Are you looking for tools to keep your biz organized and productive? Take a look through this list of resources for bloggers and solopreneurs. These are the tools I use every day and can’t live without. Some are paid, but many are free!
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Evernote – oh Evernote, how I love you. I use it for everything. Outlines for posts, screenshots of landing pages and ads for my swipe file, emails that I want to keep, market research, random notes, great articles that I’ve read. If I want to remember it, it goes into Evernote.
Spreadsheets – my love for spreadsheets is right up there with Evernote. Anything I want to track or that needs to be stored in tabular form goes into a spreadsheet. Analytics, goals and planning worksheets, my editorial calendar (or even just awesome blog ideas), my BoardBooster schedule, you name it. I use both Excel and Google Sheets.
LastPass – I don’t know how people function without a password manager. I have hundreds of passwords to keep up with. LastPass not only stores all my passwords, but it lets me organize them into folders. AND it syncs to my phone and tablet.
StayFocusd – this is a free Chrome extension that lets you set a daily time limit on certain websites of your choosing. I’ve set a 60 minute limit for all social media sites (that’s 60 minutes combined). Once you hit the time limit, you are blocked out of those sites for the rest of the day. StayFocusd forces me to be strategic about how I spend time on social media.
Timer – I use timers all the time (ha!) to keep me focused and to ensure that I take breaks. I have a Timer app on my phone, but the one I use most often is low-tech – my oven timer. It’s an obnoxious buzzer and I have to get out of my chair to turn it off.
Toggl – speaking of time, this is an app that I use every day. Toggl tracks the time that I spend on tasks. I hope to use it to improve my efficiency. It even integrates with Asana, which saves me some keystrokes and ensures that I have tasks written exactly the same way in both systems.
Business & Finance
Asana – Asana is a project and task management system. Everything I need to do goes into Asana and is organized into projects, task, and subtasks. You can create templates for recurring workflows and set up repeating tasks. You can also have workspaces to keep personal and business projects separated. Love Asana.
G Suite – With G Suite, I have custom email addresses that use my domain name, 30 GB of online storage per user, and access to all Google applications (Docs, Sheets, etc.). All this is nice, but it’s the ability to use Gmail with my domain that makes me willing to pay for G Suite. I have one address for general blog stuff and one address for business comms.
Dropbox – I’ve used the free version of Dropbox for years which includes 2 GB of cloud storage. I recently upgraded to the 1 TB paid version, so all my files are backed up every day AND I can access any file from any of my computers or mobile devices. Dropbox has saved me in the past, when I accidentally deleted or didn’t save a file, because they keep previous versions of your work.
Wave and Wave receipts – Wave is a free accounting app that keeps my business finances organized. They also have a receipt app so you can email any receipt, whether it comes via email or is scanned, straight into your Wave account. It’s so quick and easy that you’ll never worry about losing a receipt again.
Marketing & Design
Canva for Work – Canva for Work (as compared to the free version) includes folders to organize your images and the ability to set up a brand kit. I never have to type in the hex codes for my brand colors anymore and my brand fonts are now the default fonts. Those seem like small things, but they make a big difference in terms of creating graphics quickly.
ConvertKit – ConvertKit is an email marketing provider, which may seem like an odd choice in a post about productivity and organization tools. However, that’s what sets ConvertKit apart. It has automations that let you tag and segment subscribers, so that your list is super-organized.
Hootsuite – I use the free version of Hootsuite to read and interact on Twitter. I have various streams, including my Home Feed, @ mentions, retweets, and several lists in an at-a-glance view, which makes it easy to stay organized. I also use Hootsuite for some Twitter scheduling and Instagram scheduling.
Buffer – I use Buffer (free plan) for most of my Twitter scheduling. It’s just easy and I like the way it spaces tweets out during the day at optimal times. I also have an automation set up with IFTTT, Google Calendar, and Buffer that lets me schedule a month’s worth of tweets at a time (actually, I could schedule more than that, but a month is what I do).
IFTTT – IFTTT automates tasks between two apps. In addition to the automation I mentioned above in the Buffer section, I also use IFTTT to send articles to Evernote, when I save them in Pocket. Those same articles are automatically added to a spreadsheet in Google Drive that I use to organize content for curating via various social channels.
Zapier – Zapier also automates tasks between apps. I have a zap that logs each new blog post from WordPress to a Google Sheets spreadsheet. It doesn’t capture all the information that I like to have for each blog post, but it still saves me quite a bit of data entry.
Reading other blogs
Feedly – Feedly keeps new posts for all the blogs that I read organized in one place (and out of my inbox!). I like the Feedly interface (especially on my iPad) and I like that I can organize blogs into categories, such blogging, business, genealogy, fitness, etc. It makes it easy to read and share content.
Pinterest – Pinterest doesn’t have to be a time-suck. It’s a great way to organize research. I have a variety of secret boards where I gather information for future projects. I also have a secret Pin Now Read Later board, where I stash articles that I come across while researching other topics, so that I can stay focused on the task at hand.
Pretty Links Lite – This is a free WordPress plug-in that lets you create pretty affiliate links that are easy to remember and share. You can also organize all your affiliate links into groups.
Good ol’ paper & pen – Almost everything else on this list is digital, but there are some things I prefer to keep up with old-school. For example, my daily plan. While I keep my master list of projects and tasks in Asana, when it comes to what I’m going to do TODAY, I want a hard copy that sits on my desk in a Filofax, and that I can mark up with pens and highlighters.
These are the 20 tools that I use every day to keep my biz organized and productive.