We work with plenty of companies who find (or invent) ways to do things faster and better – therefore, it’s quite natural that we do the same. Augur is an engineering operation as much as anything, constantly looking for better ways to work.
That means we’re nearly email free via Asana + Slack, we hack together improved intel and deliver it to ourselves and clients, the acronyms that matter to us are OKRs and KPIs, not AVE.
We work differently.
Here are five small examples of how we do that – all easy to set up and try out today.
1. IFTTT + Slack: The ‘travel’ button
IFTTT has long held promise to streamline the way you work. Set up a simple formula of IF x THEN y. So, IF I tweet a link, THEN save it to an Evernote note. Or, IF it’s going to rain today, THEN email me at 9am.
The catch is, until now it has been pretty hard to find many ways for it to make your day to day better. Until they released an iOS app: “Do Note”.
Using Do, we’ve set up a trigger so you can press a button and it sends an automated message to your team Comms platform (in our case, Slack) with your current location, saying “Max is on the move.”
It’s the benefits of presence without the invasiveness. It’s 2x taps away on mobile. It’s communication distilled into a status update so people know who they can contact and when.
Having tried Boomerang, Signals, Yesware, I love the features of being able to see when people open your emails, click links and remind you to follow up messages that go unanswered. However, I don’t love the fact it’s pretty invasive, unreliable, and may affect your deliverability.
Followup.cc lets you receive a reminder on any email simply by CC-ing the time period you want. So you can CC “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com”. Because of how it’s built, you can use it on any platform, in any browser and with intuitive flexibility.
Never let an email become a dead end again.
3. Asana eats email
Expect this one to be controversial. If any client or important contact emails us, it immediately creates a new task in our management platform Asana, and archives the original message. If email ends up often being an informal to do list, created by someone else, this makes that formal.
So if a client emails, we’ll reply in the comments thread on the Asana task. For internal conversation, we simply don’t use email – or might, to literally delegate a task into someone’s to do list.
This requires discipline to kill any emails you are subscribed to that don’t come with clear tasks (which may be better simply aimed into a shared Slack channel anyway). But in another way, it turns them into tasks, so reading a newsletter becomes something you decide to do and schedule – or delete.
Communicate via calendar (or Calendly)
When they arrive at the pearly gates and St.Peter asks them if they have any regrets, there isn’t a single person that is likely to say they wish they spent more time scheduling meetings.
Calendar invites are simply a form of email. If you’re arranging a meeting, recommend a couple of specific times and send a placeholder calendar invite, which can then be juggled around. 80%+ of the time, that appointment will fit and they other person can simply accept it.
The rest of the time, you can simply alter the invite based on feedback and get the job done. Half of you will be shocked at how obvious this is and are already doing it — for the other half, you’re about to make everyone you arrange a schedule with a lot lot happier.
Alternatively, if you don’t feel weird about referring people to a kind of robot assistant, tools like Calendly let you ID potential meeting times and share a link for people to book their own time with you. It will only show times you don’t have a clashing appointment and is great for things like coffees.
Alfred for launching
How do you find a document, contact details or launch an app? For me, the answer is the same simple keyboard shortcut: CMD+ spacebar.
This launches Alfred, an app like OS X’s default Spotlight but on steroids. The vanilla functionality helps you find anything on your mac and can quicklaunch URLs. But it’s the extensions that make it simple.
- The Google Drive extensions turns it into a real time instant search of your files
- Timezone immediately displays clocks from around the world
- Spotifious lets you find or control Spotify
There are many many more for everything from currency conversion to creating Asana tasks to Fantastical calendar entries to adding reminders to writing emails. The sky’s the limit.
Even since I started drafting this piece, the number of little tools and finds we have moved onto is expanding. And we’re always looking for new toys.
If you find any of these useful or have tips of your own, let us know…