I’ll be completely honest...for a long time I was known for being “absent-minded”. It was one of those quirky things about me, perhaps a genetic trait! Ryan had a saying for my family: “Rishi will be 30 minutes late, Rishi’s mom will be an hour late, and Rishi’s dad just might not show”. That always got a laugh.
Over the years, however, I have realized that in order to become involved in other endeavors and to take on more responsibilities at Underground Printing, something had to change. To achieve the level of productivity that I needed, I had to become uber-efficient and, dare I say it, punctual. And I think hope that the “absent-minded” perception of me has changed, and that my co-workers, friends, and family see me as someone who is organized and always has my stuff together.
In my mind, the turning point was when I subscribed to the philosophy of "Inbox Zero". Now there are a lot of definitions of what it means to achieve Inbox Zero, and I definitely won’t pretend that my version is the best/correct way to go. But if you generally believe that your Inbox is a to-do list, that emails need to be prioritized, and actually completing items is important for any to-do list, then keep reading!
Snooze function in Email - This is number one - the most important for me. I think a lot of efficiency (when it comes to email) revolves around the philosophy of "Inbox Zero". The Snooze/Reminder function allows you to a) address important emails first while moving less important emails out without losing them and b) give a quick and easy way to follow up with emails without just "leaving them" in your inbox or having to set calendar reminders.
All the major email clients have this function. If you use Gmail - This is a great video overview. You can also update the default times to snooze to better correspond to when it makes sense for your schedule.
Currently, I have upgraded from Gmail to using the email client Superhuman. Why? Because it takes the versatility of “Snooze” to a whole new level:
I’ve also written in more depth about “The Importance of Snoozin’” here!
OneTab - Many of us use the open tabs in our browser as reminders, and we hop back and forth. I use One Tab to consolidate these tabs, and also as a management tool to open up links and reports I review on a daily or weekly basis.
Pro-Tip: One thing One Tab is missing is an easy way to see all your Tab Collections. The way you do it is to open a new tab, right click, go to “OneTab”, and then “Display One Tab”. So I just bookmark that link in my Bookmarks Bar, so all i have to do is click that button to access my tabs.
Google Keep - I use this to keep and organize articles and websites I read (or want to read). While there are lots of other options there (like Evernote), I like this one the most because I find it the quickest and easiest to use from my phone and from desktop alike. I also have setup labels for different topics, so I can easily find and filter relevant links in the future. I save items from websites, twitter, tiktok…you name it.
LastPass - I use this to manage all my passwords. It's awesome on your phone because you can just activate it and add your passwords in with TouchID. This isn't free, but IMO, totally worth it.
LightShot Screenshot - This is a really easy to use Screenshot tool, which lets you take pics of stuff online which seems like it wouldn't be that useful but really is once you start using it. It also lets you make quick highlights or edits, and you can just copy and paste right from the interface, so you don't have to download the image and then attach or reupload. It comes as an app so you can use it throughout your computer, but I only use the Chrome Extension.
RecordIt - Super simple,fast, and free way to record your screen. It turns your recording into GIF that is stored into the cloud so it's easy to share or even embed. This is an app available for Mac or Windows. I used record it to create both of the GIF videos in this article.
Trello - This is a really versatile tool for management and organization that we use company wide. This article has a nice writeup on Trello. On top of this, you can use Trello along with services like Zapier and IFTTT to accomplish other tasks.
Auto Text Expander - This is the Chrome extension that lets you use a type "shortcuts" to expand out a larger text. For example, I use it a lot when I want to write out the link to my conference line. I just type out "uber" and this pops up. I think this is faster and easier than a canned response in Gmail, or copying and pasting from notes.
you can book.me - This is a booking / appointment tool that we have used for years at Underground Printing for customers to book appointments with our sales team. But I also use this personally to make it easy for people I am meeting with to find a time in my calendar to meet! Its easy to setup and use, and automatically syncs with your calendar.
Uber Conference - This one is a bit outdated with Google Meet, Zoom, Teams, etc - but this is the free conference call service I use sometimes when you know its going to be a phone conference - it's easy to set up, you can customize the URL link, you can just use the call line, or you can expand and share the screen, etc.
Pro-Tip: A quick tip to make it easy for people to call into a conference line without having to remember the pin, use the following format: iPhone One Tap: 866-748-0711,,64649. You can add it into a calendar invite or an email, and smartphones will recognize it as a phone number, and then dial all the numbers with the appropriate pauses, so your guests don’t have to remember the pin or toggle between apps/tabs/screens.