Commas matter.

I’ve been on the fence about the Oxford comma most of my life. I always felt that sentences looked cleaner without them. I always regretted that, sometimes, they’re necessary. Maybe that’s why I love Vampire Weekend’s take on the whole thing. Maybe the extra comma just seemed snooty.

No more.

The comma and I have become friends! And I’ll propose a style change for casual English: Just be okay with both.

We make rules to decide arguments and there should be no argument that, sometimes, commas matter.

Sometimes they don’t.

Humans love lists. Bullets are even easier.

Earlier this month I narrated a short vlog about using bullets to make your point, especially in an email. To be honest, I can’t think of any reason NOT to use bullets in email. It’s absolutely freeing. You don’t need to write complete sentences. You can avoid most punctuation. Just put your thoughts down behind a bullet and most readers will forgive any manner of misshaped sentence (within reason, of course).

Here’s that video:

If it’s an orderly process, use a list. If it’s a list of reasons why you want to do something, use bullets. If it’s an email you’re writing, use one or the other!

Outlook, give me a break!

It’s a virtual world and we’re virtually out of time. With seven in 10 workers still working remotely, it’s not uncommon to have meetings booked back to back with no break in between. That’s where Outlook has your back.

Click File > Settings > Calendar … then select the box to shorten meetings and determine your preferred break time. I like the default five minutes for half-hour meetings and ten for longer meetings, but it’s your call.

Now when you set up a new meeting, it won’t take up the full hour/half-hour block, allowing everyone invited to have a short break before their next session.

How did we not do this before?

Spread the word so more calendar apps can add this feature. How we communicate includes how we communicate our scheduled time. There’s nothing more gracious and professional than acknowledging how we all need short breaks between meetings to grab a cup of coffee, take a nature break, or just switch gears.