Five Outstanding Tools to Help Make You Work Smarter (Not Harder)
As a Volacci IMC (Internet Marketing Coordinator), I'm constantly looking for ways to stay organized and save time. Below are five of my favorite organizational and time-savings tools.
1. Don't Sweat (or forget) the Little "Things"
There may be 15-20 little tasks that come up during the course of a work day that I can't do right at that moment. Rather than jot them on yellow slips of paper, I use a nifty program called Things. Things allows you to quickly add tasks to your Things inbox for scheduling later. Assign tags so you can quickly filter by client name, difficulty, or time required and there’s also a “priority” tag that you can use to automate your prioritizing. Drag them from your Inbox to a day on your calendar so you remember to do them. If you can't get a task done, they survive on your daily list until you do have time. It also stores your completed items so you can look them up later. Things isn't workgroup collaborative, but it does sync in the cloud so you can have your tasks on any iOS device. An invaluable tool, I even use it for grocery lists.
2. The Clipboard is Your Friend
As an online marketer, I live and die daily with Google Analytics and other metric tools that tell me how my clients are doing. I like to send my clients quick emails with screenshots of the most recent data trends in between our scheduled reviews. Screenshots are king! Most people know about the the command-shift-4 key combination on the Mac, which allows you to save a selectable portion of the screen to a file. However, it's much less common knowledge that by adding the option key (command-option-shift-4), you can save a selectable portion of the screen directly to your clipboard. Then you can paste directly into your email, even Gmail. No more naming, saving, and attaching. It's fast, effective and very useful.
3. Are Five Display Monitors Enough?
Maybe, but I have two, and trust me, it's not enough. So, I use Better Snap Tool, a slick little program that does nothing but allow you to quickly size your windows to pre-determined sizes. Click and drag a window to the top of your monitor and the window magically resizes to the full screen. Drag it to the top right and it tiles to half the screen. Check out the video below to get a better picture. It’s so easy, even an 11-year-old can do it.
4. The One Password to Rule Them All!
Yes, I'm a LOTR geek ... Anyway, with each client, I typically need user names and passwords to access FTP, Google Analytics, and their CMS system. With so much information, it is always a challenge to securely store and retrieve passwords, and because of security issues, I hesitate to just save them in my browser. Enter 1Password, a super secure lockbox for sensitive information, allowing you access to it using one super password of your choice. Learn the one password and 1Password does the rest by remembering the URL and the access information last used. Next time you visit that URL? Whammo! It offers to autofill for you, but only if you provide your master password. Even Sauron would approve.
5. Happily Evernote After
Evernote is all about notes. It makes it easy to create them, easy to file them and easy to retrieve them. The built-in word processor is good and you can easily and quickly attach images or audio. Send emails with PDFs or pictures from your mobile phone to your Evernote account and it syncs in the cloud. Don't try to make it into a task manager or a calendar or something it's not meant for, because other tools do it better. But for note taking and note retrieving, Evernote is outstanding.
So, there you go. Five excellent tools to make your work, or even your life, more organized, more efficient, and even more fun.
Please feel free to share some of your favorite tools. I'm always open to new and better ways to do things.