Hi there!! I took another week off last week, but I’m back today with a new round of tips for bloggers.
But before I get started, I have a favor to ask. In one of the upcoming weeks on Tuesdays with Topher, I plan to interview Shanna and would love to have questions submitted. If you have any questions you’ve been dying to ask, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re following along, you may recall my post from a few weeks back about Travel Tips for Bloggers. Within that post, I highlighted some tools that are super handy when you’re away from the home but still want to stay in touch with what’s happening on your site.
Today, you might see a little overlap, but we’re looking at things through a different lens.
Below, I’ll walk through a handful of extremely useful productivity tools for bloggers.
But here’s the great thing … I use most of these in LIFE, and not just in conjunction with this blog. These tools help keep me organized, maintain order, and can keep me focused.
I vividly remember the night Shanna and I met.
I can recall every detail when the unnamed child was born
And I know exactly where I was when I first used Evernote.
It changed my life.
I’m a note taker and list maker. Evernote is designed by brilliant people to work specifically for folk like me.
You can set-up stacks for storing groups of notebooks (think of file cabinets).
You can set up notebooks for storing groups notes (think of file drawers).
You can take notes in a all sorts of creative ways (think of file folders).
And you can tag them in anyway you like (think of file folder labels).
Here’s an example for how I use it.
- I have a stack called “Health”.
- Within that stack I have four notebooks: Diet Log, Crossfit Workouts, YMCA Workouts, and Runs.
- Within my Crossfit Workouts folder, I have my workouts that I copy from the website, and I annotate them with times, weights, notes about things that happened (like if I get a pain in my shoulder, or if I progressed on my handstand walk, or if a coach gave me some great advice).
- Then I tag it with the exercises for the day, so I can look back at every time I did rope climbs over the past year.
The latitude is ridiculous!
Evernote makes it so simple, too, by providing all sorts of tools for capturing a note. There are browser plugins that make it easy to capture a webpage (or sections) which I use for recipes, news highlights, handy tidbits I want to follow-up on (just this morning I clipped a section on Ad Networks).
You can use the audio feature to dictate a note.
You can take a photo of a page of handwritten notes and let Evernote translate it into text.
You can use the camera to shoot a reminder of your parking space.
It’s by-far one of the most powerful tools I use, and it’s outstandingly simple — and free!
This is one of those apps that’s a game changer.
Earlier this year, I was sitting in my office at work, and my phone kept buzzing. BUZZ-Instagram notification. BUZZ-Gmail notification. BUZZ-Twitter notification. BUZZ-Another Twitter notification.
I couldn’t deal with it any longer, so in a fit of mild rage I turned off notifications on every single app that wasn’t: 1. Phone, 2. Instant Message (which I still shut-off sometimes), and 3. Calendar.
Everything else went silent.
And I worked.
In fact, I worked a lot. It sort of startled me when I realized just how distracting all the alerts were — it was really eating into my productivity.
So that got me thinking. Can I find something similar for my laptop?
Yes. And Self Control is the app.
It’s pretty simple. You tell it what you want to mute, you set a timer, and then you’re locked out until the time expires. Even a reboot won’t reset the timer.
Simply turn on the program, shut out the distractions, and do what you need to do without Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Periscope, Gmail, CNN, Google Analytics, Weather Underground, etc. You name it.
It protects you from yourself.
This is a Mac app, but it’s open source, and there are people that have picked it up for Windows as well. Check out Cold Turkey if you’re interested in a Windows version.
I’ve been a fan of Google Docs for a long time.
Just write, and let Google Docs do the saving for you.
You don’t have to worry about lost text if you lose power, or suddenly close your computer, or whatever.
And when the unnamed child started college classes, they used Google Docs exclusively for writing, and I discovered how awesome the collaboration tools were. There were times when she would still be writing the end of a paragraph while I’m proofing the beginning of it — and we could see each other’s edits in real-time.
After The Deadline
After The Deadline is a browser extension that is a normal grammar/spell checker on steroids.
It’s smart. It uses writing styles to learn how to correct your grammar.
And like everything else on this list today … it’s free!
If This Then That is another huge game changer.
You can use IFTTT to create all sorts of triggers that look for certain events to happen, and then it takes whatever action you’ve told it to.
Example. I currently have an IFTTT recipe set up to email me every time someone on CraigsList creates a new post selling Ping golf clubs for between $200 and $400.
A few of their most popular recipes look like this:
- When you like an Instagram photo, automatically save it to DropBox.
- When I’m tagged in a Facebook photo, automatically save it to Google Drive.
- Receive an email every time the President signs a new law.
- Automatically backup your phone’s photos to Flickr.
- When you leave work, automatically send you spouse an email.
You get the idea. There are literally millions of options with all their variants.
But beware … it’s a bit of a Pandora’s Box once you start. You’ll find all sorts of uses for it, and then you’ll need to enact some of the distraction removal tools I mentioned above.
WordPress iPhone App
I’ve written previously about the WordPress app for the iPhone.
It’s a fantastic tool for staying on top of your comments and making quick post edits on the move.
If you haven’t already taken a look at it, I highly recommend it.
The last item here is one I’m not too familiar with, but I’ve heard so much about it that I’d be negligent not to include it.
Apparently Windows did something right with their Live Writer blogging tool.
We haven’t tried it since we seem to have a good thing going writing in WordPress, but if you’re a Live Writer user, please chime in below!
That’s all I have for today.
Please email me your interview questions for Shanna. I hope to have that online a few weeks from now.
Don’t forget to check out my prior posts below: