Productivity Hacks

Mark Suster has a great post up on his blog called Productivity Hacks. He lists three things he's done to improve his productivity:

  • Eliminate Voicemail with Google Voice or even better PhoneTag
  • Stop foldering things: ie move to gmail and start tagging your email
  • Each day put three things you want to get done on a 3×5 card

I've done two of these three things. 

I stopped using voicemail and moved to PhoneTag (fka Simulscribe) about three years ago and have never looked back. PhoneTag intercepts my voice mails, transcribes them, and emails them to me. I get your voice mails, but I get them via email. It works great. Google Voice offers a similar service but the transcription is done by machines, not humans, and the results look a bit like my "dictated blog post" last weekend. Google Voice is free, PhoneTag works out to be about $10/month. I've learned that voicemail transcription doesn't have to be perfect for the message to get thru (as long as name and phone number are captured accurately). So you may be able to make do with Google Voice. If not, get PhoneTag and pay the roughly $10/month. As I said in my initial post on voicemail transcription, it's a lifechanger.

I stopped foldering email when I moved from outlook/exchange to gmail last year. I've also stopped foldering paperwork for the most part. I just keep an electronic copy and tag and or label it and make it accessible easily with search. This seems like a small change, but in actuality it is a huge productivity enhancer. You can tag/label and save so much faster than you can folder things. And folders don't scale. Tags and labels do.

I have not tried the three things on 3×5 card idea. I am going to start doing that right away. I've never been able to make a "to do" list work for me because it gets so damn long I can never get them all done. I really like the idea of three a day and no more. I may not need the 3×5 cards but I am going to try them anyway. It may be fine just to put them into a calendar entry at the start of every day. We'll see. I'll report back on this one.