5 tools that make life easier

5 tools that make life easier

Productivity is like a drug. There’s something deeply satisfying about looking at a to-do list and seeing a bunch of checks in boxes. It’s like legal work place approved crack.

Like any good addict I do what I can to get my fix as often as possible and use what ever tools I can to get that fix. Though instead of a crack pipe or heroin spoon I use Evernote, Xobni, WiseStamp, Delicious, and Bitly. I use these (and a handful more) everyday to make my life easier, more productive, and to quell the shakes when it’s been too long since I put a check in a box on my To-do list.

 

Evernote
Evernote

This is the most used program on my computer(s), tablet, and phone. If you’ve never used it you’re missing out on a powerhouse of a productivity platform. Every document, every note from meetings, every to-do list, and every idea I have ever had about anything is in here.

In meetings I can take notes and update my to-do list from my phone or tablet and when I get back to my desk it’s all on my work computer. It’s also waiting for me when I get home too. It’s like a loyal puppy you can take everywhere with you that stores and fetches your information.

I don’t need to worry about never having documents I need with me.  In meetings I can pull up my notes from every meeting I’ve had with that client and when they say “Do you remember that thing you sent us a couple weeks ago” I can say yes and pull it right up.

It’s brilliant and the tiny yearly fee for the pro version is well worth it!

 

Xobni

Yes it’s inbox backwards, but what it does is about as forward as you can get. This plugin for Outlook (and now gmail) organizes your inbox based on your contacts.

When you click on an email Xobni updates in seconds and you see their LinkedIn image along with links to that person’s Twitter, Facebook, etc. profiles (even has a plugin for evernote). Once your contact is loaded you can see every email the two of you have exchanged, attachments that have been sent / recieved, the people you both have in your networks, appointments with them, and more.

Xobni also gives you some nifty stats about how much the two of you communicate with each other, time of day you do most of your emails, and you can even make appointments and create emails to that person from quick links in Xobni.

Another great feature is the search bar at the top. This is great if you’re on a call and someone says they never received your email. A quick search and you can  see every interaction the two of you have had via email. Search also makes you look like a super star who remembers everything because the answer to “Do you remember that thing I sent you..” always ends with you saying yes.

Recently Xobni released a mobile app so now you can take all of your contacts with you and get all the benefits of Xobni no matter where you are. I hate programming clients, co-workers, and new contacts into my phone. Not because I don’t like them, but because it just takes too much time because there are so damn many of them lately and so I end up putting it off until it becomes a dire necessity. Now I always look like I have myself together.

 

WiseStamp

WiseStampA good email signature tells a short story about you in a few seconds. Gmail’s native signature creator is woefully under powered and often looks like crap. To have a professional looking one you basically need to make it somewhere else and then copy and paste it in. WiseStamp is a browser plugin that fixes this and gives your Gmail signatures a major visual and social boost. It also stores 2 signatures on the free version (personal & business).

I use Gmail heavily for everything outside of The Search Agency. Friends, family, online activity, after hours networking, blogging, online life, etc. and it’s nice to have something that looks good and is informative. In addition to the social icons it creates for you, it can import the headline from your latest blog post(s) and insert it as a clickable link.

It’s also incredibly convenient because once you setup your WiseStamp profile and make your signatures you just have to install the plugin and sign in. No configuring your signatures for work, home, or new computers. Another nice bonus is that you can just copy and paste the social icons from your WiseStamp signature into your Outlook signature and they don’t loose any functionality.

 

Delicious

Delicious“I read this amazing article the other  day… if only I could find it.” Sound familiar? If it does them you need to get familiar with Delicious. It’s basically a Social Bookmarking tool that allows you to store and share links (I’m JoshSPeters on there) so you can always reference the sites / articles you want or need to.

There are many uses it can have beyond just simply saving bookmarks, but one of it’s greatest strength lies in the tagging. I collect articles on a range of topics and tag everything so that it’s easily organized and found again. I often send clients and co-workers links to my Delicious tags if they’re looking for more information on certain topics (like social media).

The ease and power of Delicious has made it an invaluable reference resource for not only myself but my clients, co-workers, friends, family, and online associates.

However, without the browser plugin it’s much more difficult than you want it to be. It’s a thing of simplistic, time saving, beauty. Once you install that darling little tag you can add a new link to your account in just a couple seconds instead of opening a tab for Delicious.com and then copying and pasting the info.

Having the plugin is a lot like when alcoholics discover belt buckles that have a built in bottle opener.It just makes your life easier.

 

Bitly

Bit.ly Content sharing doesn’t get much easier than this.

Setup a Bit.ly account. Add your Twitter and / or Facebook to it. Install the plugin. Click the fish when you want to share it with your Followers and / or Friends.

You can edit the message before it goes out so the message stays custom and the link it sends out has some analytics attached so you can see what’s happening with the link. The browser plugin will also alert you with a friendly little pop up in the lower right of your screen if your link gets a bunch of clicks and starts to “trend”.

 

There are more apps and software I use than these on a daily basis to make my life easier, but these are 5 I’m currently in love with. What about you?

What apps, platforms, software. etc. do you use to make your life easier and get more done?

Thanks for reading,
Josh S Peters

the chip capacitor “coke line” image is by Giuseppe Bognanni

  • http://twitter.com/ScottBartell Scott Bartell

    I’ve always wanted to use Evernote and I’ve never been able to stick with it. Great list of ideas, I’m just starting to use delicious.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you. I love Evernote, but it took a bit of effort to start using it regularly. However, now I’m completely hooked and is the most valuable (and most used) tool in my daily arsenal.

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