Jott Blog

The Email Cycle of Overload

April 30, 2008

Lifehack had an interesting post the other day about taking time back in your work day, something I think most of us struggle with. Ever since I started my adventure of the empty inbox and have been books like Lifehacker’s Upgrade Your Life,  I’ve realized that emails can often be my biggest time waster. Think about it…

You get one unclear email, which leads to you responding with follow up questions, which leads to another email, which leads to your actual response to the original email now that you have all the data, which leads to a reply from that person, and it keeps going and going and going. This is what I like to call of the dreaded Email Cycle of Overload. Everyone is guilty of it (admit it, you’ve sent at least one unclear email in your life), and it causes everyone’s email inbox to overflow with emails that answer no questions, make no points and serve no purpose.

How you can help:

1) Use bullet points or numbers to call out important points
This helps organize your message and allows for easy reading.  If you can’t come up with a single one, rethink sending that email.

2) Practice sending emails with your voice
 I know I know, I’m biased, but it really does help! When you have to construct a message in 30 seconds over the phone, it teaches you to get right to your point.

3) Reread your message
Before you send your email, ask yourself if you were the recipient if you would get the information you need to convey out of your message.

4) Thank you
This is the only exception I’ve found to the email cycle. Maybe it’s just me, but I always appreciate a thank you email.

Jott goes healthy

April 29, 2008

Every now and then I hear from a customer about how they are using Jott to track their diet and fitness goals. Since we’ve already cleaned out our inboxes, organized our to-dos and become more productive, we figured we’d give this other way of using Jott a try. We are now a health kick. That’s right- nothing that isn’t whole grain, low-fat and full of nutrients has entered this (half) of the office.

Here are some helpful tips we’ve discovered while Jotting our way fit…

1) Track workouts
Between long hours and a rainy April, I found myself slacking off on evening runs. To spice things up I started going to the gym in the morning before work. Keeping track of what I’ve accomplished is a great motivator and a great way to see a summary of my weekly accomplishments. I just Jott to my workout list and I’m on the way out the gym door.

2) Update a food diary
Shree said it best the other day “There is only so much real estate on my stomach, I think of it like Manhattan, so when I’m going to eat, I’m going to eat the good stuff”. Even though he said this while eating Peanut M&M’s and “the good stuff” refers to fancy chocolate, the man has a point. Jotting down what you eat sure does make you think twice about eating a bag of chips at lunch and has been a long-time suggestion of those whittling away their waistlines. Just like workouts, lists works really well for instant food diary updates.

3) Creating an office gym can be simple
You don’t need to be Google to create the ultimate work workout. All you need is one bike commuter, a little imagination, and some open space. Last week I posted about the first ever spinning class, but that’s not where the Unofficial Jott Gym ends. Jott employees can also…

Run laps…
the Jott track

and play handball

Jott handball

Update: Just saw this great post with an idea to use the Twitter Jott Link to keep everyone informed of how you are doing a century ride!

This week at the Jott office

April 25, 2008

Monday: One of the many perks of working at Jott is the “Unofficial Jott Gym”. This week we added a bike to the mix, for even more exercise opportunities at the office.

spinning class
The first ever Jott spinning class


Tuesday:
We got some important information sorted through and planned out for a new feature. Mums the word, but I think you’ll all love it when it gets released.


Wednesday:
Jott was in ComputerWorld

ComputerWorld

and on Lifehacker!

Lifehacker


Thursday:
We went bowling to celebrate birthdays, 1 year-at-Jott anniversaries, and an engagement! It was great fun, we got to spend some of our swear jar money and John pulled in the winning score with 175 points! In case you were wondering, that makes him 138 points better at bowling than Obama.

bowling
(from left to right: Seth, Alicia, Dominic, Shree, Rod, Michael)

Micahel and the swear jar
(Michael sipping a swear-jar-funded beer from the swear jar)


Friday: The percentage of Jott employees with iPhones reached almost 50% thanks to Doug and John’s recent purchases.

Jott Spotlight: Jott Links

April 23, 2008

spotlight

My new favorite toy is Tweet Scan, just enter in what you’d like to look for and it will come back with all the public tweets with that item in it. Scanning for Jott usually returns example of people testing out the Twitter Jott Link for the first time. Understandably, people walk into Jott Links a little apprehensively, as for most people it’s their first time posting to a website from their cell phone. I thought in honor of my new found love for Tweet Scan and our Twitter Jott Link, I’d shed some light on a few frequently asked Jott Link questions.

