Photo courtesy by Liz Jones

I am definitely one to stray towards the new and shiny tools that seem to be popping up on a daily basis. Maybe it’s the “grass is always greener” thing or one tool has a few key, and convenient, features the other doesn’t. So, for me, there’s a lot of trial and error, re-inventing my processes, and fine tuning my productivity habits to be just right. But, once I’ve been attracted to a tool that just ‘works’ for me, it’s hard to abandon.

I’ve created a list of tools that I use on a daily basis serving my various productivity and management needs. These give me sanity, convenience and organization. They allow me to focus and concentrate on shipping and creating.

So here they are…

Relationships are the foundation and backbone to everything we do, whether it’s for business or personal. Connected is a Relationship Management tool that connects with your existing networks – Email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Connected at it’s basic form allows me to view my contacts from a holistic perspective. When viewing one profile I am able to see all of the conversations we have had regardless the platform it took place on. I am able to leave notes about the contact, it allows me to include how we met, add additional information, set reminders for when we should next connect, message them directly within the Connected platform, etc. Among the many other integrations, analytics and features it provides – depending on your needs – the most convenient is the notifications email. Set it and forget it. This email informs me of any job changes, birthdays and reminders to connect with specific contacts. Connected at its basic form and function is a powerful and necessary tool. There are many other integrations and third party apps that tie in nicely to manage relationships.

Plus, Connected was acquired by LinkedIn last fall. Very curious to see how this will integrate into the LinkedIn ecosystem.

Most days I do majority of my online reading within one sitting. So instead of bombarding my social feeds with articles and thoughts in a narrow time frame Buffer allows me to space them out during designated times throughout the day. It allows me to fill up my Buffer bucket with status updates without having to schedule the send each time. Buffer will automatically post depending on my predetermined time slots – found in settings. The goal is to keep the Buffer bucket topped off with content to keep a consistent social media presence all day long and all week long. In addition to the web app, Buffer has created simply mobile  apps and browser plugins for easy sharing.

My latest love affair. @HeatherRast referred this project and task management tool to me a few months ago and I haven’t looked back since. First off, the team behind this has a pretty solid track record. Majority ex Facebook and Google rockstars. The UI is gorgeous and beyond user friendly. The drag and drop makes for creating and prioritizing task lists a breeze. The platform is made up of workspaces, projects and tasks. Each task has essentially a profile; task owner, due date, comments and notes section, tags, attachments, activity feed, etc. I am currently utilizing the free version at the individual level but has robust capabilities to use with a team. It has conveniently allowed me to stay on track and focus on increasing daily productivity. you must give this a shot.

I’ve been using the social media management and monitoring suite for a couple of years now and am a huge advocate and fan of the tool. It allows my to have multiple streams based on social networks, keyword searches, lists, etc. In addition to streams there are multiple tabs that house more streams making it easy to monitor multiple brands or identities within one account. The integration of Google Analytics, along with their native analytics, team monitoring and assigning of tasks capabilities and the constant evolution of the social dashboard equates to a pretty powerful tool for managing ones social presence – not to mention the accessibility across all screens – iPad, mobile and web.

This is fairly new for me, but I believe in love at first sight. This is an extremely ‘Simple’ note taking web and mobile (AndroNote for Android) app. There are no bells and there are no whistles. Just strictly Plain Text. It uses tags and dates for easy filtering. That’s it, no less no more. It’s excellent for real note taking and writing as it cuts out all of the options – distractions – for text styling and such. It allows pure concentration on the written word. (This post was actually created in Simplenote, I just copy and pasted into WordPress)

History – I previously used Evernote but after a few major hiccups I abandoned ship. I was having difficulty with the offline/online sync across multiple devices. I was losing valuable notes on a regularly basis.

Do you where ear buds at work listening to white noise? I do! I need to drown out the noise around me and it must be white noise, it can’t be music. I’ve been using Simplynoise for years and it does just that. It’s simply a white noise player. You can select between White, Pink, and Brown noise – flip on oscillation, set the sleep timer and you’re off.

Notebook and Pen
As much as I love the new and shiny tools – nothing beats a good notebook and pen. I am a pen fanatic, I always have been. Currently I am using a Moleskin Hardcover Notebook along with the Pilot Precise v5 rt black ink pen. The only  leak in this is it’s extremely difficult to find this pen in blue ink. I really like to mix up my ink colors – especially for differentiating notes.

That’s it! These are the main tools I use on a daily basis allowing me to stay organized and on track.

What tools do you find yourself using regularly?