productivity tools and resources

11 of My Favorite Productivity Tools

It’s the last week of the year, which means nobody is doing any REAL work, right? That’s why this is the perfect time to send you on an Internet surfing spree!

I love it when people share lists of their favorite tools. I always find a lot of shiny new pennies to chase (man, do I love shiny pennies).  I also always find some great new tools that simplify my life and help me be more productive and effective.

So, I thought it would be fun to build a list together. I’ll go first, then you add to the list in the comments. Be sure to include links when you can (Hint: the names of the tools are all links below). That makes it so much easier to chase those shiny pennies, after all.

So, here are 11 of my favorite tools:

Mailchimp

I moved from Infusionsoft to Mailchimp this year and I couldn’t be happier. It doesn’t have all the bells & whistles, but it is a rock solid and super simple mass emailer. One of the main reasons I switched was because Mailchimp automatically creates responsive sizing (which Infusionsoft didn’t), so email looks great on any device now. Almost exactly half my email list views my emails on mobile so this is extremely important.

Calendly

Calendly is a service that coordinates with your calendar so you can send someone a link that shows all of your availability and lets them book time with you on your calendar. TOTALLY eliminates the back-and-forth emails that get sent whenever you’re trying to find time to meet, etc. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM. Can’t tell you how many times people tell me how cool it is when I send them my link (and how relieved they are that we don’t have to play phone tag)!

Unrollme.com

Unrollme cleans up your inbox by searching for subscriptions and mass emails and then unsubscribing for you. I have done a great job over the past few years doing this on my own and I thought I didn’t get much spam or old subscriptions, etc. The reality is that I just got used to seeing and deleting stuff in my inbox. It amazed me when unrollme listed all the stuff I could unsubscribe from that I had just sort of glazed over.

1Password

1Password is a password vault app that securely stores your passwords. I keep all my passwords, bank card numbers, etc. in this handy app. I use it twenty — no, make that thirty —  times a day on both my laptop and my iPhone. It also helps me cut down on my swearing when I can’t remember my passwords. Oh, and I just discovered that it works with the fingerprint reader on my iPhone, which speeds up the process a lot!

Eventbrite

There are no other words to describe Eventbrite other than it’s the absolute best event ticketing and management software available. I have tried so many other programs and processes, including doing all of our event ticket sales “manually” via a shopping cart. We finally realized the only real cost for using Eventbrite is $1 per ticket (we’re being charged credit card fees no matter what system we use). Our ticketed events are typically 25-100 tickets. So worth $25-$100 to use a system that works as well as Eventbrite does.

Dropbox

All of my company’s important and shared files go on Dropbox so the whole team has access to them. Remember when you had to have a private server to do that?

Snagit

Snagit lets you quickly grab screen shots, or portions of screens, video, etc. so you can save, send, share, etc. I use it to grab images from the web, or to show my IT guy an error message that I’m getting, or to take screen shots for training purposes, and about a million other uses.

Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote Web Clipper is a browser plugin (I use Chrome) that lets you quickly and easily save articles, webpages, etc. to Evernote. I use it mainly to save articles, but my second biggest use is saving recipes that I find on the interwebs (true story).

Evernote

If you’re not using this, why aren’t you? Although they started charging for use on more than two devices this year, it’s still my favorite note program. And since I upgraded to the iPhone 7 this year and got rid of my iPad, I only use two devices now anyway (and one of them I always have with me).

iPhone 7 Plus

I was still rockin’ the iPhone 5c, but kept seeing the gigantic iPhone 6 Plus and IPhone 7 Plus and wondered if I could eliminate the need for my iPad mini (which I mainly used for reading books). Well, I got the iPhone 7 Plus and couldn’t be happier. It DID allow me to drop the iPad, and the camera is nothing short of magical. Oh, and I got a saddle colored leather case from Apple that is one of my favorite things in the whole world right now.

Volt Planner

This is a paper planner that I just got my hands on and in just two days I am already totally in love with it. I’m a big fan of the layout, the goal-oriented focus of it, and how it seems to think like I think. It’s not really built for daily note-taking (I carry a blank Moleskin for that), but it is great for setting goals and intentions.

Ok, those are my top 11 right now. What are some of YOUR favorite productivity tools? Drop a comment below.

7 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    Good list. I use nearly every one of those. I’m using LastPass instead of 1Password, but either is better than the old system of using the same password everywhere, or writing them down on post-it notes. One area you didn’t cover is backup. I use Backblaze for that. It is seamless, does not get in the way, and simply works great. It’s also cheap. If you want to try it, please let me know and I’ll give you my code that will get you (and me) a couple free months.

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Thanks, David.

      We have some fancy schmancy backup system with the firm that does our IT work. I used to use Carbonite and liked it, but it was redundant to have it with our new system. Never heard of Backblaze, but will look at it for future reference.

      Reply
  2. Darcy S
    Darcy S says:

    I love the list!! Unfortunately since I work in “corporate America” I really can’t “add” to the list. HOWEVER, I’m going to try SEVERAL of your items in my personal life! Unrollme seems MAGICAL!! I just got myself the new iPhone 7 Plus and LOVE it. I have never had an iPhone before so it has been fun learning all the new things! I’m also going to look into 1Password!

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      The trick to unrollme is to use it every day for a while, since it only works on what’s in your inbox at the time. Then use it every once in awhile to catch new stuff.

      Let me know any tricks you learn for the iPhone 7. I’m still trying to figure out the super touch sensitive screen and all it can do.

      Reply
  3. Brian
    Brian says:

    Office Lens (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/office-lens/id975925059?mt=8) – This is the best tool I have found for taking a photo of a whiteboard and sending it on. You can take the picture from an angle, and even with glare on the whiteboard from lights or sun the tool will grab your whiteboard, straighten it as if you took it head on, and whiten the board and darken the markers making a very readable image. It can also scan documents but I usually use Scannable (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote-scannable/id883338188?mt=8) for documents and business cards. You can send them right to Evernote. Scannable will even grab the text off the business card and auto link to the persons LinkedIn account.

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Thanks, Brian. I’ll also be sure to pass along Office Lens to our guests at sparkspace, too, since they always do a ton work on whiteboards & flip charts.

      Reply

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