How to Stop Wasting Your Time

Urgency is a terrible tyrant.  It demands that you give it 100% of your attention 100% of the time. (tweet it!)

Are you living by the tyranny of the urgent; constantly meeting the demands of both your schedule and your inbox as things pop up?

Do you wish you had a more organized way to accomplish the tasks you have at hand, instead of responding to everything in crisis management mode?

If your to do list has you crawling back in bed and pulling the covers over your head, then it’s time to tame your to do list, and put an organizational system in place that will rock your world. (In a good way!)

You have to take three important steps to get organized.

1. Determine Your Distractions

2. Design Your Day

3. Develop Your Toolkit

 

1. Determine Your Distractions

What distracts you?  Is it big projects looming over you or is it small daily tasks like email, social media, text messages, etc.?  Understanding what is distracting you requires you to take stock in what you must accomplish, what you hope to accomplish and even who you will spend your time with. 

Two quick questions I ask myself when determining how I spend my time:

Question 1. "Will this activity help me get closer to my goal of (fill in your answer here*)?"

 *Examples: helping small business owners, buying that hot air balloon, becoming a dolphin trainer, landing that spokesperson gig, having more keynote speaking opportunities... What's your goal? 

Make sure you spend time doing things that actually get you closer to that goal. Think about how you spend your time on an average day. Is your time spent on things that will get you closer to your goal?

Your resources and your energy are not unlimited. Focus them only on things that help you achieve your goals. (Tweet it!)

Question 2. "Will spending my energy focused on this get me closer to this goal?”

And you have to ask yourself these questions about people too.  Some people have some crazy drama in their lives/businesses that you just don’t need to invite into yours.

My bonus tip for you in this area comes from David Alan, master organizational guru, who teaches how to get things done, who says that the reason we stress out (and are distracted by) things in our life is that we haven’t figured out a way to store that data until we need it.  Have a way to record the things that are stealing your attention (projects that are due, emails you don’t want to forget to send, etc.) I use  Evernote to keep up with my daily notes.

 

2. Design Your Day

I’ve talked about this before, so I won’t go into too much depth here, but we each have different levels of productivity and brain power at different times of the day.  I’m a night owl.  I do my *real creating* later at night.  You might be a morning person like my friend Jon Acuff who belongs to a club called the 5a.m. Club. (Seriously!) You have to design your day by what works for you.

Jeff Goins, Professional Writer, wrote this, Today, I took Tim Ferriss's advice and set a goal of one task for the day that I knew I needed to finish. This was something that if I didn't do it, I would've felt like I wasted my day. Instead of messing around with trivial tasks like checking email, I just went right to it and tried to knock it out as quickly as possible. Just completed it. Feel great and have hours to spare! I'm not the world's most productive person, so this feels pretty awesome.”

Jeff found what worked for him, according to his own personal productivity rhythm. You have to do the same.

  

3. Develop a System to Get Things Done

There are so many organizational tools out there right now that it’s impossible to tell you what they all are.  Because life and business needs are always changing, and tech apps are getting more awesome by the day, I often switch out items in my toolkit. So I’ve narrowed it down to the systems I personally use and love right now.

  • I use my "Reminders" app built into Apple products. I type in what I need to do that day and it hassles me until I do it. The reminders pop up on my iPhone and on my laptop at specific times to keep me on track. Say I didn't get to one task at the end of the day? I add it to my reminders to wrap up the task first thing on the next day. Boom. Done.
  • I live by Basecamp to work with my team. Our needs outgrew Basecamp's functionality and needed a more robust management option, we tried Teambox, but went back to the simplicity of Basecamp.
  • I use Evernote to save articles that I want to use as research as well as a gazillion other things. (I keep hearing that I need to do an Evernote guide as a free resource here on the site. Your wish is my command. I'm working on it!)
  • I use Pocket to save random (non-work) articles to read after work is done or on the weekend. How else am I going to remember I wanted to watch that Sloth video? I can't be watching it during the day! :)
  • I use Twitter lists and never look at the 'Home Feed' on Twitter. I can easily keep up with friends, business contacts, clients I work with, the latest news and more. I keep all my Twitter lists private to keep from hurting anyone's feelings.

