As a guy with a full-time job in addition to two companies that include multiple blogs and freelance clients, I have a lot of my mind and a lot to keep track of. Without the internet, my phone, and some core apps I could never keep my to-do list straight.
Whether you are keeping track of a full-time business or just your own to-do list, here are some valuable, free tools to help you keep everything straight.
The core of my system is my email account, and based on my experience there is nothing better than Gmail. You never have to delete a message, everything is indexed and searchable, and I love the priority inbox to sort and organize what I really have to get done.
I wrote a week-long course called Zero Inbox Week that you can join for free here.
After I check my email each morning, I open up my to-do list at Asana. Asana is a free to-do list tracker that helps track multiple projects, shared projects with multiple users, and a project due date calendar.
To keep myself on track, I have enabled email reminders for upcoming due tasks and have incorporated notes and reminders in each task so I don’t forget any details as I work through the project.
I have a “project” setup for each freelance writing client and a task with sub-tasks for my web design client projects.
I got an email from a friend about something three weeks from now. I don’t want to leave it in my inbox for three weeks, nor do I care to print it out and have a piece of paper getting dusty at home or the office. I hit the Boomerang button. Problem solved.
Boomerang is a free Gmail add-on, with a premium version available for heavy users, that allows you to send emails into the archive and be brought pack at a specified day and time. It also allows you to prepare an email and send it at a later time with a delay.
I have had Boomerang installed in my email for years and I use it all the time to keep my inbox under control.
Without my calendar (and my fiancé), I wouldn’t know where to be and when to be there. I would be like a lost puppy wandering around Portland after working looking for a place to be. It wouldn’t be good.
I have automated my work calendar as well as my Facebook, TripIt, Plancast, religious calendar, US holiday calendar, Meetup, and Songkick concert calendars to show up on my GCal so I can see my schedule on my phone or laptop.
If you have any sort of content to share with people, or want to be found online and make money for any reason, WordPress is the most popular platform to get your content to the world.
WordPress is a completely free content management system, though you do need web hosting for it to work. I have self-taught over the years to become a WordPress power user. You are reading this right now thanks to a website powered by WordPress.
This is the only paid tool I really, really need and use all the time. Quickbooks is the hub of my accounting and invoicing system that I use to bill and track client balances, revenue, expenses, profits, and generate my tax reports for the end of the year.
I use Quickbooks Pro, which isn’t cheap, but it is worth the cost and I only need to upgrade every few years.
What Tools Do You Use?
What are you best tips to save time and money dealing with operating your business? Share your best in the comments.
Photo by Dell / flickr