My Blog Helps Real People Work Smarter – Have You Visited Lately?

My blog, Suite Minute, started out as a way to share my tips in the Microsoft Office suite. The name came from the notion that each post would take you a minute to read, a minute to try, but save you hours using. Its mission is to help you spend less time working but get more done. You can do that by working smarter and finishing faster.

Suite Minute has grown over the past three years, and last year, it was awarded Top Business Blog by My technology tips focus on improving your personal productivity (I’m a personal productivity expert and international conference speaker). I write about what I know, the way I work, problems I’ve solved, and products I actually use. A lot of my content comes from conversations with real people.

Here are links to some posts you might have missed. Get comfortable and enjoy.


Using Autoresponders is Not the Way to Manage Email

I saw a Feb 2007 article in CareerJournal (Wall Street Journal Website), and my mouth dropped open when I read the advice below. It is so wrong.

“Emails that don’t require an immediate reply can pile up as you respond to more urgent messages. To get them out of the way, send a quick reply to each with a canned message such as: “Thanks for writing. I’ll get back to you on this as soon as possible,” says Ana Weber, a controller at Binder Metal Products Inc., a Gardena, Calif., manufacturer, who is a part-time career and time-management coach. Then store them in a folder labeled “unread” as a reminder to attend to them later, she says.”

An autoresponder that pops back to every message people send you is on my list of 27 email pet peeves that I’ve collected. Coming from someone who teaches people how to manage email overload and addiction, has written a book about it, and travels nationally doing it, let me tell you…don’t do this.

An autoresponder like this does nothing but contribute to more email overload. You have not helped the writer, and you’ve piled up more work for yourself that you’ll probably forget about.

This is better.

  • Keep the Inbox to one screen by not using it as a database, to do list, calendar, or tickler file.
  • Get organized (paper, Inbox, and computer files) so you can find answers quickly.
  • Use the best software (Outlook) and learn all its tips and tricks.
  • Establish a routine that works for you (and the boss and co-workers).
  • Get into a meeting with your Inbox and deal with each message as you open it.

For detailed help on managing email overload and addiction, check out my book, Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2003. For hands on training at your place or mine, visit The Digital Breakthroughs Institute.

Improve Email Etiquette and Reduce Email Overload

Improve messages you send
and reduce email overload.

For years, I’ve been helping people improve how they manage email. Whether they’re in my class or if they’ve sent me a message that needs improving, I’m always willing to offer my advice…whether they asked for it or not. I even wrote a book about it.

Every day, I receive at least one email message that makes me shake my head. If you improve your email habits, that will reduce your email overload.

My Top Three Email Pet Peeves

Here are my top three email pet peeves with a link to more. Pay attention to these, stop doing what you’re doing, and manage email better.

Reply to All to CYA (cover your butt). Stop sending to all if all do not have a need to know. You wanted to make sure you were covered so you’re sending everyone on a list your answer—whether they needed to know or not. Or you’re sending a message to everyone because you’re too lazy to select the appropriate recipients.

Don’t match subject lines to the message. Don’t pull up an old message, hit Reply, and send me a message that has nothing to do with the previous one. Suppose you sent an email message two months ago that said, “The monthly meeting has been cancelled.” You pulled up that old message because the email addresses were already in it. But this time, you wanted to let everyone know that coffee and donuts would be served at this month’s meeting. At the very least, change the subject line!

Send one-liners. You know those silly messages that say “Thanks.” You sent an email message to 25 people and 15 of them sent you a one-liner. Next time put “No Reply Necessary” at the top and at the bottom of your message. And when you send an email asking for something, add “Thanks in advance” so you won’t feel compelled to send a one-liner later.

Read the entire list of email pet peeves here on my Website.