Personal Productivity Empowered by Technology
ISSF October 2014
- 9:00–10:10 Introductions, Remind, Email Strategies
- 10:11–10:15 Break
- 10:15:–11:30 Productivity Strategies, Tools
- 11:30-12:00 Lunch
- 12:00-2:30 More Tools, Infographics, Tip Sharing
What zaps your productivity? Collect responses with sticky notes using the Post-it Plus app (currently only for iPhone and iPad).
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills lists "Productivity and Accountability" as a life and career skill. Personal productivity is rarely taught, but is very important for today's demanding world.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is written by David Allen, the personal productivity guru. He encourages you to pay attention to what has your attention–see what’s pulling on you and deal with it. David calls personal productivity “advanced common sense.”
“It's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control.” -David Allen
Remind provides a safe way for teachers to text message or email students and stay in touch with parents. It is 100% free and is used by over 500,000 teachers, students and parents to send millions of messages every month.
Sign up for messages for our group today by texting the message @issf2014 to the number 480-878-7793.
Strive for Inbox Zero
Get email out of your inbox so you are not haunted by messages that need to be processed, answered, or archived. It’s not so much about how many message are in your inbox. It’s about managing what comes into your inbox and what to do with it once it’s there.
Control your bacon. You’ve signed up to receive deals, Facebook and Twitter updates, and newsletters. While these emails are are not spam, they aren’t as good as a personal email and can clog your inbox. It’s call bacon or graymail and the best way to manage it is to unsubscribe. If you really do want to receive it, create an email rule or filter so that the bacon you do want bypasses your inbox and is available to you to browse at a time of your choosing.
Use describe subjects. If everyone used functional subject lines it would be easier to manage our inboxes at a glance. You can at least set an example in the emails you send. Keep your subject line simple and to the point so that it can assist the recipient in processing his or her own email.
Schedule meetings & events outside of email. Your inbox can quickly fill with exchanges when trying to schedule a meeting or event. Instead of coordinating through email, use Doodle.com. Doodle enables you to propose several dates and time.
Collaborate outside of email. Multiple emails with different versions of a document is not an efficient way to collaborate, and it jams up your inbox. Instead of passing documents back and forth, set up a shared word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing file using Google Docs.
Thanks in advance. Keep unnecessary communication out of your inbox by eliminating emails that simply say thank you. End your email with thanks in advance. Some people end emails with NRN which stands for no reply necessary. Though, to avoid receiving an email that asks what NRN means, don’t use the abbreviation.
Prevent Reply All. You can save yourself and others the headache of thedreaded Reply All by making sure that the emails you send will not enable everyone to which you sent the message to see replies. When composing an email put your address in the To field. Place all other recipients’ email addresses in the BCC field.
Process email using the 6 Ds.
- Delete. Even on the go, you can delete many emails just by looking at the sender and subject.
- Do. If the email requires you to do something, then do it immediately if possible so that you can then delete it.
- Date. Don’t let emails that contain information that you’ll need on a specific date linger in your inbox. Instead, copy and paste that information into your calendar on the date you’ll need it. For example, put airline flight numbers and times into a new event on the date you’ll be traveling so you can delete or archive the email.
- Delegate. The task an email presents may involve other people. You might forward the email to others but keep the original in your inbox until they reply as a reminder. You could archive the email and place a reminder in your calendar. Or, if you use Gmail, you can install Boomerang. It’s a Chrome and Firefox plugin that will take messages out of your inbox until you need them.
- Defer. You may not be able to immediately delete or do the action an email represents. It could sit in your inbox until complete. If you’re determined to achieve inbox zero, it might be even more motivation to complete the action. If you simply cannot deal with an email until later, you could forward it to HitMeLater.com. They will resend your email back to you at a time you specify.
- Declare. After spending 80 hours trying to process his backlogged email, author Lawrence Lessig wrote a mass email to everyone who sent emails in his inbox. It said, “Bankruptcy is now my only option.” Lawrence cleared out his entire inbox and apologized profusely for his email difficulties. He finished the message asking anyone who sent something that was particularly important to resend, and he would give it special attention. Bankruptcy is an extreme option, but it might be your only hope to dig out of your inbox disaster.
Pay attention to what consistently has your attention and put systems in place to have tasks done on a regular basis on autopilot.
If This, Then That (IFTTT). ifttt.com is a nifty web service that automates tasks that involve some of the most popular digital services like Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Dropbox, text messages, and email. You can customize recipes that connect these services through triggers. There are plenty of recipes already made or you can cook one up from scratch. Check out 101 Best IFTTT Recipes.
