If you’re a regular reader of the KBlog, you’ll recall KG’s favorite productivity tips for staying focused and organized. In the third and final segment in our productivity series, we share our favorite miscellaneous productivity tools and tricks that help make the KG team shine!
Google Voice: So chances are that you’ve heard of Google Voice before, but on the off-chance you haven’t, let me be the first to tell you how cool it is to not have to listen to voicemails anymore. If I have to miss a call because I’m on another call, I almost instantly receive an email and a text transcription of the voicemail–quite the perk for someone like me who dislikes listening to five consecutive messages of “Hi Brittany, it’s your mom. Call me back!” to get to the message left by a client. (Aside: I can’t be the only person whose mom doesn’t trust that my phone will tell me I missed her call without needing to leave a message.) Especially effective for people with multiple phone numbers (home, work, cell), Google Voice gives users the option to use a single Google forwarding number to all of the user’s phones, so when your office phone rings when you’re out of the office, you can take the call on your cell. Brilliant! Google Voice also supports conference calling with call recording and online archiving. On top of all of that, there are lots more features, so get your Google Voice on now if you haven’t signed up yet.
Good Old-fashioned Mindfulness: This one might be a “duh,” but if we were all doing it right, I have a hunch our society would be a lot different than it is. The powers of mindfulness are praised high and wide for increasing health, happiness, and productivity. Some even believe that if you focus your positive energy well enough, you can attract good things to you. Now, I don’t know if I’d go that far personally, but I do know that reminding myself to be mindful and “in the moment” can have powerful effects on my sanity and my efficiency.
Next time you find yourself scatterbrained, extremely stressed, or asking yourself “what the heck was I just doing/going to do?”, try this: Close your eyes. Take ten deep breaths and visualize all the thoughts cluttering your mind flowing out one-by-one, vanishing (poof!), leaving your head empty. (I’m saying visualize, folks – most of us are not really that good.) Then, ask yourself: What is it I really need to be focusing on right now? Try to pick one thing that’s high-priority. Open your eyes, and jot down a few steps that you can work on right now.
Session Manager: I love tabs. There are two dozen tabs open in my browser right now. Session manager helps keep those tabs safe until I’m ready to return to them.
Session Manager is an add-on for Firefox and Chrome that allows you to save the state of all windows and tabs open in your browser. This snapshot of your broswer can be saved and an unlimited number of sessions saves are allowed. Besides backing up your browsing in the event of a crash, this helps keep personal and professional browsing separate. It allows you to unplug — save your 9-5 browser windows as you’re leaving for the day, close your browser and leave your work projects until you’re ready for them. (It’s no fun to open up Chrome on Sunday morning when you’re looking for a good brunch spot on Yelp and get a big reminder of all the loose ends waiting for you Monday morning.) Or, focus on plugging back in. (If you’ve been shopping at home for a sweet new pair of slacks and reasonably priced ties, you can save those window-shopping tabs until later to avoid distraction when you get to the office.)
Look at the Competition: This may seem unrelated to productivity, but competition is a huge motivator, and motivation increases productivity. When I look at clients’ competitors’ news coverage or social media activity, for example, I get motivated to work really hard and to come up with new ideas to stay at the top of our game. If you’re even the slightest bit competitive like me, you’ll find your competitor’s success a perfect productivity push.
Achieving and maintaining peak performance is a constantly moving target. Just when you think you’ve cracked the code, another distraction or challenge pops up and creates room for improvement. At KG, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing, so let us know if there’s something that works for you that we should know about!