Optimizing your Day 2 Day life with Matthias Reisinger
This months skill share breakfast saw Matthias Reisinger, Co-founder & Director of the Impact Hub Vienna and efficiency guru, sharing some of his personal tips, tricks and apps that he uses every day. The event was very popular, and had to be expanded to deal with the increased interest.
The event saw Matthias deliver some very valuable knowledge on how to integrate apps and shortcuts into one’s daily working life. This blog post will recap some of the apps he covered in the event.
The apps he covered:
Evernote is a cross-platform app designed to organise and structure your notes, to do lists, reminders and more. Matthias emphasized that it is key to fully commit to using Evernote for everything. Once you have fully committed to using it will make everything more simple by storing everything in one place. The next step is to work out how you want to structure your work. As Matthias has lots of different roles with Impact Hub Vienna he structures it in such a way that groups his work together. So when he is working in one role he can find all the information and to do lists that are associated with that role. Another clever trick Matthias demonstrated is the linking of other notes within Evernote. This linking process simplifies the work flow and makes it easier to connect one note to another, meaning you never waste time searching for notes, this helps you reach a ‘flow state’ as you quickly move from one task to another. Note link can be achieved in the Evernote app on your computer by right clicking a note, on the web version this function can be found at the top of the note. This link can be added to other locations, such as calendar, email, to do lists etc, helping you streamline your working process in all locations. Price: Evernote Basic is free, Plus is €19.99 per year and Premium is €39.99 per year. More information can be found here.
OmniFocus is a very powerful task management tool based on the principles of ‘Getting things done‘. Matthias highlights numerous features of OmniFocus that he uses every day. It gives you the ability to add tasks from anywhere on your computer using a quick shortcut, be that from an email, a webpage or somewhere else. It simplifies the task adding process by automatically filing certain fields, for example the title of an email becomes the title of the task and the highlighted text becomes the content. It also includes an automatic link to the URL so you can go directly to the email or anywhere else when you need it.
Another benefit of OmniFocus is that is it lets you view your work in a number of ways, or ‘perspectives’. Matthias highlights that this can be used to allocate tasks to specific locations or scenarios, For example when you are at work, at home or connected to the internet. Omni Focus then displays the tasks that are relevent to your current situation. This makes it easier to shift focus and only work on the tasks that relevent at that time. On top of this with the OmniFocus app you will be notified, via Location Settings, to which location you are near and there which tasks you can complete.OmniFocus also has a built in review tool, this enables a task to be scheduled for a later date. Meaning it will show you the tasks that are the most urgent, and will schedule others for later.
Overall OmniFocus is a great tool to help you focus on the most important task at hand, taking into account your current location and situation. It really can help you streamline your working life as you always know what the next task is as it helps you prioritise your work. More information can be found here.
MailPlane is an app for mac which hosts your gmail account in a separate window to your browsers. Matthias explained a number of benefits of using MailPlane. Its main benefit is how it can link with other apps. As it operates using Apples default code language it is easy to integrate it with OmniFocus or other apps such as Alfred. This can help you streamline your working processes using short cuts meaning you can find emails, create tasks and work more efficiently. More information can be found here.
This tool drew a lot of interest from the attendees of the breakfast. Matthias demonstrated how this tool can save you time and make you faster and more efficient when answering emails, typing text and more. Text expander takes short cuts that you predefine and writes full texts for you. The example Matthias used was writing the address of Impact Hub Vienna.
Impact Hub Vienna
Now this doesn’t seem to take so long, however if you have to write this out 10 times a day the time adds up. The short cut Matthias uses? ;ihadd. Then the app does the hard work for you. The app also allows the use of drop downs and editable text with in short cut. Another example Matthias used was writing the description of Impact Hub Vienna. As this is text he often has to write, and he needs to meet the brand image as it is important there is consistency with this message. Also at times there is a requirement for a long, short or very short description, depending on the intended use for the text. TextExpander gives you flexibility to select which description you want. When Matthias types ;ihdescrip a pop up comes up like the one shown here. Then you just have to select which version of the text you want. This not only saves time as you don’t have to find the text and copy and paste it, but it ensures you are consistent in your message.
Another powerful customisation possible in TextExpander is the ability to customise a pre-written text using drop downs, input text fields or optional extra text segments, such as inviting someone for coffee. Functions which can be seen in the image.
On top of all of this the app will recommend certain chunks of text for snippeting, meaning if you type something frequently the app will realise and actually recommend you develop a short cut for it. Find out more here.
