With tons of tools online to save you time, how do you find the time to research all these time-saving tools? It is a catch 22, and a tongue-twister. We, at TM Design understand your predicament and we have compiled a list of free or low-cost online solutions that will save you and your business time.
For your business life
Google Docs is like having an office documents suite online. You can write documents, spreadsheets, drawings and presentations. Whatever you write is available online from any computer with an Internet connection. But the real power of Google Docs comes from sharing and collaborating with others. You can share a document with anyone online. They can add to it or edit it if you want them to. Great for teams collaborating on a project and like most Google applications, it is free.
Speaking of collaborating, how many times have you wanted to email someone a document or set of photos, but it was too large to send by email? That’s where DropBox can be helpful. Once installed, it acts like a folder in your computer. If you share that folder with another person, it will also act as a folder in their computer. Therefore if you copy a document from your computer to your Dropbox folder, it magically appears in their computer also. It is free for 2GB of storage, which we think is plenty.
There are tons of tools out there that aggregate all the content from your social media accounts into one place and let you update all your accounts at once. But the one we always go back to is TweekDeck. Once you install it and add all your social media accounts to it, you will be able to read all your friends posts in one place. To save you time, you can also update all your accounts at the same time. It works for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Pages and LinkedIn. It is free and there is no limit on how many accounts you have.
While we are talking about social media, there is another tool that is a great time-saver if you are responsible for updating your business social media pages. Timely is an online application that allows you to schedule updates to all your accounts. You can set how often and what days to send updates. If you are online and see an interesting site you want to show your followers, just click Create a Timely in your browser and it is added to your list of schedule posts. Buffer (bufferapp.com/) is another tool that does the same as Timely, is more customizable, but not free.
Your business already has a blog. Are you active on social media? If you are not, you need to be. Did you know you can automatically send an update to all your social media accounts to announce there is a new post in your blog? With TwitterFeed you can. After an initial set up to link your blog and social media accounts, you can just forget it. TwitterFeed will automatically post an update every time there is a new post in your blog. All this magic is free.
OpenCal is an online application you can set up in your website that allows customers to schedule appointments to meet with you. No need for spending time on the phone or send emails back and forth. Your customers can see online what time slots you have available and they can decide what fits their schedule. There is a small fee for this service and there is a free trial.
For your personal life
A great time saver is paying bills online. No need to write checks, get stamps or get to the mailbox. But when you pay bills online you still have all those different sites you have to log in and remember those pesky passwords (why do they make them so complicated?). With Manilla, you can have all that information in one website, like; due dates, reminders, and amounts to be paid. Best of all, it remembers all the passwords of the sites you need to pay your bills! And it is free awesomeness.
Blogs are a great source of information, inspiration and entertainment. But it can mean a lot of wasted time to go to a blog you like to see if there is new content. With Google Reader you can subscribe to any blog you like and every time anything new is posted, it will be sent to your Reader. So you just need to log in to one website and read all the new posts in your favorite blogs. You can also set it to receive anything with an RSS feed like Google Alerts or Twitter searches.
Bonus: If you really need to know…
If after all this time-saving, you are still short on time and want to know where your time is going, there is a great app that will look at all the time you spend on the computer, divide it in categories and let you know what are you doing with your time in handy graphs. This information can help you better manage your time. But maybe sometimes we don’t want to know how much time we spend reading that online comic…