  

Be ruthless with your time and focus and guard it like it's priceless, because it is.  (Tweet this!)

Very often the things in our lives and businesses that distract us are problems that we spend way too much time focusing on.  They keep us from starting things we should start because we are so focused on the wrong things.  So ever so often I have an exercise I do that I like to call the "Be Ruthless" exercise (which I know sounds completely out of character for me to say. But sometimes you just have to be ruthless! This is your life and there's no time to waste on unnecessary crazy!)

 

Here's the exercise:

1. Make a list of everything you are doing.

2. Add to that list everything you'd like to start doing.

3. Place a star by anything on your list that you know you should stop doing but are afraid to stop (for any number of reasons.)

 

Now think about being ruthless with your time.  What would it take you to stop doing what you know you need to stop doing?  The answer to this question will do so much to move you forward, get you unstuck, and help you focus and not get distracted by things that you need to stop doing.

 


The Strategy for Less Stress in 3 Simple Steps

You know how it seems like everyday you are balancing everything you have to do, with all the things you need to remember?

It all comes down to closing action-item loops.

Every time an actionable item (meeting plans, next steps on a project, etc..) comes up, I have a 3 step system to ensure task accountability for myself and my team.

 

Three A's of Task Accountability

Step 1. Identity Actionable Item

Example:
Next week I'm meeting with a client to coach them in how to choose a new site design. I immediately identify tasks that need to be done to make the meeting a success.

 

Step 2. Immediately assign tasks

Set up reminders, explain what needs to be done, who needs to do what and when.

Example: I assign a reminder for myself to gather web-usability guideline materials for the call, and I assign one of my team members to gather links to example sites that are both beautiful and convert to sales well.

Each of our assignments has a due date- that point is key. I also set a date for myself to put all the materials together and finish preparation before the client meeting.

 

Step 3. Assess follow-through

When the item is due or scheduled for completion, it is crucial to have a back-up safeguard to ensure it is done well and accomplished on time.

This is as easy as setting a reminder or creating a calendar event to check for completion.

Example- When I receive the scheduled prompt to assess follow through I combine my work with that of my team member and do final preparations for the client.

It's done well and on time, and I never have to worry, "What was I supposed to do about such and such."

Alli-Worthingtons-3-As-of-Task-Accountability.jpg


That's it. That's how to always make sure your action loops are closed.

It is as simple as always and immediately doing 3 things: identify action item, assign tasks and assess follow-through.

The 3 step process for closing open loops can be used for business and life (isn't that true for most things?) I also teach my sons to manage their projects and goals this way, too!


Close your open task loops: identify action item, assign tasks & assess follow-through. (Tweet it!)


How to Make Your Own Graphics on a Budget

We all wish we had a graphic designer ready to make beautiful graphics for us at any time. I know I do! But with the right tools you can make your own graphics and save yourself  time and money. 

Here are my favorite tools for graphic design. With these tools you will have everything you need to create presentations, downloadable PDFs, instagram posts and of course, great visual content for your website. 

1. Photoshop

Seriously, it just doesn't get better than Photoshop for making your graphics. I've wasted too much time through the years trying to get cheap, clunky software to do what I wanted. I should have just started with Photoshop. 

The $9.99 per month for Photoshop and Lightroom (Lightroom is the best for editing photos!) is a lifesaver. Click here to get the 9.99$ deal. 

I use photoshop for all my headers, website graphics and I even used it to create all the marketing graphics for Breaking Busy. 

With photoshop you can make graphics that are editable for years. Need to change a title on a graphic? Want to switch out info? If it is saved in Photoshop it is simple. 

2. Creative Market

I buy all my fonts, graphics, lots of gorgeous stock photos and presentation templates at Creative Market. The prices are way better than anywhere else online. 

Here are some of my favorites:

25 Hand-lettered Fonts for only $25

I mean seriously, how great are those fonts? They have fonts for days. I probably own them all. Hi, I'm Alli and I am a fontaholic. 

24 Neutral Toned Stock Photo Mockups 


3. Canva

Canva is pure magic for some projects. It's how I create my infographics, flyers and downloadable PDFS. It's way clunky and slow compared to working in Photoshop, so I only use it when I need to create big project or need a safe template for a pinnable graphic. 

