NudgeMail – A Controlled Boomerang

Scenario 1: You put an event on your calendar… and on the appropriate day, the email arrives in your Inbox. But what if you’re not ready to act on it yet? Perhaps the person you wanted to call is on vacation and is back on Monday. Perhaps you know that the weather won’t permit the activity you had planned. But you don’t want to forget about it. It’s a pain to open up the calendar and change the date on it.

Scenario 2: You get an email from your friend Bob who wants to schedule coffee with you. You have a busy week ahead and cannot see Bob for a while. How do you keep track of this pending coffee until you’re ready to schedule it on the calendar?

Scenario 3: You’re deep in the zone working on a critical bit of writing when a pop-up from your calendar reminds you about your dinner with Jane. You hit Dismiss instead of Snooze and panic – now what? You’ve got another 15 minutes and you’ll have the piece perfect, then you can get dressed. But what if you drop back in the zone and let 30 minutes go by? Jane won’t be happy with you.

Welcome to NudgeMail… the electronic boomerang (my term) that helps you manage your short-term tickler file via email. In any of these situations, sending or forwarding an email to NudgeMail will help you remember that important event or stop time. Whether you need two hours or two days, you can toss the item over to NudgeMail and at the right time, NudgeMail will send it back to you as an email. It’s like having an electronic assistant and that you can tell, “Remind me about this in 20 minutes.” Here comes the email… still not ready? Hit the snooze and delete the email.

Similar services are listed here on MakeUseOf.com, one of my favorite sites.

You Can Book Me

Are you in a profession where you book appointments with the general public or a large group of people? If so, you will be able to save yourself and your clients a lot of time with this new tool from the makers of WhenIsGood. It’s called YouCanBookMe and it allows you to publish available times directly from your Gmail or Google Apps calendar.

Virtual Assistants Save Time

One of the best ways to save time is to delegate. Properly done, you can multiply your efforts by spreading work and save your energy for the most strategic work — work which presumably only you can do.

Customer Service

There are a number of firms that provide virtual (remote) assistants.  I have used both offshore and USA resources. Individuals that work for these firms will perform a wide variety of tasks for you from updating websites to sending flowers to your wife.  If you can state your needs clearly, they can save you a lot of time and potentially money as well. If you’re not in the habit of being crystal clear, however, you can frustrate yourself (and them) in the process. This is true even in local face-to-face delegation but it is a more acute problem in the offshore model where you face cultural and language differences.

Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week) has assembled a list of firms through which you can hire a remote assistant. Some firms have areas of specialty (Agents of Value) while others are more general (AskSunday).

For work that requires a high-touch phone presence (scheduling sales appointments, for instance) or discernment about American culture (we speak more slowly in the South), I recommend using a local person. Check out Cindy Filer’s Innovative-Outsourcing for superb USA-based virtual help.