I often get asked which tools I use and can recommend for other folks in the start-up or creative field. Below are a few of the ones I use and love, and they get used daily when I am working on Family Records or GNTLMN projects. In no particular order:
IAWriter - This is the simplest of apps. It’s just a white screen to write on. No options, no real features aside from it taking over your entire screen, and greying out all but the most current sentence you’re writing. I use it for blog posts, important emails, writing out strategic plans, and anything that requires 100% of my attention without distractions. I am great at procrastinating and even better at getting distracted. This app helps me to keep that part of my brain in check.
TextEdit – Yes, the tiny little program that comes with every Mac. Again, very few features (though more than IAWriter), and the fact that it’s so lean and minimalist allows me to use it in a variety of ways. Mostly I keep a running “Current Notes” file in my DropBox, which is linked to an icon on my desktop. This allows me to use it from any computer, not just my own. This file is always open and serves as a place for me to jot down any thoughts at they occur and they’re, split out into the following sections.
- To Do Now (urgent, important)
- To Do Later (less urgent, still important)
- To Do Some Day (not urgent, possibly important in the future)
- Notes (which can be anything really, and mostly gets turned into To Do’s)
- Payments To Make (to keep track and batch all payments into one day each week)
I shuffle items from one section to the other and at the end of my work day I move the stuff in To Do Now into TeuxDeux. Speaking of…
TeuxDeux - A tiny, simple web and app based to-do list manager. The biggest benefits for me are the satisfaction of checking something off after it’s done, and the ability to look back and see when I did what, when I need to. If you didn’t finish certain to do’s they automatically move to the next day. And it’s real pretty.
Readability - I strive to be in the zone and hit a certain flow every day so I can work uninterrupted for a few hours per project. As a person that is easily distracted and wildly curious and hungry for learning and information,this can be challenging to achieve. Taking reading breaks when I come across interesting stuff takes me out of my flow. Readability is a bookmarklet in my browser that let’s me save articles I come across to read later on, mostly when I’m on the subway on my iPhone. I love it.
Dropbox – You’re backing up everything right? I use it for all Family and GNTLMN business documents, personal files, and all of my photos. It even auto backs up my iPhone camera roll. Dropbox also allows me to access all files from their iPhone app, and it keeps my computer hard drive clean by allowing me to check the “cloud only” check mark on certain folders. For example, I don’t want all 40 GB of Family Records packaging art files on my computer. I just want to be able to access them. It’s easy and it just works without much hassle. Worth the money for my peace of mind.
Boomerang - This Gmail plug-in lets me write emails now but schedule them for sending later, and it also reminds me to follow up when someone hasn’t replied to a request for information yet.
Bufferapp - I love Buffer. It allows me to save tweets and schedule them for sending later. It does the same for facebook posts, though I don’t use that feature. Great for announcements, product launches, news, and to avoid sending 10 tweets in a row when you’re on twitter.
Finally, I use a bunch of other tools (always pruning though!) that most of you should already be familiar with, but just to mention them: WordPress (this blog!), Tumblr, Sparrow (my email client of choice), Skype (for all meetings, video or audio), Google Docs (for Excel and Word), Chrome, Highrise (for contact management), Harvest (for time tracking and invoicing), and Note (for taking notes on my phone that automatically send to my email).
Do you use anything that I didn’t list that you can wholeheartedly recommend? I’d love to hear about it.Tweet