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Four productivity tools designed to streamline your communications

(Tech News) While there is no holy grail of productivity, these four tools can get you closer to leaving the office on time every day, helping to streamline your communications.

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Productivity remains a challenge

As more technologies make our life simpler, it also becomes overwhelming to consider all of your options, particularly for tools to make life easier. But today, we’re focused on your email inbox and other communications which can quickly become overwhelming if you are not managing them daily.

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Some days work and schedules are so hectic that you just cannot get logged in to check email and social media updates. Here are four ways to boost your productivity and help you manage your communication more efficiently:

1. Ecquire

ecquire
Ecquire
helps you keep your data organized and your team updated without constantly opening new windows to copy and paste data. Ecquire is a little button that lives in all the applications you work with; just click it whenever you want to collect and save data in their cloud service. This allows you to save data without interrupting your workflow. Use it with social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, any many more), email conversations, and other apps.

Ecquire will send the stored information to Salesforce, Highrise, Mailchimp, Stride, and even Google Spreadsheets. Regardless of what program you use to send your information, Ecquire can automatically sync it for you. They currently have a plethora of integrations, with more on the way. You can click each integration to see how it works with Ecquire to make data management easy and fast.

2. Speechpad

speechpad
Speechpad
is a transcription and captioning service. This is a great alternative to the time-consuming task of transcribing meeting and conference notes on your own. It is also a great way to transcribe YouTube videos. You can specify the turnaround time with a guarantee to get it back at or before your deadline. Time frames can be anywhere from 24 hours to a week.

Pricing varies based on when you need it back and the length of the recorded material. Simply upload your files, either from your computer or files already available online, and Speechpad will begin transcribing immediately. This is definitely worth a look if you are spending time and resources transcribing individual files.

3. MineMyMail

minemymail
MineMyMail
sifts through all of the messages stored in your email account and finds the information you actually ant to read. It will work with any IMAP enabled account (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Office365, etc.) and turns your email contacts into usable marketing resources. This tool works by accessing the provider’s IMAP server and subsequently downloading the message headers from whichever messages have been selected for extraction.

It then pulls this information into a master list and is sorted and can be exported to a CSV file. This CSV file can then be used on social networking sites, allowing you to connect with customers you may have missed. The statistics will shows the number of emails, number of unique email addresses, and time taken to execute. By creating a list of the people with whom you have already corresponded, MineMyMail enables you to target mailings to the broadest possible audience, saving you time and frustration sorting through emails manually.

4. Cloze

cloze
Cloze
helps you tidy up your inbox. It takes your social media and email updates and processes them into one, centralized feed. You can privately share and discuss the best of what you discover on social media, with the people that matter; whether that is your team or your friends. Business relationships change over time and your feed (or “Key People”) feature adapts as well, so that you always see your most important relationships without digging through endless amounts of information.

Even if you only use email with someone, once Cloze detects they are important to you, it will automatically add social too. So you get more data about the people you are working with and the more information you have, the better connections you can forge.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. rolandestrada

    December 19, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I guess. I’m sure these services would help some folks but you need to be careful you’re not just adding another layer of complexity. Cloze doesn’t appear to have a monthly cost to it but the others do. I would just suggest being judicious about adding another can’t-live-without service to your wasteland of monthly service bills.

  2. Pingback: Mobile etiquette tips to keep your staff from being overwhelmed with memos - The American Genius

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Tech News

Daily Coding Problem keeps you sharp for coding interviews

(CAREER) Coding interviews can be pretty intimidating, no matter your skill level, so stay sharp with daily practice leading up to your big day.

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Whether you’re in the market for a new coding job or just want to stay sharp in the one you have, it’s always important to do a skills check-up on the proficiencies you need for your job. Enter Daily Coding Problem, a mailing list service that sends you one coding problem per day (hence the name) to keep your analytical skills in top form.

One of the founders of the service, Lawrence Wu, stated that the email list service started “as a simple mailing list between me and my friends while we were prepping for coding interviews [because] just doing a couple problems every day was the best way to practice.”

Now the service offers this help for others who are practicing for interviews or for individuals needing to just stay fresh in what they do. The problems are written by individuals who are not just experts, but also who aced their interviews with giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

So how much would a service like this cost you? Free, but with further tiers of features for additional money. Like with all tech startups, the first level offers the basic features such as a single problem every day with some tricks and hints, as well as a public blog with additional support for interviewees. However, if you want the actual answer to the problem, and not just the announcement that you incorrectly answered it, you’ll need to pony up $15 per month.

The $15 level also comes with some neat features such as mock interview opportunities, no ads, and a 30 day money back guarantee. For those who may be on the job market longer, or who just want the practice for their current job, the $250 level offers unlimited mock interviews, as well as personal guidance by the founders of the company themselves.

Daily Coding Problem enters a field with some big players with a firm grasp on the market. Other services, like InterviewCake, LeetCode, and InterviewBit, offer similar opportunities to practice mock interview questions. InterviewCake offers the ability to sort questions by the company who typically asks them for that individual with their sights targeted on a specific company. InterviewBit offers referrals and mentorship opportunities, while LeetCode allows users to submit their own questions to the question pool.

If you’ve really got your eye on the prize of receiving that coveted job opportunity, Daily Coding Problem is a great way to add another tool in your tool box to ace that interview.

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Tech News

Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.

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You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Tech News

Freezetab streamlines how you save tabs in Chrome

(TECH NEWS) Freezetab is the newest chrome extension that allows you to organize saved tabs in a myriad of ways.

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Internet made easier

With the browser becoming more and more of a workspace than merely an application, the built in bookmarks tool may leave you a bit hungry for more.

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Chrome users who need better tools to organize and manage bookmarks may find the power they need in Freezetab.

Bookmark’s cooler, hotter younger brother

Freezetab seeks to answer the questions of “what if I could organize my bookmarks by website” or “I only want to save all but two of these tabs on zen office designs.” It seeks to give you more options beyond the “one or all” choices in chrome. Here is the lowdown:

  • The calendar feature remembers WHEN you saved a tab – so if you can’t remember the title you can just go back to the day.
  • Chrome either lets you save one or all tabs. Freezetab expands those options to include: all, current, everything but current, right of, left of, or pick and choose.
  • If you are sharing a collection of tabs with a workgroup or a partner, it exports as a nice textbox that is easy to share in integrated messaging, IM, or email. Or even social media!
  • Sorting is robust, and there is a solid search feature that searches as you type.
  • That quick save feature saves all the tabs and closes them – and you can adjust that quick save feature to meet your needs.
  • There is a handy little star feature to note important bookmarks (i.e. recipes and excel techniques).
  • Enhances your close tab capability to close everything to the left and specific tabs – this great if you work in chrome and have 75 tabs open that have one letter names.
  • It is easier to sort tabs after you save them – you can search for them and then sort into folders you create rather manually organizing them into folders.
  • As a bonus: for those who don’t want to have to sort bookmarks – unlike Chrome which requires you to pick a folder or risk turning your bookmarks to an unorganized mess, the extension automatically organizes it for you.

Freezetab findings

After spending a few moments with Freezetab, it does fit in nicely with a workflow. Solidly reviewed, the developer did solve an issue with “pinned” tabs in the 1.2 update. – so it doesn’t remove or add them. The features are nice and easy to use, and it doesn’t require more than five minutes of playing around.

One complaint – if you choose to the right or left of the current tab to close, it did close the active tab as well – which was a little funky. But once you get comfortable with the nuances, it’s easy to use.
The interface is function over form, but you won’t have any problem using or customizing this extension. Now Bookmark smart y’all!

#FreezeTab

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