The Internet: the world's greatest timesaver? Or time waster?
If you're like most business users, it's probably a bit of both.
Fortunately you can tip the scales in favor of saving time with online tools for your business and personal use. Some are free, while others charge a monthly fee; many have a free basic version with upgraded features for a modest charge.
Project management/file sharing
- Basecamp, a project management and collaboration program that lets you share files, messages and calendars.
- Google Docs allows you to create, share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
- Box.com is a cloud-based file-sharing solution that lets you access, manage and share content from any location on any device.
- DropBox, another cloud-based solution, stores documents, photos and videos and allows individuals or teams to access or share them.
- Bill.com automates business bill payment and invoices, keeps track of cash flow and is compatible with many popular business accounting software suites.
- Catch the Best helps you find the best candidates for open positions by creating a database of job applicants and tracking which job boards and ads are most effective.
- Skype, widely used for video calls, can also be used for video conferencing, instant messaging and file sharing.
- PhoneTag converts voicemail messages to text and sends them to you by email or text message. The voice file remains available if you need it.
- Groupon Scheduler (formerly OpenCal) cuts down on phone calls by allowing customers to make appointments and letting you manage your schedule online.
- Evernote captures any audio, video or text and lets you search from your computer or mobile device when you want to retrieve information.
- MozyPro provides online backup for small business computers and servers with 24/7 phone support.
- LastPass keeps all your passwords in one secure location and generates secure passwords automatically. You can access it on any computer or your smartphone.
- RoboForm also keeps all your login information secure in one location and allows you to fill in forms automatically.
- RescueTime is an analytics tool that allows businesses and individuals to examine how time is spent and to become more productive.
- Freedom is a program of a different stripe altogether. It locks you out of the Internet for a designated period. The idea is to remove temptation and let you work without interruption.
- ShortKeys lets you save blocks of text that you use repeatedly and places them in any Windows document quickly and without errors.
- The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time-management system that helps you break large projects into small, manageable chunks to stay on task.
For personalized help managing your business, contact your local SBTDC office. To find the center closest to you, go to missouribusiness.net/sbtdc/centers.asp.
This story was featured in the March 2013 newsletter.