my BLOG



Remember that vacation? Here’s an easy, fun, stylish way

Posted by on Mar 21, 2012 in FAMILY life, ORGANIZING, STYLE | 0 comments

Last week I took a blog break while on spring break. All of that anticipation for a fun time away… then you’re back into the normal swing of things. That vacay feel has completely vacated. And the memories? Within a few weeks, I’ll find myself asking, “Where did we go again for spring break?”

Here is a fun, easy, inexpensive and stylish {great combo!} idea to help you remember not only where you went but the best parts about it:

Use postcards to preserve those vacation memories {photo credit: eperales}

POSTCARDS!  This is why I love:

EASY:  When on vacation, postcards are everywhere. Even if you’re vacationing at home {sometimes the best way to do it : ), you can create your own postcard by using a favorite snapshot with a peel and stick make-your-own.

FUN: Take a few minutes when back home to reminisce … on the back of the card, you can write down:

  • everyone’s favorite part of trip
  • your itinerary
  • where you ate {this is a big part of our trips!}
  • what made you laugh the most
  • whatever floats your boat!

INEXPENSIVE:  25 cents for most – can’t beat that {for that price, each family member can choose his or her own!}

STYLISH:  make part of your decor by posting on a designated travel wall, keeping in a beautiful album … OR putting in a container you LOVE.

This way, all of these fabulous memories will be right at your fingertips when you need to go back {…in your mind. That’s the best part of good memories!}

I don’t have a junk drawer – but I DO have these

Posted by on Mar 8, 2012 in FAMILY life, ORGANIZING | 0 comments

Do I have a junk drawer?  No.  But I do have places that contain random “stuff.” Here are a few of my homes for things with no homes:

Screws, little pieces of whatever go into this zip lock bag which I keep in our “indoor tool” box:

Miscellaneous pieces of whatever

Those little game and puzzle pieces that end up under the sofa, behind the cushions, etc… when I find, I’ll toss into this little container. Every so often we’ll take the time to put back in original place. If I had to stop and put back in “proper place” each time… well that wouldn’t happen. So, this is the “holding place”:

When we're missing a game or puzzle piece, this is where we go to look...

This container holds seldom used {but needed} kitchen pieces. This way they don’t jam up our main drawers containing the daily or weekly used pieces. {Isn’t it frustrating when you pull open a drawer and there’s so much stuff you can’t open {or close} all the way?!!}

Kitchen utensils that are needed - but not often used {oyster shuckers... melon /cookie scoop}

And I’ve saved my favorite for last... I work with my kids {and husband} on building good organizing habits – such as every toy needs a home. And every toy needs to be in its home when not in use.  This doesn’t always happen at our house. {I have to work at it, too, so I try not to be too hard on them!} HOWEVER, that’s not to say I don’t get frustrated. SO, when I’m in the mood, I’ll go around with this box and toss in whatever has been left out.  And then keep it for awhile : ) It’s actually quite a stress reliever when I feel like I’m going to loose it if I have to say one more time, “Pick up your stuff!!”

And this is where the left out things disappear to...

Having an automatic place to put things that don’t have a specific home keep your cabinets, drawers and surfaces from getting overrun with clutter. But you have to be strategic… and it has to be a small percentage of your things!  Notice the pattern of items going in to these holding places and consider establishing new homes if need be. Don’t allow junk in your prime real estate spaces – keep it for your favorite / most often used things! 

5 Fabulous TECHNOLOGY MAKING LIFE BETTER Finds!

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in ORGANIZING, WORK life | 0 comments

FEEL like you are here... using a little Ambiance. Photo credit: paul (dex)}

Five Fabulous Finds! A new type of post where I”ll share 5 things I think are fabulous – and in some way, shape or form can be linked to order!

Today, here are Five Fabulous TECHNOLOGY MAKING LIFE BETTER Finds:

1. Ambiance:  An “environmental enhancer” app with tons of different sounds:  from Day at the Beach + Country Night TO Greek Restaurant + Watching Soccer in a Pub. Whatever floats your boat – you’ll find it {HEAR it} here.  Price:  2.99

2. Little Snapper: This application allows you to take screenshots {pictures of whatever is on your computer screen} plus much more. I use this for a TON of things – from organizing images while preparing for a workshop, to gathering helpful ideas to send to a client.  Price:  39.99

3. Evernote: This is a place where you can capture anything and everything. It can work with mobile devices so you can have anytime access. Plus, you can search by keyword or tag to find whatever you’ve noted in a snap.  Price:  FREE!

