A ping goes off on your phone – you think it’s important but it’s a notification about a 15% Independence Day deal in your inbox. Not important - enough – but now it’s interrupted your flow. You’re now reading your email and see a notification from LinkedIn. What’s LinkedIn anyway? You’ve heard it’s important to network on this professional platform, but you don’t have the time. While you cleverly hack into your existing LinkedIn account you find an interesting article to read – actually 5, one which you really want to share but most of the friends are not online now so you leave the tab open. Suddenly 20 minutes of your day are gone, and you can’t account for them. If any of this sounds familiar – it’s because it happens to us all.
Below are four of my favorite FREE tools that I use daily to address a few of these issues as an individual and they help a lot in the work that I do. I’m not related to any of these companies yet their existence has streamlined mine!
Unroll.me: Rolls all your email subscriptions (from stores, nonprofits, forums, etc.) into one big email that you can read through at a specified time. Sign up at https://unroll.me/
The Good: No need to be interrupted midday about your CVS points or to find out that your favorite nonprofit needs your money – again…
The One ‘But’: Okay two. This only works with Gmail and Yahoo. Also, sometimes subscriptions are more important to you than others, and if you forgot this during set up, you won’t notice it until you’ve missed an email. Basecamp and other project management platform emails tend to fall in this category. So, if you don’t mind adjusting the settings at the beginning a few times, then you’ll love this.
Pocket: Stumble across any awesome link on the internet and read it later -in fact this app was originally called ReadItLater. Sign up online at http://getpocket.com, add the extension to a chrome browser and add the applications to your mobile devices and then you can easily right click on a link anywhere online and it will be saved to your reading list for when you have some downtime and nothing interesting to read.
The Good: Pocket syncs across all devices and it works beautifully with other applications including FlipBoard, and Twitter. Also, you can add tags for categorization purposes if you have the inclination.
The One ‘But’: So far no complaints about this app – except I don’t have enough hours in the day to read all the content I save! No easy fix there!
Buffer: Create a buffer account at http://bufferapp.com/ and schedule content to be posted on your chosen social network platform(s) at a time when it will have the greatest impact.
The Good: It’s easy, it’s a web app, an extension and it integrates with many other applications. Buffer is a good tool for personal and business purposes and even has analytics and scheduling options if you want content to go out at a specific time.
The One ‘But’: The free plan only allows you up to 10 updates at a time to each profile linked to your account and only allows you to connect 3 accounts. The paid account is $19/mo and allows unlimited updates. Most individuals should be fine with a free account.
Rapportive: For the type of work that I do, and the extroverted person that I am, Rapportive is my favorite app of all time. Go to http://rapportive.com/. Simply add it to your email account(s) and set up your profile including your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media contacts, then when you send or receive an email Rapportive will show you a card on the right hand side with the new contact’s picture, and the option to connect with them on any social media that they have. All you do is click, Friend, Connect, or Follow. Once they are your connections when you correspond with them, you see their most recent posts in the same contact box!
The Good: Makes connecting very easy – and once you get in the habit, it’s no longer a chore. I recently heard Nita Song say at the Santa Barbara Latina’s Network that ‘Your network, determines your net worth.” So, get to it.
The One ‘But’: Only works with Gmail.
— Olivia Uribe is the owner of The Digital Inclusion, a Santa Barbara-based online media management company for businesses and nonprofit organizations. She recently released a 60-page Social Media For Nonprofits: Strategy Guide. Click here to purchase it online.