5 Ways to Optimize Your To-Do List

We know that a good portion of you rely on to-do lists to organize your work lives and/or your personal lives. But we also know that there are ways to make your to-do list easier to work with and more helpful in managing your day-to-day. Here, we want to give you some tips on how to optimize your to-do list.

1. Choose the Method That is Most Familiar and Comfortable for You

Some people prefer to handwrite their lists, whereas others are utilizing technology to keep their lists organized and accessible anywhere, anytime. With respect to technology, there are several options to choose from. That being said, the best options have syncing capability, scheduling options, and provide notifications or reminders. You should make sure that you look into the options and pick the tool that has the combination of features that you’re seeking.

2. Update Your List Nightly 

Regardless of whether you’re handwriting your list or using your phone or computer, updating your list the night before keeps your list updated, prioritized, and ready to go for the next day. This way, you don’t have to spend time in the morning getting organized and figuring out your next steps. It’s well-documented that people are more efficient in the morning, so by being ready-to-go you can capitalize on the time that you’re most productive.

3. Simplify

It’s best not to overcrowd your list with a bunch of items because that becomes distracting and overwhelming. Rather, a simple list is much easier to handle and prioritize. It’s also helpful to create lists in bundles. In other words, have a list for work tasks, another for personal tasks; one list for immediate goals and another for long-term goals.

4. Put Your Action Items on Your Calendar

Start off by approximating how long each one of your list items will take, and then find blocks of time on your calendar that you can use to accomplish a number of tasks. Some experts suggest three hours is an appropriate block of time to get work done without getting distracted. Then, once you’ve made it through your work block, give yourself a mini reward like a little snack.

5. Take Breaks

This one has to do more with your mental health. Taking breaks keeps you focused and more productive. It’s important to take mental reprieves to get the most out of yourself and to feel great after you’ve accomplished what you need to do.

Conclusion

Optimizing your to-do list is essential in maximizing your efficiency, but with ClientSide you have a tool that helps you accomplish some of your to-do list in a fraction of the time. With ClientSide, you can send your documents in just a few clicks; you can check up on the status of your pending signatures in one central location; and you can set automated reminders to be sent on a preset schedule. Want to learn more about how ClientSide can be a tool to get your to-do list done faster? Start your free trial now!

Four Tips for Effective Networking

When people talk about building a professional network, it’s often associated with attending happy hours and other meetings, shaking a bunch of hands, and collecting business cards. These are surely part of the picture, but too often people don’t realize the serious impact networking can have on their business. Networking is a fundamental skill of any business person, but in order for it to become a skill of yours, you have to understand how to do it well. Here I’ll give you some tips to improve your networking skills.

1. Follow-Up

The goal with networking is to build a relationship, which takes more effort than a five-minute conversation. When you meet someone, make sure that you secure a means to follow-up with him or her. Ask for a business card, jot down an email address, or even just ask for their last name so you can add them on LinkedIn. Personally, I prefer email or phone info over LinkedIn (though you can always do both), but something is always better than nothing! Relationships aren’t built overnight, or in this case in five minutes, so make sure you have a way to continue building on the connections you make.

2. Have a Game Plan

It’s always best to have a plan for a networking conversation or networking event. For events, you should try and take a look at who will be attending, and who you would like to talk to and why you want to talk to them beforehand. Not all events will list the attendees, but you should consider who will be attending so you are prepared for prospective conversations. Aside from events, if you schedule a networking meeting or phone call, you should educate yourself on the person whom you’re meeting with. What do they offer you? What do you offer them? These are important questions to consider before your conversation.

3. Strike Up Conversations

At networking events people often perceive a large group of individuals as intimidating and they find it difficult to find their place. The reality is the vast majority of the people there are in the same boat as you! With that said, don’t be afraid to approach anyone. Sure, they may not be the person you came in the door wanting to meet, but you never know who could end up being a resource. You’ll be surprised by the number of valuable connections you can make by striking up a conversation with a random stranger!

4. Have a Balanced Conversation

It’s important to be mindful of the way your conversation is going with someone. You don’t want to just ramble about yourself, but you also don’t want to constantly avoid talking about yourself either. With that said, you have to find a way to balance talking about yourself and not talking about yourself at all. When the person you’re engaging asks you a question about yourself, of course answer in a friendly, genuine way; but then follow-up your response with a question about the other person. This way, your voice is heard without monopolizing the conversation.

Conclusion

Networking is all about relationship-building, and at ClientSide we place an emphasis on the maintenance of and improvement upon relationships. A central goal with our technology is to make your clients’ experience working with you more pleasurable. In this way, we help you foster positive, lasting relationships with your clientele. Want to learn how you can improve your client relations with smart technology created by a company whose focus is you and your business? Start your free trial today!

How to Increase the Speed of Google Chrome

Increasingly, professional services businesses are choosing Google Chrome as their browser of choice. As with all browsers, it’s important to know how to optimize its speed so you can work as efficiently as possible. Here, I’ll outline some tips to quickly speed up your Google Chrome.

Tip 1: Update Chrome

 Chrome works best when you’re using the most updated version. The updates typically occur in the background when you close and reopen your browser; however, if you’ve had your browser open for a while, you can manually check to see if there’s an update available. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Click the three dots (‘More’) in the top right of the browser.
  • Click ‘Update Google Chrome.’ If you don’t see this button, then you’re up-to-date.
  • Click ‘Relaunch’

Tip 2: Close Any Unused Tabs

 The more tabs you have open the slower Chrome will operate. By closing unneeded tabs, your computer has more resources to use and can work quicker.

