Digi-clutter is easy to hide from view, but it stunts your ability to find what you need (quickly), to be productive, and especially to delegate and collaborate with others.
In this episode, I’m talking to Dara Sklar, a Google tools pro and master of improving efficiency through digital organization. We talk about how to clear digital clutter, getting closer to the elusive Inbox Zero, and how to ‘Jerry Seinfield’ your way to a clearer, more productive digital space.
I am thrilled that Dara is speaking at The Content Experiment Summit in March 2021. Sign up to get on the waiting list so you can be one of the first to register. Registration opens in late February. If you’re listening to this episode after the fact, you can sign up to be on the waiting list for the next round!
Tune in now!
Mentioned in This Episode
- Learn With Dara
- Get Productive with G Suite Course
- FREE Gmail Inbox Zero Tutorial
- The Content Experiment Summit
About Dara Sklar
Dara Sklar is like a tech-savvy Monica Geller, but is a lot less demanding (and shrill 😂). She’s the friend you call for tech help. Dara’s also happy to jump in and show you time saving tips and hacks that you’ll wish you knew sooner. Using her in-depth knowledge of Google Tools to help business owners work more efficiently, Dara identifies behind-the-scenes disorganization that’s slowing your business growth, ruining your ability to delegate, and eating up time you don’t have!
To learn more about how to get productive with tech, visit Dara at Learn With Dara for her courses and free tutorials. You can also follow her organization and adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
Abby Herman: Hey there, and welcome to Episode 96 of the stories in small business podcast, a podcast experience that puts to rest the idea that we all need to do business the same way and celebrates the unique stories and paths that we’re all on. I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I’m here because when I first went full time in my business in 2013, I really struggled to find the help and support I needed to figure out what the heck I was doing so I could grow my business. My business is the sole income in my household and I struggled hard. I vowed to myself that if I was able to grow, I would be a resource to other business owners when I could afford to do so. This podcast is just part of that journey. If you’re new to the podcast, welcome, I work really hard to bring you informative and to the point content because let’s face it, no one has time for fluff these days. If you like what you hear, hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss another episode. I usually release episodes every Monday morning and every other Thursday morning. However, as we prepare for the Content Experiments summit coming up in March, my plans are to release two and three times a week, every week until March 15.
Today, I’m talking to Dara Sklar, a Google tools Pro. She has a course that can help business owners be incredibly efficient with Google suite, something that I think a lot of us could do a bit better or a lot better if you’re like me. But before we go any further, I want to tell you a bit about the summit. The summit features 25 speakers who are sharing bite-sized tips and tricks on how to get a better ROI on their time and financial investments in content and marketing. There are so many people out there telling you what’s right and what’s not. And it’s really noisy, I totally know it. And often we’re listening to the same people over and over and over again talking about the same things in the same way. I mean, it always seems to be the same speakers, right. And that’s what I think makes the content experiment summit so different. I intentionally looked for business owners who we haven’t heard from a lot of business owners who have amazing ideas, stellar results, and so much knowledge to share. But we don’t hear from them because so many summits, conferences, podcasts, and partnerships, focus on email list size, social media, and other arbitrary numbers that have nothing at all to do with the impact that they could give you.
So aside from new and fresh speakers, a few other things that you might want to know about the summit talks are 10 to 20 minutes long, so you have plenty of time to implement and stay on top of your work during summit week. The summit is also free, but a portion of all of the all access pass sales will go to women of color connecting an organization that builds bridges between women of color and those in positions to open doors. And the summit is also accessible. I’m working with someone specifically to ensure that all the content is as accessible as possible. It won’t be perfect, but it’s a step above some of the other summits you may have attended. You can sign up for the waiting list right now at the content experiment.com slash summit. Registration begins at the end of February. Now I bet you’re wondering, well, who are the speakers can be? Well, everyone who has been on the podcast since the first of this year is on the speaker lineup along with today’s guest, Dara Sklar.
