Five must-have tools for improving your digital workflow
There are never enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do.
Can you relate?
Time is always of the essence for me, as I try to cram in all the things I need to do and still have room left for what I want to do. Workflow is at the heart of this efficiency tug-of-war. Why work harder and longer if you can work smarter and shorter? Mastering productivity is the dream. Here are five of my favorite tools for getting there.
Buffer – bufferapp.com
Schedule your Tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn shares with Buffer, a social scheduler that queues your messages for constant posting throughout the day. You can set your posting schedule or let Buffer do it for you. With apps and extensions to connect your phone, browser, and favorite Internet places and services, you can clip great content wherever and whenever you find it. Save time by batching your social media workload into manageable chunks, and let Buffer broadcast automatically, whether you’re around or not.
Sign up for a free Buffer account, complete with analytics, custom scheduling, and connection with up to two social networks—even Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups. Need more? Their paid version starts at $8.50 per month.
Basecamp – basecamp.com
Project management is already a monumentally difficult and complicated beast, which is why the simplicity and efficiency of Basecamp stands out. The app from 37 Signals (maker of other helpful tools like Highrise contact manager and Campfire chat room) gives you all you need for project management and nothing you don’t. You get a shared calendar, message board, to-do lists, reminders, and whiteboards—and a clean and concise dashboard from which to oversee it all.
Basecamp offers a free 60-day trial to get a taste of the features and paid plans starting at $20 per month. The cost is well worth it for small businesses and groups.
Priority inbox –Gmail
If you’re anything like the rest of the working world, email sucks too much of your time. Gmail can at least help separate the signal from the noise with Priority Inbox, an inbox that learns to separate the urgent emails from the less urgent. Instead of waking to an inbox of 100, rise and shine and only read through only 50 important messages. It’s still a chore, but you’ll at least be done before lunch.
Short for “If This, Then That,” IFTTT is a free service that connects two apps or sites based on a conditional statement you set. For instance, if you want to save your starred emails to your Evernote account, create an IFTTT recipe to do it for you. These life macros can save you time and energy on almost anything you can dream up.
There is already a communal pot of smartly-crafted recipes available for public use on the IFTTT site. Want to back up social media photos to Dropbox? Care to throw your favorite Tweets into a Google spreadsheet? Need a text message every time Techcrunch mentions you by name (big time!)? You can do it with IFTTT.
Clear – app homepage
What would a productivity blog post be without mention of a good to-do list? Clear is a beautifully-designed, intuitively-created app for Mac and IOS that does exactly what you expect it to do—organize your life and spur you to productivity. Clear truly shines on the iPhone where its gestures (pull to create, swipe to complete) make checking off items fun and affirming.
The app sells for $1.99 in the App Store—a steal of a deal for getting your life in order.
The above tools can optimize your workflow and make the workday more efficient, if not shorter. Do you have a favorite tool not mentioned here? I’m all ears. I’m open to anything that could add more minutes to my day.
About the author
Kevan Lee has been crafting creative content since 2008. He writes about health and nutrition for his day job and blogs about sports and whimsy for his hobby. Get in touch with him on Facebook or Google+.
Photo Credit: jonrawlinson