This year I have used more tools & aps than any other time in my life (I think). Some have made my life easier. Some I fell in love with hard and fast, but the love affair ended quickly. I thought I'd share with you some of the ones I've used, and some of the ones that are now collecting virtual dust bunnies and will need to be deleted, in early 2013
This list is a huge reflection about how I manage my time And I'm somewhat embarrassed. But I suspect I'm not the only person who needs their tools to pull them back in. To keep them engaged and interested in coming back.
I'm looking forward to coming back to this post in December 2013 (and beyond) to maybe have a chuckle over this list. Hope you enjoy it too!
Here's my tools rundown
(Note: Some of the links below are my affiliate links. If you're sharing a resource with me in the comments below, please include your aff link too! Thanks)
The tools I fell out of love with
Asana - great tool, but because it needs to be manually synced with my Google calendar (or any calendar) I don't come back often enough to use it. Sad to see it go, because the interface inside is so easy breezy
BaseCamp - loved the app on my android phone, but it isn't syncing with my Gmail contacts (only imported them initially) so I don't find myself using it (see Contactually below)
Kashoo - they have a great ipad app (I don't have an ipad) and aren't yet ready for the android market. When they are, I'll likely be so far into my other system I won't be willing to change. They have a lot of great features though. (see Wave below)
Zoho CRM, Invoicing, etc - I thought Zoho was going to be the answer for me. But it's similar to the rest in that I invest time setting it up and nothing compelling brings me back to interact.
ShoeBoxed – I love the concept, (send them your receipts and paper – they take care of everything. Great for living a portable life) but they don’t provide shipping envelopes to Canadians. I wasn’t using my account.
Mozilla Thunderbird - I still love it, but I don't need it as often now that I have a better system running with my android phone and Gmail online
Mozilla Firefox - it slowed down earlier this year & wasn't syncing my favourites across devices. And after setting up Google aps for business it made sense to switch more than ever
Jing - this makes me very, very sad. It was my "go to" for so long. But it's not going to be around after Feb 2013, so I needed to find an alternative (see screencast-o-matic)
Hootsuite - I spent much less time in Hootsuite now than I did last year. I have a few apps that send things to my hootsuite account, but it's no longer my "go to" system
Clarify – great tool for creating tutorials and help files. I’m more inclined to do quick screen captures, or share with a Jing video (screencast) so I haven’t renewed my account.
Insight.ly – in my search for the perfect CRM solution that integrated with google aps, I tried Insightly. It wasn’t everything I needed (simply, pulling me back regularly, etc)
SimpleBooklet.net – online booking system that integrates with google aps. It wasn’t intuitive enough for me.
WordPress Plugins I fell out of love with
- HelloBar (less than 2% of my website visitors clicked on that little banner during 2012. And less than 1% of them took further action. I’m focusing on different things this year)
- Polls plugin – great idea in theory, but no one was taking the polls so I’m using that “virtual real estate” for something else.
- Easy Sign Up – this was a great free alternative before installing Magic Action Box
- Wysija – absolutely love the interface, but less than 40% of the emails were delivered.
- Testimonials -
- Get Response - great newsletter program, but they have 40 apps and Mailchimp has 400+, which makes it much easier for me to integrate all of my programs in the long term
- AWeber – probably the most recommended email newsletter program. I'm sticking with Mailchimp for the time being.
The ones I'm still in love with (or at least LIKE)
- Wave Accounting
- Contactually - This one is really cool! I found it in my search for a CRM tool that would work seamlessly with Google Aps & what I found was one step better. It even integrates my conversations in email, Facebook and Twitter so I can truly follow who I’ve been in touch with & who I need to reach out to.
- eVoice�� (Free Trial if you want to check it out. I’ve signed up for a 6 month package to see if it’s the right fit for me.)