1) Can you create a Jott Link for ______ web service that I love?
We get tons of requests for specific Jott Links, and though we’d love to be able to create them all, we don’t really have the time to do so (we’re only 20 people!). However, you can create a Jott Link all your own! There are directions on how to create your own Jott Link in the Developers section. Not a developer? It may be a little tricky to follow along if you are not familiar with HTML, but you can always write and ask the folks at the other company if they could help, or better yet build it themselves!

2) Where is the Amazon Jott Link?
Already there for you! When we create new features, whenever possible, we like to include an example one so that you can try it out right away without having to add anything to your account. The Amazon Jott Link acts like a global contact- meaning that it is already added to everyone’s account so as soon as you sign up you can give a Jott Link a try. If you haven’t tried yet, give it a go. The Amazon Jott Link is a pretty handy way of getting information on pricing and products from Amazon and was talked about today in Lifehacker’s Top 10 Amazon Power Shopper Tools post.

3) What the heck is a Blogger ID?
We will be adding this to the FAQ soon, but in meantime, here is the definition of a Blogger ID straight from the folks at Blogger themselves:

“First, log in to Blogger. Then choose the blog whose ID you want to find, and click on its name in the Dashboard, just like you do when you want to post to it, or change the settings.

From any of the posting, settings, or template pages, you can find your blog’s ID number. Just look in your browser’s address bar, and you’ll see something like this: blog ID example

At the end of the address, you can see that it says blogID=XXXXXX where the X’s represent your blog’s ID. In the example above, this is 5910562.”


How paperless are you?

April 22, 2008

paper

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d bring of the subject of a paperless life. There has been a great deal of talk about going paperless for a while, whether at home or at the office.

I try my best to use as little paper as possible- I use my Jott list instead of a hipster PDA, cloth napkins instead of paper ones, and pay my bills online in lieu of receiving them in the mail. However, I can’t say I’m totally paperless. My biggest offense being that I have to print out all the newsletters and releases and such I send out to edit them. Try though I may I just cannot do a good job of that on a computer screen. Till the day I can actually scribble on a monitor I can hold in my hand to replicate that tactile experience- it’s printing out the first draft for me.

Are there technologies out there that make going paperless easy for you? Or do you still rely on all things paper to manage your day-to-day?

We made it to two years…

April 18, 2008

and still had enough left over for cake!

cake

But not enough for utensils…

Doug with chopsticks

(photos by Michael Walton)

This week at the Jott office

Monday: Seth got a new hairdo.

Seth

Tuesday: We’ve been so busy working, we almost forgot it was tax day. Thank goodness for reminders!

Snoopy tax cartoon

Wednesday: Jott was in The Washington Post! Read the full article here.

The Washington Post

Thursday: Shree and John remind us all what it’s like to work at a start up.

Shree and John

Friday: Today marks the 2nd birthday of Jott. Two years down… so many more to go!

Jott Spotlight: Lists

April 17, 2008

spotlight

Recently we’ve made some great improvements to the Jott Lists functionality. I thought I’d shine the spotlight on a few of them you might not be aware of:

1) Creating reminders for list items
Most of you know you can call and send a Jott message straight to a list you have created by just saying the name of the list, but did you know you can also add a reminder to that item? This great new little feature is courtesy of the folks who attended our first Jott User Group gathering.

2) Printing out lists
Take them with you while you run errands, leave for a business trip, or stick them on the fridge for your kids to see the chores they need to do. No matter where you like your lists to be, they don’t need to just be in your computer. To print out a list, log on and select the list you’d like to print, from the “More Options” menu choose “Send To Printer” and a list complete with check boxes will print out.

3) All Lists view
For the ultimate experience in list management. It’s like an outline of all your to-dos with the addition of reminders, priority, and the ability to nicely cross off completed tasks.

4) Adding to lists via text message
Somewhere you don’t want people hearing you talk? You can add items to your Jott to do list by texting 40101 with the name of the list and the item you’d like to add to it. For more info on texting your Jott account, check out the Power Tips section.

Fixin’ some bugs

 

bug

Yesterday morning we discovered two small bugs that were created when we made some changes to our system: our voice recognition didn’t want to recognize times when setting reminders, and would play back Jott Links twice. Thanks to everyone who reported these issues, we were able to fix the bugs in just two hours.

 

Service Maintenance Announcement

April 16, 2008

Hi everyone, a quick post to let you know the Jott service will be down for maintenance tonight from 10 pm to midnight PST.

Next Page »