The Way We Work
September 26, 2011 by Julia Camenisch

“All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.”
-Baltasar Gracian

Honestly, I don’t ever have enough time. Between phone calls, emails, blog work and all the myriad other tasks that demand attention, the 24 hours in my day rushes by far too quickly. And rarely do I get everything done that was scheduled for my waking hours. (Guess that’s part of the joys of modern life.)

But while the wonders of technology have conspired to make us busier, there’s also some very nifty tech resources that can help us reclaim some of that lost time. Here’s my list of time-saving tech tools that will help you finally have enough time in your day. Well, maybe not enough time. But they’ll at least help you get more time!

  • RescueTime (Free): Think you might be wasting time but not sure where or how much? Then download RescueTime. RescueTime is an app for your computer that runs in the background and quietly records all your activity. While that sounds a little creepy, trust me. It’s here to help. At the end of the day, RescueTime will give you a report on how you’ve been using your online minutes. This type of report can be eye-opening when you see how much of your workday is wasted on non-productive activities.
  • TweetDeck (Free): Yeah, the social media dashboard of this free program is a time-saver in and of itself, but that’s not why it’s on this list. Something I love about TweetDeck is the ability to preschedule tweets. I can spend 30 minutes planning the tweets for the week and then set them to publish at various times.  But TweetDeck isn’t limited to just Twitter. You can also use it to schedule Facebook status updates, Foursquare check-ins and LinkedIn posts.
  • Blog Post Schedule Button: This isn’t a specific tool per se, but more of a tip. If your blog is an important part of your marketing/SEO efforts, then write and schedule posts in advance. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger spends 1 day each week writing meaty blog posts. He then schedules them to post throughout the week. This method accomplishes several things. First, it guarantees your blog will get regular updates -- important for SEO purposes. Second, it keeps the rest of your week from getting sidetracked by blog maintenance.
  • Dragon Dictation (Free): Typing is slow. Talking is fast. Dragon Dictation has released a great iPhone app that allows you to compose e-mails, texts, notes, tweets and even Facebook updates, all by speaking into your phone. No more messing around with tiny touchscreen keyboards. At the moment, the app is free, so now is the time to get it. Blackberry users have their own, slightly less featured app, Dragon for Email.
  • ConnectedHQ ($9.99/month): Got a profusion of contacts scattered amongst various social media sources? ConnectedHQ will be your virtual Rolodex. This app pulls and consolidates your contacts from Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Outlook, Google, Mac Address Book and Evernote. It allows you to make notes on each contact, plus keep track of all communication that’s transpired with them. No more wondering which social media program stores that graphic artist’s contact info. It’s easily accessible with ConnectedHQ.
  • NudgeMail (Free): Yes, I use a to-do list. Yes, I use Google Calendar. But it’s far too easy for me to forget to check those sources. Email is the only program I check consistently throughout the day. Enter NudgeMail. This little program allows you to email yourself reminders at specified times, or to email appointments to your Google calendar. Better yet, it can help you keep important emails from getting buried. Just send them to NudgeMail with a specified time for the service to send it back to you. The program is free, so give it a look!

Time is such an important resource that we need to do all we can to maximize it. What time-saving tools do you use? Share them in the comments section below.


Julia Camenisch

Contributing Author

Julia Camenisch is a freelance technology and business journalist. She also works as an editor and copywriter for a wide range of clients, including national magazines, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Julia brings to oDesk a passion for empowering small businesses through the innovative use of technology.