Here are the 10 very useful productivity tools I use that makes my life easy.
1. Evernote – It’s like “Post Its” except it’s electronic. It is the “scratch paper” of the 21st century. I like to live paperless (and save a few trees)… and that’s how it should be. Don’t print it if you don’t need it. It’s also another way of saving money (think about ink & paper) and of course, trees.
What is Evernote? Think of Evernote as a digital scratch paper. A free application that can save your thoughts, ideas (you can write on it), save the things you hear (it can record) and things you see (it can capture pictures, website links and more) on both your smartphone and desktop computers. Then it is capable of synchronizing your data altogether so you can access your notes anytime, anywhere. If you ask what about if you are traveling, on a public computer or work computer? Don’t worry, you don’t need to install the program. There is a website version that you can just login if you’d like. There are millions of applications out there that are similar to this but Evernote is just one of the most reliable tools and becoming “the industry standard” out there.
2. Crashplan Backup – As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I have worked in Information Technology for over 10 years and I have seen so many times how many people lost, cried and still never learned to backup their data. If you know how to create Facebook account most likely you can follow instructions on how to run your own online backup. It’s really not complicated and they provide support if you have any questions. I use Crashplan Backup Plus. It may not be free but it is reliable, affordable, recognized and trusted by many leading, brand-name organizations worldwide (such as Target and Twitter – source: http://www.crashplan.com/enterprise/). You can trust that your data is safe and secure. Online backup can be costly but just remember how important your files, pictures and other documents too. Some of them are even priceless so it is worth every penny that you take action to backup your data.
What is Crashplan Backup? It’s an online backup. Unlike traditional USB or external harddrive backups, you install an “agent” or software on your computer, you click exactly what you want to backup and it gets stored in the ‘cloud’ or in the online storage of Crashplan. It’s a “set and forget” type of thing after you configure it.
But why is online backup important? Because those CD and USB disks break or unexpected events such as fire and theft unfortunately still happens. It is not really safe and secure.
3. Dropbox or Google Drive. It’s another free service that conveniently allows you to bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! It stores files and shares amongst all of your computer and mobile devices. Imagine it as your “On-the-go” USB drive except it’s not on a USB. It’s on the “cloud”.
4. Gmail. Personally it’s the best free email service out there. Period.
5. Gmail Calendar. I use it to manage my schedule, up coming appointments, events, as a reminder of birthdays, anniversaries and just about anything.. This way if I update an event calendar on the web, the data get synchronized on my phone and vice versa. I don’t even have to worry backing up my phone (but of course I still do for other reasons.)
6. Line and Viber. Both are applications you install on your phone that provide free service to talk to your friends anywhere in the world. It works exactly like a regular phone except that you need a stable Internet connection to be able to speak with them.
7. Skype, For video chat or meeting using my desktop. It just works as advertised. It also provides service like Line and Viber but I only have little experience on it unlike Like or Viber so I’m not sure about it. But for video chat, meeting and alike, it just works as advertised.
8. Video Download – iBolt Downloader & Manager. This is an app on my iPhone that I rarely use but when I need it, I really really need it!
What is Video Download – iBolt Downloader & Manager? It is a paid application (.99 cents) I use to download and save You Tube videos for later use. Perfect when I’m traveling or if I want to watch a video where I know I may not have a reliable Internet connection. This is perfect when we are traveling and I need to entertain my toddler.
How do I use it? For example, my son enjoys Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Pocoyo cartoons. These two cartoons have a lot of available videos on You Tube. I will then save those cartoons in advance using this Video Downloader and use it later when we gets bored on the plane or during long drive. As simple as that.
9. Podcasts. For some of you who are not familiar, a Podcast is like a traditional radio except that it has often no commercials, run by independent people, provides not only music but has lots of great tutorials and other educational materials. Podcast is a free service that allows you to listen to every subject available in the world. I personally feel more productive listening to podcasts when I’m stuck on traffic. I learn a lot and time goes by fast!
10. Wunderlist. Although I can use my Evernote and Google Calendar to simply remind me of my “Task List” or “Things-To-Do”, there’s nothing better than using an application that focuses and specializes in managing my tasks with more details, more functions and better interface. This is where Wunderlist is useful. It’s just one of the leading “To-Do” app out there that really works.