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11 Free Fab Finds for Productivity

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 5.03.21 PMGetting things done doesn’t always have to be time consuming and costly. There are actually a whole lot of free ways to be more productive.  I’ve put together this list of freebies that will get you on track:

Time Savers

1.  Pathtalk: This app is really versatile (and awesome)! It allows you to contact local businesses, make dinner reservations, book appointments, compare prices, and check in-store availability. Not to mention, you can do all of these things without making a single phone call!  I use it all the time.

2.  Dragon Dictation: Have a brilliant idea but don’t have any paper? Dragon will transcribe whatever you say with pretty good accuracy into a tweet, Facebook post or e-mail.  This is great for capturing to-dos that pop up when you’re on the run.

3.  Umano: This app allows you to listen to professionally recorded short news articles! Sign up and choose from a wide variety of publishers and bloggers (including me!) to listen to. It’s perfect for when you want to listen to stuff on-the-go! If you decide to try it out, use my code when signing up to get unlimited listening: NN8MEZ.

4.  Timeful:  A way to schedule all the things you really want to do!  You can connect Timeful to a calendar you already use and schedule in tasks like reading and meditation.Timeful will suggest the best times for you to complete each task – which you can accept or deny.

5.  Minutes Please: Control your web time here! You know how it goes — taking a 10 minute break to check Facebook turns into one hour. Enter the URL of the website and the number of minutes (up to 120) you want to spend on it. Minute Please will give you a countdown at the top of your browser. Never waste time online again!

6.  Scannable: A new mobile scanning app introduced by Evernote. I’ve already used it a bunch of times to scan receipts, insurance cards and articles.  All you have to do is point and click and you can instantly save or export the picture.

7.  HelloSign: You can sign e-signatures with this site that are legally binding.  This was a lifesaver when I was buying my apartment.  There’s just so much paperwork to fill out.  I used HelloSign to scan, edit, and sign documents.

8.  Hellofax: From the same makers of HelloSign.  With this app, there’s no need to have a fax machine anymore. HelloFax takes a high quality scan of your photo and securely faxes it to wherever you want. One of the best parts is, you can keep your current fax number to avoid confusion with customers. There’s a free 14 day trial.

Email

9.  Email Game: If you have an endless inbox — conquer your e-mail, with a game! This game encourages you to read and responds to e-mails faster and more decisively. This adds a fun twist on the boring task of sifting through your inbox.

10.  Unroll.Me*: Junk e-mail can pile up pretty quickly. When you’re in the store and they ask for your email, all of a sudden you’re getting a ton of useless newsletters. Unroll.Me will identify every newsletter that you’re subscribed to and you can opt-out with the click of a button.

11.  Boomerang: Get your inbox back down to zero. This app provides various useful features. If you’re up late answering emails, you can schedule to have them sent out in the morning. This way you can get your day starting out doing other tasks. You can also prioritize certain emails that you want to tackle later. Plus you can schedule emails you’d like to follow up on to pop back up into your inbox when you’re read to deal with them. The first 10 emails are free.

Still feeling overwhelmed by your email? Check out my course Take Back Your Inbox, which I created to help you get back in control!

Check out these free fab finds and let me know what you think below!

*Unroll.Me makes money by learning what people stay subscribed to and what they unsubscribe from – that data is valuable and helps corporations learn what people want and what they don’t want. Your email address is NOT sold. If you’d like to keep your subscription list private you’ll need to unsubscribe manually from individual email subscriptions. If you appreciate the swiftness that you can unsubscribe from multiple sources while helping brands service customers better then Unroll.Me is for you!

Things to Bring, S#!t to Do!

Your List as Your Memoir

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

I recently spoke with Karen Rizzo, author of “Things to Bring, S#!t to Do.” As far as we’re aware we are not related, but since Karen’s first book is a memoir told entirely in lists, we might well be! List making might be in our blood because like me, Karen inherited her list-making tendencies from her father.

