Category: email



Is Technology Wasting Your Time?

I know that one of the biggest time wasters for people is technology.  As much as things are created to help us, technology is a big hindrance for many people and can lead to a great amount of your time being wasted.  Using technology in a way that supports you can increase your productivity.  The day-to-day things that end up on your list can get out of control, so it’s important to keep it lean.  Long story short, items make it to your to-do list as a result of the larger items on your master task list.  You want to be sure that you carefully place things on your to-do list.  If your time management personality is a fit for a digital tool, there are a few top pick electronic tools that you might want to consider to help you increase your productivity.

It seems that every five minutes or so there’s some new digital tool or app that comes out, so there are plenty of them out there which makes it hard to choose or find one that works for you.  Here are a few that seem to get rave reviews:

Wunderlist

  • Wunderlist is produced by a Berlin based company and passed over a million downloads in March 2011, and is now available on almost every platform—windows, iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac.
  • Separated from the pack with its design, simplicity, and effectiveness.  Simple enough to use without trying, quickly enter your tasks and powerful enough to support you.  It’s not complicated to use, captures what you need to do right away and keeps important things front and center.
  • There’s a balance between its functionality and its features.  It gives you the ability to sort tasks into multiple lists, set due dates and “Star” particular tasks

2Do for iPhone & iPad
2Do is a feature rich to-do app that runs on both iPhone and iPad.  Great graphical interface, can setup my tasks in a simple yet powerful layout.

  • This tool stands out from the crowd with its fancy graphical user interface.  Esthetically pleasing so it does a great job presenting a pleasing and useful experience.  Other apps have “dayplanner” interfaces, this has been called the most functional, especially true on the iPad in landscape mode.
  • 2Do has plenty of features and can be as simple or as complex as you want.  You do not have use all the functionality, but it is there for power users.
  • Some key features:  The “tabs” feature of 2Do is very powerful.  You can easily set up multiple lists or categories if you choose.  The “Today” and “Starred” tabs let you quickly see a unified list of what is most important.  Quick entry mode, ability to “star” tasks quickly and it syncs to multiple devices

Tooledo

  • This tool pretty much does what a SmartPhone would already do, but it’s good for sharing information if the usual computer sync isn’t right for your situation.  It can be used with BlackBerry, Mac OS, or Android
  • Organize Your Tasks. Use folders, tags, contexts, subtasks and more to organize, search and sort through your tasks.
  • Improve Your Productivity. Toodledo’s hotlist, customizable alarms, and sortable online to-do list will help you remember to complete tasks on-time.
  • Go Anywhere. Get Toodledo on your mobile phone, in your email, on your calendar, integrated directly into your web browser, and more.  It also allows you to collaborate to work with others easily.  You also have the ability to customize and define how you want to view tasks.

Sanebox
“Restores your email sanity” and “Unfiltered email goes in, prioritized email comes out”, are the things that the creators say about this tool.

  • Sanebox works with GMail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL, GoDaddy, Rackspace, Mobile Me and many more
  • Uses sophisticated algorithms to prioritize the email you receive. The important stuff goes straight to your inbox and everything else gets stored in other folders for later.  The calculation of importance is done by the algorithmic engine.  Only the engine looks at the headers of your emails and your social network connections, not people.  Their engineers work on the algorithmic engine not the email.  Your email isn’t viewed/seen by the technology or a human being
  • Safe & Secure.  The program doesn’t look at your emails and uses encryption to protect your data
  • It works within your inbox, so there’s no need for plug-ins or downloads and it allows you to train your inbox, in a sense

Social Media Apps to Manage Posts
I wouldn’t recommend that you automate all of your posts, but take advantage of streamlining your posting with the use of these tools.

Hoot Suite

  • Pretty popular and is great to use to post to your Facebook profile or to Twitter.  You can post right from Hoot Suite without having to sign into Facebook or Twitter.
  • Schedule updates, monitor your mentions, build SM analytic reports, use with BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, use it for team collaboration, manage multiple contributions ad share data access w/o sharing passwords, assign tasks

Post Planner

  • Post to FB profiles, Fan Pages, and groups
  • Get notifications when your posts publish
  • Publish you photo and videos posts, notes
  • Installs and uninstalls quickly

 


Flags & Filters

This helps you recognize particular types of email faster by flagging email.  For example, you can flag emails that you have read and are your priority to reply with one color so that they are visually separated for your preference the next time you open your email.

One final thing that you can use to help enhance the use of the sub folders that you set up is to use the email filters in your email account to create “rules” for sending emails to designated folders when they come into your inbox.  This is a nice feature to use to help get email to the appropriate folder.  You might set up particular rules for any email with a particular phrase in the subject line to go to a certain folder.  Let’s say you have a marketing project you’re working on.  Ask that any related emails contain the name of the project in the subject line, then set up the related filter rule so that those emails go into the designated folder.  when it comes time to work on that project, you can go directly to that folder instead of searching through the email in your inbox to find all of the email related to that project.


Tip # 3  is a suggestion that helps you organize email.  Create email sub folders within your email account to sort your emails by category. Label the sub folders with categories that will make it easy for you to distinguish.   For example, use different subjects, projects, client or coworker names  for naming your email sub folders. This makes it easy to choose a category of email to check at a particular time.


To add to my first email tip of not checking email first thing in the morning, have a plan when it comes to checking email.  For most of us checking email once a day isn’t productive.  As I mentioned in my previous post, check email 1.5-2 hours into your day and additionally, choose one to two other times during the day to check and reply to email, and turn off your email notifications.  Set a reminder and stay on schedule.   This will ensure that you’re responding to requests in a timely manner and being productive as well.


Today we’re all wearing multiple hats and there’s so much to do, including answering an overload of email.  It may seem at times that your inbox is out of control and has a life of its own.  Believe it or not, you can get a handle on it and manage it effectively.

An overloaded inbox is a form of electronic clutter.  One thing I always tell people is to not check email first thing in the morning.  It’s one of the worst things you can do when it comes to being productive.   Instead, check your email 1.5-2 hours after you start your day.  This gives you time to tackle one of your top priority tasks instead, which will have you off to a great start and on your way to a productive day.

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