Better work communication

Dear Heloise: I wanted to share some things I’ve learned to be more productive at work:

  • When I make a mistake (which we all do) and someone calls me out on it, instead of saying: “I’m sorry; I made a mistake. I completely missed that!” I now say: “Good catch! I’ll update the file. Thanks for letting me know.”
  • When scheduling an appointment, instead of saying, “Are you available at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.?” I’ll ask, “When are you available?”
  • If it takes me a while to answer an email I don’t say, “I’m sorry for the delay.” I instead say, “Thanks for your patience.”
  • If I’m trying to get someone to understand a work concept, I’ll ask, “Do you have any questions?” I no longer ask, “Does that make sense?”

Fine points and subtle differences, but these hints have helped me be more productive and confident at work. — Dianne W. in Texas

Tech talk Tuesday

Dear Readers: Here’s a hint to keep your phone contacts organized. When saving a contact, enter their name, address, title and the company they work for.

Saves time by putting all the information you need about a contact in one location. — Heloise

Wire your own mask

Dear Heloise: I read your advice about how to add a wire to a mask by using a pipe cleaner. I use a twist-tie, the kind that grocery stores provide for tying vegetable bags.

I just cut a tiny hole in the top center of the mask, slip in the twist-tie, and use a few stitches to sew it in and close the hole. — Rhona B., Silver Spring, Md.

Picture this

Dear Heloise: Since everyone has a camera on their phone, you no longer have to rely on the word of a roofer or plumber when they tell you that you need something replaced.

Ask them to show you a picture. Watch them take a photo, and they can show you right away the problem they say they can solve. — Marcie, via email

Pack an extra

Dear Heloise: As a new mom, when packing the diaper bag, I’ve learned a few things. My favorite hint is to carry a fresh blouse or T-shirt in the bag for me! Babies can get upset tummies, and that can lead to a big mess. The problem is lessened when I can change clothes while still out and about. —Megan R. in Florida

Megan, congratulations on your new baby! Sounds like you’ve learned from experience. Readers, what special or unique items do you pack in the diaper bag? — Heloise

Butterfly lashes

Dear Heloise: I use false eyelashes, but only the individual lashes, not the strip lashes, and just on the outer corners of my eyes. That’s plenty, and they open up my eyes nicely. — Tara in California

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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