Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Products I Love

We owe it to ourselves to bring out best every single moment of every single day.  Why would anyone want to waste time being less than the best human he or she could be?  When it comes to getting the most from myself and my day, I’m ALL IN.

Introduction

In my 20 years in technology business I’ve seen and used a lot of tools. This guide is aimed at anyone who wants to make effective use of the Internet in daily life, whether it’s in business or in personal life. These tools are equally helpful regardless of whether you’re trying to run a business across multiple time zones or just trying to stay in touch with family and friends and keep your life moving in the right direction. I believe you’ll be more productive and successful than ever after taking these tips into consideration. I’d love to hear how you use these tools in your life.

The Habits

It’s easy to get caught up organizing things on paper and in the digital world, but all the tools we use are nothing more than ways to do the things we do.  For this reason the guide starts with the habits that help ensure daily success before we talk about tools.

SET YOUR BOUNDARIES WITH MONEY AND TIME

KEEP EMAIL IN ITS BOX

STAY ON TRACK WITH A QUICK WEEKLY REVIEW

PACKAGE YOUR HABITS AS A PROCESS

COMPLETE WORK FASTER AND BETTER WITH SCRUM

The Tools

OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE AND HOW TO USE IT

CAPTURE MEETING TODOS WITH ONENOTE

SUCCESSFUL WEB MEETINGS WITH GOTOMEETING

WHY I KEEP MY FILES IN DROPBOX

TRELLO FOR WEB BASED KANBAN BOARD

PERSONICITY GOAL FRAMEWORK

Conclusion

Thanks for taking the time to read this guide. I hope it has helped to get you started on your way toward making the web work for you, so you can get to work.

 

 

Keep Email in its Box with Inbox Zero

Keep Email in its Box with Inbox Zero

Self-help, Technology

This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life

We all have a love/hate relationship with email, except maybe without the love. Yes, email is terrible, but it’s part of life so we may as well deal with it in this guide. I recommend looking at email at least once per day and no more often than three or four times per day, depending on the length of your work day. If you’re an eight-to-fiver, twice is plenty. If you run from five am to midnight, you may need to deal with email as many as four times a day.

The Habit

Check sometime in the morning. Schedule it AROUND your big rocks. Give it anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and get through it then. If you have more email than you can read in that amount of time, make use of rules, filters, and assistants to get you through the list every single time.

Do Inbox Zero. Delete, delegate, do, defer.

Delete what needn’t be there (and unsubscribe, rule, or filter it away from your inbox forever).

Delegate what must be done, but not by you, and schedule time to train involved parties on how to do the work, and how not to involve you. Empowering others is one of the qualities of highly effective professionals.

Do what must be done. Do it right now.

Defer what can’t be done now. Sparingly, you may need to schedule some things for a later time. Put them on your calendar or todo list, and get them out of your inbox.

Inbox Zero http://www.43folders.com/izero

David Allen’s Getting Things Done http://gettingthingsdone.com/

The Tools

How To Make More Effective Use of Your Office Productivity Software

Shrink the Window and Shrink the Energy

 

Next Page: Weekly Review and Planning

This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life

How To Make More Effective Use of Your Office Productivity Software

How To Make More Effective Use of Your Office Productivity Software

Products I Love

This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life

Google Apps for Business / Office 365 for Collaboration and Document Collaboration

Google: $5/user/mo | Microsoft: $13/user/mo

Every team needs a collaboration solution. Individuals can benefit from having a classy email address on a personalized domain. These service are both really good. Both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Business work great. One will most likely stand out as better for your situation, so I recommend getting trial accounts for each and making your decision based on your own needs. Here are a few observations based on my experience with both solutions:

  • Exchange vs. Gmail. Gmail works really well in the cloud. Exchange and Outlook go really well together in offices on computers. With both products you get integrated presence information, including chat, voice and video and application sharing.
  • Exchange vs. Calendar. The same discussion plays out in the calendar category. Microsoft has a great product in the Outlook desktop client and Google has a great cloud-based product. Both work equally well for scheduling meetings with multiple people.
  • Document Creation. If you need to generate documents for print, presentation, and sharing outside your organization, Microsoft has a clear advantage. They’ve been doing this for longer and produce some really rich documents that are suitable for audiences of all types. In addition if you’re analyzing database data with spreadsheets and pivot tables, Excel stands head and shoulders above the rest. With that said, if you’re using Macs and want to create beautiful content I’d skip 365, use Google for email, and create gorgeous documents with Pages and Keynote. For Google’s part, they do simultaneous collaboration on documents better than anyone else.

My advice to you is to test them both and find the ecosystem that best compliments own.

HOW TO USE THE TOOLS

Use tasks or reminders to help you remember to get things done. Set due dates on them. Set up categories or labels to help identify what area of your life they apply to. Actually do them – on time. You took the time to write them and give them due dates. If you don’t actually do what you write down you’re not making realistic goals, or you’re not really serious about succeeding. See the next section on mind mapping and goal setting for help with that.

 

LINKS:

Google Apps for Business
http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/

Microsoft Office 365 (NOTE: the $5.00/user/month version was not considered because it doesn’t offer the desktop apps mentioned in the guide)
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx

Reminders and Tasks

You get a two-for-one benefit with this suggestion, because if you’ve followed the first advice in this guide, you already have the tools you need included with either Office 365 or Google Apps. Where the first section covered the what part of the equation, my recommendations in this section center on the how.

USE TASKS / REMINDERS

Sounds simple, but it’s very important. As mentioned in the mind mapping section, I recommend creating tasks and reminders to help you make sure you’ve done the things that are truly important to you. I recommend using the full capabilities of your software. Use reminders, due dates, start dates, categories and recurrence. Some very smart people wrote these applications. Learn how to use them and get the most effective bang for your productivity buck.

WEEKLY REVIEW / PLANNING

One of the big rocks I add into my week is a review of what I’ve done and plan for what I’ll do the following week. This space in the week gives me a chance to do a quick gut check, make sure I haven’t wandered off track from reaching goals. It also provides me with the mental space I need to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned, the wins from the week, as well as anything I think is super important to get right next week. During this time I make sure and write down a handful of things that, if I accomplish them, will make the next week a success. Get it right and I win. Get it wrong and I miss out big time. I’ve found that if I make as many things in my life as black-and-white as this decisions come easier and action happens more automatically.

LINKS:

The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Why I Recommend Weekly Review and Planning

5 Choices helps you with your productivity

 

Next Page: Capturing Meeting Action Items and Notes with OneNote

This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life