Our Lists Reveal Our Personalities 

Our lists are usually very personal.  The lists I write probably say a lot about who I am.  Karen explained to me that this was the idea behind her book. She had been asked to write some words of wisdom for a new mother, and as she sat with the blank paper in front of her, all she could think of were things she needed to do. This spark of inspiration became the central theme of her book. Read more

Five Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes

Alarm Clock Redux

Alarm Clock Redux (Photo credit: Gnu2000)

We’ve all heard it before, “I’ll be there in five minutes.” or “just give me five more minutes.” Everyone always throws around five minutes even if it’s going to take them 10 or 15 minutes. Throwing five minutes around annoys me. Maybe it’s the producer in me because I’m used to being very precise with time. I’ve been known to have meetings at odd times like 4:37 or 12:23 because I know exactly how long it will take me to get somewhere and every minute counts.

But if you’re smart enough, you can spend those “five minutes” actually doing something really productive. Five minutes is a very valuable chunk of time — if you know how to use it correctly. Here’s a list of things you should use those extra five minutes doing:

1. Prioritize and prepare: Before you go to bed each night, take five minutes to jot down the most important activities that you need to get done tomorrow. This will help you schedule your time appropriately and be productive from the start of your day. Once you have created your list, look through it and identify any ways you can make each task a little easier. If you’re planning on going for a run in the morning, lay out your workout clothes the night before to save you time when you wake up. Not only will this be time efficient, but this will also encourage you to follow through with your workout plans!

2. Refine your list: It’s easy to get caught up in miscellaneous tasks throughout the course of the day. If you find yourself straying from your ‘to-do list’, take five minutes to rework your list. Keep it as simple as possible—if you take on a new task; replace it with a different task on your list. This way, you won’t be taking on more than you can handle. And don’t be afraid to say no when necessary!

3. Limit your media consumption: From cell phones, to social media, to e-mail, it’s easy to get distracted. In order to ensure that you do not stray from your priorities, take five minutes to download apps, such as “AwayFind”, which will send an auto-reply text message stating that you are currently busy. It will also provide emergency contact information just incase. This eliminates the social distractions in your life and allows you to focus on what’s important so you can check another thing off your ‘to-do list’.

4. Clean out your closet: If your clothes drawers are so stuffed that you can’t close them, take a five minutes to give one drawer a once over. Pull everything out, set a timer and get rid of any items you do not use.

5. Eliminate any junk mail: If your email inbox is overflowing with messages, it becomes difficult to find that important email from a few days or weeks ago. Take five minutes to clear out any unneeded messages or spam from your inbox in order to make your account easier to manage. Next time you go to look for an old e-mail, it will be much quicker to find.

Hopefully, the five minutes you took to read these steps will buy you five extra minutes in the future!

Easy Meals to Get on the Table Quickly

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054)

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are having a crazy-busy work day the last thing you want to do when you come home is slave away in the kitchen to make a decent meal. I know when I’m mentally exhausted from the day, I don’t want to think anymore, so I end up ordering out and spending way too much money. To kick the dine-out habit, I found some awesome quick and easy meals to make that require little ingredients and not too much brain power!

Here’s my list:

1. Avocado Chicken Salad:

Ingredients: 2 cups of shredded chicken, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup of diced onions, juice from half a lime, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (optional), 1 tablespoon of basil leaves.

Preparation: Just mix everything together well and you have a yummy meal 🙂 (recipe from Real Food Enthusiast)

Screen shot 2014-04-20 at 1.16.56 PM

Read more

How to get “Unstuck”

You know when you have a really difficult decision to make or a project to start and you just can’t seem to get it? Procrastination can be a debilitating thing and leave you stuck for too long. I recently got turned on to a life-changing (and free!) app called “Unstuck.” This amazing iPad app is like having a life coach in the palm of your hand! It can help:

  • set goals and make plans
  • make decisions
  • get help overcoming obstacles
  • deal with major changes
  • find motivation Read more