Slack is a relatively new collaboration tool that is designed to cut down on emails among team members and boost productivity.  It provides messaging by topic or channel so that threads of communication can be streamlined and accessed easily.

Slack is a searchable messaging portal that allows document sharing from a team member’s computer or integrated apps such as Google Drive, DropBox and more.  Slack has 300,000 paid accounts and 1.1 million active users per day.  There is a free option.

Once all your team members are in Slack, they can create channels and have conversations within the channels.  Channels can be organized in any way you want, such as by:

  • Departments
  • Projects
  • Clients
  • Locations
  • Trips
  • Office talk

Channels can be made public within your team or private.

You can also direct-message anyone else in the group so two or more team members can have a private talk. Conversations can be followed on any device – computer, tablet, and phone.

You can add documents to the message stream so team members can review and make comments.  These documents can come from your local computer or one of the 900 integrated apps.  And the messages are searchable to boost efficiency.

If you’re looking for a tool that reduces the number of emails across team members, try out Slack at slack.com.

Keeping a to-do list is a great way to be productive, avoid having things fall through the crack, and unclutter your brain.  How you maintain your to-do list varies: some people use pen and paper because they love the feeling of crossing tasks off, others use Excel or Google documents.  Still others might try Evernote.

If all of those still have you feeling unorganized, then you’re in luck.  There’s a whole new genre of apps to automate your to-do list.  Here is a list of things to consider:

  1. Would it be great to access your to-do list from any device?
  2. Do you need subtasks?
  3. Would you like to set priorities and due dates?
  4. Do you want notifications or reminders?
  5. Do you want to share tasks with others?
  6. Do you have repeating tasks that need to be handled differently?
  7. Do you need to be able to make comments or notes for each task?
  8. Would it be nice to forward an email to your to-do list and just have it logged?
  9. Do you want to be able to print your to-do list?
  10. Do you want to be able to set hash tags, filters, and labels for each task?

Once you’ve thought about your requirements, now you can look for an app that meets it.  Here are two to get you started:

  • ToDoist.com
  • Wunderlist.com

If those don’t work out, Google “to-do list apps” and you’ll have a bevy of selections to choose from.  These to-do lists will work for not only business projects but also major life projects like weddings, vacations, and more.

Try these new to-do list apps and let us know what you think.

Do you need to get data from one app to another?   If so, it’s time to check out Zapier.

You might be moving data manually from, let’s say, your shopping cart to your CRM or from Evernote to Google Docs, or something like that.  Zapier allows you to automate the process with what they call a Zap.

In the Zapier app, click Make a Zap, and you’ll see two dropdown menus:  Trigger app and Action app.  Your trigger app is the one where the data is stored and your action app is the one where you want the data to be moved to.

Continuing the shopping cart example above, you would choose your shopping cart app as the trigger app.  Zapier support BigCommerce, Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Shopify, Magento, and more.  It will then ask you for details about the transaction and the type of data you want to port over.  Your action app will be your CRM, and Zapier supports dozens of them.  It will ask you for your user ID and password for each application and some more specifics about the type of data you want to transfer.

You can run your zap one time or every fifteen minutes, depending on the nature of your data transfer.  Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • From Evernote to Google Calendar, add an event.
  • From your blog to Facebook, post your latest blog entry.
  • Create QuickBooks Online sales receipt from PayPal
  • Create QBO customer from Salesforce (or other CRM)
  • Create Constant Contact contact from QBO customer
  • And several thousand more combinations!

The admin time you will save will amaze you.  Data entry and moving data around is truly becoming a thing of the past.  You can go to Zapier.com and create a free trial.  There is a charge for a larger number of zaps.

And, as always, if you’d like our help, please reach out.

Have you ever been in a situation where there’s no internet and you needed it?  Or perhaps you’re at a hotel and don’t want to pay the extra $15 per day for wireless internet.  If so, you’re not alone, and luckily, there’s a gadget for just about everything.  This time, it’s a gadget you probably already have:  all you need to do is whip out your cell phone.

iPhone

Your cell phone can act as your wireless modem.  Plug the iPhone into your PC using your USB connection.  Go to Settings on your iPhone and one of your settings will be labeled Personal Hotspot.  Tap it and toggle it to “on.”  Set a password.

On your PC, view your wireless internet connections, and the name you’ve given your phone will show up.  Click to connect and enter the password you set on your phone.

Voila, internet!

Android

If you have an Android, tap More… and select Wireless and Networks, then Tethering and Portable Hotspot. Check Portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Tap Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings and you can edit the Wi-Fi network name, and choose a password.

On your PC, view your wireless internet connections, and the name you’ve given the Wi-Fi network will show up.  Click to connect and enter the password you set on your phone.

Fees

Ask your cell phone network provider if this hotspot feature is included in your package or is an extra charge.  You may also have to call then to enable this feature.

Once you’ve used this once, you’ll be hooked.  You now have a new internet access alternative anywhere you have cell phone coverage.