Category: Email

Email Manifesto

There are lots of email annoyances that make us groan: When “Reply All” is used instead of “Reply” When someone has a bad grammar or spelling error When someone replies to the wrong person (the “wrong Bob” problem) Weird formatting errors (like sudden font changes) But these aren’t the reason we hate email, and most of these types of errors are just simple human error.  A consequence of too much multitasking and scattered thinking.The reason we hate opening our inboxes is that many emails, like the “kitchen sink” email (see below), are too difficult to tackle. Emails like this...

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Forgot that Attachment? Gmail will help.

Google Labs is now testing a service that searches the text of your email for references to attachments, and then warns you if you’re about to send an email without an attachment. Here’s my one-minute video to show you how to set it up. UPDATE: This is now a standard feature of Gmail. Possibly Related Posts: Write an Operating System for Your Brain The Four Processors: A Neogeneralist Problem? Strategies for Escaping the Echo Chamber Lean in to the Discomfort Steal Back Your Time and Accomplish Your...

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Finding a Compatible Meeting Time

It’s that time of year when we all try to schedule meetings for clubs or committees for the fall semester – only there’s that problem of finding the ultimate compatible meeting time. For this upcoming semester, I’ve been using a little program called Doodle ( to find that ideal meeting time. You can see two examples below. This program is super-simple to use (both for the setup and the participants). After you set up a poll, it will send you a link to the poll. Simply copy and paste the link into your own email (or website) and send it out to the folks you want to participate. Participants can go back to the poll and change their information, and all this can be done without a username and password. However, if you’re going to administer a bunch of these polls, I’d recommend a username and password for you so that you can easily keep track of them all. You can even go back in and edit the poll to add another date or time (as I did in the second example). When you add a time to the poll, it puts a ? in for any participant who has not yet responded to the new part. You can send a second request for participation, and everyone just “edits” their information. All in all, I’ve got to say this...

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Managing a mountain of email

Most likely, if you’re involved in higher education, you get a lot of email. During the week, I get between 50 and 100 emails a day, which seems like a lot, but I recently read that some people receive (and deal with) over 1000 a day! My goal has always been to try to “zero” my inbox frequently, but lately I have not been so successful – lots of reading material comes in, and between newsletters in my inbox and my Google Reader, I’m buried in information.     I just came across this Google Tech Talk, called “Inbox Zero” (by Merlin Mann) that I thought was a very appropriate thing to share with my readers – especially since almost everyone is either done, or almost done, with the semester. The Google Talks run 60 minutes, but you can get by watching the first 30 minutes of this one – and in the end, watching this video will save you well over 30 minutes of time, so I would consider it good value for your attention & time budget. One of the most valuable ideas that Mann discusses is the idea of an “email DMZ folder” (I think this came in the Q&A period after the talk). If you’ve been letting your email inbox build up forever, create a folder (or label) called DMZ. Take everything currently in your...

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Why I use Gmail

Maybe you’ve heard of Gmail, maybe you haven’t. Of course I have an edu email address at my college, but I only use it for “official college business” … communication with administrators and students. For all other communications, including Listserves, newsletters, and personal communication, I use my Gmail account (which is also free). Why? Reason #1: The most convincing reason can be seen in the image below. When someone asks a question or posts a topic on a Listserve, I see every response to the original message “stacked” in conversation-style. Rather than getting every email disjointedly separated from the others, new responses to the same topic always come collected with ALL other responses in this thread (including my own sent messages). This is done automatically for every conversation you have via email. I probably can’t convince you just how powerful this feature is, but now that I have it on my Gmail account, my school account drives me nuts. Reason #2: GMail gives you over 5 GB of storage space. Just to give you an idea of how much space that is, I have a 1 GB thumb drive which holds all of my book files with room to spare. Reason #3: 20MB attachments. Need to send a camtasia video to someone? Or send it to yourself to pick up at another location? You can’t do large file attachments...

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