30 days already?
Aaaaaaaaaaaaah. There must have been an automatic update last night, I came in this morning to a signin screen and the computer was booting from scratch. Of course, I immediately turned around and went for coffee; it's not a quick process.
On my return, the normal things are running; Outlook, Google Desktop sidebar, Pidgin, Twhirl, SlimTimer. But Outlook looks different. Weird...oh-crap-its-clearcontext-and-its-gone!
Yes, it's 30 days since I installed ClearContext trial version. Two people had recommended it, and once I tweeted it I remember one person saying "I bet you won't have it installed in 12 months" or something. Well, he's an idiot. :)
It's completely changed the way I work with email, and made the switch to being a PM a LOT easier. Here's a list of things that I use and appreciate every day:
- The categories are just genius. Every project is a folder/category and since I color-coded every category that means that my email, tasks and calendar are color-coded. Until you see it, you don't understand. I can glance at my screen and see which project I am working with today. Super cool.
- I (or CC) automatically assign categories to most emails now. I created some rules, maybe some is automatic, I dunno. It just works. So again, emails are color-coded in my inbox.
- FWIW, I never have more than a dozen emails in my inbox. (well, technically, threads, but since they are collapsed it's still not a lot)
- ..which leads me to the magic buttons (can you hear angels singing?)
- File Thread == Awesomeness. One click and the thread gets filed into it's folder. That means (to me) that I don't need to action it.
- Make Task. If there is something to do, click this to make it a task. Put the date in. It appears on the bottom of the calendar, color-coded. This is too easy.
- I've never deferred, but there's a button for it. Personally I just leave it in my Inbox until I can action it.
- But Unsubscribe is my favorite of all. If you work in a company with more than 50 people, this is a lifesaver. We have company-all, telligent-life and a whole bunch of internal technical lists. Someone is always selling a cat, congratulating on getting pregnant or having a baby, closing with a big new customer, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. You get the idea.
AND EVERYONE REPLIES "Congtrats" or "w00t"!
Now, I just hit "Unsubscribe" on the first email - and I never see any replies. If you didn't know what you were doing and didn't use rules or CC, you could get a 100 emails a day into your inbox with just this.. er.. crap.
I haven't used the dashboard much, or probably a dozen other features, but the ones I have used have become truly indispensable. Hell, I'd buy it just for Unsubscribe, and that isn't even strictly helping me with my job.
Oh one more thing I forgot - message actions! Every time that I send an email and *need* an answer, I click the message actions and choose "remind me in 1 day if no reply received". Hahahaha - how priceless is that? My brain can relax - one less thing to try and track subconsciously.
Oooo, another big one. I used to run rules to move things around into folders - which sound like the same thing but really isn't. The key thing here is that if you run rules then your cell phone probably doesnt see them - mine only syncs with the root Inbox, not the project folders. So, now my phone "works" because on day 1 of CC I killed all my rules, and now just file the threads when I return to the office.
See, the world isn't all crappy products and ranting blogs. :D