Productivity is a key issue for anyone involved in an online business not because there aren’t any useful tools to help but because there are so many. There are also a million and one distractions online – new systems for monetizing content, new apps for mobile devices, new cloud based service. New stuff that’s interesting every day. It is just impossible to keep up.
So how do you select productivity tools that are really going to help you get stuff done?
Key productivity tool test
One key test to apply is “will it still be there in 3 years time?” For example, about 3 years ago, I tried out Evernote and then forgot about it. It seemed quite neat but I didn’t have an iPhone at the time and I couldn’t work out whether Evernote was there to stay or not. It’s still around now and doing well. In fact I’ve started to use it hard recently and already it has helped me get a clear desk AND a clearer mind.
The other tool I use is Gmail. I’ve now forwarded all my email addresses (and believe me I have loads) to my Gmail account. I synchronise this on my iPhone which means I can easily process emails wherever I am – replying to them, deleting them or filing them in relevant folders. The iPhone Gmail interface is fully synchonised with Gmail so if I file an email into, say, a client’s folder on my iPhone, when I log onto Gmail from my PC, the email is already filed in the client’s folder there too.
Productivity tools do also need to work together though: it’s no use organising thoughts and ideas in one place and not being able to transmit them to another location or device you use. Nearly any web or cloud based system should allow you to access its services via PCs, Macs, Netbooks or Mobile devices easily. Evernote has quite a good system to boost its compatibilty with basic devices: it gives you a special email address that you can use to send new info to your Evernote account. So if you are in the middle of the desert and suddenly think of something really neat, just email it to your Evernote accont and it will be there as a new note when you next log on.
The reason why that is more useful than simply emailing yourself is that you can log into Evernote later and add further thoughts and ideas to the original note.