I didn’t plan to write a post today on productivity hacks. It just turned out that way…
It’s only 7am and I’ve been bombarded with more ideas, todos, and requests that could pretty much fill my day if I let them.
I’m going to share a few productivity tools I use to harness this onslaught of seemingly unending tasks – the cool ones, anyways!
The first tool I will share came about when I realized that I missed writing my daily 100 words. , I recently bought Blankpage.io to help me become a more consistent writer.
So much for consistency. I missed day two! How could I miss such an important new habit I want to instill in my life? Two reasons really.
One, it’s not yet a daily habit.
Two, it’s challenging to remember to fit in a new thing when you have an already full day’s schedule.
To remedy this, I came up with the idea of having a reminder system that would alert me each morning. I could do this by creating a daily calendar item but then it would create a daily item on my calendar.
This is a problem, because I don’t want to clutter my calendar with noise, and this would definitely be noise amongst the more important things I need to pay attention to any given day. If I see noise along with important items, those important items get drowned out by the noise.
So putting blankpage.io on the calendar was out.
No, I needed something more robust, yet simple and noise-free. A quick search engine query led me here – Boomerang, a browser add-on for Gmail. This allows me to schedule recurring emails.
Perfect! One problem solved.
As a note, I had already been using Streak for while now, but unfortunately it lacks in the recurring email function. A colleague of mine, Michael Coffin, had told me about Boomerang before, but then I had no idea it did recurring scheduling. Michael, why did you hold out on me?! 😉
Boomerang is great. It works just as promised. However, I realized that this creates more inbox clutter. Now, instead of having a cluttered calendar, I am about to have an increasing cluttered email inbox.
I get hundreds of emails in any given day, and I find myself deleting lots of them (along with their past emails) so as to keep my email count at a tamed level. The problems is that this takes precious time away from doing much more productive things.
With the new recurring email thingy I set up, the need for an automatic email deletion all of a sudden came up higher on the priority list.
After searching, I came out empty-handed. I didn’t see any add-ons that will delete gmail email messages on a schedule.
All is not lost, however. In comes Google Apps Scripts. There is one script that I found that you can implement out of the box.
For me, however, I decided to not implement that, since I want to understand it first before I use it. And more importantly, I don’t want it to run by days. I want this to run in terms of hours so that gmail purges multiple times a day.
My job requires that I spend lots of time in Gmail, so I can’t wait for emails to delete the next day. Rather, I need it to constantly declutter my inbox.
So I will have to modify the script to fit my needs.
I also found another script source, one that appeals to me more. He provides several examples. I think I can work with this and modify it to suite me.
If you’d like to get an introduction on how to program using Google Apps Script, you can review this Youtube video:
It’s a decent video. I’d like to someday find a video tour of G Apps Script so I can get a birds eye view of what this is all about.
Let’s get out of the quagmire of programming and get into something more useful to the masses.
Which leads me to this tool I cannot live without (at least I am happier when I use this tool) – Myspeed by Enounce. It lets me speed up any online audio or video. A 15 min video can only take me 10 minutes to watch, for example. This is main the reason I do not like to sit in on live webinars – real time activities sometimes are time wasters, when I can replay the webinar at my preferred speed while multi-tasking.
Another productivity tool I use a lot is Streak (mentioned quickly earlier). It’s a browser add-on for Gmail. It’s got a built-in CRM, but I use Streak more for snoozing emails. This way, important emails show up at the top of my inbox at a certain time (I can even schedule emails to re-appear weeks into the future).
Yet another add-on is Rapportive. It’s great for knowing more about the email address you are conversing with. It literally puts a name to the email, as it interfaces with Linkedin to grab the person’s image, title, and other info if that email is connected to their Linkedin account.
Lastly, I will end with using Gmail advanced search. This lets me query my gmail for all sorts of things, like by labels, colored stars, by date, etc. I’m always learning more and more how to create complex searches, which is great when I have emails coming constantly.
That’s all for now. Now, hope you got a tip or two from this post. Happy productivity hacking!