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5 more productivity tips for the Carnival of Journalism

For the Carnival of Journalism this month, we’re looking for productivity tools and info/work hacks. Besides the 18 or so tips I offered to kick start the conversation, here’s 5 more that have been especially helpful for me this year managing all the projects I’ve been working on (ONA Board, SND St. Louis, Multimedia Immersion, speaking and consulting gigs, etc.):

1- Android
I’m sorry all you iPhone folks, I’m not trying to start a civil war here, I’ve used both the iPhone as a personal phone and it’s good, but Google’s Android integration with all Google’s products has saved massive time and frustration this year, especially with all the travel I’ve been doing. Specifically:

  • Google Calendar (be careful with time zones though, change them manually to be sure)
  • Google Voice (Saved me massive amounts of cell phone minutes because I can use Voice seamlessly as my phone’s native calling service — no app opening, my phone can just default to always use Google Voice. Also loved being able to direct my calls to where I was, auto voicemail transcriptions and mp3′s of voicemails are awesome)
  • Gmail (one email archive, easily integrates with other services)
  • Google Docs (especially with the awesome new Android app, great to use a personal Dropbox with their ultra cheap storage space – $5 fo 20 GB!)
  • Gtasks (Google Tasks third party app, that allows me to sync my desktop tasks with mobile tasks, I use it for my to do lists.)
  • Free Android tethering also rocks (while it’s more up to your carrier this has saved me many times avoiding $13.99 a day hotel wifi charges.. or even free “wireless broadband” at hotels that isn’t broadband at all… not even DSL speeds.)

2- Boomerang for Gmail

Taming and managing email has been a critical skill I’ve tried to master over the past year and this tool has been a godsend. This tool for Gmail is fantastic for sending email reminders to yourself (especially if people haven’t responded to previous messages — critical in project management) as well as sending scheduled email messages. They’ve also created an interesting game to learn and practice better workflow (who would have thought email could be a game?). Fyi, Don’t worry about the Boomerang website (the design is a little weird, especially the font on the customer testimonials, which made me nervous initially) but I’ve been using it and this tool is the real deal. If all of Android’s brilliance has made me admire Google, the fact that they haven’t bought up this company and integrated it into Gmail makes me question if they really are in it to win it. :)

2- Gmail prioritization management and filters
There’s no quick and easy tip for this, but I’ve spent a lot of time optimizing my email to do pre-sorting before I see it. It can be dangerous though if you have a filter being a little bit too aggressive and deleting things automatically. So I’ve started to clean this up and move them to a “possible junk mail folder” that I go through occasionally.

4- Google Reader plugin from PostRank
This helps you dive through your RSS feeds quickly and see what the most popular posts are. You must keep in mind, that this is popularity, not interestingness to yourself though.

5- My 6 Sense
Awesome tool that learns your interests and customizes feeds for your preferences and it only gets better with time!

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