What is Handle?

Handle is a productivity system. It takes all the things that come at you everyday - like emails, tasks, projects, and meetings -- and organizes them in one place so you can stay focused on what matters.

What are productivity systems?

Productivity systems are trusted tools people use to direct their attention. Without a tool for the job, the human mind directs attention towards the most urgent or visually prominent. While effective for fighting sabre tooth tigers, this fails us when trying to allocate attention towards meeting longer-term important life goals, especially when it comes to dealing with the constant onslaught of email.

Why bother directing attention?

We believe that human attention is the most valuable resource on the planet. It’s all that we have. Individual moments of our existence, finite in supply, directed towards experiences are what comprise our lives. Moments spent working, resting, emailing, reading, conversing with a friend or loved one, learning, exercising; when done fully, all require our undivided attention.

Why don’t my friends use a productivity system?

Most people, even the most accomplished, don’t have a single system they trust and end up piecing together a panoply of individually inadequate tools to get by. Their email inboxes. Sticky notes on their monitors. Text or email messages to themselves. Paper lists. Open tabs and windows. See the long list we’ve compiled here. But everybody has ‘a system’ they use to get through their days. The most widely used “productivity systems” are paper-based due to their flexibility; David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and Steven Covey’s Franklin Planner are two of the better known. Each of these tools and behaviors serves a purpose or you wouldn’t be doing it, but few would argue there isn’t a better way.

Do I need a productivity system?

Everyone stands to benefit from a productivity system.  However, depending on your goals and responsibilities the proper system may not be electronic. The most fundamental question that a productivity systems answers for you is “What should I do next?”. If you are always clear on the answer to that, just keep doing what you’re doing. If, on other hand, you feel the need to check your inbox, your calendar, you to-do list, and any other myriad systems to decide on a next action, you stand to benefit from a better productivity system. When you are using a productivity system, you have lower anxiety about important things falling through the cracks, can better maintain focus on your current task due to the confidence it is the right thing, and make better choices aligned with your goals to get the most out of your time.

Is it possible to quantify the benefits?

There isn’t a lot of research out there but Deloitte has done some internal studies after productivity coaching and observed the following benefits for their employees.

Why Handle?

  • Handle natively integrates with email and calendar -- most knowledge workers get a significant portion of their daily tasks from their inbox, but working directly out of the inbox leads to continuous distraction. Handle is the answer.

  • Handle is smart -- contextual reminders

  • Handle leverages existing platforms -- We’re grateful for technology pioneers like Mitch Kapor and Lotus for pioneering the first killer business apps, Steve Jobs and Apple for the incredible iPhone, Paul Bucheit (sp?) and Google for building the best cloud email service, Bill Gates and Microsoft for getting the majority of companies on the planet on Exchange which will be a great platform for our growth.

  • Handle builds upon existing best practices -- there’s decades of productivity research from brilliant practitioners who’ve put their methodologies to the test with executives and teams around the world. We’ve built upon the shoulders of giants like David Allen, Steven Covey, and Peter Drucker who have given us both insights and inspiration in our personal lives and we are continually striving to build more of their wisdom into the product along enhanced with our own new learnings along the way (e.g. Contextual Reminders).

  • Handle is mobile-first -- always with you, offline support, reminder get your attention

  • Handle is cross-platform -- Handlebar in GMail

  • Handle incorporates decades of best practices

  • Handle cares about design -- world-class design to make it easy to understand and not require several days of productivity training, you can get started immediately

  • Handle is on a mission -- We’ve only just begun. Join the Handle user community and help shape the future or productivity. We are continuously improving, refining, and extending the product and will never stop. We know there will always be ways to make your life easier if we can listen and learn from our customers

Handle vs...?

  • Email clients -- Mailbox, Accompli, Baydin, Boxer. Modern email clients are great and we’re happy to see so much innovation that we too are learning from. What most email clients miss is the metadata required to manage a modern workflow, such as the Handle Habit. Due

  • To-do lists --

  • GTD

Who is behind Handle?

The company was started by Shawn Carolan in 2011 while an active venture capitalist at Menlo Ventures. Handle was born following a 5-year search to invest in a startup that could solve the “email overload” problem. No attempt was being made to create an integrated system (in part to the magnitude of the undertaking), so Carolan and the partners at Menlo decided to fund the company and let him run it as a part-time CEO. Though involved with several successful investments like Siri, Roku, Uber, YuMe, Telenav, Playspan and more at the time, the pull to see Handle through proved too strong at he left active investing to become the full-time CEO. He found kindred spirits in Jonathan McCoy, Co-Founder and VP of Product and David Sifry, VP Engineering and together with a team heavy on design and engineering have joined forces to deliver the mission. After three years of research and development that included thousands of users helping shape the product, we are proud to release Handle’s first version and are excited to continue executing on a roadmap that will transform knowledge work forever.