Author Archives: Terri Coles
Workflow automation is an increasingly important factor in productivity. A research report from Formstack released this year found that half of managers are spending the equivalent of one full workday each week on administrative tasks, many of which could be automated. And 44 per cent of managers reported that their workplace has invested significantly in workflow automation tools within the past two years. Managers are spending significant amounts of time, up to half of the average workday, on administrative tasks. In many cases, these tasks could be automated. “Few business owners really grasp the concepts of what automation in technology can do,” said Martin Webb, a founder of Tudodesk. “When they start a business or look to grow it, they instantly assume the problem they need to solve is by hiring help.” There are times when automating repetitive or administrative tasks can free up time and mental space, allowing for focus on more important matters. Automate Your Email This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Trying to get to inbox zero? Switching from conventional Gmail to Inbox can help you get there, thanks to features like bundling, snooze, and templates. Inbox by Gmail first appeared in 2014, when the vamped-up web-based email client was still invite only. But there are still people who haven’t switched over, and may not even be fully aware that they can. Those people are missing out. Inbox by Gmail takes what you already enjoy about Gmail — message sorting, filters, great archive search — and makes it even more useful. Its ethos and functionalities will feel familiar to fans of the Getting Things Done productivity approach, as Inbox works to make every email actionable, even if that action is merely to archive a message. This helps you clear things out of your inbox and focus in specifically on what you need to do with your email, when you need to do it. “It’s not an exaggeration to say Inbox literally transformed the way I use email,” said Vinay Pai, the founder of Unfake.us. “I used to be pretty dedicated to desktop-based clients like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Eudora but Inbox made me decide to switch my whole email workflow around it.” It might … Read More
Voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are suddenly everywhere — but can they really up your productivity? We have advice on choosing one, and tips on using it to make life easier. It looks like 2018 is set to be the year that voice assistant devices become truly mainstream. The Amazon Echo Dot was the best selling item on Amazon.com, across all categories, during the 2017 holiday season. And in early 2018, Google announced that a Google Home device had been sold every second since October 19. Both devices and their respective software — Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — were everywhere during CES earlier in January, indicating that current sales figures are just the start of the sector’s potential. But what can a voice assistant do for you in the home or office, other than play playlists or podcasts? And can it really make you more productive, in a world where we’ve already got smart phones, smart watches, and tablets at our disposal? Here’s a look at what the devices can do, with tips from users, and how to decide which system is best for you. Choosing the Right Assistant for You First of all, how do … Read More
By now you know what Trello can do for you when it comes to organization and project management, and you’ve learned the basics of setting up Trello for your own personal needs. You’ve also read an overview of Trello for teams, including how the application can facilitate better communication and collaboration. You can use Trello well, even effectively, with just that information. But to really become a Trello power user you’ll want to step up your game with keyboard shortcuts, application tie-ins, and automation. Here are the tips and tricks you need to know to upgrade Trello from convenient to life changing. Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts There are a variety of keyboard shortcuts that can be used within Trello to save you time and clicks. “Trello’s system can have a learning curve for new users,” says Brad M. Shaw, president/CEO of Dallas Web Design Inc. Learning keyboard shortcuts changed this for him, and therefore changed his relationship with the app. “Doing simple things like using the space bar to assign the card to yourself, pressing D to open the due date menu and L to add a label saves valuable time,” Shaw says. Here are some of the most valuable … Read More
Trello can be a powerful project management tool for your teams, if you use it effectively and implement it properly As we discussed in “How to Get Started With Trello,” the project management application functions well as a tool for personal planning. But one of the main advantages of Trello for organization is that it has several features designed to make teamwork convenient, collaborative, and easily tracked. Everything that an individual user can do in Trello can also be done on boards that have multiple members because they are part of a designated team: create lists and cards; move around or archive inactive lists or cards; link files, photos, and websites; set due dates and assign tasks via a checklist; and add comments to cards. A team also allows its users to view all associated boards and their members in one place. Team members can be designated as admins, or as regular members; with a business-class Trello account, team admins have admin control over any board in a team whether or not they’ve been invited to a particular board by its admins. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
When there are so many productivity and organization applications available, it can be hard to know which one is the right choice–especially when all of these apps do not necessarily play well with each other, or work across platforms. Fortunately, one of the best–and most versatile–productivity apps is available for Windows and Mac users, on Android and iOS, and for desktop and mobile devices. But while this cross-platform fluidity is an important part of Trello’s appeal, the real secret of its success comes in the way it mimics a very low-tech organizational method: index cards on a corkboard. What Is Trello? Essentially, Trello is an online corkboard. You create boards, which contain lists, which hold individual cards. The user gets a visual view of their projects or information, with the ability to easily add cards and lists and move them around as necessary. Your boards can be private, or you can invite other Trello users to see and collaborate on them–handy for group projects or other situations where you need to share information. Project management is the primary function of Trello, and it does that well, but the app is versatile and intuitive enough to be also be used in … Read More
These Windows-compatible productivity apps that will help you get things done effectively. If you’re feeling increasingly digitally distracted, you aren’t alone. Students check their smartphones in class for non-school purposes about a dozen times a day, according to one 2016 survey. And a 2014 survey from Salary.com found that 89% of respondents admitted to wasting time at work. But our computers, smartphones, and tablets aren’t just distraction machines: when used effectively, they can also help us tackle our daily lives more efficiently or collaboratively. A variety of apps available for the Windows OS, both desktop and mobile, provide powerful productivity features including cloud-based document sharing, collaborative project planning, and online time tracking. And many of these apps are designed to work together, allowing you personalize a suite of products that help you complete your tasks, on time, in the way that works best for you and your team. These 15 applications address all stages of productivity, from cutting out online distractions and tracking your time to employee collaboration and high-level project planning. Note-Taking Applications This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Windows Defender will feature a full suite of products in the October update, but it still might not be a one-stop shop for security. For the Fall Creators Update, the security focus is squarely on Enterprise and Windows Server users. But while the “creators” in the update name are the primary focus for this update, thanks to an expanded suite of protective features, security hasn’t been completely left out of the picture. Microsoft’s threat-busting service, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, is the site of most of the security changes you’ll find when the Fall Creators Update begins to roll out on October 17. Those changes came about in part because of a European antitrust complaint launched against Microsoft by Kaspersky in June; Kaspersky withdrew the complaint in August, satisfied that the changes in the next Windows 10 update would address its concerns. An expanded Enhanced Alert view provides a wider range of information on threats. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Windows remains the most popular end-user operating system in the United States; according to the Federal Digital Analytics Program, 46.2 percent of users who visited federal government websites in the last 90 days did so on a Windows OS. But Windows is well behind the pack when it comes to mobile browsing, with data from Statistica showing the OS with only a fraction of the users Android and iOS devices enjoy. Microsoft-watchers have watched Windows Mobile flicker feebly, then die, in real time. For the majority of users, their mobile devices–on which they’re increasingly reliant (one in ten adults is a smartphone-only user) –aren’t on the same operating system as their desktop devices. The soon-to-be-released Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 tries to make that reality more workable, or even desirable, with updates that aim to make movement between a Windows desktop OS and any number of mobile OS options more seamless than ever before. As someone who carries both a Windows phone and an iOS phone in order to do everything he needs to for his business in a mobile environment, improved integration between Microsoft and other devices and operating systems is welcome, says Todd Pekats, VP of Microsoft Services for … Read More