Here are 7 useful tools that could save you many hours of work and keep you focused on what’s important.
In this constantly changing industry, we have to keep up to date with the latest best practices, trends and updates. This involves reading… a lot! I’m not the quickest when it comes to reading but thanks to a fantastic little speed reading extension called Spreed, I can now read twice as fast. Think about it. For every two hours spent reading content online, you could save an hour.
As social media has become a bigger part of our strategies, the time we invest in social platforms has grown significantly. Do you have a large amount of content you recycle on social platforms? You may post these manually or you may use a scheduling tool but this still involves sitting down at the beginning of each month and taking the time to schedule those posts.
Meet Edgar (that’s the website, meetedgar.com). With Edgar you can set up categories of content types such as blog posts, lead magnets, inspirational, funny, whitepapers etc. You can then set up a library of social posts and put these into one of you categories, or into the ‘One Off’ category which will only post that content once.
Edgar will then post your content to your chosen social platforms according to when you schedule those categories to post. You can continue to post relevant stuff manually but you’ll have peace of mind that your social channels will always be active without you having to invest countless hours.
Tomato Timer uses the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method which is designed to optimise the way you work and eliminate burnout. The timer uses the traditional method of 30 minute intervals. That’s working on a task for 25 minutes with a 5 minute break, then working for 25 minutes again, and so on. The timer also has an alarm so you don’t have to keep checking it and can focus on the task at hand.
As well as the Tomato Timer website, there are also some great little Chrome extensions available.
Many of you may have heard of and be using IFTTT. If you haven’t, you’re missing out! IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It connects with hundreds of online services and allows you to set a ‘Trigger’. If that trigger occurs, then you can set it to do something automatically using what IFTTT call ‘Recipes’.
So for example, you could set up recipes that automatically post your new WordPress posts to multiple social platforms. You could set up a recipe that takes posts from any subreddit and puts them into a Google Sheet. How about a recipe that saves all of your Instagram images to Dropbox.
There are sure to be tasks you can automate with IFTTT that will save you plenty of work hours.
Be honest, do you find yourself working on an important task and then getting distracted by Facebook, Twitter, email, BBC News or your favourite online marketing blogs?
StayFocused allows you to block access to certain websites or parts of sites (or the entire web) for a set period of time, allowing you to focus on what you should be doing.
When it comes to being productive, a person’s inbox is what often trips them up. There are great books available such as David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ which talk about actioning tasks and organising your email folders, but also about having a ‘Zero Inbox’.
One easy way to help with clearing out your inbox is this great little Gmail extension. Have an email taking up space in your inbox that you need to action or reply to, but not just yet? Boomerang it! You can use Boomerang to clear this email from your inbox and return it again after a certain period. Want to deal with it in 2 days? Great, use Boomerang and 2 days later it’ll pop back into your inbox.
You can also use the plugin to schedule emails to send later.
Pen and Paper
This is a personal preference but I find that having too many task and project management apps can be a little overwhelming. Sometimes when I’m working on a project, I quite like to use Asana but only to keep a backlog of tasks. I’ll then use a large weekly desk planner to schedule those tasks throughout the following week. With it being on the desk, I can see it all the time, without having to open new tabs and get distracted from what I’m working on.
Yes yes, I know; Not very ‘Digital’ but sometimes the old ways are the best.