As we get busier over here at the studio, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep on top of everything. Over the last few months I’ve found some really cool apps that have become indispensable to my day to day business and marketing activities so I thought I’d share them here:
#1 Feedly - A great way to keep up with your industry blogs and news websites. I tried to get into Google Reader, but I kept forgetting about it and didn’t care much for the layout. About a month ago I discovered Feedly which offers a pleasing layout and easy way to organize all your feeds. Admittedly, it is somewhat overdone in some areas and I only use the “latest” and “add website” sections as that is all I have time for right now. But there is an interesting “explore” section that suggests categories and other news/blogs to follow. I give it a huge thumbs up for keeping me connected to the art and design world.
#2 AwayFind - if you are like me and get endlessly distracted by your inbox, you must look into this app. Basically, it connects your email inbox to your phone. You can set up custom alerts so when an important email comes through, awayfind will send your phone a text message. You can give it a try for one month for free and if you like it you can sign up for $5 – $15/month for the service, depending on how many alerts you need. I’ve been using it for nearly 2 months and love the freedom it has given me. I put all my current clients in as custom notifications and when it is work hours, I just shut down the email completely knowing that the truly important stuff will get through. I can also go pick up my daughter from school or go to the gym and as long as I take my phone along, I won’t miss a beat with my client communications.
#3 Teux Deux - Ah, yes, the ongoing “to do” lists. I don’t know how anything would get done if I didn’t have lists. The Swiss Miss has really outdone herself with the TeuxDeux app. If simplicity is what you are after, search no further than this free, easy to use and incredibly effective app. I love the clean design and the intuitive way to shuffle things around within your lists. It’s far more efficient than using sticky notes all over the office.
#4 Myhours - Keeping track of how many hours I spend on each job is essential to pricing out my services properly and identifying inefficiencies. Although I think it could be improved, myhours.com is a pretty great app to help my work hours stay on track. The huge plus is that it’s free and I can easily gather reports per month or per project. However, the interface for entering hours is cumbersome and it requires you to use the 24 hour clock. I know this sounds nit picky, but my brain doesn’t work in 24 hour time and it would be nice to have an option.
#5 Skype - I know that skype is old news and everyone has been using it forever and a day. But I have to say that running a business from home has introduced me to an entirely new side of this tool. First of all, you can get a skype account for free which opens up the door to chatting with anyone else on skype for free. If you pay extra and get a legitimate phone number, you can set up voice mail and even forward phone calls to your cell phone. On top of that, skype makes it easy to work with groups of people anywhere with their ability to have conference calls with other skype users. Skype has made it possible to work from home and stay connected with clients and colleagues all over the world.
What are some of the apps/tools that you have found useful?