How to Stop Procrastinating

We all have days when it feels like you just can’t get started on anything. When hours go by and you realize that, somehow, you’ve been reading BuzzFeed and ZDNet all this time.

stop procrastinatingOften, just taking a break and coming back to a problem fresh is enough to jumpstart your brain and get you back on track.

But what happens when it stops being just a phase? When you slip into the realm of the chronic procrastinator?

Sometimes, it takes a whole new approach to knock your timewasting on the head.

How to stop procrastinating? Here are three top strategies:

1. Build yourself an “ideas playground”

If you’re the kind of person who bounces around from idea to idea and finds it hard to focus, Marianne Cantwell’s playground approach might just be the way forward.

ideas playground

Instead of trying to force yourself to work down a linear list, Cantwell suggests scribbling down a few things that you really need to get done, plus ideas of projects that you really want to delve into but never seem to have time for.

First thing in the morning, she says, try picking just one thing you must do today and spend 20 minutes on it. Then, as your mind starts to wander, allow yourself to drift to something else from your “playground” and explore this for a while before returning to the task in hand.

That way, you get to feel like you’re procrastinating – but really, you’re laying useful groundwork for a project you’d never get started on otherwise.

2. Take a “three pronged” approach

If you feel you need a little more structure to your to-do list, try out Barbara Corcoran’s approach instead.

how to stop procrastinatingA leading business guru, Corcoran divides her lists into three parts. The first is a priority section that contains just two or three things she really must do that day, the second is a “review” section of easy tasks that can be dealt with fast, and the third is a list of tasks needed for major long-term projects, which are crucial for business growth.

This helps Corcoran to keep track of the most urgent tasks while making sure that the little things don’t slip through the net – and without losing sight of the big business goals that keep her ahead of the curve.

3. Write down every idea you have

Perhaps one of the most productive people the world has ever seen, Richard Branson is also a prolific list maker – and he has the system nailed.

Similar to Corcoran’s concept, Branson recommends keeping multiple lists – of small tasks that are satisfying to tick off, of big projects that give you a sense of achievement when you finally draw a line through them, and of big, outlandish goals that represent the things you really want to do, someday.

how to stop procrastinatingThe difference, though, is that what most people might think of as procrastinating, Branson sees as a potential future goldmine of ideas.

“Write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small,” he says. “Include personal goals in your lists, not just business.”

That way, you can scribble down your daydreams as they come and know they’re not lost – you’ll revisit the idea later, when you’ve tackled the most urgent things on your list. And, whenever you need a little inspiration or motivation, you can revisit your old ideas and remind yourself what you really want to achieve.

Just don’t forget your notebook!

Marek Sanders, copywriter


This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and Fleep evangelist.


Chat for teams

How the busiest people in the world use email

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Jaan Tallinn, Andrew Mason, Steve Wozniak. Probably some of the busiest people in the world. Have you ever wondered how the busiest people manage their emails?

How do the busiest people in the world use email?Email was never meant for conversations, nor for being used at the scale that it is used today. Email is known as the anti-productivity tool and as a drain on anyone’s workload. Yet email is a tremendous open platform, and the use of email in business communication does not seem to be on the decline just yet. Surely the extremely busy people have to use email too?

Well, we did our research and found a pattern or two in just how they use email. So, here’s an overview of how the busiest people in the world use email…

Concise replies

First of all, it is clear the extremely busy people respond to emails with brevity. Their emails are straightforward, to the point, and usually short. For example, according to the biography of Elon Musk, “Ok.” is a standard response you can expect from Elon via email.

“Ok.” – Elon Musk

Likewise, Jeff Bezos is known to be concise in email communication.

email as chat

Email messenger?

Secondly, and somewhat related to the first point, it’s not uncommon that extremely busy people use emails as if it was a modern chat. As Raul Gutierrez (CEO of Tinybop, Inc.) shares on Quora, he emailed back and forth with Steve Jobs as if it was an email chat.

“If I emailed late at night (past midnight) I got an almost instant response. If I was up and would respond back, he would again respond. . . like modern chat.” - Raul Gutierrez on Steve Jobs’ email conversations

(We bet Steve Jobs would have liked the conversational chat-like experience of emails that Fleep has.)

Assistants vs managing your own emails

Third, it’s no secret that many executives have assistants to help manage the sheer volume of email they receive daily. For example, Tony Sieh of Zappos has a team of email handlers and it is very likely that if you email Jeff Bezos, you’ll receive a response from one of his assistants handling the emails.

how does Elon Musk manage his email

At the same time, some extremely busy people are known to handle all of their own email, with a system in place to help cope with the volume. Andrew Mason, (co-founder of Detour, previously CEO of Groupon) is one of these people, and even Steve Wozniak answers his own email.

