As someone who’s heavily involved in the digital industry, I fully embrace the digital way of life as much as I can. Although I believe there’s a need to take a break and remember there’s a world away from technology, I’m passionate that digital can transform our lives in so many different ways, big and small alike.
Having tried and tested a huge array of different digital tools throughout my working career to date, there are a selection that I either always find I revert back to, or which have become staple resources I simply don’t believe I could get away with not using.
Resulting in me being able to increase my levels of efficiency and how organised I am overall, this subsequently has a direct impact on how successful I am, whether we’re talking on a granular level or a broad one – and these five tools are arguably the most notable that help me to be just that.
A relatively new part of my digital arsenal, on a high level Slack is an instant messaging tool. Dig a little deeper, however, and you can quickly see how it can change your way of communicating.
Providing the ability to group discussions into ‘channels’, send direct messages and have private groups, this alone doesn’t really set Slack apart from the competition, even though the way it’s presented does help.
What does set it apart for me, however, is the fact Slack integrates with a vast array of third party tools, providing direct updates from resources and adding functionality to make the entire communication experience sleeker and slicker than seen elsewhere.
In a nutshell, for me, Slack is gradually reducing the need for e-mail. There will always be a requirement – communicating with someone new, for example – but for people I make regular contact with, Slack is becoming the go-to resource.
A long term favourite, I adore Pocket for the simple reason it fills a gap in my daily processes. And it does so perfectly.
Previously, I used all sorts of different ways of making note of blog posts and articles I wanted to read. I’d add them to a draft e-mail, include them on a note on my phone or paste them into a blank document. It worked, but it wasn’t the most effective or efficient of processes.
With Pocket, as soon as I see an article I want to read, but wish to do so later, I just hit the button on my browser and seconds later it’s ready to read. I can add articles directly from Twitter, and by sending the URL via e-mail, too.
The best part about it?
I can read the saved articles perfectly on my mobile via the Pocket app, and I don’t have to be online. As long as my phone is syncing with Pocket at some point, it gives me the ability to read a plain text version of each article without having an internet connection.
This may only sound like a small feature, but it’s fantastic for when you’re on the move and internet connections either aren’t existent or are anything but reliable.
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I was introduced to Trello a couple of weeks back, and it’s completely and utterly changed the way I approach project management.
Extremely visual (which itself is a major plus), Trello allows you to divide – in my instance – a project into numerous different components, and it has various features that enhance the whole process.
Checklists. Assigning team members. Adding due dates. Easily moving components from one area to the next.
Writing it down, it doesn’t do Trello justice. It sounds just like any of the other project management tools out there, right?
So my advice is to go try it. Oh yeah, because it’s completely free.
I’ve been a fan of Buffer for quite a while now, much to the initial annoyance, and now appreciation, of my colleagues.
On a basic level, Buffer allows you to schedule social media updates in advance across a range of social platforms. When you look at it more in-depth, it provides a variety of fantastic data to help support your social marketing efforts.
The most important aspect for me is the fact scheduling activity in advance saves time – I spend approximately half an hour every morning scheduling the bulk of my social activity for the coming day, and then just check in occasionally to make ‘live’ updates.
5. Google Drive (and more)
I’ve used Google Drive on and off for years, but it’s only been in the last 12 months where I feel I’ve truly embraced it – and I’m beginning to wonder why I never took it on board to the same extent previously.
An unbelievably easy-to-use Cloud platform, I pride myself on being able to work wherever I can, as long as I have my laptop and an internet connection. And the only reason I can be proud of this is due to Google Drive. Everything I’m working on, or have worked on, is securely stored away for accessing whenever I need it, at home or away.
The reason I put “(and more)” in the heading here is that when I think about Google Drive, I think about all of the other services that integrate within it, and which I use regularly.
Documents and Sheets are two I frequently use, but it’s Google Photos that has blown me away recently. Linking it up with my mobile phone, it takes a copy of any photo or video I take and instantly uploads it to Google Drive.
And it doesn’t just save them, but provides a whole host of functionality, from allowing you to search photos based on keywords (without actually associating any keywords with a photo) through to providing what are essentially digital scrapbooks based on your photos; collections of images you’ve taken, intertwined with location information, for example, to provide an animated snapshot of a selection of photographs (PERFECT for when you’ve just been on holiday!).
Just a small selection of tools I use regularly to make me more effective, if I’ve missed one out that you use daily, I’d love to hear about it – I’m a firm believer that we can all continue to learn, develop and improve!