What Evernote can do for you {I took this screenshot using Little Snapper - how handy!}

Organizing Tip: When using an app like Little Snapper or Evernote, give some thought to how you can best organize what you’ll be bringing in BEFORE jumping in. When I started using these two, I got so carried away in using and I didn’t set up a very smart system for incoming stuff.  Now I’m having to go back and organize. A life organizer by profession, you’d think I would have known better!

4. WorkFlowy: A simple yet powerful way to outline projects, keep lists, organize thoughts. Watch this two-minute video {CLICK HERE} to see how it works. It’s “simply” amazing. Price: FREE!

5. Simply Noise: a “color noise generator” app {white noise + more} you can download on your smart phone, iPad, computer. It’s like having a sound machine anywhere you need it. Incredible way to block out distraction when you’re working {FOCUSING}, sleeping – or simply wishing to relax. You can set the timer for it to turn off …. after you’ve drifted into dreamland. Price: FREE!

Do YOU have favorites? If so, please share with me!

Here’s how I take care when I feel like #$@%

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in OWN life | 0 comments

During this Surround Yourself with What You Love month, I’m taking special care to add more of one of my {and my family’s} favorite things: good food. I’ll set the scene two nights ago:

It was just the boys and me: dining room set, candles lit, music playing, really good I must say salmon + salad + bread w/ dipping olive oil + spices.

Before deleting with repulsion – keep reading. My perfect evening gets better:

Within ONE minute of our blessing, the boys upset each other so over … I DON”T EVEN REMEMBER?! … and my oldest ran off with his plate while my little one smugly sat.  All of that work and this is what happens? And I still hadn’t cleaned the George Foreman grill – the biggest pain in the $#@ thing there is to clean.

This was the ending of a day filled with:

  • Technical glitches galore: scanner +  passwords + “smart” phone + brand new TV {with professional installation $$$} that suddenly has no sound
  • Firetrucks + ambulances up and down the road {literally all morning} near our house which had me on edge {worried about what was going on + the sound itself is so unnerving… was glad to know it was a contained house fire & no one was injured – you would have thought it was a grand scale catastrophe}
  • Grocery shopping: which, as my friend Leigh will tell you, is not a quick thing! – there’s the meal planning + grocery list making + coupon compiling + driving to & from + actual shopping + unloading  + putting away.  Exhausting just typing that out.
  • Doctor’s appointment: Both boys together in waiting room then waiting in the OTHER room … waiting is not fun with two kids – no DS’s in sight.  Poor planning on my part, maybe.  But I’m like, “You are capable of simply sitting respectfully.”  I did get a glowing compliment from the PA, “Your boys are so well behaved!” I simply said, “Thank you!” but thought to myself, these patient room doors must be sound proof.

The purpose of this post is to let you know that you aren’t alone in the day to day struggles of keeping it together. {And what will really annoy me is KNOWING there are so many out there with WAY bigger struggles (including the one faced by the homeowner, above) but still getting frustrated with my own situations.} But no matter how big or small, we all need support in different forms. Having a go-to list for help when you need it can be extremely … helpful.

I got this idea from one of my favorite writers, Cheryl Richardson. Here is an excerpt from her book, The Art of Extreme SelfCare:

“An Extreme Self-Care First-Aid Kit is a well-prepared plan of action put in place before you need to use it. It consists of things you can do on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level that will give you comfort, connection, and a feeling of steadiness while navigating the rough waters of a crisis. When faced with a difficult period, what matters most is that you return to the behaviors and practices that reflect Extreme Self-Care as quickly as possible, so you can restore yourself to sanity and strength. That way, you’ll bring your best, most resourceful self to the challenge at hand.”

- Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme SelfCare

I have my own Take Care checklist – things to keep me going / encourage me to take a break / help me regroup:

Some are more “superficial” {which is perfectly fine when that’s just what you need}:

  • my favorite … magazine, TV show, food, wine {at times, at the same time! But be careful if wine (etc) is what you use to relieve stress – during a stressful time I had to put the brakes on it – realized I was becoming too dependent on and needed to deal in different way… see next category)
  • absolutely nothing {LISTEN to what your body needs, as Well Grounded Life’s Lisa Byrne shares here in her post, Your Supposed to be Tired and Grumpy
  • pedicure {prefer over mani when in need of relaxing – there’s no lounging back & reading mags when getting your nails done!}
  • Pinterest {I really do get lost in it as I described here}
  • Music {There are times – as mentioned in next section – when I need something uplifting.  And there are times when the only thing that’ll do is really good – loud – music. My playlists are quite diverse I must say!}

Others are more “restorative“: {I learned about how to separate the two types of “self care” from WGL Lisa’s conversation with author, speaker, life coach Renee Trudeau}

  • conversation with trusted friend
  • session with therapist {or clergyman, doctor, coach … and if you don’t feel a connection with, KEEP LOOKING. It’s so important to find the right fit with this stuff.}
  • yoga {did my favorite class the morning after that day above … it’s my soulmate workout for sure – as Chalene Johnson (L O V E  her!) recommends finding}
  • time with favorite book / blog {my books & blog reads tend to be more build you up kind of reads… figured my US magazine would be considered in “superficial” category : )
  • listening to a helpful + inspiring podcast / book on tape {I learned the self care distinctions of “superficial” and “restorative” while listening to one of WGL Lisa’s taped conversations with her brand new M.A.A.P series / project: this one was with Renee Trudeau. Click HERE to learn more: really good stuff to listen to while in car – or at home. I listened to one while cleaning out the fridge the other day}.

For more ideas, I’ll include this from Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self Care {published by Hay House, Inc.:

 

 

This was not the post I planned to do for this week but I really do have to feel it to write it and this is what I was feeling. Surround yourself with what you love at times is easier said than done but it is crucial in taking care of yourself.  And taking care of YOURSELF is crucial to caring for everything else in life you love – including those little ones we love but at times aren’t very lovable.  

What’s on YOUR Take Care list?

Self{less} Centered… My Valentine’s Gift

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in FAMILY life | 1 comment

When making a difficult decision, a very wise person told me, “It’s not all about you.” So true, and I’m thankful I took his advice to heart. And speaking of “hearts”, {Happy Valentine’s Day, btw!} I’m focusing this Surround Yourself with What You Love post on something I’m guilty of not putting my best focus on. {Stick with me… it all ties together!}

As I’ve touted many times before, focus is huge when it comes to order + getting best results. Whether you’re:

  • writing a blog post {it’s 5:45 a.m. as I type this – quiet house = better & faster}
  • making a to-do list {by doing this (IF it’s done right) you will greatly improve focus elsewhere}
  • cooking a meal {many probably don’t require focus for this – me, for the sake of those eating it, yes!}
  • working out {when really into it vs. just going through the motions, I swear you get at least twice the benefits}
  • packing for a trip {when I’m completely zoned in here, I can pack in 10 minutes vs. 1 hour or more}

So where am I guilty of non-focus? Here’s a comment made yesterday after reading a wonderful post by Well Grounded Life’s Lisa Byrne {3 certain & specific ways love in action heals us from the inside out} :

In response to, Lisa’s question: “Which are hardest for you to put into action?”:

While I know it’s not possible to give complete focus 100% of the time, I’m really going to work harder at ensuring there are pockets of time in the morning afternoon and evening where I have complete focus on each of my biggest little loves in the world. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll even add my other big love {my husband!} to my greater focus list.

Seriously, I can multi-task like no other when it comes to time around my kids. {When reading a book together, I can read out loud yet the entire time my mind is thinking about everything else other than where I am at the moment.} And as anyone with kids will tell you, those moments are fleeting.  

So instead of proofing + tweaking this post, I’m going to hit “publish” and snuggle with my boys while they’ll still let me : )

{…. As the title of this post says, it’s a Valentine’s Gift … to my boys – but really, for myself}

And, check out Facebook later today – will post pics of our Valentine’s Day morning : )

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!!! I’m thankful for each of you…

xoxo,

Angela

Organize your on-the-go-spa: Here’s mine

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in ORGANIZING, STYLE | 0 comments

My current {traveling} spa

One of my all-time favorite things: beauty products. I’ve always had a lot of love for, but now that I’m a mom, I’m not able to spend as much time {or $} on these luxuries. However, I’m not about to let my favorite indulgence take a backseat. I keep them up front with me – literally.