What can you make using Canva, you ask? 

I made the very pinnable top image in this post on Canva. (Please be sure to share this post on Pinterest, too :) 

Here's my Should I Post that Selfie infographic. 

Here's a downloadable I created- the decision making process printable from Breaking busy. 

Pro-tip- Canva's mobile app is finally available for iPhones. YAY!


4. Death to Stock Photo

What a name, right? Death to the Stock Photo is a subscription service that gives you new stock images each month and an access to a library of images. My favorite part is that they work to give a percentage of membership revenue back to their photographers. 


5. Unsplash

Unsplash releases 10 free high resolution images every week. You can use them for whatever you like, how cool is that? 

 

There you go, with these five resources you'll be on your way to creating beautiful images for Social Media, presentations, websites and more. If you liked this article, please share with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest. 

 

More resources you will love: 

The (Free!) Breaking Busy Toolkit

17 Best Books For Entrepreneurs And Leaders

What are the Signs of Burnout?

The Truth About Perfectionism and How to Overcome Procrastination

17 Best Books for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Leaders are readers. We've all heard that truth, but actually putting this truth to practice can be the difference between wasting time and real success. Here are some of my favorite must read business books for entrepreneurs and leaders. 

Good to Great from Jim Collins

Good to Great is the book every entrepreneur or leader must read. Jim Collins wanted to answer one key question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" He and a team of researchers worked to discover what made the best companies great. 

"How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?"


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven R. Covey

The seven habits is a comprehensive program based on developing an awareness of how perceptions and assumptions hinder success---in business as well as personal relationships. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold for good reason, this is a must read for any leader. 
 


Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington 

Breaking Busy not only walks you through how to manage your time, but how to change your mindset. I waffled on listing it because I wrote it, but why not? I believe in it and want you to learn from my lessons! 

You'll learn how to:

  • Escape the tyranny of the urgent
  • Make decisions with confidence
  • Develop strategies for effective communication 

Check out the free resources in the toolkit here. 


EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go. Dave opens up his championship playbook for business to show you how to:

• Inspire your team to take ownership and love what they do
• Handle money to set your business up for success
• Reach every goal you set


The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership by Jenni Catron


In The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership, Catron shows you:

Why first learning to lead yourself is a critical foundation of influence
What it takes to lead in the midst of chaos
The indispensable role of humility in leading well
How authentic leadership emerges from a commitment deep within

Theses four dimensions will shatter your limitations, expand your influence, and equip you to serve others in seeing great dreams become reality. 


The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

This brilliant book dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business.
 The author walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed.

This book was an absolutely game changer for me personally. 
 


The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. 
Whether you’re a graphic designer, a sales rep, an athlete, or an aspiring CEO, this fun little book will help you figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents. If you are, The Dip will inspire you to hang tough. If not, it will help you find the courage to quit—so you can be number one at something else. 


Rework by Jason Fried

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you'll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don't need outside investors, and why you're better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don't need to be a workaholic. You don't need to staff up. You don't need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don't even need an office. According to the author those are all just excuses.

This is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of "downsizing," and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Health

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas?

In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors  tackle head-on these questions. 

Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.


The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It's about the task you were born to do. 

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. 


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Caldini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say "yes"—and how to apply these understandings is a must have on every bookshelf. 


You'll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. 


Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, this new book and accompanying website will change the way you look at yourself--and the world around you--forever. 

With StrengthsFinder 2.0 you get:

* A new and upgraded edition of the StrengthsFinder assessment
* A personalized Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide for applying your strengths in the next week, month, and year
* A more customized version of your top five theme report
* 50 Ideas for Action (10 strategies for building on each of your top five themes) 


Any person or organization can explain what they do; some can explain how they are different or better; but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not about money or profit – those are results. WHY is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us. 
 
Leaders who inspire all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way – and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does.

Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired – and it all starts with WHY.


Just as a bank account protects you during a financial crunch, a Career Savings Account™ protects you during a career crunch. You need a CSA because you’ll eventually face at least one of these major transitions:

   •  You will hit a Career Ceiling and get stuck, requiring sharp skills to free yourself. 
   •  You will experience a Career Bump and unexpectedly lose your job, requiring strong relationships to survive. 
   •  You will make a Career Jump to a new role, requiring solid character to push through uncertainty and chaos. 
   •  You will get a surprise Career Opportunity, requiring dedicated hustle to take advantage of it. 


An organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified.  Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave. Lencioni’s first non-fiction book provides leaders with a groundbreaking, approachable model for achieving organizational health.

The Advantage provides a foundational construct for conducting business in a new way—one that maximizes human potential and aligns the organization around a common set of principles.


Businesses are built by growing relationships with customers. Culture is created by the stories those relationships tell. Two of the most important differentiators of a business are its talent and its culture. Talent energized by a compelling culture will drive organizational success and provide innovative growth opportunities for both the business and the individual. 

Based on her more than thirty years at Chick-fil-A, most of which have been spent as Vice President, Corporate Talent, Dee Ann Turner shares how Chick-fil-A has built a devoted talent and fan base that spans generations. It's My Pleasure tells powerful stories and provides practical applications on how to develop extraordinary talent able to build and/or stimulate a company's culture.


The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki 

Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, there's no shortage of advice on topics such as innovating, recruiting, fund raising, and branding. In fact, there are so many books, articles, websites, blogs, webinars, and conferences that many startups get paralyzed, or they focus on the wrong priorities and go broke before they succeed. 


The Art of the Start 2.0 solves that problem by distilling Guy Kawasaki's decades of experience as one of the most hardworking and irreverent strategists in the business world. 
 


There you go, with this list you can not go wrong. Books for leaders and books for entrepreneurs both have one thing in common- they will help you succeed! 

Enjoy! 


10 Things You Must Know About Starting a Business

10 Things You Must Know About Starting a Business

1. Don't Start Your Business With Money as the Primary Goal

I know, I know.  Seems counterintuitive.  I mean, after all, isn’t the purpose of owning and running a business to make money?

Who doesn't want to get rich blogging? But if money is the main reason you do what you do, then you will never have enough.

Let money be a result of your success (and your solid business plan),  not your primary motivating factor. 

"Make money, don't let the money make you. Change the game, don't let the game change you" -Macklemore

2. Ideas Mean Nothing without Action

“Wait. What? Ideas mean nothing?  I thought the idea was everything?”

Clearly your idea is important.  But your idea isn’t everything.

Nine times out of ten, an average idea, executed with excellence, will beat the heck out of a KILLER idea executed poorly. (Tweet this!

The point is, execute like a boss. 

3. Focus on the Pain  

I’ve said this many times.  People want you to ease their pain. Find the pain points in your target market and solve the problem.

If you are more focused on the problem your CUSTOMER has, than the idea that YOU have, your business will do well.

Connect the dots for your audience.  Show them how your product or services solves the problem.

If you’re solving the right problem, you’ll know it because your readers will move from readers to subscribers to customers.

4.  It’s All About Your People

It should probably go without saying, but your business is about people. Not just any people, but the specific group of people you hope to serve.  Whether you are selling a product or services, you are  selling to people.  You have to be able to talk to people, walk in their shoes and understand them if you have a snowball's chance of selling to them.

If you don’t understand your target market (your people), you will fail and fail hard.

5. Learn How to Fail

And speaking of failing and failing hard, you need to fail.  Failure is how you learn best.  Don’t be afraid to fail, because if you aren’t failing, then you aren’t taking risks.  And if you aren’t taking risks, you will spend the majority of your business life stuck in mediocrity.

Don’t be afraid to fail, just fail fast. Don’t get stuck deciding if you should try something or not. (Tweet this!) 

Learning to quickly solve problems can only serve to improve your business and entrepreneurial skills. A series of small fails that you can quickly learn from is better than one giant fail. Don't spend 18 months and your life savings on manufacturing widgets that the market doesn't actually want. That is a big fail. An 'epic fail' in internet speak. Test ideas early and often to ensure little, fast fails. You'll win in the long run!

6. Test Everything

Prove your idea or concept before spending time on the product. Trust your gut, but verify. 

