It's been a very busy season and part of the reason I haven't blogged at all in 2017 yet. We are in that new year ramp up phase with our growing marketing team at North Highland and having a lot of new tasks and projects ahead. Plus, as soon as I feel like my body and expectations adjust with having an infant around the house, we get curve balls in the form of head colds and sleep regression.
Between sporadic sleep schedules and a busy work day, it's remarkably easy for someone like me with ADD to let a lot fall through the cracks. Organization is my most effective line of defense for getting sidetracked. These tools help me keep everything on track. If you're looking for a new system, this may help you too!
My work life would be either in shambles or scattered across a cornucopia of disorganized post-it notes if it wasn't for Todoist. It's one of the few services I pony up and pay for the premium version. It's amazing.
I've reviewed it here before but it's worth resurfacing. While the app on my phone is great to have for push notification reminders, I really live and die by the Outlook plugin. It lives as a sidebar in the Outlook app, which is incredibly appropriate. After all, most of us use our inboxes as a to-do list, right?
The plugin allows you to clip individual emails as task lists. So, let's say I get a new white paper draft that I need to implement for our website, I can just clip that email and save it as a task to follow up on in Todoist. When it's time for me to work on it, the task clipping serves as a hyperlink to that email. I just click on it and the original message window pulls up in Outlook, complete with any attachments from that message I needed.
Other cool features: you can prioritize different tasks for the day based on color, schedule push notifications on your mobile to remind you to get something done by a certain time, categorize tasks by project, and you can add attachments and other context clues inside each task. My other favorite thing is an IFTTT recipe with my Amazon Echo. I can tell Alexa to add something to my to-do list and it will drop that item into my Todoist Inbox category. Very handy when I remember one-off needs as I'm running out the door.
Clipping email to-do items in Todoist is half of what helps me achieve inbox zero. Boomerang is the crucial other half. It's an Outlook plugin that helps me the most with follow up.
For example, I'm working on a project that involves inputs from all of our North Highland offices. It's a lot of coordinating and a huge mess of emails to follow up on needs. One of Boomerang's best features is its ability to remind you. So, let's say that I send out a batch of emails with a due date in it. I can clip each individual email to raise that note back to the top of my inbox by a certain date - purely based on if anyone responded or not.
Boomerang also allows you to schedule notes. For example, there may be times that I've worked at odd times due to infant feeding schedules. Instead of being "that guy" sending emails at 3am, I'll schedule a note to not hit someone's inbox until they're at work. Another use case is if I have an important note to send to an exec that needs attention, instead of sending it at 5pm when I actually drafted it, I'll schedule it for first thing in the morning so that it's one of the first notes to hit their inbox for the day. Selfish, maybe. But effective.
I flip flopped between this and OneNote for a while but I've stuck with Evernote. I primarily use this for recurring notes at work, brainstorming ideas, taking notes during church sermons and writing down blog post ideas. I used to use it to clip articles to read later but mainly rely on Pocket for that functionality.
Plus, Evernote recently re-launched their iOS app. While I liked the design of the old app better, I get how their new approach will help with being an overall more efficient mobile experience.
A few honorable mentions
Box - our file sharing service we use at work but I love it. Mobile app is great and I love that you can open up and use browser-friendly versions of Microsoft Office like you would editing a Google doc
Trello - a project management system our marketing team just adopted. We're only one week into using it but think it'll be bigly beneficial.
Slack - quick and dirty communication. Sometimes easier to get responses from people here over email. Who doesn't like Slack?
Skype for Business - I go back and forth between having this mobile app on my phone. But it's saved me from having to remember complicated dial-ins if I join a meeting from the road and helped me respond to quick messages on the fly when I've stayed home with Campbell on a sick day. Plus, it allows me to access our whole company directory.
What about you? Anything I should try out?