After reading J. B. Lynn's post at Not Your Usual Suspects, I decided I would share with you tools I use to help me get things done. You might know that I wear a bunch of hats and I've always been very good at taking advantage of every minute available. I do slack off from time to time - especially when I feel overwhelmed. But in this age of technology it is easier than ever to keep up with what needs to be done.
Here are some tools and how I use them to keep all the balls in the air.
I have a love/hate relationship with email. Something you might not know about me - I hate using the telephone. My friends all thought it was hilarious when I took an administrative job that required a lot of telephone use. Seriously, in college I couldn't order pizza without a minor panic attack. So, yes, email is a Godsend. However, it is also the bane of my existence some days.
I'm sure you all have experienced the exploding inbox. Mine is compounded by the fact as a public employee there are rules to record keeping (like how long you have to keep something). So I have real trouble deleting email. It's great when something comes up months down the road and I can just do a search of my email and pull up the conversation.
However, between the amount of email I receive daily and the amount I keep. Emails get lost. Particularly emails I read on the go. Donna B of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave recommended ActiveInbox. I LOVE it. I just have the free version and it has helped tremendously. I did it a free trial of the paid version, but I didn't find I used all the bells and whistle all that much.
Now when I'm reading email and I don't have time to respond or it's something (such as a guest post) that I will need later with a click of a button it is marked "Action". There's also a "waiting on" button for emails I'm waiting on and will need to follow up on if I don't get a response (I don't really use that one much). But the action button is great. When I sit down at my computer in the evenings I can quickly go through the list of emails I need to deal with.
Google Calendar Widget
I've been reluctant to use a electronic calendar - mostly because it wasn't always easily accessible. At the day job where I might have multiple windows open it is just easier to glance at my desk calendar. However, with the blog and GWR Publicity I needed something that was with me all the time. But it wasn't until I got my tablet that I really started using my Google Calender. There is a widget that you can put on your tablet's homepage that will give you a constant view of your calender. No more "out of mind, out of site" for me.
I've even taken to color coding things so visually it is easier to see what is going on. Purple is the blog, Yellow is for bills, Red is my authors' appearances.
ToDo List Widget
Another must have for my tablet. My mind is constantly thinking of things I need to do, but as I get older it is harder to retain those ideas in my head. I have tried other apps on my phone for to do lists, but I didn't want an app I had to go to to see the list. I, again, wanted something on my home page of my tablet where I would see it every time I turned it on. The ToDo List Widget is great. I can add and check off items where ever I am. Again, it is a constant reminder. I try to keep it short - 5 or 6 items - and what needs to be done today or the next few days. Now I don't waste those precious minutes trying to remember "what did I tell myself I needed to do?"
*if you are like me and don't keep up with all the techno lingo, apparently an app and a widget are different things. I found my calender widget as part of the calendar app, but the todo list widget does not have a corresponding app.
Those are three tools that I have found to really help me keep organize and be more productive. What tools or tips do you use?