This whole year has been about one thing: adapting and overcoming the challenges in front of us. Ok, that’s not too different from most years, but 2020 has thrown some really wild curveballs at us. One of those has been working remotely and doing our best to be as productive as we need to be. While the thought of laying on the couch and binging tv might sound like a more reasonable response to *gestures wildly* everything, it’s not going to get stuff done. And that’s what we need: to be productive, to get stuff done. This time on the blog we are going to discuss some of the numerous Google productivity hacks that are available to all of us!
Google has created a staggering number of tools that companies all around the world use day in and day out. Whether it’s the search engine that is the be all end all, or the Gmail e-mail service, that familiar name pops up across a whole host of tools we all have access to. It’d be foolish not to leverage those for maximum effect!
The G Suite has grown since it’s initial launch featuring Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Page Creator. Some of those don’t even exist anymore and others have had their functionality rolled into new apps or expanded.
We all have experience with to-do lists. Scraps of notepaper, a napkin, or even the back of our hands – each of these have their own faults. Easily lost, forgotten, or thrown away accidentally (or smeared off after a hard workout!) That’s where Tasks comes in.
Tasks is built into the Gmail web platform and is an easy to manage to-do list at your finger-tips. It is constantly there, tucked just to the right of your Gmail inbox waiting for you to utilize right now! Click the Tasks Icon and a simple, no-nonsense digital to-do list is waiting for you. Jot down your tasks, give extra details, due dates, or break into sub-tasks, even create repeating to-dos, whatever helps you succeed.
Once you get a handle on it you might find yourself addicted to clicking tasks off and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. Plus, being a Google app means you can access it from your work computer, at home on your own web browser, or even on your phone on the go! Toss those napkins out, it’s time to go digital!
Google’s Drive suite of programs gives access to word processes, spreadsheet power, presentation basic, whatever you may need on the spot. Free to use, with up to 15 GB of storage for free, using a Google Drive can be a smart way to leverage the cloud for your own productivity. Use it to keep files you may need frequent access to or to easily share works-in-progress across team members (like this blog!) Drive is robust enough to do what you frequently need, and yet simple and streamlined to make for an easy interface.
Think of it like a briefcase in the cloud!
Have you spent a pretty penny on developing your brand identity? Got a killer logo? Put it to use in more places! Have a designer create branded design templates for forms, slides, whatever you need! Save those templates in the G Suite and your employees can use these templates to create branded pieces for whatever they need! Everyone working from the same pieces helps create a cohesive workplace!
Here’s another tool that takes productivity to the next level! Google Calendar is an astoundingly deep platform of scheduling tools, most of us barely scratch the surface when we use it. Here are some smarter ways to use Google Calendar.
For many of us, what seems like half our days are spent replying to emails. We might have more pressing tasks at hand but as soon as that number pops up next to Inbox we jump to it. That kind of pressure is helping no one. While there are of course special exceptions and emergencies that need a rapid response, the truth is most of our Inbox traffic can wait a few hours.
Instead of pouncing on every notification, you receive, use your calendar to set a specific block of time each day when you will attend to emails. Make it the start or end of the day and set an event on your calendar to represent it.
When scheduling meetings with Google Calendar, you can be sure everyone has the tools they need to hit the ground running come meeting time. Event creators can set a notification to alert guests of the upcoming meeting and add easy to access attachments (agendas, documents to review, whatever you need) making the meeting as efficient and effective as possible.
If you have remote employees (and let’s be honest, it’s 2020 – we all have some remote work happening) Google Calendar can help keep the team connected. With some judicious tweaks and uses, Calendar can keep everyone on the same page, seeing other coworker’s schedules and availability. It can feel tought for remote workers to feel a part of the team when not directly working alongside everyone every day so finding ways to make everyone feel together is crucial, now more than ever.
Bonus Tip – to really maximize the productivity boost, get your whole office or department sharing Google Calendars. Everyone will be able to see the meetings, email blocks, and open times of their colleagues making for easier meeting scheduling, and an understanding of what they have to tackle. Once everyone buys in on the process, it will be a productivity-force multiplier!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t bring up Google Meet. It’s been around since 2017 but this past summer really saw the use of it rise. There is a free level to the tool, allowing anyone with a Google Account can create a video meeting, invite up to 100 participants, and meet for up to 60 minutes per meeting, as well as additional features such as international dial-in numbers, meeting recording, live streaming, and administrative controls as paid options. You don’t need us to tell you about the value of a good video meeting software after this year!
Google Forms makes it incredibly easy to get information from customers that is critical for growing your business. Google Forms provides you with an easy avenue for getting that feedback, conducting market research, acquiring reviews and testimonials, and more. You can also use it to gather internal feedback from your team.
With all the money and resources going into making these tools, it would be silly not to leverage them to their utmost potential for your business. And keep your eyes peeled, Google is always rolling out new tools, features, and other additions to their Suite. If something new comes down the pipe that could benefit you, take the leap and be an early adopter! You’ll be able to get a handle on the tool faster and put it to work for you sooner. Now that’s Google Productivity!