  • Test that the problem exists
  • Test that the problem is big enough to make people or businesses change
  • Test that you have a solution to the problem
  • Test that someone will pay for your solution (if they won’t, it’s not the right solution)

7. Communicate Clearly

The art of communicating is critical to master, and master early. Most people assume they are great communicators, but never actually find out if the other person understands what they are trying to say.

Face-to-face communication is always best, but in today’s world of telecommuting and online business relationships, a phone call is always a great way to communicate.

Here's a great business tip: The most important thing to remember in the area of communication is to be careful with written words. It's easy to miscommunicate via email because the emotional indicators are not there. Read your email out loud and if you think there is any way that your tone could be misunderstood, go back and edit. 

8.  Your Brand is Only as Good as You *Really* Are

First impressions matter. Your logo, your writing, your presence online all matter and you can't scrimp on your visual strategy, but your character, who you really are, is the most important thing for you to protect. A lack of integrity will be your downfall. This is especially true online.

Social media is a perfect medium for us to let our guards down. Daily, I see vague pleas for sympathy, annoyed ranting or passive aggressive, and hurtful updates go public for people who really should know how to manage themselves, but the ease of social sharing takes the filters away. All I can think is, "Doesn't that person have anyone who will tell them to chill out and behave themselves?" Everything you do matters.

Remember, even the most premium branding can't hide a questionable character behind the scenes.

9.  Most Advice is a Waste of Time

Yes, I, Alli Worthington, business coach, just said most advice is a waste of time.  I’m telling you that because you MUST choose your advisors, your close friends and your mentors well.

Most advice is a waste of your time, because most people don’t take the time to really LISTEN to you or your business ideas.  They have a standard one-size-fits-all approach to business, and they try to apply it to yours. Don’t be foolish enough to fall into this trap.  If you’re going to let someone to teach you what you need to know, make sure you do your homework.

The same goes with what you read online. A lot of what you can find online is fluff.  Great fluffy, filler content, filled with platitudes that sound great, but don’t pan out to change you in any conceivable way.

One of the reasons I write one long post full of so much information instead of short quick posts is because I want you to learn.

I'm not writing for the people who skim and won't actually take action. Those people will never be A-players.

I could write ten short posts with the content from one article, but I want you to invest time and energy into learning and actually changing your life and your work.

 10.  Build a Dream Team

"A-Players Hire A-players, B-players Hire C-players." -  Steve Jobs

When it comes time to hire your support team, hire A-Players.  But even before that, think about your support team.

  • Surround yourself with A players.  They will work hard to change themselves and their businesses. Their success, their drive and their motivation will inspire you as well.
  • Don’t feel like you have to be an expert in everything.  There are brilliant people out there in the world.  Get to know them.  Learn from them.  Heck, refer your clients to them if that is better for your clients. Build a network of talented colleagues who you endorse. (That will go a LONG way in terms of your reputation as a business person as well!)

How to Use Gmail and Make it Work For You

For years email and I were at war.

I avoided it, blamed it for productivity hassles and wished it would disappear like other relics from the past.

I was so wrong. Email wasn't the problem, I just didn't use it correctly.

Like any tool, it's all in how it is used. I had to learn how to use it like a pro to appreciate what a great resource I had at my fingertips.

Today I'll teach you how to set up your priority subscriptions, how to automate record keeping, find a lost phone, reach inbox zero and more.

Ready to make Gmail work FOR you instead of the other way around? Awesome. Let's dig in!

1. Program Email to Send at a Later Time

 Boomerang  is amazing. You can Schedule your email  in advance so your colleagues don't realize you are a workaholic and draft email at 2am. (What? I'm not judging. I know how it is!) 

You can also program specific email to show back up in your inbox at a certain time/date if the respondent hasn't replied. This is perfect for those of you who live by inbox zero and can't handle having email clutter.

How to program your Gmail to send an email at a certain time. (Tweet it!)

 



 

2. Save all your Gmail Attachments to a Dropbox Folder

 

Are you familiar with IFTTT? If you are, you know the magic it holds. If not, SIT DOWN. Seriously, your world is about to turn upside down.

IFTTT (If this, then that) is a website & brilliant iPhone app that allows you to create "recipes" that essentially tie together different apps and social media and all kinds of different things. You can tailor these recipes just for you...for example, if you favorite a tweet, you can have that tweet sent directly to a google doc. Or to your email. Or to Evernote.  Whatever you like.

