Have you ever had one of those days in which you work really, really hard but get nowhere?
I call that hamster-wheel syndrome (HWS). Sometimes HWS sets in just because. Because you are tired, or because you haven’t had a full pot of coffee yet, but a lot of times it is symptomatic of disorganization and an overflowing in-box. Fortunately there are tools available to help combat HWS.
Everybody has their own set of tools that make them more efficient and I have six favorite tools that I use religiously. And before you ask, I am not affiliated with these tools and get absolutely nothing for recommending them.
One more thing – they all have FREE starter levels.
PayMo – Every time I build a new website, it involves the same general steps. With Paymo I can create customized project lists and then save them as templates for future use. Paymo’s tools include time tracking, online invoicing and file sharing to name a few. I love the Paymo widget which rests quietly on my computer desktop and allows me to track time/costs without logging into Paymo. If your business requires time/cost management and project lists, you will want to check this out.
RoboForm – If you struggle to keep track of passwords, this is your ticket. I manage hundreds (not joking) of passwords as I maintain clients’ websites and online resources. I started out with a piece of paper that graduated to a spreadsheet that finally exploded into utter chaos. At that point I embraced RoboForm, an online password manager. RoboForm is accessible from your mobile devices and includes auto login. Whatever website I go to I can log in with one click of my RoboForm tool.
Clef – Speaking of logging in, even when I use RoboForm, logging in to my websites got pretty tedious until I started using Clef. Not only does Clef make logging in feel very high-tech futuristic”magical” (as Clef calls it), it also adds another layer of security by providing two-factor authentication. Instead of using a password I merely wave my phone in front of my computer screen and I am logged in! The only password I need to remember is the password for Clef.
Evernote – If you haven’t tried Evernote you are missing out on an indispensable resource. Evernote employs hundreds of elephants that remember your stuff (or so the advertisements say). I use Evernote to clip and save website articles, jot notes, save receipts, etc. It’s all safely stored in Evernote and I can access my notes from any device. I use categories, tags and comments to easily find specific notes. There are many useful tools under the Evernote umbrella and my recent favorite is Skitch which allows me to take a quick screen snap, add annotations and paste it into an email or document.
Toodledo – I have tried many different “to-do” list tools but Toodledo gives me the best suite of features for my particular needs. I can access Toodledo from my mobile devices. I love the timer feature that allows me to track how long a task takes. Filters, alarms and schedulers help me manage my time more efficiently.
Timer – I saved the most high-tech solution for last. It’s the timer on my iphone. When I really need to focus on a task I turn off email and other distractions and set my timer for a 45 min. to 1 hour block. Then I dive in. When the timer goes off it’s time to move on to something else. Setting time limits forces me to complete the task in a specified amount of time (hopefully). It’s amazingly effective and beautifully simplistic. And chances are you have a timer on your computer or phone already.
Armed with these tools I spend a little less time on the hamster wheel and a little more time checking off tasks on my Toodledo list.
Time to toss the wheel and get moving!