- Evernote – I use this for so many things (blog post ideas, saving info about resources and tools I love, and note taking during an online event. Love that it syncs to all devices)
- Dropbox - I use dropbox for backups of photos & my wordpress database
- Sugarsync - I use it for all of my file management. Syncs will all of my devices for easy access of files (except backups and photos). Update: They had a larger free storage size when I started my online business & made files super easy to share. I didn't find Dropbox as easy. This past year I've found DropBox and Sugarsync to be very similar in useability, etc. I couldn't recommend one over the other.
- Google Aps for business (the free version is more than enough for me right now) Note: the free version was cancelled December 2012. http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html
- Teambox – I use this for managing my tasks – syncs to google aps
- Microsoft Office - to create tutorials, PDF’s, ebooks – and often for creating simple graphics.
- Google Chrome – browser that syncs my preferences anytime I’m logged in with my google account.
- LastPass - as I’m sure you can imagine after reading this list – I have a lot of passwords to remember. LastPass helps me by creating awesome passwords and remembering them for me.
- Buffer Ap - love how easy it is to add things to buffer to go out throughout the week, without thinking about it. Oh, and their little suggestions on quotes gets me more likes than anything else.
- Alexa Ap on my Chrome Bar (see stats of my own website and others at a quick glance, or click through for details)
- Skype (phone number, long distance, skype to go)
- Boomerang - An add on inside my gmail that allows me to send messages at a normal time of day (perfect for a night owl on the west coast – Instead of emails arriving at 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast they can arrive at a civilized hour), or I can ask messages to be sent back to me if I don’t hear a response (hence the name boomerang)
- Mailchimp – for all of my newsletters, autoresponders, etc. I’ve had my account a long time & autoresponders were included in my free plan.
- Filezilla FTP – open source software for uploading or downloading files from my website hosting account.
- Scrivener – for writing or creating organization out of chaos when creating PDF or Kindle books
- Microsoft Paint - YES, I still use that oldie but goodie tool for quick edits, resizin an image for a blog post, etc. It's way faster than opening bigger programs, or logging into a webservice like pixlr.com
- Screencast-o-matic for video screencasts longer than 5 minutes I’ve purchased the Pro version ($15)
- Windows Live Writer for creating blog posts like this one. Still love the ease of use, although I wish I had a better way to edit my images with proper html tags (maybe someone will point me to a tutorial?)
- Adobe Reader X
- Kindle for PC
WordPress plugins I still love
- Magic Action Box
- Tweet Old Post (or tweetily)
- Thanks me Later
- Editorial Calendar
- Broken Link Checker
- All in One SEO Pack
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox
Google Chrome Extensions:
I have to go through and remove some every month or two. I try a lot of them & then the browser gets really slow & clunky. Regular cleanout is great. Here's what's on mine today.
- Alexa Traffic Rank
- Boomerang for Gmail
- Evernote Web Clipper
- Eye Dropper
- Firebug Lite
- HootSuite Hootlet
- Read Later Fast
- Web Developer (so I can quickly check out what plugins people are using for that "cool feature")
- WebRank SEO 3.3.2
Google Aps I use:
- (currently using .5GB of the 10.1 GB storage available in my free Business Aps account)
- Canned Responses
- Google Calendar Gadget
- Google Docs gadget
- Inserting Images
- Signature Tweaks
- Undo Send
On my Android Phone
- FM Radio
- Amazon Kindle
- Headache Diary Lite
- WordPress app
Yep! This is a super HUGE list! I’m a bit surprised & at the same time really glad I took the time to share it. It’s created a bit of house-cleaning for me & a chance to see what’s working and what isn’t. Plus, a couple of other cool projects I hope to share with you over the coming weeks (ie. when noticing which programs weren’t playing well together I created a new business flow chart. I’m happy to share my process with you, if it would help).
When you were skimming through this list did you think of a few you could use yourself? And did you notice anything I’m missing? Any thoughts of, “Oh, Loralee would absolutely LOVE this tool I’m using?” Share with me in a tweet or in the comments below!
And Happy New Year!
P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my new ecourse (How to Outsource) why not take 60 seconds and do that now. It’s fast, easy & I’m super proud of how it turned out. If you’ve ever wished you could have help & not need to do it all alone, this mini course will really help.