A Day in the Life of Me: Tools and Technology
I often get asked what technology and tools I use in my daily work life. Since a “normal” day can involve anything from webinars to interviews to speaking to scheduling social to blogging to a myriad of other tasks, it’s hard to describe a normal day per se. However, I can identify certain technology I use on a regular basis that has made my life easier.
First, I’ve recently been introduced to the Passion Planner by Leigh Thomas Brown (check her out, she’s awesome). So far, it’s been kicking my ass and taking names in all the best ways. Accountability and time blocking are two attributes of anyone’s work life that often go missing in action – the Passion Planner solves both of those. Every Sunday, I map out my entire week as much as I can. Then every weeknight, I time block the entire next day (or as much of it as possible). This includes blocking out time for eating (something I’ll often forget to do otherwise until I’m officially hangry), exercise and meditation.
Time blocking has changed my life because it helps me make better decisions and get work done more efficiently. As for accountability…well, I feel extremely guilty if everything isn’t checked off and accomplished for the day, so I’ll keep working until it is.
Before I get started on my workday, I go for a run and then drink copious amounts of coffee.
I quickly scan my email using the Boxer app (used on both my iPhone and iPad), deleting those I don’t need to deal with in one fell swoop, while labeling and putting in folders others. This means when I finally get to my email inbox (I use Google Apps), I’m only reading and answering the important stuff.
Essential technology I use throughout the day are my MacBook Pro (older, but still awesome) that I have elevated on Twelve South’s GhostStand (*not an affiliate link) and use in conjunction with an Apple keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad, iPad Air (original), and iPhone 4S (I need to upgrade).
Essential non-technology I use daily, aside from my PassionPlanner, is a Moleskine large plain notebook, which I use to write thoughts out and randomly jot ideas down, and my beloved Sharpie Ultra Fine Point markers.
I’ve just invested in a Yeti microphone and an Auphonix pop filter to hopefully help with my audio quality when conducting webinars and recording trainings, as well as use for dictation, but it’s still too new to tell whether it’s a good investment yet or not!
As for essential apps and other tech tools I use throughout my day? The list is long but essential to me:
– For stock photos, I use DepositPhotos
– For social monitoring, I use Google Alerts, as well as social platform notifications
– For a password management system (with autofill!), used on all my devices, I use DashLane
– My personal and professional random task lists are synced through Wunderlist
– My sanity is kept through frequent applications of Spotify
When I’m trying to focus, I turn all my devices to silent, and rely on Google Voice to record any phone messages. If I don’t want to miss a text from my parents but want to leave my phone alone, I rely on the new Messaging feature on iCloud to notify me on my desktop. If I don’t want to leave Facebook open, but need to make sure I get messages from friends and clients, I use the Astro Messenger app for Mac.
I use Google Chrome as my primary browser, which has all sorts of fun add-ons, including my social scheduling. Grammarly is constantly working in the background to make sure anything I write is grammatically correct, with the right spelling. I use the Evernote WebClipper to save things I want to keep for research or for future presentation material. I use DashNotes to save links to use in future scheduling and webinar material. I use OneTab to save articles that I don’t have time during the week to read, but that interest me.
On weekends, I read through everything I’ve saved throughout the week on OneTab, saving some to Evernote, scheduling others on different social platforms and discarding others.
Weekends are also when I back up my main computer as well as my “travel” computer – an older-generation MacBook Air. I use both an external hard drive, My Passport for Mac, and Backblaze to back up my computers. Anything that doesn’t need to stay on my computer gets moved to my Dropbox account. I also clear any caches and history that weren’t already cleared, and once every so often I’ll use programs like Disk Doctor and Memory Clean for a deeper “clean.” I also use this time to organize my Moleskine (I use the Bullet Journal technique). Finally, I use ManageWP to update plugins and clean up my websites in one easy click.
I know it seems like a lot, and you’re wondering if any actual work gets done during the day. However, now that I’ve created a coherent system, all of these technologies and tools work together seamlessly so that I don’t even think about how to use them – I just reach for them and they’re there.
That’s how technology should be for you in your work life…working for you in the background, not competing with you for your time and attention.
What’s the technology or tool you couldn’t live without?