Vera Bradley cosmetic bag {I wanted it to blend in nicely with my car's interior}

Here’s what’s in my {to-go} bag of tricks {TREATS} that I keep right at my fingertips. And only used when at a long stop light, safely parked or in carpool line, of course : )

  • Sugar lip treatments {one with SPF + other with “natural” color}
  • bareMinerals firming eye treatment
  • boscia green tea blotting linens
  • Essie polish in Mademoiselle {will often paint my nails before pulling out of driveway – in the car is often the longest my hands are “still”!}
  • L’Occitane hand cream
  • Josie Maran Argan Oil {for cuticles, skin, fine lines, split ends – you name it}
  • Orbit gum … and last but certainly not least…
  • * Perfume – this little purse spray currently holds my new favorite, The One, Dolce & Gabbana

{* I think every girl should have at least one perfume they love – THIS KIT from Sephora (which may just be my favorite place in the world) allows you to try several & then turn in voucher for your full size favorite.}

Surrounding yourself with what you love doesn’t just happen at home! For other ways to enjoy the ride, here are my 10 ways to turn your car into your HAVEN.

{P.S.  The WINNER of my Kitchen Command Center makeover has been selected… stay tuned for how this can help YOU!}

It’s Surround Yourself with What You LOVE month…What that means for YOU

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in ORGANIZING, OWN life | 0 comments

It's about taking all of those little things that you love and bringing them together... image courtesy of qthomasbower

Here at Angela Harris Design, I am officially declaring the month of February, Surround Yourself with What You LOVE month!

Q: Is this another holiday to add to my already packed calendar?

A: Before you dismiss, let me share a little more. It’s actually a month-long occasion that’s all about YOU! And don’t worry about feeling too self-centered. I’m a firm believer that when you take care of YOURself, it helps you be a better mom, spouse, friend, employee, volunteer, entrepreneur… whatever the roles are that make up your life.

Surround yourself with what you love is my mantra. With my home, my calendar, my business, my life, it helps me:

  • ENHANCE: add more of what brings me joy, happiness, peace – all of that good stuff
  • STREAMLINE: take out those things that don’t bring harmony {which the dictionary defines as: the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole}. What about what can’t be taken off your plate? Think outside the box to make it actually enjoyable – or at least tolerable until bigger changes can be made.

Q: What are some LOVE examples?

A: “Things you love” can come in a gagillion forms, including:

  • happy mealtimes with meals you love {not just “filler food” – my term for food that you just aren’t wild about}
  • that beautiful rug you’ve had your eye on
  • a clean car that’s your haven when you’re in it
  • respect from those you’re not getting it from {including “self”}
  • a free of clutter {workspace / kitchen / family room / garage / etc } that doesn’t drain you each time you’re in it
  • more time with those friends that make you feel happy {not drained} after you leave
  • flowers {in your window boxes, at your desk}
  • breathing time in your schedule {alone time!}
  • reading out in your backyard
  • this list is endless!

Q: What does this have to do with organizing?

A: Organizing to me isn’t about a neat looking desk or well-ordered linen closet.  Don’t get me wrong, aesthetics can absolutely play a beautiful {and fun!} role. It’s also not simply being able to find what you need when you need it. {Didn’t you love the kitchen fork analogy in my last post?} To me it those things but also organizing your life as a whole – getting to truly know what you love and being intentional about designing your life to capture those things.

Q: So… how can I better organize my life around what I love?

A: First, you need to know what you love – and what you aren’t crazy about – or flat out don’t like at all.

  1. Get out a sheet of paper, make two columns {LOVE + DON’T LOVE} and spend this month getting to know what your unique list entails.
  2. Write down what you can do this month to enhance or streamline, based on your list.
  3. Make this a habit: Keep that list and add to it. Refer to it when you are making your schedule, making a purchase, wondering what you should do during your downtime. And today is the perfect day to do it because it’s Blank Slate Day {my 1st day of the month ritual}. Take a look at it daily – or at least weekly.  I keep mine on my clipboard.

Q: What are some of the things YOU {as in YOU reading this now!} would love more of?

