On Saturday, October 13, we co-hosted our fourth annual workshop collaboration with San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN)! This workshop was all about how to rethink our own processes to work smarter, not harder. Fortunately, there are many tools (including plenty of free options!) that can help. Our presenter, April Merritt of Ilios Digital Organizing, kicked things off with us getting to know each other a bit and what to expect from the workshop.Why are we here, she asked us? Productivity, of course! Now more than ever, we can use automation and cloud-based tools for Technical Communicators, that gets the most done in the least amount of time.
So let’s talk about what the cloud can do for Technical Communicators.
We learned about tools and use cases for: Password Management, CRM/Contact Management, Email Management, Task Management, Schedule Management, Document Management, Online Backup, Content Curation, Content Management, and Automation.
Using strong password is an important first layer of protection, but April recommends using 2 factor authentication. Yes, it can be annoying to have to grab your phone or other device to accept the custom code generated each time you log in, but it’s worth it! And when it comes to using strong passwords, which should be unique for each site, use a password manager.
Automation happens when an action triggers a response. Types of automation include:
- Native – Automation that is already part of the software, and works within the software. Example: Email vacation replies.
- Established – Connections built into a program to automate between software programs Example: Feedly connecting to Evernote.
- Third-Party – Software that connects two software programs to allow for automation Example: Zapier and IFTTT.
To find opportunities for your own automation:
- Write out your workflow or process.
- List the software used at each stage and look for areas of duplicate work or data entry.
- Determine what connections and automation options already exist.
- Explore third-party automation options.
We wrapped up the workshop with a lively discussion about our top takeaways and action items. Examples include:
- Rather than striving (struggling) to achieve a completely empty inbox, the concept of “Inbox 0” can just be zero time spent worrying about email! This seems way more achievable.
- Individuals can definitely benefit from a personal CRM to nurture their own network as well as their contacts.
- Set a timer to tackle tasks – especially for non-favorite tasks.
- Do you post event info in multiple platforms? You can automate Eventbrite to automatically publish to Meetup!
- Consider which tools are best for what. Perhaps Evernote is better for your work instead of dumping everything in Trello, or vise-versa.
- Zapier can automate so many things for you.
- Create email templates for common responses. Template can do way more than just email signatures or vacation responders.
- Do more content management / content curation.
- Use Google Keep to save articles from web with notes about follow-up or why you’re saving it.
- Explore how to use OneNote to compile info from multiple sources before tackling a new blog article.
- New Editing tool suggestions: Smart Edit / Perfect.it / File Cleaner by Editorium (doesn’t track changes).
Reach out to April Merritt of Ilios Digital Organizing for more.
Hope to see you at our next STC San Diego event!
If you liked this article about what the Cloud could do for Technical Communicators, be sure to also look at these other resources:
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