The amazing tools at your fingertips

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 1st September 2020

I was running late for tennis doubles the other day, stuck in traffic and feeling mildly frustrated. I was going to call my mate Nick, but that felt like overkill as I was just a couple of minutes away, and I knew they could warm up without me.  A quick text would be better, but I was driving. What to do?

I had a brainwave! I wondered if Siri, the very helpful assistant on my iPhone, could send a text to Nick for me? I knew I could ask her to call Nick for me. Could she text as well? It turns out she could. I simply said, ‘Hey Siri, text Nick for me’. She asked me what I would like to text to him. I said, ‘Running 5 minutes late’. And away she went. So cool.

Now, this may not be news to you, but it was a revelation for me. There have been so many situations where I have been driving and needed to send a quick message to someone. And I would never take the risk of texting with my fingers whilst driving. Now, a text is only a ‘Hey Siri’ away for me.

This reminded me of why my team and I are so passionate about teaching people how to unlock the power of tools like MS Outlook and OneNote to boost their personal productivity. Our productivity tools put so many incredibly useful features at our fingertips, yet most of us have just never thought of using them to solve many specific productivity problems. Sometimes we are aware that these features exist, but we have just never linked them to a strategy that would be truly helpful to us.

The Siri text feature has probably been on my phone for several years. I knew that I could ask Siri to do other things for me. I had just never thought of asking if she could dictate a text message for me while I was driving.

Are you using tools like MS Outlook, and yet have never thought about how Outlook can help you manage your tasks and priorities, automatically delete or file informational emails, convert emails into actions, send useful information to OneNote notebooks, or manage email conversations to reduce noise? There is a whole universe of features under the bonnet of Outlook that most people never use.

These are the tools that we use all day, every day. But we need to take the time to explore them and work out how they can help us to be more effective. Never stop pushing your technology. Keep exploring to see what else it can do for you. And if you need help, ask us about one of our practical productivity workshops for you and your team. This will give you a fast start on what your technology can do to boost your productivity. Or ask Siri just like I did. You may be surprised with how clever she is.

Smart Teams – Urgency Culture Online Session

If you and your team feel you are working in a reactive environment, and would like to explore some practical strategies that can help you to moderate the urgency and create a more proactive culture, let’s have a chat about how our

Smart Teams Urgency Culture session can help.

We run this 2-hour session online for groups of up to 25 participants as a part of our Smart Teams series. The session comes with an Urgency Playbook, and 10 team agreements that will start to shift your team culture from reactive to proactive.

Reach out to me personally at if you would like to discuss how this practical online session could help your team in these challenging times.

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