I remember the days when digital was becoming more popular than film and there were some reluctant photographers who still wanted to use the old school approach. Today, it seems like every photographer – professional or otherwise – uses digital because of how quickly they can snap a few shots, upload them to their computer and send them off to their editors or friends and share the moment.
As the CEO of Filter Butler, I am often reminded of the productivity tools I use that, like the old film camera, have evolved to make my life so much easier. My role sees that I keep tabs on people, industry news and even my personal brand as I imagine others are tasked with the same things while trying to get as much as they can done in one day.
To be the most productive me possible, here is a list of my favorite productivity tools I simply can’t live without.
I am a fan of almost all of Google’s most popular tools but Google Alerts is definitely up there on the list. Google Alerts allows you to monitor mentions of anything on the internet and sends you notifications when they pop up on other websites.
Personally I like to use Google Alerts to keep tabs on my industry as well as my competitors so that I can see what everyone is up to. I also like to use it for marketing outreach. If I see that a competitor of mine has been featured by a certain authoritative publication I know there may be a good chance I can get myself, or my company, featured there too. I can also monitor the web for mentions of my brand and get a pulse on what other bloggers or media types are saying about my company.
By now I feel like everyone has heard of Google Drive but I still feel obligated to mention it here. Before Google Drive came around, I found myself emailing all my documents, pictures, files, etc. to myself or carrying around a flash drive to upload my information into all the various devices I was using. I traveled with a laptop and sometimes a tablet, had a computer at home, at the desk in the office, and sometimes only had my smartphone with me making accessing files something of a logistical nightmare.
After signing up for Google Drive (it’s free!) I was able to keep all my files in one place (the cloud), access them from any of my devices, and share them with coworkers or personal contacts in a matter of seconds. Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive offer similar capabilities, and I find it’s good to utilize all of them as different people will want to share documents with you from one of these three great filing-sharing tools.
Google Drive offers a bunch of different separate apps and the most popular ones operate like MS Word (Google Docs), MS Excel (Google Sheets) and MS PowerPoint (Google Slides). The difference is that these documents are in the cloud and can be shared and edited by anyone you give them access to.
Asana is my go-to project management app. I work with my team to have discussions, assign to-do’s, share files associated with projects, and to create accountability. Like Google Drive, Asana works on any device so it’s great for people who find themselves working from a lot of different locations and who need to keep track of all the moving parts within projects.
One of the productivity features I like most is that once a discussion within the app is started, all the back and forth is present on that conversation thread. Unlike email where it’s easy to lose track of where things were left off if you haven’t spoken to someone for a while, Asana makes things extremely easy to find and allows you to reference past conversations quickly and efficiently.
For helping with organization, I like to use Evernote to write and collect notes, collaborate with team members, and store photos. Evernote also has a robust indexing feature which allows you to search for anything you’ve ever saved.
My favorite feature is the photo tool which allows you to take pictures of documents and share them with your team quickly. What I find myself using the most is the photo feature for business cards – it automatically pulls the data from the business card into the app so you never have to type it in manually.
Productivity Tools Make Life Easier
I find that I use these tools almost every day and am always finding new and interesting ways to leverage them. I even find that I use them for non-work related stuff so that I can stay on-task no matter what I am doing.
What is really great about all of these tools is that they are really simple to use and have a very small learning curve (plus most of them are free). Most importantly, they save me a lot of time and allow me to dedicate that time to things that help me to grow my business.
Like you, entrepreneur and business expert Daniel MacDonald is intensely focused on success. As CEO of one of Canada’s Hot Top 50 Startups by Profit Magazine, Daniel is an expert on the topics of management, business operations, marketing and entrepreneurship. Daniel has also served as member of the exclusive Entrepreneurs’ Organization, on the leadership team of Sinai Hospital in Toronto and supports various causes like the White Knight Foundation (an organization dedicated to stopping unprovoked youth violence).
After graduating from McGill University of Montreal, Daniel successfully established Greenlife Water in 2010. Within only a few years, Greenlife Water was acknowledged by Profit Magazine and is listed as one of Canada’s Hot Top 50 Startups. As a second generation entrepreneur, Daniel seemingly has hustle built into his DNA.
In his spare time, Daniel enjoys being active and often spends time running, playing badminton, soccer and basketball.
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