Rebecca's favorite work tools
Work smarter, not harder. Isn't that what we've always been taught? As any entrepreneur will tell you, sometimes that's easier said than done. There are a million apps and gadgets and websites out there that each claim to be the magic wand to revolutionize your business, but how do you know what works? I can't say I've tried everything out there, but I've definitely done lots of research and done as much as I can to save money and only invest in the really useful things. So if you're an entrepreneur, or simply need a few ideas on ways to improve your work-from-home situation, or even just for your personal organizing and running of your household, check out my favorites below.
*links may be affiliate links allowing me to earn a small commission from purchases*
First, the free stuff
Yes there is a paid version of this, but honestly even after 4 years of using it I just haven't found the need to upgrade since the free version does so much. Part of this is because I do pay for photoshop, so anything I can't do in Canva, I do there. So if you don't have Photoshop, you might find some of the paid features worth it. Not only does it have a great library of templates for quick graphics for social media posts, presentations (like PowerPoint) and flyers. It also has a pretty decent library of stock photography to use for free.
All of my scheduling is done through Google calendar. I input all my appointments and it's connected to my scheduling app (which I'll mention below) so I can get online bookings, and not have them interfere with that doctor appointment, or other random things on my schedule.
This free app is easy to use, as long as you remember to turn it on. You can set it to track time and even sort by different clients or projects. For those that charge hourly (or simply want to know where their time is going) this is a great tool.
Facebook Business Suite
Since the algorithm tends to ding you for using outside schedulers (not to mention most of them cost money) I've started using this to plan and schedule my posts, so I only have to worry about adding content about once every month or so. This can also schedule to Instagram, which I love, since I'm terrible at typing on my phone, and IG wants you to use ALL THE HASHTAGS (just kidding - only 30).
This is a scheduler app that allows you to schedule posts to either Pinterest or Instagram (there is a separate subscription price for each). Depending on your social media strategy this can be a big help. Especially for Pinterest, since you have to post seemingly constantly for their algorithm to work in your favor. The smart loop feature is pretty awesome, as you can recycle your best performing pins (driving traffic to your website) in an endless loop. I spend an hour maybe once a month mapping out content, and then I can forget about it while it works in the background.
Adobe Creative Suite
There are lots of different apps within this umbrella. I got it for Photoshop, but there's also Lightroom for photo editing, and some video apps as well. Some only have a few free trial projects before you have to pay extra, but if you need lots of great graphic intensive output, Photoshop is a must.
This is a CRM (customer resource manager) software that allows you to streamline and even automate large chunks of your lead captures, client onboarding, scheduling, invoicing, and contracts. They have great templates to give your business a really professional look, and the automation helps to ensure that you never forget to send that appointment reminder email in time. It's a great tool for small (generally single-owner) businesses to have a professional look, and help you never drop the ball with any of the steps in your sales and onboarding process.
If you're interested in checking it out, you can try your first 3 projects for free.
Rocketbook Reusable Notebook
I LOVE my Rocketbook notebook. Is that weird to say? I got my first one a little over 2 years ago and (other than being covered in stickers) it's still working as good as day 1. This thing is amazing for not only saving paper, but also keeping my notes organized. Using a basic Pilot Frixion pen (which is erasable btw) you use your notebook as usual. Then using the free app, you snap a pic of your page and it's automatically converted to a .pdf file that you can upload to your email, dropbox, cloud storage, or send directly to a client or vendor. Then you simply wipe the page clean with a damp cloth to reuse again. It's seriously that easy. There are a few varieties to choose from, with either lined, dot grid, or blank pages, as well as a few different sizes from standard notebook, small notebook, to even mini-pocket notebook size.
They even came out with a day planner last year, in collaboration with Panda Planner. It has 3 month view pages, 8 day view pages, and a goalsetting section. I obviously have this one too. Also available in full-size or executive.
Get yours here: Standard size notebook
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Here's a catch-22 for you. Even if you don't need prescription eyeglasses, all that time you're spending staring at a computer screen could cause you to need glasses - so here's some non-prescription glasses to hopefully prevent that from happening. But at least they're cute!
Now this one may be controversial, as I know my hubby hates my mouse with a passion. However depending on the software you use on a daily basis you might love this suggestion. Get yourself a thumb-wheel mouse! It will save you having to move your whole arm around, and simply uses a thumbwheel to control your pointer. For gaming, probably not ideal. But for drafting, photoshop, or other design-related tasks I wouldn't use anything else.
The cutest Post-It dispenser ever
Now this is a matter of personal taste too, but this weighted pop-up Post-It dispenser has been extremely helpful. It doesn't slide around, and it's heavy enough to use one handedly. Just be sure you buy the pop-up refills instead of standard. Who wouldn't want this as their office companion though?
I hope at least a few of these will help improve your next work day. I know they help me immensely.