There are lots of tools event planners use everyday to stay productive. Here are some tricks to make them even more useful.
Event professionals have a lot of resources at their disposal but just because you use them doesn’t mean you know all of their secrets. We delve into some of the everyday tools of the eventprof as well as how to unlock them to use them to their fullest potential. Here are some tricks you never knew you needed but soon won’t be able to live without!
Evernote: Formatting Pre-sets
If you have preferences about how you like your notes to look, or you know you are frequently copying and pasting them somewhere with specific formatting you can add default formatting settings and then convert the whole note to match them easily every time. This could be font colour or size, line spacing or other editing options but they will still maintain their usual formatting such as bold, bullet points, hyperlinks or underlines.
Do this by:
Select format > Simplify formatting.
IFTTT: Gmail Reminders
Create an applet in If This Then That, that automatically creates a new reminder to reply to any email you starred in Gmail on your iOS app.
Asana: Celebratory Unicorns
Looking for some extra motivation from Asana? Turn on the celebratory unicorn that dashes across the screen letting you know you have reached your goals by going to:
My Profile Settings > Hacks > Celebration Unicorns
You can also adjust them so that they appear after a certain number of tasks and it offers you a welcome mini screen break too!
Hootsuite: Organise Intent
The Hootsuite dashboard can be overwhelming, particularly with a lot of different channels to manage which means you waste time trying to find the content you need. Instead you can create tabs that you organise by the intent of your work whether that’s by channel audience or client interactions. Do this by:
Launch Menu > Streams > Tab Name > Enter Name > Press “Enter”
Remember to keep the names short and easy to classify to save you time and effort, particularly if you are trying to fit a lot onto the dashboard.
Google Drive: Forms
To easily create adaptive event feedback forms as well as manage previous responses and build attendee info databases you can create interactive forms in your Google Drive which can also be easily linked or shared on social media or via email. Plus they have handy templates too if you don’t know where to start or you are looking to save time and you can access these by going to:
Your Google Drive Dashboard > New > More > Google Forms
Trello: Free Power-ups
There are 3 hidden power up features in the free version which include viewing scheduled cards on the calendar to track your deadlines and provide a visual aid, slowly aging cards that will fade depending on how recently you last opened them and card voting that allows team collaboration to decide on the best ideas.
Board Menu > Power-Ups > Enable/Disable the one you would like
(You can only enable power-ups on boards you are a member of)
IFTTT: Sync Gmail And Evernote
Easily share your emails into Evernote by using this applet that turns a Gmail label into an auto response to sync to Evernote. Perfect for offline working or if you need to make a lot of editing notes and need access from anywhere!
Todoist: Automatic Deadlines
Forget about wasting time by writing dates and searching through calendars to create deadlines in Todoist. Instead just:
Type task title and include “by” or “on” and the day and it will bring up a calendar or schedule for the day that week.
Asana: Email Tasks
Generate to-do list tasks from emails by converting whole emails so that you have all the information you need in one place straight away which is perfect for coming back to it later without cluttering your inbox with flagged emails! The body of the email becomes the task notes while the subject line becomes the title and those CC’d to the email will be added to the task automatically. Do this by:
Sending your emails to your firstname.lastname@example.org address and it will also transfer attachments too.
Slack: Instant To-Do List
You may be used to starring important items in Slack but since every message, comment or file can be starred you can easily access them all from the Flexpane menu and order them by the time you starred them to create a personalised and easy to manage to-do list!
Google Drive: Dictate
Dictation apps and software can save time and money, particularly with note taking or if you are trying to multitask and it turns out Google Drive has its very own function! Go To:
Google Drive > New Text Document > Tools > Voice Typing > Select “Mic” Icon
It will even allow for certain editing commands such as “italics” or “bold”.
Buffer: Direct Quote Shares
Finding content to share across your brand’s social media channels can be time consuming. With this Buffer hack you can easily add meaningful or interesting quotes to the list from your own research or reading materials and it will automatically link back to the URL you are on too. Simply highlight any quote on a website, hit the browser extension “Buffer” icon and then add to your social media channels.
