This is a guest post by Jeremy Toeman of Stage Two. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Managing your time effectively can greatly increase your productivity and remove unneeded anxiety in your life. There are amazing tech tools out there that will improve your productivity and save you time.
Too often people get overwhelmed or upset with the gadgets in their lives. I believe that great technology can help people live a simpler, more beneficial life. Here, then, are some of my favorite timesaving tech tips.
Find Your Information
Evernote is a personal digital assistant that helps you organize and store important information. The service lets users access photos, webpages, handwritten notes and other documents easily. Evernote is a freemium model, with a basic service available for free and a pro service that users pay for.
The notes you create on Evernote can appear on multiple devices. Whether you are on your computer, smart phone or tablet, you can keep track of information that is important to you.
When the pictures, websites and photos that you care about are all easy to find, you will spend less of your time searching for information and more time getting things done.
Never Lose A Password Again
Password managers help you keep track of your computer passwords (your password should never be PASSWORD). They also help you remember your security questions, PIN numbers and other sensitive information. As the number of usernames and logins increases, so does the need for a password manager.
eWallet helps you track your usernames and passwords, safely and securely. The service uses “government-level (FIPS) 256-bit AES encryption” to protect your personal data. eWallet costs money to download, although there are a number of free alternatives available, such as Keepass.
Rather than searching for a lost password or trying to remember who your favorite uncle is, an organized, centralized password manager will save your time and stress.
Whether you need a messaging service for your home or business, Skype has you covered. Skype offers users robust communication solutions such as video chat, instant messaging, file transferring and even Skype calling (calls to other Skype clients are free and phone calls are very reasonable).
Skype is an easy way to keep track of coworkers, colleagues and friends. The newly introduced group video chat is especially convenient for video meetings with off site clients or catching up with family members across the country.
When one application can handle most of your communication needs, you can call that a win for technology.
Organize Your Inbox
Let’s face it, in 15+ years of internet advancements, email is still the cornerstone of digital communications. A cluttered inbox is a source of stress and anxiety in our busy lives. When email is disorganized people tend to miss important messages, get focused on the uncomfortable task of decluttering their email program and generally see lower productivity. Studies show that about one in three people use their inbox as some kind of mega “to-do” list. But this is clearly a square peg/round hole issue.
A simple solution here is NudgeMail, an email-based reminder service that works with any device and any email client. There is no registration necessary and no installation of software or plugins. NudgeMail lets users push all their idle to-do’s into the cloud, and turns them into automated reminders. For full disclosure: I am the inventor and CEO of NudgeMail, which I created specifically because of my unmanageable inbox!
I designed NudgeMail to work easily with virtually no learning curve (hence the no installs, accounts, passwords, or usernames). Let’s say you have an email sitting around that you know you won’t need to deal with until Tuesday. You can forward that email to Tuesday@nudgemail.com, and on Tuesday, it’ll automatically come back to you (letting you delete it out of your inbox in the meanwhile). Want the follow-up on March 20th? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The system understands a variety of commands such as 3days; Friday; NextWeek; EOD; or 230PM (go ahead, try anything you want – for a full list of possible commands, go here). Once your NudgeMail arrives, if you aren’t ready to deal with it yet, you can even “snooze” a nudge and have it delivered at a later time.
When your tasks and inbox are organized, your life becomes less stressful. Since launching NudgeMail I’ve personally gone from an average of 200-300 idle emails to ending most days with under 20!
Manage Your Expense Reports
Expense reports can be a major hassle, making you keep track of every last business reciept. Expensify is a web application that simplifies expense reports and saves people the hassle of hanging on the business receipts. Dedicated to creating expense reports “that don’t suck,” Expensify gives “you the ability to create, approve, reimburse and analyze expenses from a computer anywhere in the world.” The company created apps for all leading smart phones, so you know it will work with your work phone.
Some of the cooler features include uploading receipts from your mobile device and getting reimbursed online in real time. There is also no paperwork to print out, making it an environmental time saver.
To be sure, deep breathing and meditation are great stress relievers. But if you can use your computer or smart phone to reduce stress rather than cause it, you will be on your way to a more productive life.
Jeremy Toeman runs Stage Two, a digital agency that creates consumer technology that improves lives, delivers entertainment effortlessly and connects people with their passions. He believes that technology should be both simple and beneficial. Jeremy founded Legacy Locker, a digital asset management tool and NudgeMail, an email based reminder service.
Photo by bibendum84