We’re in the hallway and it’s hell. Which is why it’s more important than ever to take care of your very sanity and mental health by looking for ease and efficiency. Tech tools can definitely help with that.
One of my favourite sayings is “God doesn’t close one door without opening another, but it can be hell in the hallway.” My sister Hillary. You, our nation, our world is experiencing a black Friday. Our hope is that Sunday is coming. But it might well be hell for a while. – message to Hillary Clinton from her pastor.
Here are the other five
Dig in, deep breath. We got this. Together.
- Are you overwhelmed with your appointments and events which are dancing around you on elusive, unorganized slips of paper?
- Are you exhausted trying to keep up and remember all the stuff you’ve got to do, all your responsibilities?
- Did you find a really great resource that you wanted to share with your friend or colleague but didn’t because it was just too damn hard to figure out how to do that quickly and easily?
- Are you wasting precious brain power and time searching again and again for websites you visit all the time?
- And finally, are you seriously overwhelmed, fed up and sick to death of your overflowing email inbox?
Seriously, don’t worry. I (continue to) have your back and your brain.
After years of experimenting with a whack of tech tools that are easy, effective, and life-changing (no lie), I’ve come up with a list of ten that are must-haves if you want to decrease stress and overwhelm and amp up your ease, organization, and productivity.
I wrote about the first five last week and I’ve listed five more types of tools below and given you the specific tool I use for each one.
Remember, depending on if you’re a Mac or PC user, what type of email platform you use, etc., you may need to select another individual tool but you’ll have the type of tool to look for regardless.
- Problem: You’ve got events and appointments cluttering your brain, with some written down on scraps of paper, some on a calendar on the wall, and some, well, who knows where.
- Must-have solution: An online calendar that puts everything in one place and that you can access on your phone, laptop, tablet, etc, and easily share with others if you wish. If you’re groaning with dread knowing that I was a tenacious user of a paper-based Daytimer for more than 3 decades. Until I wasn’t.
- The tool I use: Google calendar. It’s a simple to use, very powerful tool. I can create events and reminders when I’m in it but also through ClickUp, messages, email, etc. Sweet baby Jesus on a bicycle, it massages my brain cells instead of frying them.
- Example: I have a color-coded calendar that I share with my hubs, and one for work items and one for personal. Works like a charm.
- Cost: Fabulously free.
2. Reminders (sometimes called ticklers)
- Problem: You’re dropping balls all over the place because you’re forgetting things but you don’t want to have reminders incessantly pinging at your day and night.
- Must-have solution: A tool that, uhm, reminds you. On your terms, so you don’t have to waste precious brainpower struggling to remind, remember, and reboot when you forget.
- The tool I use: I have a couple. If I’m on the go and out and about, much to my kiddos’ embarrassment, I use Siri. In other words, I speak to my watch or phone and it automatically creates a reminder I’ll also use the reminder features in the other tools I’ve talked about such as ClickUp (which then automatically populates my Google calendar with the reminder).
- Example: To get that flotsam and jetsam out of my head and into a reminder when I’m on a walk, for example, I’ll simply say “Hey Siri, remind me tomorrow at 9 am to….”
- Cost: nada, nothing, niet
- Problem: You have a number of websites that you’re constantly on but each time you have to Google to find them again. It’s enough to make you dizzy and cross-eyed.
- Must-have solution: The bookmarking feature in your browser, where you put oft-used websites either one by one or into folders for easy and quick access when you need them.
- The tool I use: The bookmarking feature that comes with my browser Chrome. Each browser has its own bookmarking tool.
- Example: See the image above for examples of my bookmarked folders. Each folder has a number of bookmarked websites in them. For example, productivity has all my Learning and Development Roundtable sites, my Spotify account, and my Zoom account. I also have individual websites bookmarked that I use REALLY often, such as Google Cal, Active Campaign, WordPress, and my website.
- Cost: Pricelessly priceless
4. Social Bookmarking
- Problem: You’re into bookmarking as a way for YOU to get more ease and efficiency BUT it doesn’t help when you’re on another computer OR you want to share resources with other people.
- Must-have solution: A social bookmarking tool. A social bookmarking tool is exactly like a bookmarking tool (see above) with one important distinction. The bookmarks sit in the cloud, not on your specific computer, which makes it uber easy to share.
- The tool I use: Diigo.
- Example: Here’s my Diigo account. Take a look around. You can see all the ‘tags’ I’ve used to organize my bookmarks. My tags include the ones you see below. When you’re in my account, click on a tag and you’ll see all the things I’ve bookmarked in that category. And it updates in real-time. If I add a bunch more bookmarks, you can see those immediately (if you’re in my account). If you’re worried about privacy, know that you can choose to keep your bookmarks private.
- Cost: Nirvanaish no cost
- Problem: Your inbox is overflowing with spam, unread emails and you feel controlled by the Email Monster and relief feels far from site.
- Must-have solution: Take the reins of control back with some super easy tools, depending on what your particular issue is.
- If you want to be able to schedule your emails, eg write it now but send it later OR if you want to have an email boomerang (eg come back to you at a specific time) Boomerang for Gmail is a goddess sent.
- If you want to easily and quickly unsubscribe from emails that you no longer want to receive, Unroll.me is an app that makes that easy peasy.
- And if you want to create rules and filters, so emails being sent to you have certain actions taken (eg never send to spam, star, mark as important, place in X file, etc) getting a handle on your email providers filters will bring sweet relief.
- Cost: Complimentary cost-less
With all of our sanities being severely tried with COVID19 I sincerely hope these tech tools will bring a sense of agency, control, productivity, and relief. Relax into the five tools above and check out the five I covered last week.
Then give yourself a mental hug, reach out to your loved ones, and stay safe and well. Because we all need that special juju that you have (and can now amp up with said tech tools).
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Do a mental audit of the second batch of five types of tools I raise above (calendar, reminders, bookmark, social bookmarks, email) to see which ones are most pressing for you. Prioritize them from 1-5 with 1 being most pesky and pressing and 5 being least.
- Here’s what being a digital immigrant can feel like e.g. someone who is thoroughly confused by the tech trends, someone who hasn’t grown up with tech. Don’t you just feel for this dad who is clueless about the baby shark trend?
- And, because we so badly need to laugh these days, here’s a second reason to chuckle. Here’s what being a digital native can look and feel like, eg when you’re on top of tech and feeling the groove.
- Based on your rating above, and starting with the most pressing need, pick one tool per week for the next few weeks and give them a whirl. Your future self will thank you. Promise.