember all email is either an Action item, Reference item, and Trash item. Get those reference and trash items out of your inbox, leaving only action items that need your attention. (Psst…check out our post Inbox Hero for more details)
  2. Back up your files – If you don’t have online backup already set, get started now! Don’t let all your hard work from 2018 be at risk. I’m a fan of Backblaze for online backup.
  3. Clean out your Downloads folder – all those items have homes, make sure they get to them!

Take a few minutes today to prep for the new year. Then, take a few minutes for yourself to reflect on all the great things you accomplished in 2018!

Interested in more ways to increase your productivity? Schedule your Discovery Call today and let’s talk about how to get you more time and less stress.