Jaan Tallinn, a serial founder and investor is unquestionably an extremely busy person, and has often spoken out about email and business communications (see for example “Why Email’s Days Are Numbered” on Huffington Post or this interview with Tallinn on the topic business communication). In an interview to TechWorld, Tallinn said:

“I really don’t like email as a communication method and there’s a good reason for this. It was invented in the 70s and it was intended for much lower volumes.” – Jaan Tallinn

In fact, Jaan Tallinn uses Fleep to manage most of his email. Thus, it is clear Tallinn manages his own email – especially given that Fleep turns the email threads into effective conversations.

how do the busiest people in the world manage email

There is little doubt email is an inefficient tool for communication. However, as email is the lowest common denominator, even the busiest people in the world have to deal with it.

The patterns in how the busiest people in the world use email are evident. The busiest executives manage email with brevity, often chat via email, and use systems or tools to make email a little more efficient.

Chat for teams

Fleep in 2015: What we shipped last year

Fleep 2015Another year is coming to an end – and as we fare well to 2015, it’s time to review what we built this year.

At Fleep, we ship a lot – with two releases every week, we’re always updating and improving your experience of Fleep. Needless to say, we shipped A LOT in 2015.

Here, we’d like to give you an overview of Fleep in 2015, and highlight the bigger deliveries. Just follow the links if you’d like to read more about any specific feature or launch!

More or less chronologically, here’s an overview of Fleep year 2015 product releases:

  • Fleep username – this was a big one. Your Fleep username (previously, Fleep ID) is your identity in Fleep and it is compatible with email. It’s what others can use to find you in Fleep – and the email-compatibility means you can receive emails sent to your Fleep username. Many people are happily using their Fleep username as their primary email address!
What’s next?

In early 2016, you will be able to connect your Gmail or Google Apps email to Fleep. This will allow you to send and receive email messages in Fleep while maintaining your existing email address. Yeah, that’s the same feature that Business Insider is excited about.

fleep_illustration_01But that’s not all. Linking Gmail and Google Apps to Fleep is the first step – links to other email services will be added gradually.

Other things in our pipeline include the forward message action, Google Drive integration, support for multiple accounts and more… Stay tuned.


What about our team? 

In 2015 the Fleep Team grew a bit and we’re officially going as strong as ever.

Fleep Team

We welcomed a few colorful characters to the team, who don’t just get stuff done, but also enjoy themselves along the ride.

This year, we had quite a lot of fun with our team, too – at our quarterly retreats, at WebSummitSlushRefresh as well as… in the office and outside the office :).

What about the users?

We wouldn’t be doing any of this without our users.

We love our users. It’s incredible how many of you are dedicated to giving us feedback, how many of you love sporting Fleep shirts and hoodies, and how your reviews have made Fleep the messeaging app with the highest average rating on Google Play.

fleep_illustration_10We also love how our user base keeps growing. In 2015, we continued sharing Fleep User Stories and also did a few of those in video format (Bigbank and Team Naw). Get in touch with Fleep Support if you’d like to share your Fleep User Story on our blog!

From all of the 16 Fleep team members, we’d like to say THANKS for a great year everyone!
We look forward to a fleepin’ awesome 2016 with you.

Customizing Fleep

customizing fleepWhether you use Fleep as an alternative to email or as a team communication tool, it is nice to be able to make it your own. Recently, we added a few new ways for you to start customizing Fleep to your liking.

Firstly, you can now modify the left pane in the desktop user interface (web browser, Mac and Windows app). Secondly, you can now play around with labels a little more than before.

Conversation avatars

Making the conversation avatars visible by default was one of the bigger changes to the look of the left pane that was launched with Fleep 2.0. For one-on-one conversations, the conversation icon avatar is the avatar picture of the person you are having the conversation with (unless you’ve changed the Topic for that conversation). For group conversations and any conversation with a Topic that a user has typed, the conversation avatar will be automatically generated form the initials of the name of the Topic.

Now, however, you can decide whether or not you want to see conversation avatars on the left pane in the user interface. If you choose to keep them, you can set an emoji as the conversation avatar.

alternative to email

Left pane with avatars vs left pane without avatars

As you can see, the left pane is more compact without avatars – more conversations can be seen in the same space.  To make the conversation avatars disappear from the left pane, all you need to do is open your Account preferences and untick the “Show avatars in left pane” option. Try it out! You can always make them reappear with the same setting.

