I'm a bit of a geek and actually quite like my Friday Admin Afternoons!
Before I started a career in Learning & Development, I worked in various admin roles and loved using technology to do things quicker. Of course, back then, there were no apps and hardly any of the web based software we take for granted nowadays. So now that there are so many apps and tools available, I love playing around with them and finding more efficient ways to get things done.
Here are my (current) top five:
The ultimate app for your to-do lists. I love the simplicity of it as well as all the options such as sub-tasks, colour coded projects and recurring tasks. I love the fact it integrates with my email, so I can quickly turn an email into a task and I especially love the occasional flying unicorn I get when I tick tasks completed.
Flags in Outlook
I hate seeing that little red dot on my Inbox, so I do regularly read emails throughout the day, however I don't answer them all as soon as I read them. I'll flag an email if I need to spend more than two minutes replying to it or if I can't reply yet as I need to do something else first. Then, my inbox is sorted with all the flags at the top, so that when I do spend time in it, I can work through those emails first. Flags have been around for years, but they work!
Another tool that's been around for years, but it is so useful, it has to be on this list. In Outlook, I have an extra calendar which I call 'Plan'. It's where I block time for all the things that don't need to be done at a specific time. My main calendar will hold all appointments and workshops that I'm delivering, but the prep will go in my 'Plan' calendar. It means I can easily hide it on those busy days when it feels too much to view everything I'm doing, but I can easily switch it back on, to plan out how I'll spend my day.
This is an amazing little object that sits on my desk and keeps track of how I'm spending my time. When I start working on something, I flip it over so that the task or project is facing up and it'll start counting. I keep flipping it over throughout the day and at the end of each day or week, I can see exactly where the time has gone. Being fully aware of where your time goes is one of the best ways to start managing it.
Simply by creating templates in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, I can save loads of time when it comes to writing letters, proposals or training courses. I have templates for everything and can easily adapt them to whatever I need without worrying about overwriting my original template.
What are your top tools for your productivity?
PS. If you need help managing your inbox, you might like this course.