Let’s get productive!
How’s your January progressing?
Mine’s busy – which I like, obviously – but it’s a situation that has me relying on tools to “get stuff done!” It occurred to me recently (as I flipped between tabs, scribbling notes in my diary and ticking things off my To-Do list) that I should share some of these tools in case they help you too.
Whether you’re writing every day like me, or only rarely when you can’t avoid it, here are some tools to give you confidence when getting your message out there.
It seems ridiculous to even put it in writing, but it would be more ridiculous to ignore the benefits of a search engine when you need to look ANYTHING up. I have to do a lot of research in my work, Google is my friend! (There’s no political or even commercial message here, this is the tool I use for my research – if you prefer others I’d love to know.)
2. Answer the Public or Also Asked
When deciding what to write about, these fabulous sites allow you to explore the topics of interest to your reader as they tell you what people are typing into search engines.
Most writing software (e.g. Microsoft Word, Google Docs etc) now includes some element of spelling and grammar checking which is great for those of us who aren’t confident in those areas. I also use Grammarly because it has clear, easy to use suggestions, and a friendly interface that even registers the tone of my writing so I can make sure I’m reflecting the feelings I want to.
4. A Thesaurus
I’ve linked to the online version because it’s there – and I use it; however, I do still love flicking through a paper one too.
Repeating the same word too often can make your text repetitive and boring – unless used carefully – and thesaurus’ can also save us from that awkward “What’s the word…?” moment.
5. Word Hippo
I’ve just mentioned the thesaurus and Word Hippo provides an extension of that. I mainly use it for synonyms (or as the site puts it ‘another word for…’), which I find has great groupings and useful suggestions which the thesaurus doesn’t have.
Alongside that Word Hippo also provides definitions, pronunciations, rhymes and much more interesting wordy goodness.
When it comes to productivity and making my workday easier, these are some of the other tools I rely on.
Toggl is a time tracking app allowing me to record how I spend my day – whether I like what I see there on not!
Capsule is a CRM (customer relationship management) system that I’ve been using for years now.
Not only does Capsule allow me to record contact details for people, it has great functionality allowing me to record interactions, set tasks, and register opportunities for my business.
Along with writing, we often need images. Whether it’s for social media, presentations or websites, even leaflets and banners in the real world, we want to ensure the image we present of our business fits our branding and does a good job. Canva is a fantastic tool to allow us to present ourselves with words and pictures.
9. Google Drive
I wouldn’t have always included my Google Drive in this list because, until I started using it regularly, I’d find I was logged into the wrong profile or had lost the document I was using. But, for sharing documents online, and even accessing them across devices I’m now converted.
Now, we’ll all have our favourite (or least hated) virtual meeting platform. I’ve had most experience with Zoom and familiarity gives me one less thing to worry about – as someone who hates seeing their face on a screen.
Online meetings do have their limitations, but when efficiency is needed I do love the benefits they bring.
For those of you who live by your diary, and perhaps need help managing their time to get the most out of it, Calendly has helped me in two ways.
Firstly, you no longer have the back and forth of comparing schedules – Calendly knows my schedule so you can just book in where there’s a gap! So much easier.
Secondly, I can be stricter with my bookings – only allowing certain slots for certain meetings and restricting the number booked in a day. When I struggle to say no, Calendly will do it for me!
12. My Phone
This is another that might seem to ‘go without saying’, but let’s say it… My phone certainly makes my life easier!
13. My Planner
Having a written diary with a place to put my to-do list and notes is essential, because scribbling and visual cues is how my brain works. I haven’t yet managed to go completely digital with notes and planning… and I’m not sure I ever want to!
14. My Standing Desk
Last year I moved my workspace to a new area where it was possible to fit in a bigger desk – yippee. When it came to choosing one I was keen to have a desk that allowed for standing as well as seated working. It’s surprised me how often I choose to stand, if I’m struggling to focus I find that a change in posture can make a big difference. I really love it.
What can’t you do without?
This isn’t all about me.
I hope you’ll have gained something useful from my list, but I’m hoping I can get something from you too!
Please do share a comment with the tools which help you in your business, thanks.