Do you prefer to keep the avatars, but don’t like the look of the automatically generated placeholder avatars? No problem, you can change the avatar of every conversation with an emoji! Changing the avatar of a conversation is simple – just edit the conversation topic to start with an emoji, and the emoji will become the avatar of the conversation. In the example above, the Topic of the Project Aurora conversation starts with an emoji, so the emoji becomes the conversation avatar.


Labels are a great way to customize Fleep. With the recent update to labels, you now have a few more options for managing your labels.

To manage your labels, just click on your profile in the bottom left corner of the interface and choose Manage labels. Here you can delete existing labels and also choose which labels you want shown on the left pane aka the conversation list.

manage labels

As before, you can add and create labels in the conversation, through the conversation actions menu on the left pane or in the Manage labels view. (read more about labels in this blog post).

Pssst… In case you didn’t know, you can also rearrange labels by dragging and dropping them! Like this:


What’s next? We have plans for some further improvements to label management and to customizing the left pane. Stay tuned! Should you have any questions or feedback about customizing Fleep, do not hesitate to reach out to us via Fleep Support or through our social channels (TwitterFacebook).

Introducing Automute

fleep_illustration_06One of the reasons why email tends to be a drain on your productivity is that anyone can attempt to reach you via email. Whoever has been able to find out your email address can try to get your attention. Sometimes, they’re worth your attention – other times, not so much.

This is why we have built the Automute feature - the option to have Fleep automatically mute all incoming emails that are sent from a new email address (that is, an email address that is not among your Fleep contacts).

If Automute is enabled, all of the automatically muted incoming email conversations will be visible under the Muted label. You will not receive any notifications about them, but the conversations will remain unread until you can read them at your own convenience.

When enabled, what does Automute do?

The goal of Automute is to make sure conversations created by “strangers” (i.e. people who are not in your contact list) do not get your attention unless you want to give them your attention.

More specifically, if the incoming email message was sent by someone who is not in your contacts, the newly created conversation is automatically muted.

Note that the “stranger(s)” in the new conversation will be added to your contacts only if you reply into that new conversation or when someone among your contacts adds you to a conversation with the “stranger(s)”.

How to make the most out of Automute in Fleep?

Fleep automute

  • First of all you’ll have to configure it in the Account preferences, as it is turned off by default.
  • Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 3.26.43 PMSecondly, you may want to drag the Muted label above Recent on the left pane and collapse it. This is a trick we learned from our CEO – in this way, you will not forget to take a look at the muted conversations every now and then. The unread label for the Muted label is intentionally subtle so you wouldn’t feel any guilt for the number there.
  • Third, try to review the conversations under the Muted label 1-2 times a day at the most. There may be a few useful email conversations in there, but it is more likely that the conversations in there are newsletters you did not know you signed up for, sales pitches you did not ask for and other email messages that do not require your urgent response.
  • Fourth, sit back and get work done. No more unnecessary, low-priority distractions via email.
What changes once you start using Automute in Fleep?

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about the Automute feature when we first discussed the concept. The more email messages I received in Fleep, however, the more I felt the need to enable Automute.

fleep_illustration_13Since trying it out, I have not looked back – Automute has helped me regain my focus during the workday, as I no longer get distracted by incoming emails from people outside of my network. I am now in control of the priority of my conversations.

How will Automute help you prioritize your communications?

Automute has helped in building the hierarchy where messages from people who are not my contacts are the lowest priority, along with email newsletters and other conversations that I read at my own convenience. This does not mean that I ignore them – I do still read them and respond to them. With Automute, howeverm I no longer get distracted by those communications throughout the day. I get to choose when they get my attention!

Like our CEO Henn said, “Automute is a lifesaver. I would not have been able to replace email with Fleep without Automute – it keeps my Recents clean, as all promotional emails and cold emails are filtered out and kept under the Muted label. They do not get my immediate attention – as it should be!”

What if something important gets muted with Automute?

fleep_illustration_02It is very likely that sooner or later, something important to you will get muted with Automute. But if you follow the good practice of taking a look at the conversations under the Muted label once or twice a day, you’ll be able to react to that important message within a good timeframe, and unmute the conversation if you wish.

After all – emails, chat for teams or any other written means of communication are usually not used for urgent matters.

Here’s a quick video guide to the Mute and Automute features in Fleep:

What’s next? Currently, Automute only applies to incoming emails. In the future, we hope to apply the same logic to conversations where all members are Fleep users – to even better the experience of Fleep as an alternative to email.

Features like Automute in Fleep are what improve the use of email in business communication. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, do not hesitate to reach out to us via Fleep Support or through our social channels (TwitterFacebook).