A: Give me YOUR answers here in comment section or on FB! {I’ll be sharing some of my loves I want more of in Facebook – find me by clicking on FB icon on right – or look me up under: Angela Harris Design / Your Life Organizer : )

P.S. Thank you for your wonderful interest in the Kitchen Command Center makeover giveaway! I’m super excited and will be announcing the winner shortly!!!

Do you have THIS in your kitchen? It can CHANGE the way your home runs

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in FAMILY life, HOME life, ORGANIZING | 0 comments

I’m on the lookout for a Kitchen Command Center in need of a makeover! Do you have one that could use a little help? Or are you in need of creating one from scratch?

What exactly IS a Kitchen Command Center {KCC}?

It’s a place {usually in or near the kitchen} where “everything home” is managed: from schedules and paperwork to meal planning and messages.

What can a KCC do for you and your family? 

With all we have going on in our lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. While we have limited control over so much out there, we DO have much control over our home. I’m big on making our personal environments nurturing – they should welcome us home after a long day and simply feel good to be in – for visitors and family members. What role does a KCC play here? Quite a bit! It can:

  • greatly improve communication among family members
  • provide streamlined systems making things {from bill paying to home care} run much smoother
  • make your role as home manager much more productive – and enjoyable!

I’m in the process of creating a workshop to help others create their own KCC and am looking for someone in big need of one. Currently I am not scheduling new clients but this is an opportunity to have me come into your home {in person or through Skype – doesn’t matter where you are geographically} and create a KCC or give your existing one an  overhaul!

If you are interested, please send me an email {angela@AngelaHarrisDesign.com} with subject: KCC makeover and include {by 1/31/12}:

  • photos of your kitchen
  • reason why you’d like to be selected {organization struggles you are having, etc.}

Entries will be kept confidential {just seen by me : ) but if selected, we’ll showcase our work together in creating an amazing KCC – will be fun! {I’m giving mine an overhaul right now as well!}

And speaking of “kitchen”… This excerpt {entitled, Lessons from the Silverware Drawer} comes from one of my favorite organizing books. It’s a fabulous way to think about order. You’ve heard me say before how important it is to have a home for everything, to be able to easily find WHAT you need WHEN you need it – AND to easily put away what you have out. Our time and energy should not be wasted on searching for our things – or a place to put them each time. LOVE this analogy from Stacey Platt:

 

Lessons from the Silverware Drawer

“If I came to your house and asked you to show me your birth certificate, would you know where to find it? What about a safety pin? Your checkbook? The receipt for your computer? An extension cord? Your 2006 tax returns? Regardless of how many or how few of these you could produce without too much digging, I bet that if I were to ask you for a fork, you would know exactly where to go to get one. Why? Because the system for organizing your flatware demonstrates four organizing principles:

  1. Forks are kept with forks.
  2. They have single and consistent home.
  3. Everyone in the house hold is in agreement about it.
  4. Forks are put back there after being used {and washed!}.

These principles can – and should – be applied to organizing anything in your home. Keep like things together. Give everything a home. Get the whole household on board. Put things back when you are done. It’s really that simple.”

Stacey Platt {from her book, What’s a Disorganized Person to Do? {published by Artisan}

P.S.  Feel free to share this post with friends / loved ones who may want a Kitchen Command Center makeover – it’s open to anyone!

How I organize my holiday decor + extra bonus it brings

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in FAMILY life, ORGANIZING | 0 comments

My parents make holidays extra special and I hope to pass this “holiday special-ness” along to my family as well. Our anticipation would begin with the arrival of the holiday decor. While they don’t go overboard, Mom and Dad typically have some kind of seasonal something going on: from the table and mantel inside to the window boxes outside.

While I’m just starting my collection of seasonal stuff, I’ve seen how quickly it can get out of control. Here are a few tips on taming:

When organizing & storing:

  • Pull holiday stuff from various locations and sort by holiday.
  • Contain each holiday in its own labeled bin.
  • Store in non-prime space {since you’ll only be using once a year}.
  • A”fter Holiday” sales can be a good time to pick out a piece for your collection – but don’t buy solely based on discounted price. Buy because you love.
  • And speaking of… when pulling out or putting away, only keep what you love. Just because it’s been a part of your holidays for years doesn’t mean it has to stay. Donate what you aren’t wild about.