Inbox by Gmail: Snooze
It may not sound useful but you can use this function to schedule email follow-ups as well as “delay” messages that you don’t need to deal with today to stop them clogging up your inbox. This can be done via the inbox app or checking your Inbox by Gmail on a desktop.
Select The Email > Click The Clock Icon > Adjust Suggested Time/Specific Time
You can also create default snooze times by going to your inbox and selecting:
Menu > Settings > Snooze > Selecting specifics > Clicking “Done”
IFTTT: Do Not Disturb
The best applet for preserving productivity and avoiding distractions, especially if you are in high demand as it allows you to easily mark 60 minutes in your Google Calendar as Do Not Disturb or in an appointment so you can focus and get things done.
Google Drive: Offline
So you can work on your documents from anywhere regardless of the sketchy WiFi Google Drive allows you to work in the offline function, although you have to plan this ahead of time and obviously it won’t automatically sync until you have internet again but it’s handy to avoid stopping your work flow. Do this by going to:
Menu > Settings > Offline Sync > Turn On
Evernote: Table Of Contents
It’s easy for notebooks in Evernote to become too large and overwhelming so that you are wasting time searching for the information you need. Make them easy to index by adding a table of contents by going to:
The Notebook > Edit > Select All > Table Of Contents
Slack: Search Modifiers
You can make searching in Slack more optimised and save time looking for what you want by using specific modifiers such as;
Plus there’s plenty of other modifiers you can use as well as the tab key to help you autocomplete those tricky names.
Asana: Shift The Deadline
In the event industry, things can shift quickly and changing deadlines can be a pain to move, particularly if you are organised! In Asana you can shift multiple projects and tasks at once to accommodate changing deadlines by:
View Menu > Tasks By Due Date > “Click + Shift” > Command (Ctrl on desktop) + up/down arrow to set the new day and time.
IFTTT: add iOS Contacts To Google
This applet allows you to have a cool Google, iOS crossover by allowing you to sync your iOS contacts with Google services such as calendars, spreadsheets and your own Google Contacts.
LinkedIn: Automatic Lead Notifications
Prospecting and generating leads can be dull and time consuming so let LinkedIn take away some of that workload by creating notifications of new leads that meet your criteria which can be by sector, job role, area or other specific criteria. It does require a bit of fine tuning first to find the best targeting criteria to suit you but once you’ve got that sweet spot it will save all that time and effort trolling through profiles.
Do this by using the advanced search function and set the criteria (ensuring you select the “people” type) and then click “save search” you can then edit the alert frequency to suit you and then will go straight to your inbox!
Todoist: Reminder Tasks
Use this workaround to add reminders into your task list or to protect tasks from getting deleted if you need them for an extended period of time by making an “incompletable task”. Do this by beginning a task with an “*” and it won’t be scrubbed off of your list. Simply remove the asterisk once you are done and want to erase it!
Evernote: Stack Related Notebooks
You may find projects or work notebooks overlapping in Evernote and you can now stack them together so that all of the information is in one place. Simply drag and drop one on top of the other to pair them. A word of warning though, currently there is no undo for stacking so make sure they really go together.
Trello: Colour Blind Friendly
Making your Trello boards accessible is obviously important but it can also have the dual benefit of making your boards more striking and visually interesting too as it adds patterns to the labels themselves to help make them distinguishable.
Card Menu Or Side Bar > Edit Labels > Enable/Disable Colour Blind Mode > Select Options
Gmail: Repeat Reminders
Avoid wasting time setting up reminders for regular tasks or activities by setting repeats in your calendar and avoid forgetting things ever again!
Inbox > Create > Reminder > Type Reminder Details > Snooze > Date & Time > Select Date & Time Of First Reminder > Does Not Repeat > Select Options > Save
Google Drive: Convert Image To Text
Scanning documents can be necessary but what if you want the data on them? It can slow down productivity if you are simply typing out what is written or having to abbreviate to share with others. Instead simply:
Google Drive > Upload (or find the file you want) > “Convert to PDF” OR “Image To Text” > Open
This will create a new document in Google Drive depending on the option you selected.
These secret hints and tricks should not only help make you more productive but help to optimise your tools and resources to make better use of them and many sync or combine with each other to really streamline your processes, after all, why expend more effort where you don’t have too? Anything that save precious time for event managers is a bonus.