Since I write a lot about efficiency and effectiveness I regularly get asked what tools I use in my own world and I thought I would share some of them with you here.
Before I get into the individual tools, let me say that the reasons I love these tools are, in the main, twofold:
1. They help me keep a lot of plates spinning without letting them drop (ok, occasionally one does – but that is down to me, not the tool!). This eliminates overwhelm.
2. They save me time every day.
So, here are the tools that help me do that (with links in the titles so that you can check them out).
If you are looking for a task management system, then look no further than Omnifocus. Trust me, I have tried them all and this one beats them all hands down! I keep everything that needs to get done, be it professional or personal, in Omnifocus. It is based on David Allen’s philosophy of Getting Things Done which I ascribe to. If you have not read David Allen’s book, then get it.
Omnifocus does take a bit of time to learn and set up, but once done it will keep you on track, and present you with all the tasks you need to deliver on every day. The weekly review process that is built in is just brilliant.
If you need one place where you want to keep all your notes, gather information for research or just out of interest, clip articles to read later on or share with others then Evernote is for you.
Do you come across places that you want to visit or go on holidays to, but you know you will forget where you saw the information, then clip it into Evernote and have a file, or Notebook in Evernote language, for holiday ideas.
Do you want to keep information on products you are interested in, then store it here. I keep notebooks to record details of client meetings, I have others for articles I want to share, ideas that I have that I want to develop, recipes that I want to try out, books I want to read. Just about anything fits into Evernote.
If you need to keep in touch with people on a regular basis – and I cannot think of anyone who does not! Then Contactually is the tool for you.
You see we are all full of good intentions about keeping in touch, but it ends up being sporadic and without any great focus.
Contactually can change all that. Contactually will send you an email every day to remind you who you should be contacting that day. Yes, it will do the thinking for you!
Alright, you have to do a bit of work to set it up in terms of segmenting your network into different categories and then determining how often you want to stay in touch. But once it is done, then it becomes automatic. The email plug in also recognizes new names and prompts you to allocate them to the right category.
If staying in touch with your network is important to you, like it is to me, then Contactually will save you buckets of time. More importantly, it will keep you “front of mind” with your network, and allows you to share interesting information with them at the click of a button. Brilliant!
I am all about reducing time spent on email and Boomerang is great for that (This is for Gmail only). It also helps me to be in control when I need to get a response from someone I have sent an email to. I don’t have to rely on my memory that I am waiting for someone to respond to me by Tuesday morning – I can just click the Boomerang button and schedule it to remind me on Tuesday at whatever time I want to be reminded.
Also, you know how we often get an email but you don’t want to deal with it now. Neither do you want your Inbox cluttered up. Well Boomerang will deal with this. You just click the button and determine when you want to be reminded of this again, and it’s done. Great productivity tool!
If, like me, you use email a lot and would like to know if your email was opened, or not, then Sidekick will do that for you. It will tell you the date and time, so you know that your message has been seen – and opened.
Also, if you have included a link, you will know whether that has been clicked or not. Really valuable information to know the attention your emails have got.
These are just some of the tools I use. I can promise you, they make a huge difference to my life – and I mean “life”, not just work!
The tools are a means to an end – be more efficient, more effective, save time and eliminate overwhelm!
What is not to like about any of those benefits?
Try them out – I can promise you they will make a difference!
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