I don’t know anyone who feels as though there are enough hours in the day. Whether you want more time to spend with your family, to chase a new business opportunity or to pursue that big dream you’ve always tucked in the back of your head—you could always use an extra hour or few. And to get there, your productivity needs to be at its peak.
We could absolutely do less and for some people, that’s a viable and attractive option. But for those of us who aren’t ready to slow down but still want to be as efficient as possible—there are some tools that can help.
For me, there are some absolutes that must be present when I consider a new productivity tool. Missing any one of these is usually a deal breaker for me.
- Must be accessible on all of my devices (laptop, tablet and mobile phone) if appropriate
- Must sync all data between my devices so no matter which tool I’m using to get to the tool—the data is current
- Has to be Apple/Mac friendly
- Simple, simple, simple—I don’t have the time or the desire to learn something complicated
- Responsive customer service team—if I run into trouble, I want to know there’s a human being somewhere in the mix who can help me
- Can’t cost an arm or leg but I am willing to spend some money to get the fully loaded version or some of the features (like sharing capacity) that I need
I thought it might be useful to share a few of the tools that I use on a daily basis to keep my world in order and to be as productive as possible.
Evernote: Think of Evernote as a virtual super secretary that helps you keep everything you might need at your fingertips. It’s like a virtual file cabinet that stores notes, visuals, web clippings, digitized business cards, audio files and so much more.
What makes this tool so useful is the ability to tag everything you add. So searching for something that you stored two years ago becomes a breeze, as long as you’ve created a simple tagging system/hierarchy.
My Evernote is a mishmash of blog post ideas, notes from client meetings, web clippings of things I want to share with someone or refer to later, my digital Rolodex and a list of vacation options for upcoming trips.
Wunderlist: I searched for a couple years to find a To Do list app that actually helped me get things done. I can keep multiple lists, share them with other people so there’s built in accountability and it is easy to access on all of my devices. Most To Do apps are unnecessarily complicated. Part of what I love about Wunderlist is its simplicity.
My lists include client To Dos, things I need to do around my house, my grocery list, phone calls I need to make, next steps (tied to calendar reminders) for some new business prospecting and best of all—I can share tasks with others on my team and assign responsibility as needed.
Tiny Scan Pro: This phone app produces incredibly legible scans of any document. If you travel or are out of the office on a regular basis, being able to scan a document and then either email it to someone, upload it to Evernote, DropBox, Google Drive or other cloud tools is invaluable. If you have the companion app Tiny FAX, you can even go old school and fax it to someone.
Productivity—It’s all about getting things done smarter, faster and with less hassle. Hopefully, these tools will allow you to spend more of your time doing the things you love the most with the people you love the most.