I suppose the last seven months of full-throttle all out insanity for me has forced me to constantly pursue mastery of an area that we can all pursue: Productivity.
A friend asked me recently for some tips, and I realized that I have tons of them! As pursuing mastery in something means a commitment to constant improvement along with an admission that mastery will never be achieved: I enjoy always reviewing tools and tricks. Here are some tools I’ve recently fallen in love with:
Streak- I’ve been hunting for a personal CRM for a while, and this is it. It’s CRM within your inbox in GMail. Although simple, it’s pretty powerful. I’ve setup Streak Pipelines for the three main areas I’m tracking. One of them is “Matchmaking.” Within the Matchmaking pipeline, I have stages. They are: (1) Startups Looking, (2) Individuals Looking to Join a Startup Full Time, (3) Consultants Looking to be Engaged by Startups and (4) Wannapreneurs. Then within each stage, I have what Streak calls a “Box” for each company or person. A box can contain e-mails, files, contacts, etc. When I click on a Box that is a company name looking for startups, I see a dashboard of all the files, e-mails and content related to that startup. The best part of this whole experience is that I never leave Gmail.
Rapportive- This is another Gmail plugin that I’ve come to depend on. Beside every e-mail I receive, Rapportive shows me a dashboard of all social media info about the person I’m e-mailing with. I love that the domain of the inbound e-mail is a clickable link straight to the web site. I love that it pulls the LinkedIn or Twitter photo. There are admittedly too many times when I don’t recognize a name until I see a face. This is almost a crutch for me, but I’m ok with that. I also like that without leaving Gmail (or without even a pop-up window), you can click to Follow on Twitter, Connect on LinkedIn, Friend on Facebook, Find on AngelList, Open in Google Contacts, or Compose a Fresh E-mail to the Person. You also have a nice list of all the recent e-mails with that person.
CardMunch- I was made fun of on Twitter for admitting how long it took me to discover CardMunch. I’m ok with that. :). It’s still cool. Simple idea: snap a photo of business cards, then you get the persons LinkedIn profile and you can connect with them. The card photos are stored, if you wrote something on it you will still have it (just one side), and you can throw the card away or hand it back to the person. Bonus tip… Beware… sometimes older southern dudes can incredibly offended if you snap a photo of their card and hand it back to them. I don’t get it, just passing along that little tidbit from personal experience.
ScheduleOnce- I’ve talked about this before, but it continues to be invaluable. It requires constant tweaking to manage your availability, but it saves so much time that is otherwise spent with 3-5 e-mails back and forth trying to find a time to meet. In ScheduleOnce, I can just send out my personal URL that shows my availability and anyone who wants to meet just selects a few that work for them and I try to confirm it as soon as I can. One tip here: often times, there are overlapping requests for the same time slot and when you confirm, people don’t look at the date of the confirmation e-mail and they’ve already written down their first selection of three. For this, I’ve started using the 24-hour reminder feature from ScheduleOnce, but it still hasn’t stop some people from showing up a week or two earlier than we scheduled.
I love productivity hacks and will continue my pursuit. If you have any tips or additions, I’d love to hear about them!