Managing your life effectively can look a lot like managing your business effectively.
We are so incredibly fortunate to be alive in an era when new productivity tools are constantly in development for making the most of our time here on earth. Technology improves every day, so we are in an exciting age.
Still, all this progress can be overwhelming. An already-busy business owner might ask, “what tools do I really need?”
In my last post, I took the time to discuss several valuable digital tools that help me in my business day-to-day and keep operations running smoothly. If you missed that post, you can go back and read it here.
In this post, I will cover several more tools that not only help me with my business, but also improve my life. There is some crossover here: many of the tools could fit in either post, but I did not want to overwhelm anyone with an article that was too long.
Finally, just as with the previous post, some of these tools are free, and others are paid. I do not mention pricing in this post, because that is subject to change, but I am not an affiliate for any of these platforms. Many of the paid tools have free plans so you can try before you buy.
Private Internet Access VPN Service
Even if you remember nothing else from this article, please remember the following sentence: it is incredibly important for you to protect yourself and your data online, and everyone who ever uses the internet on public WIFI should be using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.
If you ever access the internet from a public network (such as in a coffee shop, an airport, or even at your local library), you are opening yourself up to potential issues. You may only be signing on to quickly check your bank balance from your smartphone while standing in line at the ticket counter before your flight, but if you are accessing your account via the public WIFI, your data security may be compromised.
The VPN service I use for my life and business is called Private Internet Access. I encourage you to visit their website, research other providers if you wish, and enable a VPN on all your laptops, tablets, and smartphones. (Another option is ExpressVPN.)
No matter what VPN platform you choose, it is vital for you to protect your business and yourself by taking this precaution.
Another necessary security tool in life and business is antivirus and antimalware protection. Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common, so it is important to protect yourself and your business before it is an issue for you.
My preferred software is Trend Micro Worry Free Advanced. Designed with small business owners in mind, this tool defends against viruses and other malware. Since so many essential business tools today are cloud-based, this service also integrates with SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. Did you know that OneDrive and Dropbox do not test for viruses? That’s why Trend Micro is so important. Note that it only works with the business editions of each of these products.
Evernote is a robust note-taking tool that syncs across devices. Since everything saved in Evernote is stored in the cloud, there is no need to worry about ever misplacing a notebook again. You can attach photos, diagrams, videos, and voice recordings to notes you make in the app, making it easy for you to cover any topic from a multimedia angle. It is easy to set up and use, and the powerful search function in the tool ensures you will never lose an important detail after the fact.
One great feature of this app is the “web clipper” function. You can take searchable screenshots of web pages you find interesting and save them to your notes. This can be helpful if you wish to read several long articles on a plane, for example. Just clip all of the pages before you take off, and read them in the air from your saved notes. You can even make highlights or take notes directly on the screenshots.
Speaking of travel, TripIt is a great cloud-based app for travel plans. You just send flight, car rental, hotel, HomeAway, or Airbnb confirmations to an email address and it constructs your trip itinerary. You can then share your itinerary with others or reference it yourself. If and when plans change, the app sends updates on flight delays and tells you what gates are being used for your flights. Using TripIt is like having a helpful personal travel assistant in your pocket the whole time you are away.
This app syncs with all devices, and it coordinates well with Google maps. TripIt even worked perfectly for me on European trains. The app showed me exactly what train and platform I needed when I was changing trains which was really helpful since it was all new to me. I highly recommend this app for both business and personal travel.
Photo Transfer App
I like to use Photo Transfer App to get pictures off of a smartphone and onto a computer. Trust me: this works a lot better than emailing pictures if you have a lot of them from a trip or a holiday get-together. Photo Transfer App easily moves photos and videos to and from desktop, iPhone, iPad, iTouch & Android.
There is not much else to say about it other than it works. It is simple and dependable. Great tool.
Another useful file management app, the best thing about iMazing might be not having to wait for iTunes syncs. You can use this app to create backups of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod on your computer, manage files, and save treasured iMessage conversations with family. When you upgrade your device, you do not need to depend on iTunes or a time-consuming iCloud backup to transfer your data. With iMazing, you can just connect the devices and allow the software to handle the transfer. The summary: you get control and access that iTunes does not provide.
This is a personal tool that probably will not apply to many of you, but it is so good, I have to mention it. Scripture Typer is a great tool to help you memorize Bible verses. The app is simple to use, and it makes it fun and easy to memorize scripture, believe it or not. After you use the app to learn a verse, Scripture Typer prompts you to review it on a regular basis. The app is much faster and easier than using a pack of notecards, and it is great for travel.
OurGroceries is a handy app to make it easy for anyone in the house to add grocery needs to a shared grocery list. It syncs with every person’s phone and helps keep everyone up-to-date on the household’s needs. Have you ever come home with a fresh gallon of milk only to find your spouse had just bought one that same afternoon? Never deal with that embarrassing moment again when everyone in the home uses this simple, free app.
In a business setting, you could use this lightweight app to create a list for tracking and ordering necessary office supplies.
iPad Duet Display
Duet Display allows your iPad to function as an additional monitor for your laptop or desktop. If you have ever been frustrated by the limited workspace provided by a single screen, you should try using Duet. The app functions on both macOS and PC, and it makes work easier and faster by allowing you to keep one page open on the iPad while working in another screen on your desktop or laptop. (And vice-versa.)
Duet is ideal for when you need to work between multiple spreadsheets. If you ever do data entry, web research, or anything that requires the use of two different internet browser windows at the same time, you can imagine how helpful this is in life and business.
Creating Margin in Life and Business
I am passionate about helping other business owners create margin in their lives and businesses. The right tools can help you do that. When you save time, even on simple tasks, you have more margin for the important things in your life, like spending time with friends and family.
What tools do you use to act as the CEO of your life? Did I miss any here in this article?
Let me know if I skipped one of your favorites. I love hearing about new ways to save time and energy in business and life.