What Makes My Life Easier

todolistLife is busy and hectic and we need things in our life that make it easier and less hectic.  Things like personal drivers and chefs! I wish.  No, I mean applications that keep us organized and on top of our tasks.  Isn’t that where the stress really starts to get out of control..when we lose track of an important document or we fail to meet a deadline because we weren’t all that organized?

I am always on the lookout for really great software and apps to help me.  Now that I am running a business, it’s more important than ever that I am on top of my stuff! Here are a few apps that make my life easier and if you haven’t tried them, I think you will really like them as well.

Evernote: You already know that I love Evernote…I wrote about it here.  I can’t stop singing its praises.  I take notes, create proposals, write content copy, brainstorm blog ideas and keep many lists in Evernote.  It’s wonderful.

Freshbooks: I could not run my business without Freshbooks…it’s amazing.  I am not accounting savvy…(I’m creative, I drive accountants crazy) but this makes me savvy! It tracks my expenses and revenue, creates the most beautiful invoices and even tracks my time on projects.  If you are running a biz or helping a non-profit, take a look at Freshbooks, it is super easy to use and affordable too.

Buffer: I’ve told you about Buffer before but let me say it again…it rocks! Not only is it the best social media management tool (in my opinion) out there but the Buffer team is amazing.  If you are not following their blog, start today.  Amazing, helpful information daily.

To-Do Lists: I know there are very fancy to-do list apps out there and I’ve tried teauxdeaux and trello but I wanted something simpler…a to-do list that was more like a paper list and that’s exactly what I got.  The lists pop down on my screen like post-it notes and I can check the box and it gets crossed off my list…so rewarding! (See the pic above)

Skitch: The sister to Evernote, I use Skitch every single day to take screen shots and annotate them for clients.  It’s a great tool if you need a crosshair shot or screen shot.  Skitch is an Evernote product so everything you create in Skitch goes directly to your Evernote account.  Easy, breezy!

These are just a few apps that are keeping me sane.  What apps do you use to stay organized?

Thought Leaders

Are you ever just completely amazed by all the information ‘out there’ in the world? You can google any problem or issue and voilá someone is an expert, someone has been through your exact problem and solved it.   If you need ideas or suggestions for better meetings, employee reviews, marketing, job descriptions, strategic plans, it is literally all out there on the world wide web. This makes me very happy.  I read 10-15 articles or blog posts every day…I cannot soak up enough knowledge.  Which is why I post my Fab Four articles each Friday…I want you to read great stuff each week as well.

Here are five thought leaders that I like and read weekly and I think you will like as well, so I provided a few details about each one so you can check them out.

1. Michael Hyatt: Forbes ranked him one of the top 10 online marketing experts to follow in 2014.  His weekly e-mails are wonderful and informative.  Besides marketing, he also talks a lot about leadership and personal development.

Twitter: @michaelhyatt 229k followers

2. Scott Berkun: I finished reading his book The Year Without Pants and it was wonderful.  Scott is a thoughtful writer and provides great insight to career planning and leadership. And he’s one of my favorites not only for his great material but he also commented on my blog once! (so cool!)

Twitter: @berkun 22k followers

3. Alexandra Franzen: Need a kick in the butt? She will deliver! Inspiring, motivational and intentional.  I love everything she writes. She has a passion for teaching the art of writing but she also talks a lot about communication.  Just a delight.

Twitter: @alex_franzen 13k followers

4. Kevan Lee, The Buffer Blog: By far, one of the best blogs out there in my opinion on all things social media and marketing.  Kevan really does his homework and provides great content everyday.

Twitter: @kevanlee 7k followers

5. Jacqueline Wolven: I’m proud to say I know Jackie personally.  Her posts are inspiring and many times she will say those things that most people are afraid to say, which I love about her.  She provides marketing, branding and social media expertise but she also writes about simple lifestyles and doing good work.

Twitter: @jackiewolven 3.8k followers

So, you might ask, how do I keep up with all these folks and all the articles? Here’s how I do it.

1. Pocket: I obviously have a full time job and I am a wife and mom so I can’t read every great article in the moment, so I save them to Pocket for reading later.

2. Buffer: When I find a great article, I want to share them with the world, so I tweet them.  Again, I am busy and can’t tweet on the go so I buffer content and Buffer schedules all of my tweets. I know you thought I was on Twitter 24/7 but I’m not.

3. Feedly: I love to blog but even more I love to follow and read great blogs so I use feedly to follow all my favorite bloggers and read their posts when I have a free moment throughout the day.  Plus from Feedly I can Pocket or Buffer my favorite posts.

4. Daily: Created by Buffer, this app curates some of the best content ‘daily’ and you can choose to send the content to Buffer right from the app.  Genius!

There you have it, now go out and read, tweet and save great content!