“Workflow” apps hold so much promise. Whether it’s a CRM, project management tool, to-do list, or some other tool, the promise in each case is to clean up our messy lives and help us be more organized and effective.
The problem, though, is that getting people to adopt a workflow is really really hard. That’s why there are so many to-do apps out there, each one with a slightly different user experience, and none of them “just quite right” for everyone. Workflow apps are like Goldilocks’ porridge. Everyone is a little different, and it’s hard to get people to change.
A solution, then, is to take the “anti-workflow” approach. Make me more productive without shoehorning me into a new workflow.
For example, Zander has been building a side project called Ansatz, which is the “anti-CRM”. All you do is auth it into your email, and it builds intelligence your whole team can use, about who you know and how well. It’s a CRM with out the CRM.
And yesterday, I found out about Taco, which is the “anti-ToDo” app — gives you a handle on all of the things you need to do (as defined by starred emails, github tasks, zendesk tickets, etc), and puts it right where you want it: on the Chrome new tab screen (side note: Taco should merge with Momentum, which I love). So now, I can track and prioritize what I need to work on, without having to adopt a to-do routine that I’m guaranteed not to stick to. Already, using this has helped me manage my inbox, as I know that I can archive starred emails knowing they’ll show up in my todo list, where I can prioritize them and work on them later when I have time.
Both of these examples build on perhaps the biggest productivity treasure trove: the inbox. For a long time, I’ve wondered why we don’t see more and better email analytics tools (Rapportive was one of my favorites). My inbox knows pretty much everything about me, and it’s really poorly organized. Maybe it’s because entrepreneurs are afraid of Google Inbox (I suppose I would be).
Regardless, it seems to me that there are countless ways to help me make my inbox more meaningful to me, and nearly all of them can accomplish that with an anti-workflow approach, which is a winning one IMHO.