I love this conversation with Dara because I selfishly got to ask all the questions I had about the Google products suite. We talked about the elusive inbox zero and why you don’t have to start from scratch, file naming consistency, setting up bookmarks and chrome which was like seriously an aha Mind blown moment. That’s towards the end of the episode, and why this work is so important. Now, let me tell you a little more about Dara so we can get on to the interview, Dara uses her in-depth knowledge of Google tools to help business owners work more efficiently. She’s like a tech-savvy Monica Geller, but she’s a lot less demanding and shrill. She’s the friend you call for tech help. She’s also happy to jump in and show you time saving tips and hacks that you’ll wish you had known sooner. That’s the truth. She is full of ideas on how to work more efficiently and is excited to share them in tutorials and courses that she offers at learn with learn.withdara.co. So without further ado, let’s hear from Dara Sklar. Hi, Dara, thank you so much for joining me today.
Dara Sklar: No, thank you so much for having me.
Abby Herman: So I am excited to talk to you today, because you’re going to be one of our speakers on the Content Experiments summit coming up in March. And so I want everyone to be able to get to know you a little bit better. First, can you tell the listeners what you do and who you do it for?
Dara Sklar: Yeah, absolutely. I help small businesses use Google tools to get and stay organized so that they as businesses can run more efficiently.
Abby Herman: And by small businesses, I’m thinking like one to five people, approximately? And how do you work with clients? And then how does that help you to live the lifestyle that you want?
Dara Sklar: That’s a great question. So how I work with clients is that I have a course. And it teaches them how to use each of the Google tools to be most productive within their business, because they’re now using the tools more efficiently and more thoroughly. One of the biggest complaints that people have about Google tools, specifically, because everybody uses Google in some capacity pretty much. And so with the course that I teach, it basically gives people a really strong solid foundation for how to use the Google tools that they are probably paying for and using already better. And by having that digital course, to answer your question about how it helps me live, the lifestyle that I want, is that it reaches more people. And then the people who do come to me for one on one help, they kind of already know what they need help with. So we jump right to the most constructive and the most helpful help that I can provide for them, because they already have a foundation of knowledge and an understanding of where their blocks are, and their frustrations are with their tools and systems setup.
Abby Herman: Yes, that’s great. Yeah, I love that, that being able to kind of self diagnose before you hire the expert to help you with the thing.
Dara Sklar: Well, and it makes it more efficient for them to because then they’re not paying for an expert to come in and diagnose something minor or they’re not paying, like, it’s so much more cost effective when you hire an expert, when you have some understanding of what you’re hiring them for. And there’s nothing worse than hiring someone when you don’t know anything about the thing that they’re hired being hired for. Because then you don’t understand what they’re teaching you you don’t absorb it as well, you can’t implement as as efficiently. So it really does make a big difference in how I work with people.
Abby Herman: Yeah, definitely. So this is not actually where you started your business, though. So where did you start with and where did this idea for this product, which I was the very first person to buy it, right? I’m very proud of that. I saw I saw you posting about it. And you and I were communicating on messenger. And as soon as I saw that, it was ready. I was like, I’m getting this thing. So it’s a product for Google suite. Where did you come up with the idea for it?
Dara Sklar: You know, honestly, I have always loved showing people how to be more efficient, like there is not a single time in my life where, and I have like I’ve done lots of one on one work in kind of separate business, which I’ll mention in a second. But there has never been a time where I have not looked over someone’s shoulder while they’re working on their computer and thought, Oh, well, they could do this thing faster, or this thing better. And I think it took me four years to realize that I needed to, if I wanted to teach that I needed to find the tools that people used to make them realize that they needed the thing that I wanted to teach them. So because so many people use Google tools. Suddenly I had an epiphany. While I was I was literally in the midst of building a course but I was trying, I had the full outline, I knew exactly what I wanted to share. But I didn’t know what the angle was that was going to make people understand that they needed what I was teaching.
And then I had this epiphany based on some conversations in Facebook groups about about Gmail and about Google Drive and what a what a mess it was and, and how frustrated people were with their setup and how little they understood the use of like Google workspace, which used to be called G Suite. And I thought, Oh my God, I’ve been using all these systems, my entire business life like 15 years in business. And I always considered myself an expert in it. In fact, I used to set people up the realtors that I would work for, which was that other business, I would set them up with their email addresses. And I was you know, immersed in Google products like my entire business, but I never really thought about it as something to teach people until I was trying to create this course where I was teaching people how to do something better. I was like, Well here is a tool that everybody uses. How do you use that in conjunction with the other work that you do? Well, I have an online business that I’ve had since 2005. So way back, and I do marketing for real estate agents locally which is local to me, which is here in Vegas. Cooper in Canada, and I was building websites for them and setting them up with their own systems for their own businesses, and doing marketing for them. But I also was running my business and I have a virtual assistant. And so you know, when they say, like, teach what you know, I’m kind of modeling the who my ideal client is, after who I was 10 years ago, when I first hired Actually, it was 11 years ago, just in March, it’ll be 11 years. And I have a virtual assistant in the Philippines. And she has worked for me remotely for all of that time.
