The best way to maximize time and money when working at home is through the use of tools and systems that increase productivity by keeping you organized and on track. Here are the tools I recommend to help you work at home successfully. Note that many have mobile apps, so you can stay productive away from your home office as well.
Gmail: WAHS’s email is accessed through a pop-3 account, but all my other email is forwarded to my Gmail account. Along with sending and receiving email, I can sort and search email. I’ve been able to reorganize the appearance of my Gmail so I can sort mail into viewable categories such as “To-Do,” “To Read,” and “Impt Info.”
Evernote: This app has been a lifesaver. I can write or record notes, take screen shots of websites I want to refer back to, organize and search information in my notes and a whole lot more. Anyone who blogs or writes as part of their work-at-home career shouldn’t be without Evernote. Since it’s web-based, you can access it on your smart phone, computer, tablet and most other digital devices (I have it on my Kindle, as well).
Google Calendar: When I had a Droid, I loved Google Calendar. Like Gmail, anything I did on my calendar on my computer, would show up on my phone and vise versa. This year I got an iPhone and there wasn’t a Google Calendar app. However, with a little technical savvy I was able feed my Google Calendar to my iPhone. Other great features include creating multiple calendars (i.e. work and personal), color coding events, and sharing calendars with others.
Dropbox: I don’t always like to work from my home computer. Dropbox lets me save my writing online and access it through other devises such as a laptop or my phone. The only caveat to using Dropbox on your phone is that you need an app to open the content. For example, if I want to open a Word doc, Dropbox will allow me to access it, but I also need an app or program to open it if I want to edit it.
Hootsuite: Instead of having an app for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I can use Hootsuite to access them all. I can check my feed, mentions and post to any of my networks through one app. Hootsuite is available on your computer and mobile devices. I use the Hootlet in my browser (Chrome and Firefox) so I can share any webpage through the click on a button.
LastPass: I’m becoming increasingly paranoid about security on my computer. Since I do so much online, I have a ton of logins and while I try to be clever in my usernames and passwords, there’s only so much you can do and still remember them all. LastPass is the solution. With LastPass, you only need to remember one password. LastPass will create and remember complicated passwords for all your accounts whether it’s social media, websites and more.
Feedly: When Google did away with it’s feedreader, I made the switch to Feedly. Feedly pulls together the RSS feeds from websites you read regularly. Instead of going to each site, Feedly will pull in new content so you can read it all in one place.
Pandora: Okay, so Pandora isn’t a productivity tool per se, but it can create a more pleasant work environment which leads to greater productivity. Pandora is online radio. You can create “Stations” based on an artist or songs you like. It’s free, with a few commercial breaks or you can pay and have no commercials.
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