A technology round-up to help you increase productivity.
If your idea of increasing productivity is petitioning the universe to add a few hours to the day, take heart. There are less cosmically improbable ways. Let’s glance at how technology can work in your favor and add hours back into your week.
Tame the email beast.
Just one or two of these should be enough to make you master of your inbox.
- Use filters and automatic folders if your email provider offers them.
- Boomerang for Gmail allows you to archive messages and return them to your inbox when they become pertinent. It also allows you to schedule messages to be sent at a later time.
- ActiveInbox has similar features, but also facilitates scheduling, coordinates your email with your to-do list, and allows you to attach notes-to-self to message threads.
- Don’t use Gmail? SaneBox has intuitive filters, “response tracking” (reminds you to follow up!), and lets you hit “snooze” on emails you’d rather look at later.
- Organizer (by Other Inbox) has some great intuitive sorting features.
- FollowUpThen and RememberTheMilk connect your email with your task lists and keep you on track (and your inbox clean and clear).
- UnrollMe scans your email for all subscriptions (including spam) and, well, un-enrolls you. Super fast.
Typing is so out.
If you’re still typing everything the old-fashioned way—that is, by typing it—text expander apps are about to change your life. If you’re always writing the same emails, or even copy-pasting them, running a text expansion app on your device enables keystroke shortcuts for anything you want. You might, for example, set “EM” to be the shortcut for your email address. Or you might have “prop1” generate a 400-word proposal email that you usually copy-paste from a file or re-generate every time you make that particular plea. There are many text expander apps for all operating systems and devices.
You can’t change what you can’t measure.
Rescue Time syncs all your devices and tracks how you spend your time, including applications and websites, and sends you a weekly report. For many of us, that report is a painful reality check! To lower your ratio of distracting to productive time, consider adding Pocket, which tucks away things you’d like to read later and—better yet!—also removes the sidebars of clickbait.
Automate your life.
If you do a lot with social media, try Buffer, which lets you create content once and posts to several platforms at once. Attracting a lot of potential clients? Try Schedule Once to automate the scheduling and communication process. Or sync several apps using master hubs like Zapier and WorkFlow. When working with a team, collaborative software platforms like Redbooth, Asana, and Trello help keep everyone on track and organized (and keep email inboxes clear).