You likely spend a significant amount of time each day connected to a desktop, a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet or some other device.
Are you making sure that the precious time you’re spending is going to give you a return on your investment? If what you’re doing isn’t directly tied to helping you serve the clients and customers you have, attracting new business, or spending time with your family and friends, it would be smart to consider where you can make adjustments.
One easy adjustment is to truly leverage technology to help you accomplish the important tasks you need to complete each day – you know, the ones that create tangible results and aren’t just keeping you distracted.
Here are 5 FREE tools that will help your day run smoother and get you one step closer to reaching your goals:
Rapportive is a Gmail plug-in that shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox. You can see a person’s photo, check out their LinkedIn profile and latest Twitter updates, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can also learn more about their interests. All of this allows you to develop a better rapport with your contacts, expand your network and have more meaningful conversations.
Prismatic is a great tool for staying on top of topics that matter to you. It automatically pulls feeds from all over the web based on topics you care about. The tool constantly gets more interesting because it learns what you like, finding more for you, and removing what you don’t. (NOTE: If you were a fan of Google Reader – You’re going to love this!)
Here are 3 tips on how to use it:
A. Start off with high level topics you like, for example let’s say you wanted to stay up to date on “interior design,” so you start with that. Once you start reading and find articles you like, drill deeper by subscribing to the sub-topics of those articles. You are more interested in “interior design ideas,” so as you read “interior design” articles you’ll be able to see more “idea” specific ones.B. Use the bookmark icon to save articles you want to read or reference later.C. Because it’s constantly adjusting to what you like, it can easily become addicting, so limit your reading time each day to make sure you take action on what you learned rather than just learning for the sake of learning.
Pocket lets you download a web page exactly as it looks and functions. If you want to read an article or watch a video but don’t have time at the moment, hit the Pocket button on your browser and the article will be cached and can be viewed later even without an internet connection. You can view the article in your “Pocket” from any device you like.
As I’m sure you know, managing your passwords can become a challenge because each site you visit has different criteria for a proper password. Some have character minimums or maximums, capitalization rules, or symbol/number requirements.
Rather than trying to remember them all or using your browser’s less-than-secure “Remember this Password” feature, check out LastPass. Instead of remembering several passwords, you just have to remember a single password for LastPass.
5. Google Forms
This is a useful tool to help you gather information from clients and customers, send a survey, create a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way. A Google form can be connected to a Google spreadsheet. If a spreadsheet is linked to the form, responses will automatically be sent to the spreadsheet. Otherwise, users can view them on the “Summary of Responses” page accessible from the Responses menu. This is a great resource for collecting information, saving you and the user time and effort. Click here to take a tour of Google Forms.
I’d love to know what tools and apps you have found to truly help you be more productive. Let’s create a master list! You can contribute by posting a comment here on the blog. I will compile all of the entries and create a downloadable quick reference guide for you.