Time and focus/attention by choice are the 2 elements in my life I want to maximise as much as possible (which is not an easy task when you have 2 kids – focus/attention by choice: the ability to focus on what I really want to focus on, minus the random thoughts that constantly pop up – the term “mindfulness” is probably appropriate here, though this version is enabled by technology rather than meditation).
Time never stops in a world that’s stuck on play, & keeping your focus consistent… well, that’s hard even w/o kids (work, first world problems, constant advertising everywhere, daily repetitive tasks, imaginary shower conversations, etc.).
So I try to outsource as much as humanly possible to tools and other people, giving me more time to do the things I actually want to focus on, and more brain space to work on the problems I want to solve. My way is only one way, there are a lot people doing it a lot better than I am. I’m still learning, but here are the tools I use at the moment.
General Life & Productivity Tools
Store stuff in the cloud with awesome cross-platform syncing, share that stuff with others, work on stuff together, thumbs up!
No explanation necessary.
Let the web work for you by arranging the content you rely on into easy-to-read collections. Feedly offers a clean, minimalist reading experience optimised for productivity. Massive time-saver!
Audio books, fill the time it takes you to walk/train/drive from A to B with good content. Personally, I only listen to non-fiction (stuff that I find useful and further improves specific aspects of my daily life), leaving fiction for tv series in the evening.
Cloud accounting perfected! I love it, and so does my accountant. From invoicing, to reporting and spot on bank account syncing to reconciling transactions… it does it all very very well.
Todoist is my external memory, my outsourced brain (it goes way beyond just putting meetings in something like Google Calendar, or using the notes app to list your groceries)! Most of my life’s responsibilities/ideas/tasks are in there, so I can keep my mind as clear as possible to think about the bigger picture (for which I use Trello). The downside, if something is not in the app, I’ll forget it, it might as well not exist.
It has everything a to-do app should have: fast cross-platform syncing, projects + sub-projects (and tasks + sub-tasks), project sharing, comments, file uploads, smart text recognition for adding dates and times, multiple ways of reminding you via email, text, notifications, etc, and even location-based reminders (eg. it can send you a text to grab some milk as you walk past the supermarket).
And it does it all with a great intuitive interface. The majority of what I do/want to do/have done, on a business & personal level, is in there, it’s awesome!
Most people know about Trello, a LOT of businesses use this one as it’s very flexible, and it’s free. Google it to learn more, worth checking out. I use it for the bigger picture stuff, which I then break down into tasks which go in Todoist.
There are a lot of options when it comes to password managers, I researched the most popular ones quite in-depth a while back, settled on Dashlane, and never looked back. It comes with browser plugins and of course cross-platform syncing, and aside from the master password, you never have to remember another password again, it auto-fills everything on whatever device you’re working on – saving both time & brain space.It also generates unique new passwords for new accounts, and even gives you safety scores on existing passwords, which you can then switch out to new stronger passwords with a single click.
This replaces new tabs with a personal dashboard featuring a to-do, weather, and inspirational quotes, on gorgeous backgrounds.
Blocks ads, ’nuff said.
Already explained above.
Post anything from the web to multiple social platforms with the click of a button, you can choose your post times, create post queues, and much much more!
Open a list of urls in separate tabs… good time saver.
Stop Googling how to spell stuff :), this does it for you, and way better than Word can. It’s also great at detecting grammar issues.
Snaps screenshots of webpages (or parts of it through manual selection), uploads it, and then copies the url of the uploaded image, so handy!
Records short videos of your screen with audio, uploads it to youtube, copies the url. Awesome for creating quick walkthrough videos to show people how to do specific actions (clients, virtual assistants, friends that needs some tech support, etc.).
Backlinks, keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page audits
Want to check backlinks? Ahrefs has got you covered. Want to pull ranking keywords from competitors? Ahrefs can do it. Want to know what topics your competitors are covering that you’re not? Ahrefs does the analysis for you. I used to use a whole variety of tools to achieve all of the above (and much more), now with Ahrefs in play… you only need one tool!
Don’t have the budget but want to do some quality keyword research for a small number of seed keywords? KWfinder gives you a few runs for free, they also analyse and rate the difficulty of the keywords it finds, displays search volume, etc.
Don’t have the budget but want grab a ton of keywords from a seed keyword? The free version of this tool generates up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term (and it can do this for Google, Bing, Youtube, Amazon, and the App Store).
Track the top 100 competitors for a given set of keywords, very handy to identify competitor movements and how Google algorithm updates impact your niche (it does a lot more but that’s what I use it for).
Track your keywords for free. This tracker works differently than your usual trackers. Instead of limiting the amount of kws you can add, they limit the amount of checks you can do/day. The free plan allows for 50 checks/day, meaning that if you add 200 kws, you’ll get a ranking update for all 200 every 4 days. You can, of course, buy extra checks in the form of SERP Bots, each bot adds 600 checks/day.
A very good screaming frog alternative, at least for auditing your on-site SEO. From their site: “Meta Forensics is a website architecture, optimisation, content checking, internal link analysis and SEO tool that helps identify unseen website problems that may be affecting your visitors, search engine crawlers and ultimately, hampering your site.”
Having trouble coming up with blog topics that can help your audience? BloomBerry pulls questions that are being asked in you niche from popular forums, Quora, Reddit, and others. It then analyses the questions, and groups them in topics, importance, brands, etc. Great tool, and still free (in Beta) at the time of writing.
Want to know how old a specific domain is, how often it’s been dropped, switched nameservers, etc? This tool has the answers.
Google pushes out a LOT of updates every year, these tools track the turbulence in the algorithm. Very handy to check if your ranking drops/boosts are the results of SEO activity or a Google update.
more to come…
Chrome Plugins for SEO (Work in Progress)
Web Stuff (Work in Progress)
WP Super Cache or Cache Enabler
Analytics & CRO services
Google Search Console