This simple organizing idea not only has helped me find what I need without a second thought, the ritual of opening it up {**the extra bonus**} really has become a fun tradition our boys eagerly anticipate. {Now that they are a little older, I should say “mildly” anticipate. But I notice they’ll put their “too cool-ness” aside after a few and really start getting into.} A few ideas:

  • Talk it up a few days prior to: “On Monday we’ll be pulling out the Valentine stuff!”
  • Make it a point to open holiday bin when all family members are present {at least the kids}.
  • Have fun – and if the kids want to help, great! {And if this makes you cringe, just know you can always re-arrange when they aren’t around : )

Not only will you be making happy holiday memories {BONUS #1}, you’ll be passing along some good organizing skills that your kids will gradually pick up on {BONUS #2}. Now that’s a fabulous habit to share!

And speaking of fabulous + holidays, here are a couple of Valentine finds {I heart Pinterest!}:

Beautiful table - gets me in the {Valentine's Day} mood! {Image from www.lovelyliving.com}

Cute idea for valentine for your valentines {image from Martha Stewart.com}

 

Sweet dreams with this homemade heart garland {image from www.bhg.com}

 For more of my finds, hook up with me on Pinterest! {READ THIS for a quick Pinterest 101.}

Do emails drive you crazy? Are yours driving others crazy?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 in ORGANIZING, WORK life | 0 comments

“Yes” and “yes” to both questions. {At least for me – and probably 90% of others!}

This week I chose one of the most common causes of everyday stress to tackle. We’ll look at 3 things:

  1. Why emails – or should I say the accumulation of emails – can be so draining
  2. How to make your inbox less stressful
  3. How to make YOUR emails less stressful for others {and more effective for you}

WHY EMAILS DRIVE US #$%&# CRAZY

Most of us get a ton of stuff dumped into our inbox everyday. Unlike regular mail that takes someone $, time and a bit more thought to send, emails {while fabulous in some ways} enable anybody and any business to email away. And even when you take out the “non-necessities” pawing for your attention, your box is left with emails that  require:

  • decisions to be made {from easy to difficult}
  • actions to add to your to-do list {some that, at this point, may be past due}

And with each passing day, the incoming messages – along with our stress levels – accumulate.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR INBOX less STRESSFUL

These are some things I’ve done recently to help with my own:

STEP 1: CLEAN UP: Having an empty inbox feels incredible. This past weekend, mine got to that point. This is how I did it {in about two FOCUSED hours}:

  • Delete what you can. DO IT QUICKER: Sort inbox by “From” {“sender} and go from there. By grouping this way, it’s much quicker to get rid of stuff.
  • As you are doing the above, unsubscribe from anything you don’t really need or love {hopefully this newsletter is NOT one of them!}. And increase your spam filter if needed.
  • Go through the remaining emails and handle each:2 Minutes or less: do right now; More Time Needed: move to relevant {or “active”} folder and note action to take in calendar or to-do list; Reference: move to “archive” or other relevant folder; Reading: move to reading folder. {Tip: Weekly, use specified down time to read through – starting with most appealing. When time is up, re-evaluate anything left: keep for next time or trash.}

Of course, my in-box didn’t stay that way. My plan to keep it minimally filled:

STEP 2: MAINTAIN: my plan moving forward:

  • Check AND handle emails only during set times during {not throughout} the day.
  • Turn OFF the email in box alert. Those little distractions add up.
  • Streamline email folders: I want to be able to: keep only what I really need {and can’t easily find on web}, archive it easily, and find it easily.
  • Use a separate email for on-line shopping / registrations.

If you’d like more in-depth info, check out this article I found at www.whenihavetime.com.

Now, let’s turn the tables:

HOW TO KEEP YOUR EMAILS FROM DRIVING OTHERS CRAZY

I know I’ve been in this category so this isn’t just outwardly directed! Here are some things to make our emails more user friendly – and effective:

  • Keep as brief as possible. Before clicking “send”, read back through to see what can be taken out.
  • Use “subject” line to sum up email. Or just use the subject for message period.
  • Make message scannable. Use bullets, bold the bottom line question/point so recipients can quickly know what you’d like them to do.
  • Consider breaking one long, complex message into several shorter emails each with specific subject heading. Or pick up the phone and call instead.
  • When sending to more than one person, specify who needs to see what if whole message isn’t applicable to all. And when CC-ing, make sure it’s really necessary.

If you have other tips to add, I’d love to hear!