Or perhaps you're a big Netflix fan; you can have IFTTT email you when they have a new release. You can have stuff delivered to your kindle, or program it to say, "Happy Birthday" to you every year. The sky's the limit.

This is such a time saver.  I use IFTTT to have all of my email attachments saved automatically to a Dropbox folder; no more searching the inbox. It's all in dropbox, ready to rock.

 

3. Research and Catch Up on your Contact's Social Network Data inside Gmail

 This service pulls in up social network information in Gmail's sidebar. It will show you your email contact’s LinkedIn profile, last five tweets, and their Facebook Page, and all kinds of relevant info about your contact. It will  help you know if the person sending you an email is legit or a scammer.

It's like that good friend who whispers in your ear while you're at a party, reminding you that you met Carol at a business meeting last fall and that she tweets about the Yankees a lot. (Note to self- Don't invite her to any Red Sox games. Awkward.) 

 

4. One Inbox to Check All Your Email

Do not- I repeat- DO NOT check multiple email accounts. This is a huge waste of time. The most efficient way to manage multiple email accounts is to combine them into one smart master inbox.  You can adjust the settings so the reply email address is automatically the same one that the email was originally sent to.

The best tutorial on how to set up  is here- How To Access All Your Gmail Accounts With One Log In

5. Undo Send

 

We've all sent an email and then noticed we made a horrible mistake. A typo, an incorrect auto population of the 'To' field, a dreaded 'Reply All"...  There are so many way email can go downhill fast. Here's how to catch your mistakes and turn back time. Gmail has a labs feature that allows users to have a grace period of a few seconds after sending an email to undo send. I've used it no less than a gazillion times.

Here's how to turn it on:

  1. Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox.
  2. The settings area should pop open.
  3. Scroll down and enable Undo Send.

Here's how to Undo Send in Gmail! (Tweet it!)

6. Organize Your Receipts Automatically on a Google Docs Spreadsheet

We are back to our friend IFTTT.  This is a great way to keep your receipts organized.  Gmail will automatically search for email with "order" or "Receipt" and add a new row with the first  attachment to a receipts spreadsheet.  You'll thank me come tax time.

7.  Go From Inbox Overload to Inbox Zero the Easy Way

Use the Mailbox iPhone app to take your out-of-control inbox (and email hoarding tendencies) and take it all to zero magically. Before I used Mailbox I had over 60K email floating around in my inbox. (Hey, I'm being honest here. I know, I know...I had a problem. I did admit earlier that I used to be at war with email!) Gmail doesn't have a mass delete and after a few years of email for multiple companies/projects/etc. I was drowning in email and had thrown my hands up.

Then came Mailbox. I archived all my old email safely out of my inbox so I could start over with a clean slate.

(Sidenote- I spend $20 a year for over 80GBs of space for my email backups and Drive storage space so I never worry that I erased something I may need. So far, I've never needed anything from my archives but knowing I have everything just in case I ever do  is worth the 20$ a year.)

 

8. Send an Email Note to Yourself with a Phone Call

IFTTT will email a transcription and an MP3 recording of your note to self.  This is perfect for when brilliance strikes while you are on the go!

9. Use Gmail to call your phone when you can't find it

Yes, IFTTT again. If you lose your phone, just email yourself with the #LostPhone hashtag and it will call your phone. How awesome is that?

Lose your iPhone in the couch again? Here's how to email it and make it ring. (Tweet it!)

 

10. Control your Inbox with Tabs

Gmail has gone and redone our inboxes again.  Some people love it, some people hate it.

Here's the thing about why this change is such a hassle for people like me who save our best information for email- it may make it harder for readers to actually find the information they requested!

So far. I like using the tabs. My strategy is to star the emails that are important in my Promotions tab and that redirects all email from that sender to go to my Priority inbox. Because, I'll be honest, it could take a few days before I ever open the other two tabs. 

 

Another Tip- You can also drag an email that is in the Promotions tab over to your Primary tab. This will help you see email that could get lost in the Promotions tab.

If you don't like the tabs, here's your answer: How to Get Rid of Gmail's New Tabs (And Why You Should)


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