5 tools to make your working day easier

A brief overview of my 5 favourites: Remember the Milk, Dropbox, Delicious, Evernote & Doodle.

After reading The research lab in your pocket: apps and the academy in this week’s THE I thought I’d highlight the 5 tools I make most use of, which includes two from the article.  My recommendations are focused on tools for everyone’s everyday working rather than as “essential academic tools”.

All of these tools have free versions.  Some also have paid for upgrades offering more features or removing usage limits.

1) Remember the Milk


Remember the Milk screenshot

A to do list.  It has many features, including shared lists but I use it quite simply.  I don’t set deadlines, I just use the 3 levels of priority and I use the Notes feature a lot to add information to tasks.  For example I regularly paste emails into Notes. My working day always starts with RTM.  I use both the website and the (Android) app.  You can also update your list via email, Twitter, your browser and probably in many other ways.  See Services. Some aspects, including the Apps require a Pro account (US$25 pa).

2) Dropbox

Dropbox screenshot“Your files, anywhere” is how Dropbox describes itself.  Dropbox replaces your need for USB memory sticks.  It allows you to access your files from any computer by storing them online while giving you access via the Folders on your computer.  There are Apps and access via their website too. It’s great for sharing files with others, as you can invite people to specific folders making it ideal for collaboration.

3) Delicious

Delicious screenshotA replacement for Internet Favourites / Bookmarks.  A place to store links to your favourite websites proving easy access to them from any computer and making them available to anyone. I like the simplicity of Delicious and have found myself returning to it after experimenting with a more fully featured social bookmarking service: Diigo. Delicious provides feeds which enables you to display your links elsewhere e.g. your website or Moodle.

4) Evernote

Evernote screenshotReplaces scraps of paper as a central place to make & keep notes.  It can also capture much more – including audio, links to websites, files & emails. You can organise you notes in notebooks and share them with others.  There are lots of ways to access it – desktop, web, Apps and some nice integrations, e.g. with Outlook.  I use this one on-and-off,  mainly for making notes in meeting, at events or on the tube. The premium version (US$45 pa) increases storage, allows collaborative editing and more file types.

5) Doodle

A Doodle iconReplaces headaches and roughly a thousand emails when trying to schedule meetings, particularly with those outside of your workplace. A must-use for fixing a date for your next meeting.  No account required, simply choose possible dates/times, email the participants who tick boxes in a simple form. It comes with other calendar integrations but I’ve never tried them.

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