And it wasn’t until I started documenting the procedures of the things that I was doing, and setting all of my systems up for continuity, that my business just drastically changed. Like I went from being unbelievably overworked and felt like everything was being managed in my own head. And suddenly, one procedure one step one, one piece of the puzzle at a time, I was able to not only offload it to her, but put myself in a position that benefit, you know, she wasn’t actually the very first assistant that I hired. And then, so I, you know, I hired one person, and it didn’t work out. And I was able to just hand over all the procedures, I had already documented everything. And I was like you’re learning this, and it was like this, you know, Oh, yes. And then my business transformed. And so every step of the way, as I’ve built the different things that my business offers, I have done it in these ways, we using these tools, using systems, making sure to stick to my own advice of making continuity a priority, making delegation a priority. There’s very few things in my business that I am only the I’m the only person who can do those things, even if I’m responsible for them. There’s a documented procedure, there’s the shared files, so if something happens to me, there’s still the ability for the business and the service to continue, as well.
Abby Herman: So you compare yourself to Monica Geller. As far as the organization, you’ve got the the virtual, three ring binder with all of the tabs, right. So and, and honestly, but just looking inside of your your course that you have, I mean, I can totally see that. And I see the potential for your course. And those systems inside my own business, which I have not started implementing yet, but it’s on my list. Can you talk a little bit about like, the impact of digital clutter on our life and our business? And how that might be holding us back?
Dara Sklar: Yes, I definitely can. And I’ll just speak to the Monica Geller angle a little bit. I’ve always been a fan of Friends that kind of came out of like, the right moment in my my my life where I was always following along. And it was really it was there in the background. And when it started coming out on Netflix, and you could watch the reruns every time there would be something that Monica would say about herself being organized, like as you said, like the three-ring binder, or let me go get my label maker. Like all of these things, always put this smile on my face, because I’m like, I can totally relate to this. And I do like to just put the caveat that I’m not that crazy. I’m not as crazy as her I’m not as shrill as her. And of course, I live in the digital age.
So I’m like the tech-savvy version of Monica Geller. But to answer your question about digital clutter, I think one of the things that happens to us, especially as we’re in business, especially if we’re one or two people in our business, is that we’re in a content creation mode, whether we’re creating content for the clients that we’re doing work for whether we’re creating content for ourselves, as you know, for our own marketing, like no matter what it is, we’re constantly creating things and physical clutter in our homes is visible, we can see it, it weighs on us. And you can tidy it up and you can put things in closets and you can get bins and you can be a more organized person.
But when it comes to your computer, I think because technology has changed so many times. And so often, I’ve said that so many so often and so much over the years, there’s like this accumulation and you have not knowing what to do. And so when you don’t have a system in place before you start creating all this content, or if you don’t even know like what settings within your computer programs will help you stay more organized, then it just ends up creating clutter, but it’s the kind of clutter that’s behind closed doors because it’s on your computer. There isn’t you know, you’re not losing space in your home or your office, you’re actually just creating more content that’s on your computer. And if it’s not organized, here’s the part that ends up throwing people off, which is the distraction that comes with looking for something. So it’s not just about the frustration of going looking for a file and not being able to find it or whatever, as a digital asset, or even resetting your password every time you go log into something you haven’t logged into in three to six months. So there’s, there’s the one component of the frustration that comes with that like kicking yourself for not knowing where you put that thing. But then there’s also the distraction that comes when you start to scroll through a list of files, where you’re like, you almost go down a rabbit hole, because you may see something that takes you off the path of what you were seeking.
And so what ends up happening is that people become less efficient and less productive because they aren’t taking the direct route to the thing they were looking for, it would be like if you were driving down the highway, and instead of having the Google lady tell you, you know, take exit such and such coming up in however many miles or kilometers, because I’m Canadian, and you would have to pull over to the side of the road every time you needed the next step of your direction, and then get back on the road. Like, that’s what it’s like, the end of, excuse me, the inefficiency of trying to get to your destination when you don’t have everything lined up in terms of the assets that you’re looking for.
