Ever look at your to-do list and wish you could have two of you to get it all done? Yeah, I can’t help there, but I can share a handful of applications, “apps,” I have found boost my productivity primarily through the organization they bring. All of the apps listed below help me run my business because they are so convenient and easy to use. Take a deep breath, park those to-dos running through your head for a moment, and take a peek at these tools.
I guarantee you, if you give this one a shot, you’ll be hooked. The Evernote tagline is “Get organized. Work smarter. Remember everything,” and they’re living up to said tagline as far as I’m concerned. The tool was designed to serve as the ultimate portal for paperless information organization. Have you ever texted yourself an article or recipe so you could find it later? Ever printed out an article you wanted to share with someone? Found yourself shuffling through old notebooks to find notes you made some time back? Ever lost a business card? Has that stack you keep rubber-banded on your desk become too large to effectively thumb through? Evernote is here for you. Consider it your electronic notebook, your briefcase/portfolio, your file cabinet.
I use Evernote for all my notes, to store information sans the paper, to file my receipts and to organize my web research. I love how it integrates into my Outlook and into my to-do list. Evernote makes it so easy to save articles where I can find them, mark up the articles and pull out screenshots from the web using their Web Clipper. The basic package is free and has many features you can start using right away. The app is simple to download and is easily shared across all your devices (tablet, phone, desktop computer) for even greater accessibility.
Back to those business cards, are you ready for some order? And, I don’t mean an old-school Rolodex. The Scannable app scans all types of documents, notes, receipts, business cards and they can all be easily saved right into Evernote, right where you want them. The app also gives you the ability to share your scans easily via text or email right from your phone. Scannable is easy to use, super speedy and has great character recognition. It’ll capture each of those business cards currently taking up space on your desk or in your drawer.
Is social media management cutting into your social life? Maintaining multiple platforms and keeping up with newsfeeds can be a full-time job. Enter Hootsuite. I use this service to manage my social media. I can easily post to all of my sites from one page, schedule posts for the future and review my newsfeeds. One-stop shopping for my social networking.
Need to keep up with your mileage, log your time or track expenses? This is the app for you. The reporting makes invoicing easy and will assist you when tax time comes. (It is here!) And, there are a number of templates available to create a client-friendly presentation of the information.
This tool will cut down on your back-office work, freeing you up for income-generating activities. I send my invoices direct to the client and they can easily process payment. Repeat customers can even save their payment information making the process even quicker in the future. The reporting features with this app enable me to stay up-to-date with my company’s financial status and current on bookkeeping. You can find a great Quickbooks Online Comparison here.
This is more than a to-do list. I do use it to track my action items and projects. But, it also enables me to outline and share projects with clients and collaborators, and even delegate tasks to others. I like that I can ask Siri to note something that will then show up on my actual to-do list. And, I love the feature that tracks progress to goals–how’re your New Year’s resolutions coming along?
No, they’re not another you, but these tools, I’ve found, can help me do more in less time. They can put the information I need right where I can find it. Try a few and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop. She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.