As someone who works in the technology field, I sometimes wonder how I’ve gone so long stuck in the mindset that all the best productivity tools I’ve needed would be supplied to me by an IT department or a product I had to buy off the shelf. There are plenty of useful, FREE applications I am just now starting to take advantage of, and I keep finding myself asking “Where have you been all my life?”
Between taking a short walk through the iTunes store on my iPhone 4, browsing Twitter and just talking to people at work, I’ve discovered a plethora of wonderful applications! Let me share a few of them here with you now and I’ll be coming back to this topic often!
Dropbox has proven to be a God-send! I have already configured this free application on my home PC, laptop, work machine and my iPhone. In a nutshell it allows you to create a folder on your machine(s) and synchronize files between them easily. When you create an account you start with 2 GB of disk space, but can grow it up to 8 GB with a few referrals. I have synchronized PDF files, photos, audio, etc as easily as using copy and paste! No more having to e-mail things back and forth, load USBs, etc. Click here to create a new account and help a brother out.
Twitter you say? I used to think the same thing! How can people sending a bunch of quick text messages less than 140 characters be all that useful? Until I registered for Twitter and began following everything that interested me I thought the same. But then I began seeing the amount of useful information on travel, science, technology, history, personal development and news I could get in one place! It would take me dozens of different websites to get all this information. Now I have it all summarized right in one place. If something looks interesting, I can save it to my favorites and come back later. Or I can just click on the link and go check it out. Otherwise I skip over it. It’s also a wonderful way to get news out to people! I send this blog’s posts to my Twitter account at “Self_HelpJunkie”, so if you sign-up, you can follow me and be informed when I send stuff out. It’s also available as both an online site and a free mobile app. I use it constantly now!
Read It Later
Ever come across a website that looks really cool and interesting to read, but you just don’t have time? Forget to bookmark it and now you can’t find it again? Worry no more. Read It Later allows you to do just as the name implies. You can create an account online or you can get the application as a plug-in for your favorite Internet browser or an app on your mobile device. It supports Firefox, Chrome, Safari, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry and many others. Simply click the Read It Later icon and the website is saved in your library for access later. Check it out here to get the app for whatever platform you desire.
I’ve recently signed up for StumbleUpon as a way of getting my blog content out and just seeing what else is out there. Sometimes you just feel like taking a random stroll through the Internet and don’t know where to begin. StumbleUpon allows you to create an online account and list just about anything and everything that could possibly interest you. Once you’ve done that you simply click the “Stumble” button and away you go. I’ve found some remarkably interesting sites this way with technology information, inspirational writing, travel information, or just miscellaneous crap that looked cool! The really neat part is you can save things you find to your Favorites and the application, based on your “Like” or “Dislike” voting, actually learns your interests and begins to fine tune where it stumbles to based on your preferences. Check it out here to find new and interesting information or simply kill some time.
This was another free application I was just recently introduced to at work. If you’re like me and have multiple systems you work on such as PC and UNIX or Linux, or even have multiple systems at home, this application is really cool! Synergy allows you to configure your machines to allow you to use one keyboard and mouse across multiple systems, without having to jump back and forth. The configuration can be a little tricky, but once done, it can really be a time saver not having to jump back and forth between keyboards.
Well I think this is a pretty good first start. I will be coming back to this subject very often, so if you have a list of topics you’d like to see covered, leave a comment and let me know. Otherwise if you have a list of your favorite productivity applications I’d love to hear about them! Tell me what you use in your day to day work or play.