So again, that would be everybody’s content creation journey. And needs are different, as I’m sure you know. But whatever it is that I’m looking for, if I’m working on a client project, I want to have everything right there at hand so that I’m not slowed down or distracted by sorting through a dozen emails back and forth with that client, or, you know, where did I save that, you know, she sent me three versions, and where’s the latest version, like all of those things. And so I basically, you know, while I think that I do it somewhat instinctively, because of my Monica Geller, ethos, in teaching clients for so many years about how to do the things that I do naturally, I have come up with some steps that make it a lot easier to not only become more organized on your computer, but also kind of clean up and forgive the past without having to go through all of your backlogs, because I think that’s what trips up most people from starting,
Abby Herman: I feel like you have been looking over my shoulder for the last, however many years of watching me be frustrated over trying to find the right file. I literally live in the search bar in my Google Docs, even though I have taken steps toward getting things a little more organized. And and you know, cleaning up I just spent some time in December, cleaning up my files, but I’m still living in my search bar, still to find, to find the file that I need. And yes, like everything that you just said, I 100% resonate with the times 10. I mean, it’s just it’s unreal. And, and it is frustrating. And it’s a huge, it’s a Not only is it a huge waste of time, it’s frustrating. And when you were talking about, you know, you’ve got the distraction of looking for something, then you start then you like have that negative self talk that oh my god, I can’t believe I can’t find this thing and how ridiculous. And then you see you’re frustrated, and then you get distracted by seeing other files. And you think Oh, that’s right, I should have I need to do this. And it’s such a time suck.
So help. What do we aside? I mean, I guess so we need to clean up our files. And we need to get things organized, and streamlined, and streamlined and all of that. But like how do we get there when we have? You know, for me eight years of I’ve been doing this full time for almost eight years? Where do you even start? Like, where does this? Where do you start? Can you get your sense of frustration and overwhelm and my voice here a little.
Dara Sklar: I’m gonna make it really easy for you. First of all, I want to say that living in your search bar isn’t a bad thing, it actually is probably the best thing you can do as long as you’re appropriately naming your files so that you can find them when you search for them. Because what you don’t want to do is spend your time scrolling through piles or lists, it would be like instead of having a filing cabinet where you know exactly what where we’re in the filing cabinet something is you literally have a stack of papers that every time you want one of the papers, you’re flipping through it, you do not want that to be the case. So I actually want to emphasize that you’re living in that search bar isn’t a bad thing, as long as you take the time and you are consistent in how you name your files. And so I can talk a little bit about that.
But I wanted to take a step before the search bar and say that one of the best things you could possibly do for yourself if you’re going to go down the path of kind of getting your digital life organized, is to give yourself a fresh start. And I do this I call it like sweeping it under the rug. I’ve heard other people describe it as declaring bankruptcy. Some people go to the extreme of like getting a brand new email account. I don’t recommend that. Don’t think that’s necessary. There’s so much storage capacity that comes with the Google tools that there’s really no need to go and like completely wipe, like wipe everything out. But what you can do is you can archive it all. So let’s say your inbox, there’s a few different ways that you can start fresh. We’ll just talk quickly about the inbox with the inbox and there is a tutorial that I know you’re going to link to, later on that actually just walks you through exactly how to technically do this, this Inbox Zero exercise. And when I say Inbox Zero, I don’t mean like absolutely nothing in your inbox, I just mean that what’s in your inbox should be the stuff that you still have to deal with respond to, you know, that are still action items for you. But everything else doesn’t need to live in the inbox. Because all that does is make you think, Oh, I’m overwhelmed, I have so much to do. So using labels to clear out items that you’ll come back to using like knowing that you can always search through your emails, and then using the archive to really aggressively not leave things in your inbox that are going to just weigh on you and that you’re actually never going to get to one of the things I started doing recently was I had like I have like a secondary inbox. Because I’m recording all these course videos, I didn’t want my students to see my own little backlog of things that I still want to deal with. And so I moved everything that was in my inbox into the secondary inbox. And I realized, like, how long is stuff going to sit there and I still don’t get to it or don’t need to. And it makes me realize that I never needed to in the first place.
