Note: This has been an incredibly popular post here on my blog, but the tools I’m using have evolved a bit. The new post is called Eleven Go-To Apps to Maximize Productivity.
Staying organized isn’t an easy task and I’m certainly no expert. You learn a lot about your natural organizational abilities when you work for yourself. It’s a learning process for me and I like to think I’m getting better as time goes on. I’ve learned a lot lately too. This recent post by Chris Brogan was instrumental in helping me focus my efforts during the work day to make sure I’m covering all the things that I need to do in any given day. I could still use another 6-8 hours per day, but even if I received them, I’d still probably complain about needing more, so maximizing my time daily is hugely important.
I’m a creative and do creative work every day which is awesome. But being a creative also tends to come with the tendency not enjoy constraints. So I work hard to make my daily workflow as non-constraining as possible yet keep the madness to a dull roar at the same time. After all, every day it’s my job to produce results for my clients (and myself), solve problems and get things done. If I’m not getting things done then no one is happy.
So here is a list of tools I use daily to help me get things done. It seems like a lot, but in reality it’s pretty easy to use these tools as my mind automatically goes to the tool as I think through the day.
This is a tool that I use for tasks that I need to accomplish every day. Just a couple items are my daily goals and values review, my daily start-up routine which is a recurring entry on my personal Google calendar with notes I’ve made that help me to focus, daily exercise, or other sites that I need to make sure that I visit like YouVersion.com.
This is an outstanding little tool that I use for social media monitoring. I first started using this when I was the Web Coordinator at MVP Sports Clubs and it was the perfect fit for keeping track of all the different social media tools we were using, who was posting on our â€œfanâ€ pages etc. I use it for all of my social media platforms now.
Michael Hyatt has rekindled my use of Evernote, he’s obviously a very zealous advocate and does things with it that you might never think of. I’ve used it for quite some time, but have learned a lot from how he uses the tool. It’s great to have all of that information in one place that’s accessible on any platform. I transferred a lot of the documents that I had in Google Docs to Evernote for easier management and couldn’t be happier.
I learned about this one a few weeks back from Erik Fisher. He mentioned it on the Social Media Serenity Podcast and I immediately fell in love. Task lists are much more easy for me to manage personally than calendars and they provide much needed flexibility for how I work. This is a fantastic task management tool and it’s available on multiple platforms and synchronizes them all.
This is my bookmarking tool. When Yahoo! told the world that Delicious was going away I – along with multitudes of others immediately sought out a new tool for bookmarking. I learned about this one from Jason Santa Maria. It’s premium, but really doesn’t cost much to join and is an outstanding tool.
So the debate rages on. Some folks like Hootsuite, some like Tweetdeck. I use them both. I prefer the interface with Tweetdeck, but really like how Hootsuite is web-based. Simply put, I’ll use Tweetdeck first while I’m here at the computer, and I use Hootsuite when I’m not. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it works.
This tool has been invaluable in my business at Orracle Media. Coordination and synchronization of files between myself and my clients is as simple as can be. When I add new clients one of the first things they get from me is an invitation to join a shared Dropbox folder where we can upload, share and store files and documents needed for the project.
This is what I use for business planning. I love the graphical representation and working out my ideas here. It’s really helped my clarify my thoughts about what I’m doing and where I’m going and I love the ability to share maps with others.
As analog as it gets, period. I need a place to record notes daily and there just isn’t a better tool than the old trusty Franklin Planner. Those that need to be recorded and/or stored elsewhere can be scanned in (like Michael Hyatt does). But I may need to look at Michael’s new tool too.
I hardly use Microsoft Office at all anymore. I’ve moved a lot of my documents to Google Docs and most of the rest to Evernote. I do all of my blog drafts in Google Docs – all it takes is one browser crash to get that started and I learned it the hard way of course.
Google Calendar with Tungle
Last but not least my Google Calendar helps me keep track of everything else. Right now I have 7 different calendars in there that help me stay organized. The greatest use of this one is that I’ve created a financial calendar that I use for all my bills, and other financial stuff. I’ve also sync’d up my Orracle Media calendar with Tungle to assist in working with my clients.
So that’s it. It sounds like a lot but it’s actually a pretty streamlined process. These tools help me stay on task, stay focused, and get things done.
What tools do you use?
Image by csuspect