There are some tools that you have in your toolbox that you wonder how you would ever get along without them. For me, I can think of 11 off the top of my head:
Toggl – Because I need to track my time, I use the desktop version of this simple software. I can toggle on and off of tasks and at the end of the month when it comes time for invoicing, it spits out all my data in a CSV file that I can easily manipulate into reports for my clients.
PicMonkey – This website is one of the few where I’ve taken up the paid service, even though I could just use the free version, because I want to have all of the fonts and effects it has to offer. I use it every single day both personally and professionally. For my nature photography, it’s wonderful for magically adjusting an underexposed shot, and for my work, if I’m working with a stock photo that I want to add some text or change to suit the topic of my blog post, then it is easy and intuitive to do so.
RescueTime – Having to be connected to social media for my own business marketing means there is a possibility of getting caught in the time-suck that is Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. RescueTime allows me to set goals for productivity and limits for distracting time. It tracks all the activities I perform on my computer, including email, software programs and internet usage, then it gives me a report at the end of the week letting me know how I did. I can choose which times of the day I wish to track, and with the paid version, you can block out certain websites during specified periods of time.
Dropbox – Gone are the days where it was necessary to send a file back and forth to a client and regularly use file sending services for larger files. Now I have file folders set up to share with my clients and I wonder how I ever got by without this service.
Dreamweaver – I do a lot of editing of web pages and when preparing HTML broadcasts for 1ShoppingCart, I find it much easier to whack the code into Dreamweaver and edit it from there. I pay a monthly subscription for this and consider it worth every penny.
FileZilla – When you edit web pages, you need a good FTP client to transfer the files across, and having recently changed from Core FTP to Filezilla when I bought a new laptop, so far I’m happy with Filezilla. I like that even though it disconnects you from the server after a period of inactivity, it is almost seamless to reinstate the connection.
LastPass – I’ve blogged about this software before, but it is still the bee’s knees in my eyes. It’s a great way to keep track of all your passwords in the one place while still using hard to crack passwords on all the websites you access.
Notepad – Often when dealing with text brought in from word and other sources, there is rich text formatting that is attached to it that makes it look inconsistent or might mess up the HTML code on a broadcast, so I often will copy and paste the text into Notepad to remove any formatting before copying the text into a blog post or email broadcast.
TweetDeck – When I do need to get on social media, specifically Twitter, I like to use Tweetdeck, because I can manage multiple accounts and see everything in columns down the page. I can follow hashtags, search on keywords and I can schedule tweets, and because Tweetdeck uploads images to pic.twitter.com, it means when I include a photo with my tweet, it shows immediately in my followers’ feeds instead of showing as a link that people have to click before being able to view.
Multiple browsers – I have a couple of Google accounts: one for my personal blog and one for my VA business. There are also other websites where I have two profiles and I can manage this easily by using more than one browser. For instance, if I want to access my Google+ account, I use Google Chrome and if I want to access my professional one, I use Mozilla Firefox. I don’t have to log in and out and I just make sure that my default browser is for the profile I use most. It is also great to test how an HTML page is looking in more than just one browser.
Excel – I have a confession to make: when it comes to keeping track of my to-do list, after having tried many project management/to-do list type software programs, I find that you can’t go wrong with a simple Excel spreadsheet. I have tasks that rollover each day/month/week and a prioritisation and sort pull them up for me every morning, where I write the most important tasks on *gasp* a paper notebook that sits on my desk – it works for me!
There’s my list. What’s on your list of workplace tools that you wouldn’t want to live without?