Like years and years ago, I had a file of like to read. And I thought, Okay, well, these are all like newsletter letters or emails that have come in that I want to read. But I don’t have time today. And so I started putting them all in the to read and like the end of the year came. And I thought I haven’t once like, had some craving to go into this file folder called to read and flip through it, I’m just going to touch them all. And so I literally just removed the label and got rid of the whole thing. So this is where that start fresh feeling comes from because in your email, really just getting everything out of sight is so valuable. And inside of your Google Drive, what I find is that technically, and unfortunately, the way the Google Drive is set up, is that when you have any, when you create a document within the within Google Drive, so like a doc sheets form, or a slide file, those things will live in the folder that you created them in, or they’ll live in the main folder, if you just kind of straight up, just create them. And so that means that you end up with all these loose files in your main folder.
So what I’ve done is I’ve created a file folder called loose files. And I took everything that was loose in my main drive. And I, I also have some intentional folders. Like that’s not the only folder I have, I have my, you know, for all the different things that I am using Google Drive for I have main folders for those as well. But then I took all of those loose files, and I threw it into this loose Files folder. And now because the desktop because like the Google Drive main screen is clean, when a few things start to show up. I’m bothered by them. And then I do something about them. So they end up being better filed and better named because they sit there and they’re not just part of dozens or hundreds of files. They are the only three or five things that are showing up. And so I opened up Google Drive, I’m like, Oh, yes, right. I need to go and toss this in that folder, or name it so that I can find it appropriately later.
Abby Herman: So a couple questions. Why would things be showing up in your your main Google folder? Because would it be because somebody’s sharing the file with you? Is it because you’re creating a file that like right at that moment, you’re just creating file, you’re not necessarily putting it someplace specific yet? Like, why would that happen?
Dara Sklar: So let’s say I’m taking a course and I click on a file that the course creator has shared with the students. And when you do that Google doesn’t prompt you just to say Where do you want to save this? Like with with, you know, Microsoft, when you open up a Word document or an Excel file? You can’t leave it and close it without it prompting and saying where on your computer? Do you want to store this. But Google, understandably like, to me, it’s a bit frustrating because it creates visual clutter. But it’s understandable because Google is driven by search, which is why I was saying that you searching isn’t a bad thing. But Google is driven by search so it, it doesn’t care what folder structure you’re using. So when you click on a link, it just plops that file directly into your main Google Drive folder. When someone shares a file with you, it actually lands in shared with me, which is a whole other conversation, or complication, depending on how you look at it. It’s a great, great thing but it can be a little confusing in terms of where where files are located. And the other thing is, if I were to just create I think you can type in doc dot new in your address. Far, and then it just instantly creates a new Google Doc. But that Google Doc lives in that main folder, the only time that it will.
So if you go into a folder, let’s say you had a folder for this podcast and this episode, and you went into that folder for the podcast episode, and you clicked, right clicked, or you clicked on the plus, and you said, new document, that document would live in that folder because you created it from that folder. But if you do anything else without creating from a folder, it doesn’t ever ask you where you want to store it. And so then you just end up creating kind of unknowingly a lot of people because they haven’t taken the time to think about it like I have. We’re taking the course yet. And so it just ends up being it just ends up creating, as I say, visual clutter, it isn’t a criticism, because it’s okay to keep digital files. It’s just not okay to have those digital files throw you off.
Abby Herman: Yeah, yeah, but mine definitely do. Okay, so that’s great. Because I, I can imagine it now me, I usually go into the folder where I want the file to live. But sometimes I don’t, sometimes I just need to write something down really quick. Or I forgot to create this document, and I’m getting on a call with a new client and I need to have this document, I had need to have a blank document in front of me. So that makes sense. I want to back up a little bit, to before we go forward and ask you about email. And you said to create, to, you know, to create an archive folder to put some of that stuff. And I love what you said about how you’d like you had a you had a label or whatever they’re called, you had a label where you were sending kind of those newsletter type things, and you realize that you weren’t even reading them. So you just got rid of them all, and probably unsubscribe to a lot of them too. I guess my fear is the thing that I think what has held me back from that, you know, quote, unquote, Inbox Zero, in all of this time is that I am afraid that I am going to need something again, it’s like looking in your closet and thinking, Okay, I’m going to purge my closet, you get rid of some things and you and then three weeks later, you can’t find that one pair of shoes you want. And then you realize, oh my god, I donated that to Goodwill. That’s why I can’t find them. And now I want them. I feel like I’m gonna want this thing. As soon as I get rid of it. And I’ll tell you, I just as you were talking, I looked, I clicked over to my email. Because I didn’t know how bad my inbox was, I know it’s terrible. I’m almost at five digits in emails in my inbox, and I guarantee more than half of them are unread. They’re just they just sit there because their subscriptions or their from the help a reporter out, I get those emails, and I don’t always open them or they’re like receipts for things or notifications of payments received. And I just let them sit there. So it helped me with the, I guess, mindset of I can’t get rid of these things.