You can close a tab by clicking the ‘x’ in the upper right hand corner of each tab. Or, with Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS, you can use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl +w; for Mac the shortcut is: Command + w.

Tip 3: Turn Off or Remove Unnecessary Extensions

 Extensions are add-ons you can use to do more with Chrome. But, if you’re not using them, they’re just unnecessary programs that you can turn off or uninstall to speed up Chrome. Here’s how you do it.

  • Click the three dots (‘More’) in the upper right hand corner of your browser
  • Navigate to More Tools > Extensions
  • Turn off an extension by unchecking the box next to ‘Enabled’
  • To delete an extension, click ‘Remove’

Tip 4: Turn Off Unwanted Plugins on Your Computer

 Plugins allow you to do more with Chrome (e.g. view Flash animations or view PDF documents). However, if you’re not using them, you can turn them off to speed up Chrome. Here’s how you do that:

  1. In the Chrome address bar, type: ‘chrome://plugins/’ and press ‘Enter’
  2. Click ‘Disable’

** Note: this feature was modified with Chrome 57; you cannot manage some plugins including Google Widevine, Adobe Flash, or Chrome PDF Viewer. You can use it for other plugins that aren’t automatically installed.

Tip 5: Make Sure Page Prefetch Is On

 Turning on prefetch, which are the network action predictions, makes Google Chrome open web pages faster. This feature preloads the links you might open. To check it’s on/to turn it on, follow these steps:

  1. Click the three dots (‘More) and navigate to ‘Settings’
  2. Click ‘Show advanced settings’ at the bottom
  3. In the ‘Privacy’ section, check the box associated with ‘Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly’

Conclusion

If your goal is to increase efficiency, you should consider looking into ClientSide. Our goal is to improve your firm’s efficiency using tools that automate the integral processes of your firm. Imagine being able to send a document in just a few clicks, not having to remind your clients, and being able to track your documents’ progress in one place. All of this is possible with ClientSide! Want to see for yourself? Click here to start your free trial!

Creating and Using Outlook Templates

We know that a lot of firms base their email in Outlook, and are too often sending the same emails to different people. If you find yourself spending too much time sending repetitive emails through Outlook, you might find it useful to use these steps to create and use email templates.

Create Your Email Template

Step One: Start a new email message in Outlook.

Step Two: Write your email subject and body.

Step Three: Under ‘File’, choose ‘Save As’.

Step Four: Name your file and save the message as a template, using the ‘Save As Type’ dropdown.

Step Five: Make note of where your template is saved. By default, it is located in this folder for Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista: c:\users\username\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates

Using Your Email Template:

Step One: In the ‘Home’ Tab, within the ‘New’ group, click ‘New Items’, point to ‘More Items’, and ‘Choose Form’.

Step Two: In the ‘Choose Form’ box, in ‘Look In’ select ‘User Templates in File System’.

Step Three: The default templates folder (c:\users\username\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates) is opened, but if you saved your template in a different folder, click ‘Browse’ and then select the template.

Step Four: Select the template, and click ‘Open’.

Step Five: Make your necessary additions or changes to correspond to your recipients (‘To’, ‘Cc’, ‘Bcc’). If you would like, you can also change the ‘Subject’ line or add content to the body of your message. (Note: these changes will not update your template).

Step Six: Click ‘Send’.

Want Next-Level Efficiency?

If you like the efficiency this sort of email automation provides, just think of how much more efficient you can be if you eliminate the need to manually send emails altogether. With ClientSide’s email reminders, just set a schedule and customize your message to automatically email your clients. Want to see for yourself? Start your free trial today!

Creating and Using Gmail Templates

We know that, in the professional services, often times you are sending the same email to different people. If that’s the situation you are in, you can easily set up Gmail email templates in just a few quick steps to save time and automate your process.

Creating the Template

Step 1: In the upper right-hand corner of your Gmail browser, click on the round gear-shaped button. Click on ‘Settings’ from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Labs’ tab in the upper-right hand corner.

Step 3: Scroll down to the ‘Canned Responses’ section, and click ‘Enable.’

Step 4: Don’t forget to click ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom of the page.

Step 5: Click ‘Compose’ as you do to draft any email, and type the body of your email and the subject line that you would like to be your template.

Step 6: Locate the upside-down triangle located next to the trash icon in the lower right hand corner of the message window. Click the upside-down triangle and scroll to ‘Canned Responses.’ Click ‘New Canned Response’ to create your template.

Step 7: Type in the name for your template.

Using the Template

Step 8: Use the upside-down triangle menu in the new message window to navigate to ‘Canned Responses.’ You should see your template here, select it.

Step 9: After selecting your template, the content should automatically be loaded into the body of your email. Make any changes/additions that you need to make before sending (note: these changes will not change your template).

If you like the efficiency this sort of email automation provides, just think of how much more efficient you can be if you eliminate the need to manually send emails altogether. With ClientSide’s automated email reminders, simply set a schedule of reminders and customize your message to automatically email your clients. Want to see for yourself? Start your free trial today!