10 Cool Tools I Can’t Live Without

I fall in love most days. I read a blog post about something new and have to have it. Usually, it’s some kind of software, a website, or an app. Sometimes it’s a Chrome extension or a WordPress plugin. It’s often love at first sight.

The relationship continues all morning and then suddenly starts to fade about lunchtime. It was fun while it lasted. It was wild, intense, and exhilarating. By lunch, though, it’s over.

Some of my love affairs last. Not many, but some have gone on and on. Today, I’ll clue you in on the tools I use that have been around for some time. They’re all keepers.

  1. Chrome. It’s my browser of choice, and I use it all day long. I’ve got a bunch of specific extensions running (1Password, 2X Client for RDP, Add to Feedly, Add to Wunderlist, Buffer, Contactually, Dropbox, Google Cast, Google Drive, Gmail Offline, GText from MightyText, Hangouts, Hello Sign, Mailto: for Gmail, Pushbullet, Rapportive, and Send from Gmail). Chrome is my most used piece of software.
  2. Google Apps. I’m in and out of Gmail all day long. I also have my calendar and contact list in Google Apps. It’s cheap and reliable. We’ve used it for years with minimal downtime. It’s the way I stay connected to my universe of connections.
  3. Evernote. My whole life lives in Evernote. I store everything there that will fit. I’ve had to find an alternative place for really big files, but nearly everything I have lives in Evernote, and I’m in and out of it hourly as I pull information together for various projects.
  4. Dropbox. This is where I keep the large files as well as files I’m sharing with others. I pay for a large amount of storage and keep it loaded up. Between you and me, I also use Bitcasa to store files that exceed the limit of what I pay for on Dropbox. Bitcasa is cheaper but not as convenient as Dropbox.
  5. Wunderlist. This to-do application remains on my MacBook Air and is where I keep all of my tasks. I add to it instantly as I think of things that need doing. I share my lists with my support team, and they use it to report the status of projects as we move forward.
  6. TweetDeck. This is my Twitter client. I keep up with the news, developments in my area of the law, ideas in law practice management, and gossip via TweetDeck. It’s open all day, and I glance at it during breaks.
  7. Skype. It’s always open and turned on. This is how we communicate within our firm using the chat feature as well as the voice/video. It’s the primary way I communicate with members of my team. I also use it talk to clients and others. In fact, I use Skype instead of my cell phone when I need to make a call.
  8. Byword. It’s a simple, stripped-down text editor for the Mac. I use it instead of a heavy-duty word processor like Microsoft Word. I can publish these blog posts directly from Byword, and I simply cut and paste when someone requires a Word Document. I’m in and out of Byword all day long, and there’s so little to it that I can’t be distracted by the bells and whistles found in the powerful word processors.
  9. Feedly. I use Feedly to keep up with blogs offering an RSS feed. I moved to Feedly when Google Reader shut down. I use the browser interface on my Mac and the gReader app on my android phone.
  10. Chatter. This is the internal discussion client provided by Salesforce (we’re big Salesforce users). It’s an online water cooler with casual conversations (along with important information) popping up all day. This is how we collaborate and stay connected as a remote team. There are several great alternatives to this product, including Yammer.

These are the products I can’t live without. They fill my day and keep me productive. Sure, there’s always something new that grabs my attention, but these products keep my love long after the romance of the daily infatuation fades.

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