Dara Sklar: But the thing is, I’m not telling you to delete them. So you said you live in your search bar, which means that you know how to search. Yeah. So when you archive something like if you in your Gmail interface, I’m not talking about like your, I don’t know what kind of program you use. But if you’re using the webmail interface, you check the checkbox beside the email. Beside multiple emails, if you want, you get a menu that shows up at the top and the far left icon is archive, you can hover over it and see what it is it looks like a little filing cabinet. And all that does is it moves that that email from being in your inbox, think about the inbox as a as a file folder, and it moves it from being in that inbox over into the own mail area. And if you don’t see all mail on the left, click on the More or less toggle and scroll down. And you can actually drag all mail up and drop it near the inbox, you can do the same with your trash and your spam. It’s one of those little configuration things that Gmail doesn’t give you straight out of the box. So if you drag those up, so it lives in all mail, but the thing is, you don’t ever need to use the all mail. Don’t not never, but you rarely need to use all mail as the label because you have the search bar.
So you know you and I are communicating and all of your emails are archived, because I know all I need to do is hit the search bar and type in Abby, and I will find everything that you’ve ever sent me. And if I type in Abby and podcast, then I will find everything related to the podcast interview and all of the things because of course, every time you would have talked about the podcast, you would would have used that word. So it’s a real easy thing for me. You know, once this appointment was in my calendar, I didn’t need to leave this in my inbox. And so I’m clearing things out as I’m taking action on them. I did want to mention that a lot of people everybody uses things differently. Everybody’s understanding of the interface is different and I was always the kind of person who archived my emails and then I realized that some someone like yourself doesn’t realize that archiving is like the old way. It’s like deleting because with Gmail, you can store so much data that you don’t ever need to delete anything you can just archive. So there is a, I can think of probably less than 1% of the time that I’ll actually delete an email, I almost exclusively just archive, it does that does that help Oh, and then also labels and then also labels. So labels can apply labels are brilliant in Gmail, because it’s not like a file folder. It’s not like traditional Outlook or the Mac mail where you like, drag and drop one email into one place, you can label every email multiple ways. So I have a label, for example, called keeper’s, which is by get login information from a course or I sign up as an affiliate for something and I want to make sure that I like have the email, I’ll save things elsewhere as well. But that you know, that the email will stand out.
So let’s say I was an affiliate for a program that you had, I would type it into my search bar and look for the label keepers, which I happen to have colored orange from the long list or a course that I’m taking where I happen to have received the login information. And then there was an exam results. And, you know, whatever it is that I think that I’m going to want to have jump off the page at me, when I have a volume of emails that comes from a particular person, I label it as keepers, but I can also label it as other things. I mean, in my personal inbox, I will label things as paid as they come in, even if they also get labeled as I don’t know, I mean, I guess paid is me. Well, I you know, you can label paid on top of something else for I mean, yeah, even in my business when we don’t use Gmail as our as our business email, but we used to, and we had a shared inbox. And then we would have like a task do for a client. And we would label it with the day of the week, the type of task, the person who was taking responsibility, and so all those things would show up on the email. But it made it not only easier for us to see what at a glance what it was, but also to find things more easily. Oh, I want to see all of the web site projects that we did for such and such a person with this particular task, you know, so we just, we were using labels as like an almost like a hyper hyper search.
Abby Herman: Yeah, interesting. Okay, okay. Yeah, that definitely helps. So once we’ve cleaned everything out, we’ve got the extra folders to you know, we’ve got like that, I think, I think you remember what you call that folder, but we have all the loose files, you’ve cleaned up your inbox, what is the next thing that people should be paying attention to like moving forward from?
