Last month I shared with you the tools that make us more pro­duc­tive and ulti­mate­ly save our san­i­ty (how we, as a soci­ety, once sur­vived on strict­ly MS Word is tru­ly a mys­tery to me, and a sto­ry for anoth­er time). Now, not only are there a zil­lion tools to choose from, there are even more inte­gra­tions that fur­ther cush­ion cer­tain pain points. Want to free up even more brain space? Let these inte­gra­tions do the think­ing and doing for you.


Slack + Email Bot

slack

If you are like most com­pa­nies, you have a gen­er­al “hello@” or “info@” email account that catch­es all the ran­dom inquiries and gen­er­al stuff. Fur­ther­more, if you are the Ops per­son inside a small team (like me!), it gen­er­al­ly falls on you to sift through the inbox and dis­patch help where need­ed. Some­times how­ev­er, you don’t ful­ly under­stand what some­one is ask­ing or it is real­ly meant for anoth­er per­son on your team, or you are new to said Ops per­son role and no one remem­bers the pass­word to the account. Thank­ful­ly, Slack has an excel­lent inte­gra­tion that makes this account to vis­i­ble to whomev­er needs to see it and eas­i­ly acces­si­ble for when you need to call on your fel­low team­mates. This bot is sim­ply called Email Bot and will post emails that come from what­ev­er address­es you want. For us, it catch­es a cou­ple dif­fer­ent gen­er­al email accounts like the address we use to sign into shared tools, and old retired email address­es that are still float­ing around in cyber­space. It is inte­grat­ed into a chan­nel we so cre­ative­ly call “inbox”. Here’s how to get your very own email bot explained straight from the experts them­selves.


Trello + Gmail

trello

Speak­ing of emails, let’s talk about invoic­es. As in, accounts payable and all the emails that comes with peo­ple get­ting paid. Again, this is prob­a­bly a task that falls on one per­son, but occa­sion­al­ly needs the help of a few oth­ers if there’s a prob­lem or a ques­tion. For us, invoic­es has it’s own email address (you guessed it, invoices@), but man­ag­ing this inbox was espe­cial­ly hard because there are two of us that watch it like a hawk. With mul­ti­ple eyes on it, we ran into a few ques­tions: Do you keep all of them unread until pay day? How do you know which ones are due when? Do you archive them when paid or sub­ject your­self to the pandora’s box that is inbox tags? For these puz­zling ques­tions, we turned to Trel­lo and it’s email inte­gra­tion for an A+ solu­tion. Every time an invoice gets sent to our invoices@, it auto­mat­i­cal­ly for­wards to our Accounts Payable Trel­lo board. There, we sim­ply change the title to the amount + pay­ee and add the due date in the card. We can then move that card through the dif­fer­ent stages like Wait­ing to be Paid, Paid, Ques­tions, etc. This fix is a two step process. First, find the unique email address that is asso­ci­at­ed with the board you want to use. Spe­cif­ic direc­tions can be found here. Then, pop over to the set­tings in your email client (we use gmail), and set up auto­mat­ic for­ward­ing to that unique email address. While we use this for invoic­es, this trick can be used for any­thing else that needs more orga­ni­za­tion than just an inbox.


Harvest + Xero

xero

One of the best assets a com­pa­ny can have is a killer account­ing team. They keep us straight and make sure that we being smart with our mon­ey. That being said, there is so much more to be done with account­ing than just watch­ing our month­ly sub­scrip­tions deb­it out of our bank account. Esti­mates, invoic­es, pay­checks; all even­tu­al­ly find their way to our accoun­tant and then she has the daunt­ing task of rec­on­cil­ing it all. To make mat­ters more con­fus­ing for her, we do all of our esti­mat­ing, invoic­ing, and time track­ing via Har­vest. Lucky for us, our cloud account­ing plat­form, Xero inte­grates per­fect­ly with Har­vest. When we invoice, a copy is cre­at­ed in Xero. When that invoice is paid, it is reflect­ed in Xero. This sim­ple, yet pow­er­ful inte­gra­tion has helped us keep up with our accounts receiv­ables in real time, and saved us from count­less “what was this for?” emails.  


Asana + Harvest

asana

This is an oldie but a good­ie. If you haven’t already noticed, Har­vest is a big part of how we run our busi­ness. Anoth­er, equal­ly big part is Asana. No mat­ter what indus­try you are in, time and task track­ing are two huge project man­age­ment neces­si­ties that require a lot of atten­tion. Instead of hav­ing to tog­gle back and forth between your tasks in Asana, and your timesheet in Har­vest, you can just sim­ply hit a but­ton on the actu­al task and start the timer. This is a dou­ble bonus because the task name becomes the entry name sav­ing you the headache of try­ing to fig­ure out how to explain what you were doing for 32 min­utes. What I like most is when I am doing a task that only takes me a cou­ple of min­utes. In the past, I would prob­a­bly think twice about cre­at­ing a whole new entry in Har­vest because, what’s 5 min­utes? But with this inte­gra­tion, since it is lit­er­al­ly inside the task, I just click the clock. Easy peasy.

 

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