I’ve heard it said that a carpenter is only as good as his tools. I guess who ever said that never saw me try to hang crown molding! Needless to say, having the right tools is essential to great productivity.
In today’s online world, there are thousands of tools available to help you stay on track, reach goals, and be more productive. Each tool may claim to have the best support; be the most user friendly; or offer the most features, but here’s the bottom line.
You have to figure out what works for you!
Yes, that means you are going to have to test drive a few to see if it’s the right fit. But it’s totally worth it. To save you a little time, I thought I’d share the tools I personally use on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve heard of these and maybe some are new to you. Check them out. And remember…they’re all totally FREE. However, some do have premium services if you decided to upgrade.
Asana is an online task management tool. It’s the first website I go to every morning when I sit down to my laptop. I love that I can group tasks into different sections like personal, work, or church. It allows me to collaborate with others on various projects, and keeps the work flow moving.
If you stuck your email, dropbox, calendar, and to do list in a pan and baked it at 350…the result would be ASANA.
My favorite thing is the iPhone app. Any time I think of something I need to do, I quickly add a new task in ASANA. It takes less than 10 seconds.
Evernote is more than a note taking resources. Although I do take all of my meeting notes in Evernote. It can keep track of tasks, store articles, and record audio messages. I like using different notebooks for different areas of life. In fact, I wrote this blog using Evernote in my blog notebook.
One convenient feature is the search. It actually searches within your notes for specific content. Perfect for those times you know you made a note about “pizza,” but can’t remember what folder it’s in.
I love Mailchimp. I use it just about every week to send emails to large groups. I’m able to save different lists of people, and send emails specifically to those groups. Beyond the easy to use design features, you can schedule emails to be sent out at later dates.
Mailchimp also allows you to track open rates and click rates to see how you’re connecting with your audience. You can also personalize emails so they still have that friendly touch.
There are several social media manager tools out there. I like Hootsuite. There’s more features that I use, but maybe one day I will. Hootsuite allows me to automate social media posts/tweets. You can also follow mentions by other friends/followers to your better able to connect with them. The phone app is convenient and easy to use.
Sometimes you need to chat with a large group, and emails are pretty horrible for large group conversations. Texting is the way to go, and I believe GroupMe leads the way. Set up different groups and text away. You can add or remove people at any time without having to set up the group again. Everyone gets the message, even if you don’t have the GroupMe app, and can respond when it’s convenient.
6. GOOGLE VOICE
If you are staring a new church or business and need a new phone number…think about Google Voice. I set up a number for Antioch Georgetown and have all the calls forwarded to my cell phone. I can make calls from my personal phone using the churches number. Google Voice will let you set up a voicemail, and you can even send text messages using the google number. It only takes a few minutes to set up.
7. GENUIS SCAN
Is it just me, or do you have trouble with the scan feature on the giant copy machines? They are a pain. Genius Scan basically puts a scanner in your pocket. It’s been helpful for me when I need to print a document, sign it, and email it back. It’s also perfect for scanning a receipts that you keep forgetting to turn into to accounting.
For the longest time I had no idea where people got awesome stock photos. Which is funny because my wife is a graphic designer. One day she let me in on the secret of Unsplash. There are thousands of free, high quality stock photos you can use for whatever you want. The graphic for this blog…yep, Unsplash!
Funny name, but serious tool! If you schedule a lot of appointments, you need to check out Calendly. It’s basically an online calendar you can link to your site for people to schedule appointments with you. Perfect if you cut hair, or have regular meetings with people. It sinks with your personal calendar so it automatically blocks out time slots when you are busy.
If you haven’t heard of dropbox, it’s time to put away the VCR and welcome you to the 21st century. I don’t use Dropbox as a way to just store files. If you do that’s great! I use Dropbox to share files with other people. When folders are shared, life is easy, and your email inbox is less cluttered. Bad for email, but good for productivity.
These are just some of the tools I use in my toolbox on a regular basis. I’d love to hear what your favorite FREE tool is. Comment below and tell me your favorite.