Dara Sklar: Okay, we’re cleaned up, we’re fresh, we’ve got that fresh start. What’s next. So I’m going to I’m going to circle back around to my comment about search and shortcuts, instead of scrolling. Just because I want to be a bit more thorough in this explanation. It’s all fine and good if we start fresh. But if we don’t actually make a new habit and make a new process for ourselves, then we’re just going to end up back where we were. And so making sure that you are being intentional. Jerry Seinfeld had this bit. And if as you go through my course, you’re gonna see that I actually talked about him. Or I played the clip. It’s like a 62nd clip. And he talks about night guy and morning guy. And how morning guy is always mad at night guy for staying up late or for not shaving before bed or for you know, not doing the laundry or whatever it is that night guy didn’t do because like I was lazy. My husband actually refers to this often when he’s like, I am being kind to tomorrow, by putting gas in the car tonight. I love that. Right?
So if you think about that, I call it like the night guy morning guy, because I really thought that bit from Jerry was very real, although he was obviously joking around. But it’s it’s such in our everyday lives, they’re constantly things that we can do to help our future selves, and naming our files or putting our files somewhere intentional, that we know we’re gonna find them makes such a huge difference. And it’s easy to get lazy. But if you can just break that little habit. And so there’s two things to tie in. One is that I want to say that just because you maybe fall off the wagon a little bit, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t just get back on the wagon. So like I say progress, not perfection. This is a habit that takes a long time. It’s an evolutionary process. It’s something that you it’s a muscle that you’re strengthening, basically, where you’re like, you have the positive reinforcement of a procedure that’s going better or finding something quickly. And you’re like patting yourself on the back instead of that negative self talk. You’re like, look at how fast that was. Or look at how easy that was. And with that positive reinforcement. Now suddenly you’re like, Okay, I’m going to do that again. So it’s, it’s naming your files with keywords that you would search for. Another thing I mentioned is shortcuts. So you can make shortcuts of your own files to just about anywhere else on your computer, you use the search bar in Google Drive, I love using bookmarks in Chrome, and the files that I need to access regularly, the templates, the, you know, the spreadsheet that I fill in every day, with my, you know, Facebook stats, or you know, whatever it is that I’m tracking those things live in folders in my bookmarks bar inside of Chrome. So I would say, nine times out of 10, when I’m looking for a Google Doc, I’m actually just clicking into the folder and opening it from a bookmark, and the bookmarks, and here’s like, such an epiphany, I hope this really helps people is when you have bookmarks on your Chrome, bookmarks bar.
First of all, you can have folders there. So just in case anybody doesn’t know that. But one of the best things you could possibly do is link to a deep link. So don’t just link to Google Drive link to the document that you access every day, linked to the folder in Google Drive that has your podcast episodes, or link to your bookkeeping folder, directly or link to a folder inside of your email, like use the bookmarks link not to link to home pages, so much as to link to the thing that you will navigate to link to a Facebook group not to Facebook homepage. So even in messenger.com, you can you can have a conversation. So I have a couple of group chats for some groups that I’m in. And I have links directly to those messenger conversations. So in the same way that when we’re looking through our computer files, and we get lost, imagine going to Facebook homepage, in order to go to the search bar in order to go to the Facebook group or in order to go to messenger and then you see all the other messages you have, bookmark the direct link to the thing that you know you’re looking for. And when you realize that you can do that, suddenly, you’re gonna see all the opportunities for doing that.
Abby Herman: Mm-hmm. I love that I that’s actually one shortcut that I have implemented, I have my bookmarks. And what I love about it is that you can rename things based on, you know, like the way your brain thinks. So for example, I have a link directly to my client folder in Google Drive, and my podcast folder in my membership folder. But then in I because the icon is the little triangle for drive, I needed to put the actual words there. But for some of them, I have, like my air tip, my main air table. So I just have the icon, I deleted the name and I just had the icon so I can fit more things on there. The direct login to my website, I can see the little favicon. And so I just click on that, and I can sign right in. So it makes it a lot easier I can have I didn’t realize that you could have folders though. So I could even create folders for my clients and have direct links to their clickup page and their content folder and their social media stuff. And I didn’t realize that I could do that. So yeah, that sounds amazing.
