Each week in my newsletter and on my podcast I share useful tools, apps and resources to help you to improve your productivity, organisation, wellbeing, energy and resilience (your POWER) to enable you to ‘Live More’ (get to do more of what you want). Here are a selection from last year.
Have you come across Slack yet?
It’s a social media platform that you use with groups of people, maybe within organisations, to communicate and take that communication off email.
I use it with a number of my clients. It works particularly well for geographically dispersed teams who need to keep in touch and collaborate.
It integrates with many other applications to enable you to bring other strands of your communication and collaboration into one place. For example, at Engage for Success we have all our tweets pulled in to a channel so everyone in the team can see what is being tweeted without having to be on, or visit, Twitter.
With another client we have a help desk where customer queries come to; these are then share via a channel in Slack to ensure we pick them up quickly, especially the urgent ones.
You can also upload files to form a repository for useful content; the search is really good (which is, in my view, the test of a good data repository!).
Slack works on a freemium model; so you can do a lot without needing a paid for account. Have a look and see if it might work for you for group communication; it’s a great alternative to Facebook Groups, particularly when you have people who resolutely won’t join you on Facebook!
Book ref value charging
I was listening to a podcast this week that was an interview with the founder or MD of Freshbooks (can’t remember what his official title was).
It was really interesting and all about how they run their organisation and engage their people.
They mentioned a resource that I downloaded, and read, about value based pricing, which is particularly pertinent to coaches and people who work 121 with their customers.
He encouraged sharing of it; so here it is for you!
I’ve been on a constant mission, albeit at varying intensity depending on circumstances, to become fluent in French.
I use an app to develop my vocabulary (more on that another week) but I get stuck on grammar and conjugating verbs, which is really frustrating (especially for someone who talks as much as I do and likes to get stuff right!!).
This week I’ve been using a cool website to learn and practise the grammar stuff including taking regular tests to check understanding. And it’s really helping.
Solar charger and battery pack
I go camping a lot in the summer and, though we have a large solar panel on our caravan roof that keeps our battery topped up, we supplement it with a separate solar charger that charges a battery pack that we use to charge our phones and iPad.
If you ever go off grid, it’s a definite recommend.
Do you use a text expanding tool?
What do they do, might be your first question! They allow you to save chunks of text and type an easy to remember word or phrase to be replaced by the pre-saved text.
I’ve used it for things like sharing the link to use to book onto my podcast or to book a meeting with me. I couldn’t remember the url for that but I know that if I type hashtaghashtag1hm (for example, where the written hashtags aren’t written, if you see what I mean!) then my calendar booking url for a one hour meeting will magically appear.
I use it for pre-written emails too, ie I just type my ‘code’ and then a lengthy email appears in its stead.
For years I’ve used ‘Short Keys’ on my windows laptop but I couldn’t use it on my iPhone. So, I used to manually copy the short codes into Text Expander. Now, Text Expander works on Windows too so I’ve swapped over to that.
It saves loads of time and faff looking stuff up.
iCloud Chrome Extension for Windows
If you know me, you will know that I often find tools and tips by working on the ‘there must be a way; I’ll google it’ concept!
And this week’s recommended tool is a good example of that.
I use a windows laptop and an iPhone and iPad. So I use Chrome on my laptop and Safari on my devices. I extensively use Bookmarks on my laptop and I really wanted to replicate them on devices…automatically.
And, it turns out, you can!
I have been using Todoist to manage my todo list for years now. There are lots of todo list apps and platforms and it took me a while to find one that works for me.
And I’ve finally stopped swapping what I use to manage my tasks now. I used to waste so much time organising myself with yet another tool!
Todoist allows you to create projects and sub projects to ‘file’ and organise your tasks in and then you can use tags to further filter the tasks and to create filter views.
It’s a simple app with capability to be sophisticated and complex depending on how you use it!
I like it because I can ‘slice and dice’ my todo list in a number of ways that helps me to get stuff done during the day, eg I’m writing this on a train as a result of checking my ‘phone offline’ filter.
Milanote is a tool for organising your creative projects into beautiful visual boards.
Created to replicate the feeling of working on a wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for freelancers in both the marketing and design spaces.
Milanote has heaps of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a moodboard to set out the visual direction for a project, to writing that perfect creative brief. Its sharing features make it a great option for those who regularly provide work to clients for feedback.
Milanote’s basic plan is available for free with no time-limit.