After spending the weekend frightening myself silly with black and white horror movie reruns, I found my ToDo list had swelled (This tends to happen if I take my eye off of it for more than 30 mins.)
Of course, there’s nothing I can do to magically make all those tasks disappear but I’ve come up with a few strategies and tools that help me wade through the quagmire without being grabbed by the bog monster.
- Lable email messages. We’re fortunate to do work for many clients and in an attempt to ensure that none of the emails get lost in the flood, I’ve set up filters that tag my incoming email according to client and activity. This way I can search the filters and usually locate the email.
- The good old whiteboard. I know it’s so 20th century but I still make use of a whiteboard for listing out long-term goals. It helps everyone keep the big picture in mind and not get totally lost in the fog.
- The Cloud to the rescue. Using cloud services like Dropbox and its desktop component, let’s me roam freely and maintain access to my entire client file structure.
- One Note to rule them all. I was introduced to EverNote rather late in life but it has changed my life in terms of managing and organizing content snippets for client projects. Of course, One Note will do the same thing.
- A helping hand. The much improved in performance, Grammarly browser plugin is a must for anyone who writes content. It’s not perfect but it goes a long way to alleviating typos.
- Open Sesame. I manage hundreds on online accounts for my company and our clients. Everyone needs a username and password – none of which I can remember. Enter the timesaving and stress preventing LastPass. This cloud service stores and updates account passwords saving me a massive amount of frustration searching for them.
- Going undercover. The Incognito Browsing functionality of Chrome browser is really a most useful tool. If you’re working a lot with the same website but using different accounts, your browser cookies can sometimes get their brains scrambled and you’ll start seeing results that don’t make sense. If this happens, switch to Incognito mode.
- Frankenstein’s Laptop. I’ve found that working on a laptop is a special skill that takes some getting used to, primarily due to the smaller screen real-estate. We creative types love a large canvas. However, the most important physical aspects of a laptop (IMHO) are its portability and battery life. Whatever you select, make sure it’s comfortable for all-day lugging around and has sufficient battery power for 5-6 hours of grind-stone time. My weapon of choice is a Mac Book Pro.
- Ghost in the Machine. After a while, you’ll recognize that many of the things you do every day are similar. Having the skill, knowledge, and tools to automate those processes can save considerable time. Zapier.com is a service that lets you connect software together to automate repetitive tasks.
- Mini-Me. There are supposedly gazillion-bazillion apps in the marketplace. I’ve found it to be liberating when I install the appropriate companion app on my phone that helps me work better with my eco-system. Here are a few iOS apps I use regularly: LastPass, DropBox, Gmail, Quick Scan, Google Authenticator (2-Step Verification), EverNote + Scannable for business cards and documents.
I’m sure you have your own list of cool tools and processes, if not, I hope you found something here to inspire your workflow and help you get up from under the Blob from Mars.