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Getting Things Done with the Magic of Flow Concierge

Getting Things Done with the Magic of Flow Concierge

    Ever have something that you know you need to do, but just don’t want to take the small amount of time to do it? Have tasks that are so menial that the thought of taking the time to do them is almost offensive? Well, that’s a little harsh, but you get the drift.

    We have so many things to do in a day that we can get pretty backed up. We all know that delegation is a great way to take some of life’s todos off of our platter, but sometimes we don’t really have anyone to delegate to.

    Flow Concierge

    Enter the pilot program, Flow Concierge. Flow is the group project/task application that is simple, effective, and just darn beautiful to look at and use. They are rolling out a new feature that you can use to delegate tasks to a “Flow Concierge”.

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    You can basically ask your Concierge to do anything that can be done online; look something up, compare things, answer a question, etc. What they can’t do is anything physical (“go feed my dogs”), create content or writing from scratch, offer legal advice, or do anything that involves paying for something. Anything else is fair game.

    The Magic

    So, I had a magical experience (yes, in the Steve Jobs sense of the phrase) with Flow Concierge today. It showed me just how powerful and awesome having a mini “virtual assistant” would be.

    My wife SMS’d me asking when her warranty for her MacBook was up (the bottom of it is falling apart). When I got the message a thought also hit me, “oh, boy. Our 2 year (marriage) anniversary is next week, too. What to do, what to do?” I had already been accepted into the Flow Concierge pilot so I thought I’d give it a go.

    First task: “when is my wife’s MacBook warranty no longer valid (then gave them her serial number.”

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    Second task: “is there anything fun to do this weekend in the Erie, PA area?”

    I then assigned the task to the Flow Concierge that is now built into my Flow interface. Then I went about my other work tasks that I had to get done.

    About two hours later when I was clearing out my personal email inbox, I saw that my Flow Concierge had updated my tasks with a comment and then made a final answer and marked them as complete. I found out that my Wife’s MacBook warranty is sadly not valid (oh, the horror!) and that there isn’t really that much to do this weekend in Erie, Pa (other than go to the Philharmonic, which will work for our anniversary).

    To say that it was like magic is sort of an understatement. Yes, finding these things myself would be easy enough, but I didn’t want to take the time to do it in the middle of the day. Rather than blow it off until later when I don’t have any energy, I simply delegated to someone that had the energy and time to do it.

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    This is a seriously awesome addition to a task app that is already excellent and the geniuses at Flow should be proud of themselves for such a great idea and implementation.

    The drawbacks

    One of the biggest things that I can see as a drawback going forward is the potential price of the Concierge service after the Pilot program. There would be nothing worse than using this in Flow and then one day they announce that it will be very expensive. Or, even worse, Flow could just cancel it all together.

    The service does seem to be “too good to be true” so far, but hopefully it gets baked into the full Flow product.

    Conclusion

    Flow is a pretty awesome tool to manage your projects with a team or otherwise and the new Concierge pilot program makes it that much more awesome. To be able to delegate menial tasks that will take 3 – 10 minutes of your time throughout the day can add up quick in the grand scheme of things.

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    If you have a Flow account, try to get into the Concierge pilot program by checking out this link. You will be glad you did.

    (Photo credit: Flow logo via Flow)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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