This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended on Sunday was Less Is More: Simple Productivity Hacks presented by Julia Roy (@juliaroy). For those who missed the session, my notes are below. For more productivity hacks, check out Julia’s web site.
As these are notes taken during a session, do not expect perfect grammar, or even full sentences. Assume errors exist and that I may have misquoted or added information as I took notes. Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll try to clarify as much as I can remember.
Use Tools Strategically
No system works unless you have the bigger picture. Too often people use BaseCamp and other tools like a diet pill, rather than changing their lifestyle.
Julia still spends most of her time in e-mail, on Twitter and in Facebook, even though she writes about productivity.
Use One Mode At A Time
There are apps that prevent you from leaving e-mail when you’re in the e-mail app. When you are in the e-mail mode, just handle e-mail. Don’t link out and start reading.
Keep Working At New Systems
Don’t give up on a new productivity system. Use it for a week or two before giving up on it. After that, feel free to ditch it or modify it to your needs.
Best when working within a team.
- Use Prefixes for Subject Lines
[Decision Needed], [FYI], [Important: Read Now], [Action Required], [Question]
- If Your Message Is Short, Put the Entire E-mail In the Subject
- Change Subject Lines For Replies
Add Prefixes, Make the Subject Clearer If Required
- Put a Manifesto Link at Bottom of E-mails
Include info like How I Process E-mail, What Prefixes Mean, etc.
- In Gmail, Use Icon’s to Flag E-mails
Set up Gmail to use exclamation marks, question marks and other icons in addition to stars.
- Bullet Your Questions
- Avoid Open-Ended Questions
Instead of “Do You Want To Go To Lunch?”, propose a specific time & place and let them reply back with alternatives if that doesn’t work.
- Never Just Say “Thanks!”
E-mails with one word responds that say “Thanks!” just clog up e-mail & force you to process more e-mail.
- Put the agenda in the meeting description.
Project Management Tools
Easy to use card system for project management. May be useful for Personal Kanban.
Like BaseCamp, but more customizable. Like Facebook, but for project management. Works well with teams
- Action Method
Task management with team support.
- Other Inbox
Auto-archives e-mails and places them into folders and gets them out of your inbox.
Ask that the e-mail be sent back to you on a specific day. Or set a reminder when you send the e-mail for any action steps. Or it can send an e-mail later for you.
- Find Big Mail
Find the big pieces of e-mail in Gmail and helps you delete them.
Will sort e-mail by attachments.
- Canned Responses
Can create fixed responses. In Gmail Labs.
Shows the person’s Twitter link, profile, e-mails sent by the person, etc.
- Send And Archive
Can change the default to be to auto-archive after you send it.
- Undo Send
Retrieve the e-mail before it finally gets sent after you press the Send button.
Social Media Tools
Good for sharing links. If you’re on a web site, you can send it to a queue to process later. Can set up posting schedule.
- Cotweet / Social Engage
If you have multiple people managing a single social media account.
- Antisocial / Freedom
Turns off all social networking for a set amount of time. Freedom turns off the Internet for a set amount of time (or you need to reboot).
- Text Expander
Use it to paste text. Can be used across any application.
- Rescue Time
Shows you where you spend your time throughout the day. Can also tell you when you max out on your goals (e.g. 2 hours of social media a day).
- Readability / Clearly
When looking at a web page, takes everything off except for the text.
Take a picture of a business card & it will read the text.
Open up any PDF & add your signature. Avoids having to sign & scan. Can also add your signature in the Preview app on Mac for free. PDF Studio is a cheaper alternative.