Time is more valuable than money. You can always make more money. You can never make more time.
If a year of working and schooling from home for a year did anything for the world, it focused, even more precisely, the need for us to balance our work and home lives.
An absolutely excellent tool that I have used to help me with this balance is the Reclaim.ai tool.
I wish I recall how I came across this tool, but I absolutely do remember the pain I was going through that got me looking for it
I was failing at managing all my calendars
Solopreneurship and Time Management
Two years ago, I was squarely in the solopreneurship category (aka freelancer). While ConnectedWell has grown quickly since then, each client I brought on board created a set of problems I had not yet solved for. Each client brought an email address, slack channels (or, heaven forbid, teams chat) and calendars to manage.
Slack was easy to add in to my slack app. Done.
I solved the email issue with the grace of a ballerina with Missive app.
Calendaring was killing me
I found myself relentlessly trying to block out meetings and keep things from getting double booked
And it wasn’t working.
Reclaim Blocks Your Calendars For You
And a lot of other smart things as well.
Basically, it can smartly two-way synchronize between your calendars, allowing you to either have a copy of your personal calendar events on your work calendar, or creating “busy blocks” of time so that when a dance recital or spelling bee shows up on your personal calendar, your work calendar gets a “BUSY” calendar item automatically placed there so the time is preserved!
Hack: Multiple Client Calendars
To solve my multiple client calendars issue, I do use Reclaim to share/sync my work and personal calendar.
But then I also setup a reclaim instance with my new client’s calendar syncing to my work calendar as if it were my personal calendar.
I don’t copy events over, just “busy” blocks of time.
The result is that if any event is booked against any of my calendars, within 3-5 minutes, there’s a smart busy block on each of my other calendars, to ensure Client A doesn’t schedule a meeting during an interview for Client B. And vice versa.
Where Did The Time Go?
No worries, Reclaim has your back here, too. I get these reports on Fridays helping me get a little insight into the time sucks that I didn’t see coming. For example, TWENTY hours of meetings? Ugh. No wonder last week felt like a bit of a slog. 😉
I’m not affiliated with Reclaim. Their tool is currently free. If they ever charge for it, I will be first in line to pay, though. They have saved my life. If time is money, then I need a reclaim tattoo right on my wallet. They have saved me so much stress in managing my personal and work calendars as well as multiple client calendars as I have juggled my growing client base and company.
(Disclaimer: No, missive pays me nothing for this. They don’t even have an affiliate program. In fact, I pay them a fairly solid monthly subscription for my growing recruiting team. I will gladly keep paying. And, enjoying the hair I did not pull out of my own head over using plain old email tools)
Its about 23 minutes into the zoom meeting and, the other person says, “give me a moment, that’s in my other email account…
“… ugh, I got logged out.
“OK! Sent it.
“Dang. I sent it from the wrong address. That’s not going to work.
Meanwhile… the hopefully polite look on my face while I witness this belies the eye twitching that is happening under the surface. Not only could this meeting have likely been an email, 80% of this meeting ended up being about email issues:
Not finding the mail
Mail in the wrong place
Did you get the email?
Did they send the email?
Not being cc’d on the email or otherwise not knowing the content of said email
Getting forwarded the email last-minute and now having to page through mind-numbingly confusing forwards to find the part of the email that matters for this meeting,
…all from your phone because your laptop is presenting.
Needing to email someone and ask a specific, detailed question
Emailing the person again asking them to quickly reply as we’re trying to make a decision
Clarifying the question we asked, since, thanks to brevity, we assumed they knew all the context of what was being asked and were forced to reply with “It depends…”
and so on
and so forth
Email issues that could have been solved if communication, not email, were the priority. ?
If I Haven’t Told You Missive Is Better Than Your Email App, Either We Haven’t Talked, or I am Being Nice
The other half of this story is that people who work with me know that, at this point in the meeting, if I have not yet brought up Missive, the email app I have been leveraging for at least three years now, it is because of an immense amount of personal strength to keep. my. mouth. shut.
Missive is like my right-hand, time-saving, boss-level communications master control center.
I can’t stress enough all the ways that Missive helps me, my personal life, my family and my team through a week and, in building ConnectedWell from a literal company-of-one to a growing team with expanding partnerships and opportunities, Missive has been my most-trusted ally, by my side in that awesome, scalable, helpful-but-not-clingy kind of way we all seek from our email applications, but, sadly, most never find.
OK, Hot Shot. Why is Missive So good?
Here is a list of things my email program does effortlessly that yours doesn’t. Neener, neener.
Works effortlessly across any device I have, via app or browser, with zero functionality loss on mobile. Truly a mobile-first application.
One Login. I login with my account once and it remembers all my other accounts, gmail, gsuite, exchange, outlook, or whatever other email server you use.
Keyboard shortcuts. The gmail ones. Or, use your own
SWIPE multiple emails at once. Delete, Archive or Snooze all these junk emails at once and then, boom, inbox zero #FTW.
Also remembers all my inbound/outbound signatures, forwarding rules and other tweaks for each account.
Good search across all accounts or separate ones
Email templates for you or shared
SNOOOOOOOoooooze emails for working with later
You can even snooze email from the alerts that pop up on your computer or device.
Send emails later, as well (so you look like you were (or were not) up at 1:30am)
Snooze emails to come back to you after you sent them (so you can follow up). Choose to snooze only if the other person does not reply.
UNDO send, too, so you don’t look like this guy when you accidentally reply-to-all (see below, or here: youtube). This one is YUGE.
Rules and filters that make gmail rules, uh, not rule and make outlook’s rules feel like 1990s tv sitcom dramas. Cute, but really not that entertaining any more.
My personal favorite use of the email rules? I have a set of filters and rules that keep all email OUT of my inbox except for a few very specific times of the day (a la Tim Ferris style) so I can actually get work done.
What Happens When You Reply All
Here are some of the superpowers Missive gives my team and me:
Inline email collaboration and editing (and inline sidebar chat) like a Google Doc, but in. email.
Let that last one sink in a little
Assign people and tasks to an email or just FYI them. Do not forward the email. Just @mention them in the sidebar and they have access. Boom. Instantly, to the whole thread in their screen, along with all chat messaged about it, in chronological order, as if they were the one who got the initial message.
Real team shared inboxes, both a general box like “sales@” where everyone gets a copy of messages, or a way to let everyone see the status, and replies of all other messages — so nothing slips through the cracks (and a great way to share know-how and best practices among team members)
Send on behalf of the team or as an individual, either all the time or just ad-hoc. For example, you could can ask me for help on an email, we collaborate on it, and then you can send the email AS ME, using my own email credentials, right from your own email app, and zeeeeero tech support or password sharing required.
Don’t forward an email to yourself or your trellor board or something. Send them (or your task list/trello board) an actual URL LINK to an exact email so you can click once and go right back into the content you need.
Ready to power up? Seamless integrations with apps you’re already using. I use their trello, todoist, pipedrive and other integrations every hour of the day.
Social integrations let me manage facebook, instagram and other social messages from my email app. Yeah. That easy.
Missive’s powerful Twillio integration powers the chat “bot” telegram like feature on this site (lower right corner), dropping site-based chats into the support@ team inbox as if they are emails. Try it.
Missive is actively being developed with a very responsive team (I’ve chatted with Etienne, Phillipe and Rafael frequently). Their Canny feature requests, get this, actually turn into product releases. They ship multiple times a month.
I will come back to this and add more, but for now, this is a pretty good list of reasons you should check out Missive.
Again, missive doesn’t pay me, but I gladly pay them. It’s a good app. And, for something you use 38 hours a day, you should treat yourself better than the way you’re being treated.