Armed with laptops, tablets, smart phones and 5 hour energy drinks, we should be able to complete that 4 hour work week that Timothy Ferriss says is possible. With social sites to update, apps to learn how to use and our actual job duties to complete, we just need a few more of those 5 hour energy drinks and 10 times what Timmy estimates, to get it all done!
I spend more time playing with and checking out apps than the average person and I'm sure I spend more time on social media sites than most as well, but that is our business. But if you have been feeling that technology, and especially social media sites, have invaded our lives like a swarm of locust coming in to eat our crops of time and productivity, you are not alone. Even I get that urge to take out my bug spray and start crop dusting for locust.
Over the past few years, I have come to rely on a few tools that save me time and make packing a 60 hour work week into at least a 39 hour bag a little more doable. So here are the top 10 tools I feel will help you save time:
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are still quite a few people who have not seen the value in switching to a smart phone. Having a phone that can access email, edit and send documents, take pictures, respond to questions on your social sites, post content as you see it to your social sites, and more, will save you from having to wait until you can get back to your computer to “get work done.”
iPad (or any other tablet for that matter)
We've heard the legends of the magical device that shoots out cotton candy rainbows (also known as the iPad), but once you start using it for more than a giant iPod to play music, you will discover that magic land for yourself. Working mobile is now really possible when you have a device that allows you to check and respond to email, create and edit documents, including presentations and smart looking charts, make reservations for dinner without picking up a phone, join a Skype meeting with co-workers and update your social profiles with the touch of a screen….Can you say Magical Unicorns? Now when you are sitting for 15 minutes waiting for your lunch appointment to arrive, you can be productive. When you have that 30 minutes before your son gets out of football practice, you can get a chunk of work finished. Slip it into your carry-on and pound out work on the plane, train or bus. I believe these power tools are worth shelling out the $500-$600
We used to sift through newspapers and trade journals to search for relevant information and even clip articles to send to clients, prospects and friends. Today you can have better, more focused content sent to you daily (on your magical tablet) and even send articles to those clients and prospects with a touch of a screen. Flipboard is one such app that I can't live without. Each morning, I open to find custom information that is pulled from blogs, websites, social sites. I can read it, share it, tell the app whether or not I want more of that same type of content or even more articles from that particular writer. The app will update the content throughout the day so your virtual newspaper continues to feed you information as you desire.
It took me awhile before I actually started using this app and now I am getting great value from it. This app (available on Android, iPhone, iPad) will allow you to blog on the go or even start a draft post when the idea strikes. It's wonderful!
I am surprised how many people still have not heard of Instapaper, but this is like having a folder filled with clippings to read when you have those in-between moments. Install this app on your PC, laptop, and mobile devices, and then when you find a blog post that you want to read later, you simply click “READ LATER” in your browser or SAVE TO INSTAPAPER on your mobile devices. Now when you have that 10 minutes of waiting time, simply open up your Instapaper app and read your “clippings.”
A favorite time saver for so many reasons. When you are working with several clients and want to simplify how you share and transport documents, graphics, and more, Dropbox is a must. We create a Dropbox folder for each client and then the community manager that works on that account has access to the folder as well as the client. Photos and articles can be dropped in the
Between Dropbox and Google Docs, the days of emailing “proposal version 1.7” “proposal version 1.8” back and forth are over. I have several people that I work with regularly but on different projects. Using Google Docs allows us to maintain one document that can be updated (even together at the same time seeing each other add or change information) and shared instantly. BIG time savings!
With content to post, read and respond to on LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, these tools are essential for saving time and staying on top of all of your social activities. They both have similar features but Hootsuite allows teams that manage social media to collaborate and share duties. Using the “schedule posts” features on either of these, you can plan ahead with many of your posts and then sprinkle in the spontaneous.
This time saving app is like carrying around a trunk to throw everything in for your business. Snap a photo of a sign that you want to incorporate into your blog and save it in your Evernote Blog Notebook. Have an idea hit you while your stuck behind the train? Record an audio message and save it to an Evernote notebook. Add documents, graphics and even the kitchen sink…or a picture of the one you like. Unpack WHAT you want WHEN you want it…WHEREVER you are. This amazing tool is available on your desktop, iPhone/iPad, Android and Blackberry!
ManyMoon is a wonderful project management tool whether you work alone and need those daily reminders of what needs to be completed to stay on task with your projects, or you work on a team and need to keep tabs on who has finished what. This was part of Google's lab tools and integrates well with all Google tools, calendar, docs and more. (Not just for Google calendar either). The fact that it is free makes it even more desirable!
Well these are my favorite apps and tools to stay organized and on task. I'd love to know what your favorites are.