Alfred is another app for Mac. This app replaces and far surpasses the built in Spotlight search function that is built into every Mac product. This app performs everything the Spotlight does, searching your Mac and searching documents with in your Mac, however Matthias highlights that it is what Alfred does extra that really makes it a must have app for example being apple to complete calculations. With the premium version it becomes much more powerful. It has the ability to launch programs, search specific websites, play music and much, much more. But what makes Alfred so great is that all this is performed with hotkeys and text. Making it very fast an efficient to use. More can be found here.
Contactually is a great app for monitoring and maintaining important relationships, both in business and personally. By categorising your contacts into buckets (groups of similar contacts), you enable Contactually to take care of the rest. It will remind you when to follow up, how any prior interactions went, or what to say to break the ice.
With regular follow-up like this, you’ll soon realise you have fewer forgotten connections, and more engaged relationships. Find out more here.
Matthias asked the attendees of the event ‘Do you have one password for everything?’ They answer ‘yes’ Matthias then asked ‘Is it secure?’ The answer to this is obviously no. If one account gets hacked they are all open for the Hackers. So the safe thing is to use different and complex passwords for everything, but then you have the challenge to remember them all.
1Password aims to solve this problem. It is a secure, encrypted location for all of you passwords. You just have to remember one key password, which will allow access to all of the others. Your passwords are, encrypted, password protected and stored locally on your laptop, so no need to worry about someone hacking them in The Cloud. 1Password integrates into your browser making it simple and easy to use. You just have to remember that one password to have access to all your passwords to all your accounts. Find out more here.
Matthias covered a lot in the short time he had but there were a number of apps he wanted to talk about but didn’t have time to cover in full. Here is a summary of the apps he didn’t get time to cover and the key points of each one.
Fantastical is a Calendar app for Mac which allows you to schedule meetings, events and reminders using natural language, meaning you can write ‘Lunch at 4 tomorrow with Mike’ and it will translate that into a calendar appointment. It automatically recognises locations and can send invites to your contacts. Naturally it integrates with most existing calendar apps and it places a widget on your Apple Widget Screen. Find out more here.
Enables you to copy and paste up to 40 snippets. Its saves them in a tool in your task bar. It is a open source product based on ‘JumpCut’. This open source model makes it free and customisable. This tool means you can copy and paste lots of different pieces of information without fear of losing something you copied earlier. Find out more here.
FullContact is a contact management tool, offering both a free and a paid version. It gives you the ability to manage you contacts in a simplified yet more detailed way. With the premium account you can photograph a business card, which will be transcribed by a person, ensuring no computer error, and then entered into your contacts. It finds public information on people and collects it all in one place and it can create contacts from email signatures, saving you time and effort. Find out more here.
Whats App for Web
Whats App for Web allows you to access your Whats App from your phone via your Laptop. For this to work you need to have Whats App installed on your phone and attached to the internet. This simplifies communication because you can do it all from one device, your laptop, and not have to keep switching between phone and laptop. Find out more here.
Direct Mail is an easy to use newsletter app for Mac. It makes it easy to create and send newsletters with an attractive aesthetic. It also allows you to track open rates, collaborate with your team and set up automatic messages. Find out more here.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access enables you to have a private and secure internet connection anywhere in the world. It is a method to defend and protect both your self and your data. Find out more here.
Caffeine is a tiny program that puts an icon in the right side of your menu bar. Click it to prevent your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Click it again to go back. Find out more here.
Science has proven that looking at a computer screen or phone before bed will ruin your sleeping pattern and sleep quality. F.lux is a step in the right direction to fixing this. This free app will dim and change the colour balance of your screen depending on the time of day. By using your location settings it will change reduce the blue of your screen after sunset. This will improve your sleep. Find out more here.
Pockets lets you save anything that you read on your computer so you can read it at a later date. It can be read on your phone, laptop or tablet. Its integration is simple and effective and makes sure you never lose that interesting article again. Find out more here.
Matthias rounded up his presentation by summarising the key points when using new programs, short cuts or widgets. ‘It is important to remain patient and ensure all shortcuts and tools are customised to your style of work.’ By knowing how you work before trying to incorporate new tools, shortcuts or widgets, you can customise your tools to get the best out of them. He also emphasized the importance of integrating new tools gradually, this way you really get to know how they work and what they are good for. If you install everything on this list at once the likelihood is you won’t use all of them because you will be overwhelmed. His advice was to take it slow and really get to know how the tools work so you can get the best out of them.