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20 Free and Low Cost Tools for Everyday Productivity

Every so often I sit back and take inventory of the tools I’m using with an eye on weeding some out and adding some in. Technology can be a tremendously useful thing when it comes to getting more productivity, but you must continually monitor what’s working and what’s not.

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Below are the twenty tools I rely on most for productivity in communications, marketing and collaboration.

Workflowy – this is a simple outlining tool and I use it everyday to store notes, keep projects coming and going and even as my to do list. Lots of folks use Evernote in this fashion but Workflowy’s simplicity is what makes it more useful for me.

Assistant.to – Lots of people have to schedule meetings with people and that can turn into a back and forth merry go round or employ a tool that requires the guest to log in and fight through some sales pitch. Assistant to connects with Gmail and allows you to suggest a couple times. When the recipient picks one of the proposed times it puts the meeting on both people’s calendars.

Nimble – I use two CRMs, which I know if not ideal, but Nimble is for my contacts that I need to stay in close contact with and that I want to make sure I know as much about as possible. The automatic social integration is what makes Nimble a great choice.

Talkwalker – This is a free alert tool similar to Google Alerts, just better in terms of the results I get. It’s a great way to keep tabs on my brand as well as my customers.

Hootsuite – All in one social media management tool that continues to evolve. My favorite feature is the columns to keep tabs of Twitter lists and search terms.

Megalytic – Tool that simplifies Google Analytics reporting. I suppose I shouldn’t need a tool like this, but I love simple, elegant data that I can use and share with my clients in a white label format.

Wufoo – Full featured form and survey tool that we use for both marketing and basic communications tracking but also for work with our clients.

Feedly – This is my RSS Reader of choice. I know people suggest that nobody reads blogs anymore, but I think that’s an oversimplification. Blogs aren’t the hot thing they were once in terms of people talking about them, but everyone reads blog content whether they know it or not – I just happen to love this format for sharing as well.

Skype – I’m doing more and more meeting on this platform and I’ve recorded my podcast using Skype for years.

Dropbox – For good or bad Dropbox has become our default server in the cloud. I guess it also functions as our remote backup and of course there’s the sharing and collaboration features. I send any file over a couple megs via the public folder.

QuickBooks online – I use a virtual bookkeeping so having this tool in the cloud is essential. Turner out the online version is way more useful than the desktop version too.

Basecamp https://basecamp.com/ – I’ve used Basecamp for years and I guess I’m just kind of a creature of habit. I still like it, but I have been tempted to look at some tools like TeamworkPM and Asana.

HelloSign – This is a really useful tool for me because I get lots of documents that I need to sign and I send contracts to our clients as well. HelloSign is tool that allows me to sign without the whole – download, sign, scan, send routine.

HipChat – This is simply a group chat tool, but I like that you can create chat rooms for various topics or workgroups and then keep the stream on topic with the ability to search and find files, links and past conversations.

Canva – This is a basic, free image editing tool that makes it very easy to create visual content for things like blog posts and webinars.

BuzzSumo – If you’re at a loss for what to write about a topic go here and find the most shared content for any search topic. You can also find the most shared content for any domain – you know, like your competitors! I also love to show clients that their competitors are indeed producing content and sharing it in social channels.

Google Apps – We use the branded version of apps, calendar, etc for internal teamwork and collaboration purposes.

GoToMeeting – I don a lot of large webinars and GoToWebinar is still the most affordable for my purposes although I am looking hard at the pro version of Join.me for smaller (under 100) more engaging events.

There you have it. This list probably has many entries you’ve heard of and perhaps a few new ones too. I would love to hear what you’re using and how you’re using it.

Weekend Favs September Thirteen

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr or one that I took out there on the road.

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photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

Good stuff I found this week: GifDeck – Interesting free tool turns Slideshare decks into animated GIFs for embedding and sending PressPass – Live directory of journalists organized by beat, outlet and region GetCourse – Tool that allows you to add video, voice over, surveys and more to your presentations and then track user engagement

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