Useful Applications

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Thank you to Samer Sabri for the majority of the content on this page!

Doodle

Google Apps

Gmail is definitely faster, slicker and more time-saving than most other mail services. For any Yalies who haven’t forwarded their email to Gmail, see here: http://www.yale.edu/its/email/howdoi/forwarding.html

Google Calendar can be synced with virtually any smartphone (or you could have event reminders texted to your phone for free) and it makes it easy to keep track of time-sensitive items as well as meetings etc, and update them as they come.

Google Docs is used extensively by undergraduate organizations across Yale. It allows several people to work on the same document at the same time and store that document in the cloud.

Some advise to have, in addition to personal Gmail accounts for members of an organization, one Gmail account for the organization that is passed on from one board to the next. This will serve to send announcement emails, tie to other accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc) to that email instead of an individual member's. Email correspondences will also be saved for future students to learn from the practices of past groups. All these will avoid difficulties in transitioning from one group of student leaders to the next.

Dropbox

Once you install Dropbox, you get a Dropbox folder on your computer, which is basically analogous to your "My Documents" folder, with two additional features: (1) it is synced with the cloud, so you can get your files and edit them from anywhere, at any time (2) you can share files or folders in your dropbox with people in one click.

My advice is again to have individual Dropbox accounts for members and one organizational Dropbox. In addition to making it easy to share large files and to work on documents together, Dropbox saves a lot of precious time usually wasted looking for lost files. But the most valuable use of Dropbox is the preservation of institutional memory. The organization's Dropbox will have, over the years, all the documents, promotional materials, relevant files (etc.) that were used and produced by the organization. In other words, even if the organization is less active and productive for a year or two, the people who decide to bring it back to full speed will not need to start from scratch because they have a lot of structure and resources at their fingertips.

LastPass

LastPass saves all your passwords (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) securely and allows you access to them on any device and from any browser, provided, of course, you remember your LastPass master password (which is the last password you'll have to remember in your life -- literally). It saves everyone in the organiation time because they don't need to remember any passwords and log in everywhere automatically and securely, and it increases the security of the organization as a whole. In addition, LastPass allows you to share passwords, which means that it's easy to pass on all the accounts an organization has from one board to the next.

Followup.cc or Boomerang

Have you ever had this problem: you send an important email, the person never replies, and you realize that too late? These two tools allow you to email people and receive an email in return a specified amount of time later. For example, I can email my sister asking her about the $30 she owes me and bcc “2weeks@followup.cc”, and followup.cc will send me an email two weeks from now in case my sister still hasn’t replied. A nice way to use these tools is also to forward certain emails you don’t want to / don’t have time to deal with right now to the future.

GroupMe

GroupMe allows any person within a group to communicate by SMS with all the others simultaneously. It's very useful for very time sensitive issues that come up, especially for event organization. I have in mind texts like "does anyone have a Mac VGA adapter, the presentation is starting in 10 minutes." GroupMe is also useful for reminders to board members. One important thing to keep in mind with GroupMe is that it could be overused and eventually ignored by members of an organization if rules for what types of texts can be sent are not specified early on.

Do Nothing for Two Minutes

This site forces you to not touch your mouse or keyboard for two minutes. It’s easy to multitask online, but sometimes it ends up stressing you out and driving your productivity to zero. dnf2m can be very helpful when that happens: http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/.

Getting Things Done

GTD is a productivity and time-management (really life-management) bible. One important concept (among scores of others) to get out of it is that of “next action,” which is really the idea that one should always be focused on concrete, achievable, measurable steps as outcomes of meetings, brainstorming sessions, or self-organization time. (http://www.davidco.com/)

External References

Most of the content on this site is thanks to - http://unicq.net/blog-desc.php?id=4&param=1331255520