We use a lot of techie kinds of tools in our business. And some not so techie. After considerable trial and error, we’ve settled down with about two dozen. What we’re sharing here are the best daily tools we have found. Do we get bonus points because they’re free?
Thank you. And you’re welcome.
Grab this short list of tools we find really helpful for being–and staying–productive.
10 Power Tools for Productivity
- FocusBooster: This is a simple application you can run on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC. Of all the power tools listed here, it’s number one for a reason. It works on the Pomodoro principle (Google it). And it’s nothing more than a timer. But the magic is that once you start using it regularly, you can see what you are getting done. Or not. Both insights are valuable. We recommend leaving the default settings at 25 minutes of work, with a 5-minute break. During the break you get up, stretch, do something to move your body. Get it and get more done: https://www.focusboosterapp.com/
- RescueTime: You’ve heard that truth will set you free? We believe it does, but we admit sometimes that freedom comes with a wee bit of pain. This app tracks your activity in a digital world. At least you can teach it to count those hours on Facebook as work related…if they are. Be honest now! https://www.rescuetime.com/
- Evernote: Everyday we use this tool, the more we love it. Organize “all that stuff” in one place! Tasks, pictures, digital articles, pdfs, documents, the works! Get it here: https://evernote.com/
- Trello: Tired of trying to stay on the same page as other people you work with, even when they’re just down the hall? This tool makes collaborating really easy. Especially when your teammates aren’t just down the hall. https://trello.com/
- Cloud storage: We have a lot of files we work with. If you could read “a lot” in a 300 point font (really huge!), just as a favor, it will better express our meaning. For quite a few years we have toted around in our pockets bigger and bigger thumb drives (even as they shrank in physical size). Sure hurt when the drive we needed wasn’t in our pocket. Ouch. We use several cloud options now: DropBox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive, Evernote, iCloud and WeTransfer. Each allows you to keep a sizable amount of content on their servers for free. They also allow you to share. Some are easier than others. We use DropBox and GoogleDrive the most, especially for sharing files.
- High-quality images: We have friends that got visited by the Picture Police when they used an image they downloaded from the interwebs but didn’t have permission. Since these nannies are actually attorneys trolling for these accidents, it’s expensive to get their nastygram. There are some fantastic websites that allow free downloads of professional images. When we download pictures we drop them into the corresponding site’s folder. That way we remember where we got them from. We love Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/) and Picjumbo (https://picjumbo.com/) the most, although there are several others.
- Success Magazine: For entrepreneurially minded people, this magazine is a must. It has great content, compellingly written and most of the time easy to apply. But the best part about the magazine isn’t the magazine, it’s the bonus CD that comes inside the magazine. Sort of like the toy in a CrackerJacks box, these audios are inspirational and easy to consume when you don’t have time to read. They come in mp3 format so we often copy them to our iPhones and listen to them in the car. Go to http://www.success.com/ and check it out. If nothing else, sign up for their terrific free weekly newsletter.
- Tracking: Most people we know tend to be pretty hard on themselves. If they have a to-do list and it doesn’t reach to-done by day’s end they put the whoop on themselves. Because our business has so many channels to it–music, books, speaking, coaching–it’s all too easy to forget how much was accomplished during the day. There are a bazillion ways to track your activity. RescueTime helps in a big-view way. But Joel uses a tool of his own making that acts as a completed task tracker, a journal and a to-do list maker, all in one. Curious? Send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Feedback: Life moves along now at the speed of thought. The noise level is literally mind-numbing. Too many voices clamor for our attention. To stay steady and grounded, it is imperative to have a few people in your life that you talk to every week or so. Bounce ideas off of them. Be transparent. Ask for help before you need it. Be real. It’s OK. You’ll love your work and life more. And who can argue with that?
- Solitude: Besides the inspirational stuff on those Success mp3s (see #7), we try to listen to something motivational at least 3 times a week. Daily is better. There are lots of places to find great content. Start with searching “podcasts” that cover a topic you are interested in. Or just go with “motivational.”
We hope this list of power tools helps you be more effective and efficient. Having more fun is also good. Feel free to share the list with people you care about.
Engage here. What’s your story? We’d love to learn what tools work well for you. Sharing is caring.