Monday, February 29, 2016

Easily RSVP to Unopened Calendar Requests from Your Inbox with Gmail

Happy Monday!

As I was processing my inbox this morning, a meeting invitation reminded me of a handy little feature in Gmail that lets you RSVP directly from your inbox (without having to open the email).

This is especially useful when I've been corresponding with someone and have been expecting a calendar invitation to come through.

Here's what it looks like:

I can click on the RSVP button and choose my response. It's a little feature that speeds up my inbox processing time.

Have you stumbled upon any handy Gmail features that give your inbox productivity a boost? Share in the comments!

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Save 5 Seconds: Accessing Salesforce License Count for Admins

Whenever someone asks me "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?", I start navigating through the admin panel and think to myself "I wish I had a speedier way to get to this information."

Today, I had a spark of inspiration. And for my fellow Salesforce Admin's benefit, I figured out exactly how much time this little spark will save me: 5 seconds.

But, this is about more than time savings... it's about freeing up my brain to focus on other things too.

I realized that I could bookmark directly to the related list that shows the number of user licenses.

Tools I Used

Chrome (my favorite browser)
Speed Dial 2 (extension for Chrome) - optional

Speed Dial 2 allows me to create bookmarks on the new tab screen. As an alternative, I can use the bookmarks bar in Chrome for easy access.

My current Speed Dial 2 bookmarks for work.


  • Navigate to the Company Information page in Salesforce (Setup -> Company Profile)
  • Right click on the User Licenses related list link at the top of the page and click 'copy link address'. This will give you the url to jump directly to that section.

  • Create a new bookmark in Speed Dial 2 or add the link to your bookmark bar.

And now, for the time-savings comparison:

Previous Method - Manual Navigation

  1. Someone asks: "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?"
  2. I navigate to where I have Salesforce already open. 
  3. I click on the Setup link.
  4. I expand the Company Profile section and then click on Company Information. 
  5. I click on the User Licenses related list link to jump to the list. 
  6. I note the number of remaining licenses and hop back to my email inbox to respond.
Time spent: 11 seconds. This could probably be faster, but I'm still adjusting to the new setup side panel layout in Salesforce.

New Method - Bookmark

  1. Someone asks: "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?"
  2. I open a new tab. 
  3. I click on my bookmark.
  4. I note the number of remaining licenses and hop back to my email inbox to respond. 
Time spent: 6 seconds

The time savings might not seem that significant. But, for me it's about more than the time. This method eases a minor frustration and enables me to move on with my day. It requires less thought and navigation. I like that.

Do you have a simple tip for automating part of a process that would normally frustrate you on a Monday morning? Share in the comments!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Simple Single Sentence Journal Using DO Note from IFTTT

[Update - 2/1/16] Here's a brief video demo that will walk you through the steps to create your own single sentence journal in Evernote using DO Note from IFTTT.

I love journaling.

Umm. Let me rephrase. I love the idea of journaling.

In the past (read: ages 10-23), I kept paper journals filled with my dreams, observations and silly sketches. But, writing on paper with an actual pen isn't something that I make time for anymore. (And when I attempt to, my hand cramps up after 4 sentences. Weakling.) Now, a bit of typing? That is a different story. That I can do! I don't need to carry around a paper notebook and a writing utensil, and then worry about misplacing the journal and who might happen upon my ridiculous rambling thoughts. All I need is my phone or tablet.

I switched to keeping a digital journal in the past year, relying on my favorite digital organization software: Evernote.

In my Journal notebook, I create notes and upload photos documenting memorable moments, blurbs from hilarious conversations with my husband and random thoughts about life that pop into my head. I can sit and type at my computer when I have a little time during the day, or I can use the Evernote app on my phone to record my thoughts in an audio format (or simply type them).

Using Evernote has made journaling something that I enjoy (on occasion) again. But, I've been considering how to motivate myself to maintain a more consistent chronicle of my life.

Everyday events, it turns out, make us far happier to remember than we expect. So while a simple coffee date with an old friend or a night in cooking for your better half might not seem worth remembering, thinking back on these simple occurrences actually can bring us great pleasure later on. - Jessica Stillman, 'Can Just a Sentence a Day Make You Happier?'

And I think I've stumbled upon a simple way to do just that. I'm going to give it a try for 2016.

It all started when I read this article on Lifehacker about keeping a 'single sentence journal', quoting this post from Jessica Stillman on where she shared the concept promoted by author Gretchen Rubin (PS - I'm currently making my way through The Happiness Project by Rubin. It's a wonderful read).

I loved the idea and knew I wanted to automate the process as much as possible, to increase the likelihood of me sticking to it.

Enter DO from IFTTT. (If you aren't familiar with IFTTT, check out my post about this wondrous tool.) There are 3 flavors of the DO app - Note, Button and Camera. Each allows you to perform an action by tapping on a widget on your phone.

In this case, I want to create a log of sentences for each day. I used this recipe to get started, and then customized it to add entries to a Google Document.

I created a widget on my homescreen that fires up my DO Note recipe with a quick tap.

I type my sentence for the day and click on the Drive (or Evernote) button.

The resulting document will be updated with each entry I add.

I customized the formatting a bit so that the date is appended after my entry and italicized. (Basic HTML formatting is supported.)

After I tested the recipe and found that it works well, I decided that it would make more sense to create the entries in Evernote, since that's where my main journal is. So, I'm going to create a new recipe to add each sentence to a note in Evernote.

I'm really excited about this elegantly simple solution. All I have to do is click that button each day and write one sentence. That sounds just easy enough that I might be able to stick to it.

Have you found a way to automate and simplify a process in your life with Evernote, Google Apps, IFTTT or other tools? Share your success in the comments!