Share By Alexandra Kirkman
Taming the Email Beast
Start with that bloated inbox. We typically spend more than a quarter of our day reading and responding to email, according to a 2012 study by McKinsey & Co. That’s not only a waste of productive time, but also of innovative ideas that end up getting archived or deleted. Here are some tools that can make your inbox manageable.
- Boomerang for Gmail lets you program messages to pop up again within a specified time frame — for example, if you email a potential new client and want a reminder to follow-up in a week. You can also schedule emails to send later, and set reminders for emails you’d like to deal with later.
- Sanebox analyzes the importance of each message based on your past interaction with your inbox. It saves and summarizes low-priority messages in a separate folder. The program works with any email provider or device, it also scans attachments and moves them into the cloud — like DropBox — for easy access later.
- Pocket converts online files to offline versions and saves them so they’re accessible from any device — without ads. Perfect for the inbox that’s inundated with articles and videos from colleagues and friends.
To-Do List 2.0
Once the inbox is cleaned up, you can make to-do lists less scary, or even fun.
- Carrot for iPhone is a slightly sadistic taskmaster. “She” rewards you with things like compliments, stories, and program upgrades when you check things off your list, and “Hulks out” iPhone-style when you don’t. (“You do not want to make me upset,” is a common refrain.)
- Evernote is a catchall program to help you manage your work schedule. Use it to collect ideas, inspiration and data in any format, and organize projects with digital file cabinets — on any device from anywhere. It’s tough to top.
- If This Then That for iPhone lets you connect different online services and apps that normally don’t go together, so you can create “recipes” that make sense for you. For example: “If I get an email via Gmail, send me a text message.”
Enterprise: A Team Effort
Enterprise management technology has become increasingly easy-to-use, efficient and inexpensive.
- Trello allows you to assign tasks, see what everyone is working on and collaborate in real time. It’s also free. The recently launched Trello Business Class offers additional features including Google apps integration, more administrative controls and one-click bulk data export.
- HipChat, a group chat and IM program designed for teams, enables you to share ideas and files with your colleagues. You may also bring clients, and other third parties, into the conversation at your discretion.
- Fancy Hands connects you with an outsourced personal assistant. The army of assistants at Fancy Hands can take these time-consuming tasks off your plate, allowing you to concentrate on more pressing matters. The price depends on the number of tasks, or you may give your entire team access to the service with the newly available Fancy Hands Teamwork.
Share your favorite time-saving tips and any apps you recommend in the comment section below.