My Top Productivity Tools 2014

I sometimes get asked what various types  of tools/applications I use. So I thought I would make a list of my current top productivity tools (May 2014).  If you think there is a better option,or have a recommendation, please let me know in the comments below. Disclaimer: I use a Mac and am a big iOS fan, so everything below works on my Macbook pro.

Productivity Tools

Blogging

  • WordPress Plugins:I use various plugins.  That’s probably a separate post. If you want to know what they are leave a comment and I’ll write out the list for you.
  • DreamHost: If you choose to create a website with WordPress (which I recommend) You will need to sign up with a web host.  There are many great articles, comparisons, etc. I have used many web hosts and have found Dreamhost to be reliable, great with support and fairly priced. They are currently charging $8.95/mth  I currently host all my websites with them for the one monthly fee.
  • Disqus: I have had an on and off again relationship with Disqus over the years.  With their newest update they have completely won me over. They make it simple for your users to comment and also do a great job “socializing” your comments throughout the various social media networks.
  • Feedburner: With the demise of Google Reader it might not be long for FeedBurner to find the same fate. However, until that time I find FeedBurner and easy way for reader to subscribe to my blog. I currently am also using their email tool which allows readers to have my blog posts automatically emailed to them once published.
  • Studio Press: I’m currently using the “Balance Theme” I think The Studio Press team makes some of the best, if not the best, WordPress themes currently available. You can alway check out their discounted theme of the month here.
  • Google Analytics: I use Google analytics for all my web traffic analysis. It’s the gold standard of all web analytics software.  And its free.
  • Freedigitalphotos.net & MoregueFile: I, almost exclusively,  use royalty free photographs on my blog.  You can pay for premium services, I just don’t think you have to. Above are tow of the most common sites I go to for royalty free pictures.
  • MailChimp: I have a mailchimp account and use it with some of my other websites.  As I have not yet integrated a newsletter feature on my personal blog, I don’t use it here. However, I prefer mailchimp over aweber, but i think both are great options.
  • VaultPress: You want to back up your files. I use Vaultpress for the backups of all my online business ventures. If I generate revenue from a website I pay for  a professional backup. VaultPress was developed by Automattic, the same people who built WordPress. (UPDATE: I now use both mailchimp for peraonal newsletters and Aweber for any marketing newsletters)
  • WordPress: I love WordPress. It’s relatively easy to use, well documented and has literally thousands of great developers.
  • WordPress SEO:  This plugin is superb in helping me do some much-needed SEO analysis. Free, and superb at what it does.

Social Media

  • Buffer: This is one of those ideas that is so simple and so elegant, you slap yourself on the forehead and say, “Of course!” You add tweets to your Buffer whenever you want. It then spreads them out during the day according to a schedule you pre-determine, so it doesn’t overwhelm your followers.
  • Tweetbot: This is my go to Twitter dashboard. It incredibly easy to change between multiple twitter accounts. Works great on my iPhone, really great on the iPad and also has a mac app that I love!3 Again, I have tried most Twitter apps. I always come back to Tweetbot!
  • Fiver: I have found Fiverr to be my one stop shop for almost all of my paid design work. Form logos, to banners, to copywriting. If you have a creative need, check out Fiverr first.
  • Mr Reader: I find that some of my best learning doesn’t come from books, but from reading other people’s blogs. My go to RSS reader  is Mr. Reader. It is hands down the best reading app that fits my workflow. Its quick, marks articles read just by scrolling past them and allows me to open the article in various different formats. Love this! synced with

Speaking

  • Word: Yup, plain old Word. I have Scrivener installed on my Macbook, but I always come back to Word when writing an outline, draft and final copy. It’s just what I use. I’m sure there are better options, but until I find one that is very intuitive to use, I’ll stick with Microsoft on this one. (I actually usually use Evernote, which has all my various research articles, audio files, etc to write out my outline. I then transfer it to Word to write the content.)
  • Logos: I am a big fan of Logos for all my biblical research needs.
  • Pen, Paper& Practice: Yeah I’m still old school. I actually write out multiple versions of the same talk. Usually they are titled ‘First Draft, Cut Down Draft, Really Cut Down Draft , and then Final Cut Down Draft.”  Original, I know. I then have a set schedule that I follow with almost every presentation. (I’ll blog about that soon)
  • Podcasts: I try to listen to as many great speakers as I can find. I self admit that I am not a great content creator. But I love learning how to communicate effectively. Telling a great story and motivating people towards actions is perhaps my biggest passion!

