10 tools we use to stay productive and happy
10 tools you can start using in 2015 to improve your productivity and happiness, stay organized and deal with information overload
Reflecting on the year past and looking ahead to 2015, we strive to commit to things that make us happier, help us work smarter not harder and minimize the clutter in our lives. Whether you like it or not, technology has become a part of our lives. In the case of people like me, who work in online marketing and social media, technology sometimes can feel overwhelming and even close to depressing. Yet, technology (if used properly) can be helpful to keep the information and data we need organized while automating and centralizing our tasks and activities. As you know, technology is great when it works right. But when it doesn’t?
Check out these top ten tools we use everyday to stay efficient, save time, and process and share information with the people we choose. We use them on a daily basis and we think you’ll like them too.
Evernote is one of these magical apps developed to capture your ideas, meeting notes, sketches and even food shots (with Evernote Food) and keep them organized in different notebooks. No more scrappy pieces of paper and folders for different projects, meetings or clients; all you need is Evernote. It will sync your notes on all your devices so if you start something on your phone, you can access it from your iPad or computer later. Use tagging to tag your notes. The search function is fantastic on Evernote so even if you are not the most organized type (like me) you can still find notes from years back. Sending emails to Evernote is easy and it connects to Google, LinkedIn, and Wall Street Journal.
Why we like it: Personally, I’ve been using Evernote for four years now and I love it. Keep all your notes in one place so you can always go back in time. Get Evernote, stay organized, remember everything and get rid of the clutter.
Price: Free or upgrade to Premium
Asana is a project and task organizer and collaborator tool. Whether you choose to organize just yourself or work with a team, Asana is an easy to use project management tool where you can collaborate with other people on your team, with clients, or with freelancers. It integrates with Chrome, Dropbox,Google Drive, Box (which makes file sharing easy), Harvest (time tracking), ZenDesk (customer support), MailChimp (email marketing) and more. With Asana, you can create subtasks and break a task into several subtasks that can be assigned to different people. You can also use a template from one project and apply it to another, saving time on the creation of the project. And you can assign people to follow a project thus keeping everyone in the loop on a per needed basis.
I have used BaseCamp and Wrike in the past and I’m liking the simplicity of Asana. Easily accessible on mobile devices, you can quickly add a “to do” list or a task and share it with people while on the go.
Why we like it: User-friendly interface, easy to use, keeps communication on projects in one place and out of the inbox, not too overburdened with bells and whistles, mobile friendly.
We regularly log in and out of websites whether it’s for us or for our clients and password security is of utmost importance to us. The thought of having passwords stolen or hacked is a very disturbing and unpleasant scenario, so we use a password manager system to protect our passwords. There are a few of them on the market, but I prefer to use LastPass. I can keep passwords organized by folders and I can get all my passwords available on all devices. I do pay the premium price for LastPass, but it comes to $1/month and for piece of mind I can live with that.
Why we love it: We can sleep at night knowing our passwords are safe and secure.
Price: Free or Premium
With Feedly, you can keep all the sites that matter to you in one place. Sign up to automatically receive updates from your favorite websites and spend 15-20 minutes in the morning catching up on industry news, world news, or your favorite blogs. Personally, I have too many websites to follow so I have created a Must Read folder containing only the most important articles. In an era of information overload, we must be very selective with our time or we’ll drown.. Feedly is accessible on all mobile devices and I love how easy they make it to share articles as well. You can easily tweet, Facebook, Buffer, save to Pocket, Google+, LinkedIn, Hootsuite directly from the platform.
Why we like it: It keeps the information we need organized by topics so we can quickly stay on top of the trends and news.
Price: Free or Premium
Pocket is a fantastic and easy way to save articles you run across on all of your devices into one place for easy access later on. It helps to keep you organized with tags and now you can even share your articles with another team member, you can go back to your content if you need to or mark articles as read. You can always come back and share the articles to your social networks.
Why we like it: Keeps you organized, minimizes distractions, saves you time.
Like what you are reading? Do you want to get the Free PDF with the Top 10 tools in 2015 to get more productive and happy in your inbox? Get it now.
Two cloud systems to keep your files organized and easily accessible from any one of your devices. We prefer Google Drive when collaborating on documents as it makes editing and working together really easy. Sharing a document from Google Drive is easy and the platform can even save it as a PDF before sending it out. We prefer Dropbox to keep bigger files, multimedia, and to share entire folders with clients and coworkers. Both cloud systems have free and premium versions depending on the size of data you need to save. (You will need a Google account to access Google Drive.) We combined these two services because they are very similar in what they do.
Why we like it: Keeping your files in the cloud means you can access them from anywhere you are.
Price: Free or Premium
Buffer makes it super easy to share any page or article you’re reading. Keep your Buffer topped up and they will automatically share posts for you throughout the day without overwhelming your network. It connects with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the entry level is free. There are also nice analytics built into it. Buffer’s Daily app is an excellent add on to the already powerful platform. It feeds you fresh articles daily based on your topics of choice that you can easily share with your network.
Why we like it: Save time and share awesome content with your networks without inundating them all at once.
Price: Free or Premium
Hootsuite is the cockpit for your social media marketing efforts: it connects to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. It’s excellent for team collaboration and multiple accounts management. We manage multiple pages and accounts and we do it all using one powerful dashboard. You can check out Hootsuite for 30 days for free using this link.
Why we like it: Save time, get organized, improve your social media marketing, monitor and measure. This is a must for everyone serious about their social media efforts.
Price: Free or Premium based on accounts and team size
Every small business owner wears many hats and one of them is to be an accountant and a bookkeeper for their company. Meet Shoeboxed. It turns your receipts into reports, records mileage, scans business cards and more. It’s a paid service but if you keep track of the time it will take you to do all these tasks you’ll see the return-on-investment quickly. I’ve used their system for years and I wish I had known about it earlier. Just put all your receipts in their free blue envelope and send it in the mail. The service emails you when the receipts have been processed. It also comes with a handy desktop app so you can easily add your files to your account by yourself. The best feature is their email integration. Get a receipt in your inbox and just forward it to shoeboxed. It easily integrates with QuickBooks so your accountant and bookkeeper will love it.
Why we like it: Get rid of the clutter, save time on unimportant tasks and focus on your business.
Price: Free or Premium
The most important thing you can do for your happiness and your business is to completely disconnect on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean turn off notifications on your phone. It means take an extended vacation to a place with no internet or go for a day hike in nature and make sure you don’t bring any devices with you. “Workers report spending slightly more than half (51%) of their work day receiving and managing information, rather than actually using information to do their jobs”. (Source: Buffer) We are overloaded with information and our brains need a well deserved break. A daily meditation session is recommended but don’t skip out on longer vacation days as well. Your brain needs a break and this is the only way it will get it.
Why we like it: It keeps us sane but it’s a great tool to increase creativity, happiness and business success.
Price: Free or Premium for longer vacations
Like these tools but wish you could print this out nicely? Download our Free PDF with Top Ten Tools in 2015 to help you increase your productivity and happiness right now.
The post 10 tools We Use to Stay Productive and Happy appeared first on Out&About Marketing.