Posts from productivity

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.


Gmail Feature Request: Send and Delete

Nothing has made my email productivity increase quite like adding the "send and archive" button via the "Labs" tab in Gmail settings. I got to zero inbox for the first time in years last night during the Jets-Dolphins game because I've become fanatical about archiving my email. My inbox is full again this morning but I am confident that I can keep my email under control with this new routine.

But I'd love for Google to add another function in Gmail: send and delete. I don't want to archive every email. I want to delete many of them. So the combo of send and delete and send and archive would make my gmail usage even more productive.

I realize that many people could care less about stuff like this. But when you receive hundreds of non-spam, non-newslettter, non-notification emails a day that demand replies, every second matters.

I'm hoping someone out there works on the gmail team. If you do, please help me by adding a send and delete button. I'll thank you and so will a lot of your power users.

Note: I realize that keyboard shortcuts are the ultimate solution here. I'm getting there with them, but I still think adding a send and delete button to gmail would help a lot of people, me included.

Second Note: I want to thank Kortina for tipping me off about send and archive via Twitter last week. I've received dozens of great gmail tips on Twitter and thanks to everyone for that.

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