Productivity

  • Chrome: Chrom simply rocks. Its quick, has a ton of plugins and just works like i want it to.  The only thing I sometimes miss is the firebug plugin for Firefox. (Its a web development plugin/tool. I keep Firefox installed just in case I need to access firebug)
  • DropBox: Ok, I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with Dropbox. I never liked that it forced me to change my file structures. However, I must admit, it syncs super fast and has a great API that integrates with a ton of applications I use. I currently have the free version.
  • COPY: ***S0 much FREE online storage!*** I have been a Copy fan for a long time. I am an avid fan and subscriber and use this to auto back up all my important files. I also use this to collaborate with almost everyone…everyone except those DropBox users. :) Yes, I think its better than Dropbox.
  • Evernote: This is my digital brain. I store everything here: receipts, web clippings, Kindle notes, meeting notes, you name it. I like it so much, I wrote a series of twelve posts about it on my blog. It is an application I launch at startup and keep open all the time.
  • Google Calendar:The ability to share a calendar is a must. Friends, family, assistants, etc. Google Calendar works perfectly!
  • BoomerangIf you use Gmail, and love having a clean inbox, Boomerang is for you.  You can “boomerang” messages that you don’t want to deal with right at this moment, but can’t afford to delete either. Boomerang removes them from your inbox and sends them back to you when you choose.
  • FreshBooks: This is my preferred invoicing and expense tracking system. I use this to track all my business expenses and invoice any clients. Another good choice is Harvest for those looking for a comparison.
  • Mail: When I’m not in an exchange environment I use Mail. It’s lightweight and efficient. (I use Outlook for email, calendar and tasks when in an exchange environment)
  • Google Tasks: I have used a lot of different task management tools. If I’m working in an exchange environment, I use the tasks bundled with Outlook. However, I much prefer a non exchange environment. I’m currently using the simple Google Tasks extensions. Its not pretty, but it works!  Tasks are huge for me.  I want them to sync and work with my existing cloud services. (ie Google or Exchange) If I have to sign up to a new service, I likely won’t.
  • GoTasks: For iOS I use GoTasks to sync all my tasks effortlessly across all my devices.
  • Skitch: I use this free program for all my screen capture needs. It is quick, simple and does everything I need it to.  There are some more advanced, paid, applications you can find. However, for most of us, Skitch is the perfect answer to your screen capture needs.
  • Asana: When working with teams I have found Asana to be the simplest and most robust tool available. Others prefer Basecamp, I admit it looks prettier, but I prefer Asana.

Random

  • Covenant Eyes: This is the accountability software that is installed on all our computers. I’ve researched a lot of accountability tools. Covenant eyes is one of the few I could not find a loop-hole through. It’s the software I recommend to everyone who asks for help in regards to online sexual purity.
  • Sonos: Ok, so not really a productivity app, but having some great speakers, that sync wirelessly with your Macbook or iOS device, is just awesome! Love these.

So, there you have it.  My list of regularly used apps. A big thank you to Michael Hyatt for inspiring me to make my own list. Do you use an app I should check out? I’d love to hear what some of your most used productivity tools are. Let me know in the comments below.

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About Darren Herbold

Sr. Associate Pastor at Beulah Alliance Church. I am passionate about moving people & organizations toward decisions. I lead things. Thoughts are all my own. More on the About Page & don't forget to Subscribe to my Newsletter

Comments

  1. One other suggestion is: http://startme.com. It allows you to create a simple startpage with your favorite links and RSS feeds. Saves me 10 minutes every day.

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