5 Free Tools That Make You Wonder How you ever lived Without ’Em

In a given day, I use countless tools to keep my work organized and make my life easier. It makes a big difference in my productivity and efficiency and best of all, they’re free! What tools do you use to stay sane?


Evernote: There’s a paid version of this, but the free version works perfectly for me! It’s a planner/padfolio/to-do list all rolled into one, and it syncs across multiple platforms. I’ve got in on my computer at work, at home and on my iPhone. I keep notebooks for “Work” and “Personal” and I’ve recently started taking advantage of the Clipping feature. Have you ever stumbled across a blog or article or website that makes you think, “Someday I will really need this”? That’s what the Clipping tool is for. You can snag the article or page store it in Evernote, tag it with words and search for it later when you need it. I even tweeted about it!


Dropbox: A brilliant cloud-based solution. Because of the collaborate nature of our work, we at TargetClick need to be able share documents across the team. Emailing back and forth is cumbersome and you always run the risk of not working from the latest version. Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage and gives you the opportunity to earn more free storage by referring friends. It’s installed on my home computer, work computer and even on my phone.


Bit.ly: Bit.ly is so simple and so brilliant. It’s a URL shortener that provides great analytics. For free! Shorten any link, post it to Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else and then track the clicks and other useful data. Create an account to keep all your links in one place and learn a lot about the way your fans and followers interact with your content.  Bit.ly can integrate with Facebook and Twitter and it’s got a great Chrome extension that makes link shortening even easier.


Basecamp: Basecamp is our project management tool of choice. Okay, so it’s not free, but they do have a free trial and start at just $20 per month. At TargetClick, we use it as a way to keep all the information for a client and project in one place. You can share messages, track your time and create to do lists. Even when we don’t bill a project hourly, it’s great to know how long it took so we can be more efficient next time. I especially like the message feature. You may think, “Why not just use email?” And to that I ask, “Have you ever tried to dig through an email thread with 5 people over the course of several months?” Not easy. Basecamp makes it easy to communicate with everyone on your team in one place.


Google Multiple Inboxes: Do you ever get the feeling that your inbox is so full of tasks and questions, you’ll never get anything else done? Google’s Multiple Inboxes helps combat that.  It’s a lab offered for Google Apps or Gmail email addresses. It does just what it says: turns your inbox into multiple inboxes. I can organize my inbox into categories like To Do, Urgent, Reply, etc. It’s so beneficial for keeping important things at the forefront of my mind, but making sure my inbox isn’t a productivity-killing mess. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to organize your inbox, or how it shouldn’t turn into your to-do list, but combining this with my other favorite tools (Basecamp and Evernote) works for well.


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