I often get asked what online tools and apps I use to get things done the way I do. Here’s the latest list. I hope you find it useful.
I share A LOT on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes I’ll get an idea for 3 or 4 posts at a time. Or I’ll be reading the news or surfing the web and I’ll have 3 or 4 different links and articles to share. Rather than just blasting those all out at once and annoying my followers, I’ll throw them all in Buffer. Buffer then spreads out the posts throughout the day at intervals that I setup in advance.
I use HootSuite to manage multiple social media accounts for work, as well as my personal accounts. It also allows me to schedule posts if they need to go out on a certain date or time.
I recently went back to Apple Mail after upgrading my Mac to Mountain Lion, and now its my email client of choice. I was a longtime fan of Sparrow, but the new features of Apple Mail made me give it another shot. Plus, Google purchased Sparrow and said they will no longer improve on the software. I like the way Apple Mail flawlessly stays in sync with all of my Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro), and the new VIP feature has changed my life.
With the VIP list I’ve selected a handful of people as “VIP’s.” When email comes in from these people, I get notified right away. In fact, unless you are on the VIP list I don’t get a notification at all. Your email sits as a new email in my inbox, but I’ll only know its there if I check it (which is several times a day). This way I can work and not have to worry about every new email that comes in. If its from someone important, I’ll know right away. If not, I’ll check it soon but I don’t need to disrupt my work for it. It works this way on my phone too. So now when I’m out to dinner or talking with a friend, I can safely ignore my phone. If it alerts me, I know its important enough to interrupt what I’m doing. Before VIP I’d have to check my phone every time it buzzed with a new email just to be sure it wasn’t important.
The best note taking app ever. I use it on my Macbook, my iPhone, and my iPad and they all stay in sync. I take notes constantly, otherwise I’ll forget everything. Evernote lets me categorize them, tag them, and easily search on them later. I also forward important emails to Evernote that I want to refer back to later, as well as upload photos of whiteboards or drawings in my Moleskine journal. Evernote even allows you to magically search for the words in photos, so if you wrote something on the whiteboard you can find it later.
With Pocket you save a website, or news article so that you can read it later. Throughout the day I’ll find links on Facebook, Twitter, and news sites and I’ll add them to Pocket. Then when I have down time or at the end of the day, I’ll go through Pocket and read them all. If I like something I can share it to Facebook, Twitter, Buffer, or Evernote right from Pocket. There are several services that do this, but Pocket has the most beautiful interface, and works on all my devices.
I set up Google Alerts to notify me anytime certain keywords and phrases are mentioned on the Internet. This way I know exactly the moment someone publishes a news article, or blog about our church, or mentions my pastor or myself on the Internet. There are a ton of useful ways you can utilize Google Alerts. They list a few on their website:
- monitoring a developing news story
- keeping current on a competitor or industry
- getting the latest on a celebrity or event
- keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams
IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” It’s amazing. I’d pay $40 a month for it if I had to, but luckily it’s free. It basically connects every app, tool, and social network you can think of and allows them to work together. It’s great for automating things you do often. Here are some of the things I do with IFTTT:
- When I change my profile photo on Facebook, IFTTT automatically changes my Twitter profile photo to the same photo.
- If its going to snow tomorrow, IFTTT notifies me via push notification on my phone so I know to wake up earlier.
- If I get a Google Alert hit, IFTTT automatically saves the link to Pocket and sends me a push notification on my phone.
- If my wife uploads a photo on Instagram, IFTTT sends me a push notification on my phone.
What apps do you use, and what apps are you curious about? Let me know.