Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Diversion: Tech That Helps You Leave the Office This Summer

I know what you're thinking: It's the first weekend of the summer, and why am I here at my desk when the beach/lake/mountain/circus beckons. Well, you have to work sometime and an article from the Huffington Post gives guidance on how you can take work with you on your boat/plane/SUV/minivan:

*Thanks to Tim Ferriss, the HP's write who authored the information, which you can find in full here.

"1. No more mail:
First, we need to cut out the crap -- reduce volume. Have your mail forwarded to special processing centers, where it is all scanned and emailed to you. One popular service is called Remote Control Mail, and there are two big benefits to the time-focused and mobile-minded: relevant postal mail is funneled into e-mail, so you can check both email and postal mail at once ("batching" both at the same time); you can travel freely whenever and wherever without ever missing a letter.

2. No more answering the phone:
Use a service like GrandCentral to listen to voicemail as they're being left. Each caller is required to announce their name before the call is dialed, and you are able to preview the name and send them to voicemail, where you can listen to their message as they leave it. If you want to speak with them, you can jump in. If not, let them leave a voicemail and -- at the set times when you batch -- go to step 2.

3. No more voicemail:

Get your voicemail delivered to your e-mail inbox, which then serves as your single communications "funnel." This would be our single "bucket" in the parlance of David Allen, and our remote control postal mail joins the voicemail here: e-mail, postal mail, and voicemail all in one place. GrandCentral can e-mail audio files, but for those who want text, Simulscribe is a popular option with near 90 percent transcription accuracy. Stop managing separate inputs from office phone voicemail, cell phone voicemail, and multiple email accounts. Consolidate. To further encourage all people to communicate with you via e-mail, there are two approaches that I've used effectively: indicate in your voicemail greeting that people must leave their e-mail address, and respond to them via e-mail; use Jott to send a voice message to them as an e-mail.

3. No more returning calls:
Pinger enables you to send voicemail to people without calling them. Why would you want to do that? From their website:

We've all been there -- you make a call and think to yourself, "please don't pick up," or you call and think "I hope I'm not interrupting..." With Pinger you leave the message at your convenience, and they get it at their convenience. Unlike voicemail, there is no ringing, no annoying prompts, no lengthy greetings -- just your message."

From me ... I use Simulscribe and Jott; just signed up for Pinger.