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It’s fitting that today is No Email Day since we all had a bit of practice after Monday’s Gmail outages and yesterday’s brief Facebook blip. Several audible gasps were heard throughout Econsultancy’s offices and it serves as a reminder that today’s marketing and digital media culture is obsessed with being ‘always on.’
I was happy to keep plugging away in the browser on my email pitching for Econsultancy’s latest best practice guide because I have installed Gmail Offline, but how many people are aware of its Chrome extension? This got me thinking of the other tricks and tools I use when not connected to stay productive.
Here are some tools we use and practical advice to keep crunching, even if servers or your net connection bite the dust.
Use Wunderlist to stay organised
Wunderlist is a really simple and well-designed task management tool from Berlin-based 6Wunderkinder. It allows you to keep lists running across devices and your browser such as “Personal,” “Work,” etc.
The ability to quickly re-order items by drag and drop, and to highlight important tasks are really all you need to stay on track, and no internet connection is required in order to view and arrange your tasks. A much anticipated iOS and Android update appears to be dropping sometime before Christmas.
Leave an Evernote voice note in a shared folder
I am a huge Evernote fan as are many others I know. However, I believe I am in the minority on this unique use for a feature, which is not only asynchronous in that it can be initiated offline, but can also dramatically cut down on emails sent across teams on the same project.
How it Works
After creating a folder to share with another person click the microphone button and speak into your iPad/iPhone/Android with directives or comments for your other party – so for instance, in my case as a content marketer, it could be for web or print clippings that spark ideas for content creation.
The next time your phone is back on 3G or your iPad finds a WiFi Network, you can launch Evernote and sync and the audio recording will be available to everyone with shared access to listen to. This is a great way to effortlessly share ideas around content and cut back on unnecessary emails. You can even use Dial2Do to transcribe the first 30 seconds of your voice note so that it is searchable!
Read and edit your docs in Google Drive and Dropbox
Failed to back up that Word doc or spreadsheet on your hard drive? Make a habit of hitting the “Offline” toggle button in Drive for iPad if you are a road warrior and you want to view your files when offline. For desktop users, you have to download another extension, and be using Chrome, but at least the functionality is offered, and this has full editing ability.
If you are a Dropbox user, you probably already know once you get back online, files that were changed on another computer will automatically receive the most recent changes to files (and send any of their own updates) as soon as they reconnect to the Dropbox service via the Internet.
As far as I know (and please correct me if I’m wrong), you currently cannot edit files natively in either Dropbox or Google Drive on iOS when offline.
Catch up on reading in Pocket
Formerly called ReadItLater, Pocket is the offline storage and aggregation method of choice for most mobile and web savvy working professionals. A Chrome bookmarklet lets you hit a single button to save whenever you run across something that you might want to read on the unconnected bus or plane trip you have ahead of you.
While it is a problem for publishers (which was recently touched on in this blog post by Paul Boag) I can’t imagine life without Pocket at this point, and the cross-functionality you can get between it and Evernote helps you RULE THE WORLD!
Install Gmail Offline
As much as I hate to leave you all in the hands of a boring Google support archive article, Gmail Offline is really a must have for anyone who uses Apps or Gmail as their default browser mail. So I will leave you in the hands of Lifehacker who can help you get it going.
So what did you do when Gmail and Facebook went out? Or did it matter at all?