The American Psychological Association has found that multitasking is neither effective nor efficient. Focus on the task at hand by decreasing interruptions.
Switching between tasks takes time and mental shifts that can eat up as much as 40% of one’s productive time.
Process messages on your own terms. Don’t lose your focus by constantly switching to email, Twitter, or Facebook the moment you receive a new message. Instead, plan to process those messages in batches at times you set aside.
Turn off notifications. Like Dr. Pavlov’s dog salivating when he hears a bell ring, you might be conditioned to “salivate” when you hear or see that you have a new message. Do yourself a favor and turn off audio and visual notifications for new emails and messages from other apps.
Use PaperKarma to reduce the amount of unwanted postal mail.
Follow the Two Minute Rule
Instead of waiting until later to process an email message or instead of adding a task to your to-do list, act on it immediately when possible. This is especially true if the task will take less than two minutes.
““If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organize it and review it than it would be to actually finish it the first time you notice it.” -David Allen
Use Digital Reminders
You probably have a digital device in hearing distance at all hours of the day. Let the device remind you of appointments or when you have something to do.
- Set calendar alarms
- Schedule an email with EmailFuture.com
- Use a timer, like online-stopwatch.com
Browse the Web More Efficiently
According to research company comScore, the average American internet user spends 32 hours per month online. Make the most of your time online.
Is the site down? Is a site not loading? Don’t waste time trying to figure out if the site is offline or if it’s something wrong with your computer or connection. Answer that question with DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com. Enter a URL and they will check from their end if the site is accessible.
Use multiple computer displays. One way to add a second monitor is to use your iPad as a second screen using Air Display.
Search on a page. Don’t waste time skimming long webpages for a specific name, word, or phrase. Use Command or Control + F on Mac or Windows to search within the currently open webpage. Android and iOS also have Find on Page function.
Use a password manager. Stay sane while maintaining secure passwords for every website you log into. A password manager like LastPass automatically logs you into websites. With LastPass you won’t waste time retrieving forgotten passwords and making new ones. Install LastPass on all of your computers!
Customize short URLs. Oftentimes when we shorten web addresses to share with others, the shortened URL is difficult to say aloud or type. Be sure to use a URL shortener’s customize feature to make short URLs friendly to say and type.
Use Feedly. Explore using Feedly to have the information brought to you, all in one place! It's free. Simply search in the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android), register, and then search for any blog or site, including those below! It's really that easy!
It is important to try and stay current with regularity. Try scheduling a default time to tune into these sites.
- Stay Current on Evernote: http://blog.evernote.com/
- Great Site for Apple Users: http://www.macworld.com/
- Gmail Blog: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/
- Google Drive Blog: http://googledrive.blogspot.com/
- Productivity Site: http://lifehacker.com/
- General Tech Site: http://www.techhive.com/
- If This Then Than Blog for New Recipes: http://blog.ifttt.com/
The lunchtime slideshow was made from 50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World.
The Science of Productivity - 3 minute video on YouTube
David Allen says, “Minds are for having ideas, not holding them.” Store your ideas, information, and projects online so that you can access them from any computer or device and so you make space in your mind to think.
“The most productive people are the ones with the emptiest heads.” - David Allen
Putting date-based items into your digital calendar makes a lot of sense. Check out How To Sync Your Shared Google Calendars with Your iPhone.
Access your computer from another computer or from a mobile device using Splashtop Remote. Wow! This allows you to access home computer!
- 10 Ways to Spot Unnecessary Meetings
- Meetings cost time and money: Meeting Cost Calculator
- 10 Ways to Make Meetings More Effective
- 6 Tips Towards Not Having Pointless Meetings
Browse this Pinterest board of Favorite Productivity Infographics.
Share Your Productivity Tips
Open your group’s Google Presentation below. Create a slideshow with at least five of your best tips for being more productive. Feel free to include ideas you learned from viewing infographics or other web links on this page.
Phone and tablet apps can help you be more productive!
- Email ‘n Walk
- Adobe Reader - View, annotate, sign, and send PDF files for free
- CARROT To Do - Sassy task manager
- 30/30 - Sequences task manager
- Google Voice - Transcribe email, screen calls, block numbers, and more
Listen to podcasts. David Allen’s GTD Podcast, Get-It Done Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More
Search Twitter. Check out the hashtag #4productivity
Read a book. Personal Productivity Secrets on Kindle.
What do you hope to remember from today’s workshop? Email yourself in the future using EmailFuture.com.
Thank you for joining us today!