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Jul 13, 2023·edited Jul 13, 2023Liked by Jeremy Caplan

TIP 1: Clear, Distinct Subject Lines

I was a data center manager, who handled installation of cables. I supported many projects across my global company. A project might send an email widata center workstream.

However, I'd get a bunch of "Data Center" emails from 5-10 projectth the subject "Data Center" or "Cable Request." Made sense to them--this was the *only* s. I couldn't tell what was what without digging into the thread. As such, I'd *always* update the subject line ("PROJECT NAME Request for 5 Racks" or the like). This kept my inbox sorted, and reduced confussion as we emailed back and forth, and especially forwarding it to downstream suppliers.

A ticket number is somewhat better, if not clear. "REQ90125" is distinct, but not informative. Better is "REQ91025--Access for VENDOR on July 14, 2023."

TIP 1A: Update the Subject

Threads evolve, spin off, and fork. Update the subject to reflect this *especially* if it forks.

TIP 2: Update the "To" and "CC"

If someone is on the CC but needs to pay attention, move them to the "To" field. It's not uncommon for people to assume being in the CC is at best, optional, and, at worst, put there just to intimidate someone else.

If some folks are no longer relevant, remove them. Help the signal to noise of their inbox.

TIP 3: The SmartPhone Rule

Put the important, must-read part of an email (especially up the chain of command) in roughly the first SmartPhone screen’s worth of an email. State the core problem and the requested action. "New software SOFTWARE NAME needed to support project PROJECT NAME. You will receive a PO request--approve ASAP." Assume they won't scroll past that first screen.

If you need to put supporting details, context, etc., you can place it under that, but don't count on it being read.

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Thanks for these helpful points, Charles. The smartphone one is particularly apt these days. This is in the tradition of http://five.sentenc.es/ which advocates for keeping emails to 5 sentences whenever possible, if not fewer.

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Jul 14, 2023Liked by Jeremy Caplan

This really speeds me up, thank you for the unclog

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Jul 13, 2023Liked by Jeremy Caplan

This is so helpful, Jeremy. Much needed for my sanity.

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Jul 13, 2023Liked by Jeremy Caplan

The j and k keys to go forward and back in Gmail is another great way to go from email to email.

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Jeremy, thanks for the tips and suggestions. A question for you and the ninjas - is ChatGPT Pro worth the $20/month?

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Larry, if you don't have a professional task that benefits substantially from a particular plugin, I don't think it's an essential purchase, no. There are plenty of excellent free alternatives, including Bing AI and now Claude.ai, which even reads attachments you give it.

However, to play devil's advocate for a moment... as the plugin list grows, there are specialized plugins — like the Substack and Zapier ones — one or more of which may prove to be big time savers depending on your daily workflow. That would make the $20 a month a good deal as an unlimited personal assistant that saves you many hours of menial tasks you'd otherwise doing manually.

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Jeremy, thanks so much. I really enjoy Wonder Tools. Cheers!

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The same! It seems a bit steep for me as well. Thanks for the great tips about 3.5 as well as Bard. I appreciate you, Mitchell!

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I find that Gmail has most of the features I need like snoozing and scheduling emails so I stopped using other extensions and tools because the gmail native functionality does the trick. But curious to try Superpowered

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About that "digital notebook"--? Did you just mean another file, or what?

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Hi Bruce, I'm referring to a digital file cabinet or notebook where I keep reference info and notes I'll use for current or upcoming projects. To illustrate with an example: So if I get an email from a guest speaker for a class I'm teaching this coming fall, I might copy and paste something from that email message into my notes for that class so I have the info where it's relevant and actionable, and then I can archive the email message if it needs no further action and doesn't take up further attention in my inbox.

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The 5D frameworks is really useful. I wrote something very similar a couple of months ago: https://www.leadinginproduct.com/p/how-to-manage-tasks-as-a-product

You'll recognize the similarities, even though it's not just 5D put into practice.

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deletedJul 14, 2023Liked by Jeremy Caplan
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Mitchell, those are neat workflows! I'm on a similar wavelength in terms of using Readwise Reader to read (and highlight) newsletters. And like you, I also find that having a copy in my inbox is both helpful — in the sense that it acts as a backup to make sure I see the most important ones — and also as a duplicate, which causes some redundancy. I don't mind that, as of now, because the newsletters land in my secondary inbox on Superhuman which I treat like a stream that I scan through but don't need to act on every single one of those when time doesn't allow for it. To your other point, yes, I do think Shortwave bundling and auto-labeling might neaten things up further for you, and it's worth a test to see if that feels smooth.

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