After months of working on options to pull myself away from my reliance of Google products I’ve thrown in the towel – my apologies to all those out there who were hoping I’d reach escape velocity.
Folks that have wandered around the site know that I’ve always been big on Google products and the fact that I couldn’t just drop them all and walk away shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, but there are a few things I’ve observed.
The world loves Chrome. There are some other great browsers out there (firefox comes to mind) but, they don’t really seem to get the love when it comes to add-ins. Yes, I have a few that are specific to Google services but there are others that I can’t seem to find an equivalent for, and since I don’t want to give my the functionality – Chrome it is.
Gmail just rocks. I realize that might not sound professional but it’s the best way to describe it. I rarely have an issue accessing it and the spam filtering is fantastic – hard to give those up. I’m also on an apps domain which I share with others so I can just summarily take it down without impact them so that’s also a blocker for me as well. (By the way, the new inbox app for Android is pretty solid as well.)
Google Voice. I’ve been using a number through their system since before it was their system (anyone remember GrandCentral?) and while it hasn’t gotten as much love as it could have over the years the voicemail system works well for what I need it to do.
Mobile. Other than Apple there aren’t a lot of choices beyond Android and while I carry an iPhone for work (and everyone else but me at home does as well) I didn’t want one for my personal phone. I opted for the 2nd generation Moto X and, to be honest, have been very happy with it to date.
I could go one by I really don’t want this to turn into a Google fanboy post (it might already be there anyway).
Am I all in with Google? No, there are a few areas where the giant G taken over.
Notetaking. As I mentioned previously I’ve moved to OneNote for my notetaking setup. These are the notes that I want to have for the long haul such as projects I’m working on.
Social media. Yes, I’m still on Google+ and post things there from time to time and belong to a number of communities but my focus of late has been twitter and I’ve recently setup a facebook page for those that would like to use that platform to follow me (please be sure to like it as I’m just getting it rolling).
Photos. While there is plenty of love for pictures inside of Google, I’m setup with flickr and don’t see that changing. It does make it easier to share over with family who primarily use facebook.
Does this mean that I’m going to look to the mighty G for a solution to everything and stop exploring other avenues? Absolutely not, if I’ve learned one thing on this journey is that there are never enough solutions to a problem and rarely are they all from the same source.
So the question has to be asked, are you all in with Google? Avoid them likely the plague? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Please share in the comments below.
Unfortunately that meant a backlog of email to deal with and I thought I would share how I triaged it.
Delivery/read receipts – I started by sorting my inbox for these and then deleted them.
Meeting requests – next I sorted my inbox for meeting requests and deleted those that had already passed. I then reviewed the remaining and accepted as appropriate.
Forwarded items – typically these fall into one of two categories – items for my information, which were immediately moved to my reference folder, and the second those that required me to take some sort of action. The action items are flagged and filed as appropriate, more on this in a moment.
Sidebar – I should note here that when I triage my inbox after a vacation I do not follow the two minute rule of David Allen’s GTD system (if you can do it in two minutes or less just do it) instead I’m trying to get to Inbox Zero as quickly as possible.
Response emails – you know the ones, they have an RE: at the beginning of them. I plow through these fairly quickly as most are in reference to emails I sent prior to vacation in most cases these are items that allow me to close out outstanding projects. Like forwarded items I do have to pay attention to those that create new projects as I am frequently copied into an email thread for an already existing project.
Remaining emails – at this point I’m left, for the most part, new items that need to be read and dealt with – delete, file for reference or tag for action.
Now, in item number three I mention that I flag and file action items, this due to my requirement to use MS Outlook (at least for now). I realize that in true GTD implementations these items would get moved to an action list and tagged with appropriate contexts but for me working entirely in Outlook at work just make more sense and is quicker.
So, when I need to take action on an item:
I hit Control-Shift-G which brings up the flag dialog box where I set the flag type and due date.
Control-Shift-V to bring up the ‘Move to Folder’ dialog box where I select where I want the item to live going forward – typically a folder for the associated project
Refer to my ‘For Follow Up’ folder search which pulls in all the items flagged in item 1.
So that’s how I go about the triage of an unwieldy email Inbox when returning from vacation – how do you handle it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
With the holiday season came the inevitable two week vacation and loads of extra time to get caught up on the backlog of items in my RSS reader. There’s quite a mix in the list this week, feel free to comment on any of the stories in the comments section.
What have you been reading? Add a link to it in comments.
Wii games, DS games, a couple of remote control cars and a projector from Shaper Image – seems a bit odd that there was so little technology for Christmas this year despite my constant use of it. I even managed to stay offline most of the day (just a quick check of email once or twice) but wanted to share the following articles that I did read during the course of the week.
What have you been reading? Add a link to it in comments.