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Cool Technology: IWantSandy.com

I read about I Want Sandy over on 43 Folders, one of the blogs I read to guide me as I try to become organized and productive. It is the most useful web tool I have found to help me stay on track. I knew it was for me when I read this on her website:

Many people use their email inboxes as dynamic to-do lists, hoping that by keeping stuff “at the top” it will stay “top of mind.” Send those emails to me with the date you’d like them returned, and I’ll pass them back to you right when you need them.

Do you do that? Because I always tried to. Nope, doesn’t work. So I decided to give Sandy a try. And I have found that she is exactly what I have been needing!

Easy to Use

First of all, Sandy is easy to use; I have found that she has a very quick learning curve. Why? All you have to do is email her–you even get to set up your own special email address to use for Sandy (mine is “Help Me” in German).

Email Her

I know that I need to remember to include instructions for posting to the session log blog in my weekly email to my LC tutors, but I know I’ll lose that scrap of paper. Or I might forget to check my planner. So I simply email Sandy: “Remind me on Monday morning to tell the tutors how to post a session log. @lang-centre”. Monday morning when I get to the office, Sandy will have sent me an email telling me all the tasks and reminders I have set for Monday, including what I need to tell the tutors.

Sandy understands speech-like commands, so you don’t have to remember any fancy phrases (Although if you do have trouble remembering how to talk to Sandy, she comes with a cheat sheet).

Use Tags

Why the funny little “@lang-centre”? Funny, I thought you’d ask! The at-sign tells Sandy that what follows is a tag for that particular request. And, of course, it’s very simple: Just apply a tag via email by adding @[tag name] at the end of any command. I have tags for organization, the Language Centre, ToDos, and people, among others. Tags help to group all similar tasks so that they are easy for you to locate. Or easy for you to ask Sandy to locate for you.

Ask Sandy to Look Up Info

But let’s say that I decide to write the email Sunday night. I email Sandy: “Look up @lang-centre.” She emails me all of my active notes that I have tagged @lang-centre.

No External Site Necessary

If you’re like me, you too could be organized and on top of your life if you could just remember to check our calendar each day and scan the week and month to see what we need to prepare for. I don’t know about you, but I have too many things on my mind most of the time to remember everything I need to take care of and every think I need to check to remember all those things. I used to be able to when I was in high school. But that was high school.

Sandy delivers her reminders right to your inbox, so you don’t have to visit her site to communicate with her. Just send her an email.

I have to admit, though, that I do use her site more now that part of my 2008 Resolutions include closing Gmail while I work. I open her site while I’m working so that I can have her remind me of all those things that I suddenly remember that I just have to take care of. (Why is it that we remember so well when we are trying to focus on grading, reading research reports, etc?!). This helps me stay focused (read “stay away from my biggest distractor, Gmail”) when I’m working.

So why is Sandy the tool I’m using most to help me to be productive? As Mr. Kelso (and GTD) always used to say, “file it and forget it.”

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