Dara Sklar: So you really do bring up a good point. And I take this for granted. But I was just showing this to a client the other day, we have two minutes left of our call and I was like hey, by the way since I’m since we’re looking at your screen, did you know you can do this and this? She was like, Oh my God, this has been you know, this 60 seconds was worth worth was worth everything. And so you can as you say you right click and you choose Edit, I think it’s I think it’s called I think it’s edit on your on your screen. Oh no, it is renamed to choose rename, and then you can either remove the name entirely or just rename it with your own abbreviation or your own clarification. So you wouldn’t want it to just say Facebook, you would say such and such face, you know, group or whatever. But the interesting thing about books about the folders. So again, on the Bookmarks Bar, you just right click and you say add folder, and you can name it as as as well as you want. But one of the things that I started doing was I put a bunch of things in a folder that I want to open all at once. So I was saying I track my Facebook ads and daily. So all of the face all the pages that I need to track that all go into that one folder, and then I just middle click on the folder or right click and choose Open all new tabs, and it opens all five pages at once. Or I have like 10 different WordPress websites. And every two weeks we go and make sure all the plugins are updated, put them all in a folder, open them all at once, login to them all at once, go through and do the thing all at once and then just close them all and having them all lumped in that as opposed to letting those folders get more and more and more cluttered. I’m using folders with intention with with the intended use of the visit of those websites. So it’s all these things that stack and this is where that course that I’m teaching and I’m not bringing it back to that to plug it so much as to say that these are all the things that I so desperately wanted to share with people because of how much time and bandwidth you save when you’re taking the direct path to the action that you’re trying to take?
Abby Herman: Yes. And I have to say, listeners, the course is it’s a steal for the amount of value and information that you get out of it total steal, so so if people want to kind of try you out a little bit first and the way that you teach, you do have a free product that you can give to people. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Dara Sklar: Yeah, for sure. So it’s a Gmail inbox zero tutorial. And basically, it just walks you through the technical steps and thought process on clearing out your inbox to quote unquote, zero again, because zero is really referring to not, not the 10s of 1000s of emails, but only the ones that still require your attention and action. And it’s a 10 minute video, it’s super straightforward. And it’ll walk you through, it’ll walk you through that there’s a little PDF Hamlet handout that shows you the three steps. And it’s, you know, just a demonstration on screen as to how it all works. So if you are the kind of person like me, who prefers the visual and prefers the handhold, then that’s, that’s there. And it’s on learn with dara.com, which takes you to my member vault Abbey has member vault too, we’re both fans. And so you can go and check, take a peek at that. And any of the other programs that I have are there as well. But the Inbox Zero tutorial is free.
Abby Herman: Fantastic. I am so excited to hear your talk on the summit. And to learn more about how to get that content a little more organized and other ways that probably that we’re not thinking about to organize our content and keep track of it. So I’m excited for that. Thank you so much for being here today and sharing all of your knowledge.
Dara Sklar: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I think I you know, suddenly having this epiphany that my approach is a very practical one. It’s not about it’s like a very technical practical, like, here’s how to do things better and faster. It’s not a big like theoretical, how to be more productive by journaling in the morning and not to knock that. But it’s much more hands on here’s like the actual steps to take. Technically. And that’s that’s the part that I think a lot of people get tripped up on because maybe they understand in theory, like I actually have a lot of students who say “My home is so clean my computer is not because I just don’t have like I don’t have those instincts within the tools that I’m using”. So that is definitely if I have to like characterize my own approach. It is definitely the the technical how to become more organized and efficient within your within your digital world.
Abby Herman: I love it. Thank you so much.
Dara Sklar: Yeah, thanks so much for having me again.
Abby Herman: All right, who is planning to overhaul their Google products right now. I know I am. Such great information. And this is work that I know I need to do sooner rather than later. I have records and it’s truly a steal to get and I highly recommend it. She keeps adding to it making the price point even more of a great deal and you’ll find a link to her course in the show notes. I can’t wait to learn more from Dara at The Content Experiment Summit. Remember, you can sign up for the waiting list at thecontentexperiment.summit.com/summit. Registration opens February 26. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. tag me at @AbbyHerman and Dara at @DaraSklar the more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands and earbuds of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai