We probably talk about generational differences too much (“the millennial mindset”), but the elephant in the room for these discussions is usually technology. If you came of age in the 1990s and are now entering the workforce, there’s a chance (not always true) that you have a greater familiarity with basic digital, mobile, and overall technology. Makes sense, right? The youngest workers right now came of age in an era post-Microsoft and post-Google, so they’ve always been surrounded by technology and advancement. Now, is this to say someone in their 50s has no idea how to use Google Drive? While that does happen, there are also millions of people in their 50s fully capable of grasping any technology from Snapchat on up. It’s hard to generalize about generations, because the numbers of people in each are so vast.
All this said, every office has a mix of high-tech, OK-I’ll-deal-with-tech, and utterly-tech-illiterate people. If you lean towards the back half of the middle category or the third category, here are a couple of hacks for your life. We’ll get going with six.
Trello is essentially a project management board that can be used by individuals or complex groups. BurgerFi, a high-growth burger chain, uses it to do virtually everything from social media banners to opening new restaurants. It’s very easy and psychologically rewarding — when you accomplish something, you simply archive or check it off. Done and done!
Email is the scourge of the modern workplace, and it’s not going anywhere. An average office worker gets about 114 emails a day across 8-10 hours, and many people probably think that’s a low number for their inbox. You can “hack” your email, though — basically look through the types of replies you tend to send and turn those into signature files. Then when 14 straight people ask you where a document is, you just reply with the signature file instead of typing the same thing 14 times. Right there, you probably saved 20-30 minutes of a day. Go take a walk.
EMail No. 2
Yes, it needs another entry. Yesterbox is a concept whereby your emails of one day (i.e. Monday) become your to-do list of the next day (i.e. Tuesday). This stops you from the constant push/pull, read/react cycle of emails — which inherently makes you more productive.
Lastpass saves your passwords for everything so that you don’t have to. Lost passwords or password resets can burn almost full days in-office for some people, so make that sequence mindless by using Lastpass or 1Password.
Human beings are visual people, and oftentimes to get a project approved or moved along, people want to see what the end result might look like. Canva is a good bet there; it’s essentially ridiculously easy design software that virtually anyone can figure out or manipulate images within. Another option here is Pablo by Buffer.
If you travel a lot for work and have multiple cards (personal, business, etc.), as well as gift cards and reward points, use Wocket. It’s a “smart wallet” that allows you to pay with the card of choice pretty easily, and you can then organize/itemize receipts as well.
Technology has done wonders for us, and there are probably 300 more hacks we could offer here, but remember this: when working with others on a team or collaborating on a project, it’s important to have empathy for how they like to work and interact with technology. If you love Trello or Wocket but they don’t see the value, they probably won’t end up using it very much. You can’t “square peg, round hole” use of technology. People will arrive at the spots they feel comfortable.