This post by Blackstone Content Correspondent Summer Suleiman originally appeared on ideavillage.org.
Monday marked the launch of the NOEW website, and the countdown has officially begun at #IDEAinsider. We are getting ready for our biggest NOEW yet!
If you haven’t already seen the lineup, you can check it out here.
With a jam-packed schedule of events, we want to make sure that all of our ‘treps are ready to rock and roll. So, we went straight to the tech experts to find out how they stay on top of their game.
Chris Boyd is founder of Apptitude a New Orleans-based software development company. As a tech entrepreneur, Chris knows firsthand how tough it can be to juggle all the demands of running a company. But he has all the tools to help keep things in tip top shape. And this week, he rounded up five apps that he can’t live without for a special #NOEW edition guest post. Take it away, Chris.
As an entrepreneur, the most valuable wisdom and guidance I’ve received on my journey has come from other entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and lessons learned. And there’s no more important wisdom one can impart than a tip towards a new tool that might help your fellow ‘trep gain technical advantage in their day-to-day operations. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you some time-honored wisdom in a category that entrepreneurs have been handing down for ages from generation to generation, year after year: must-have apps.
Ask any entrepreneur worth her salt how she manages to juggle so many things throughout the day, and she’ll probably tell you about a secret weapon: a killer to do list app. While everyone has their favorite, and there are many to choose from, there are a rare few that meet my requirements: must sync across iOS, Android, and Mac, must allow me to schedule items that don’t appear until a particular date so that I can “set and forget,” and must allow me to separate tasks into different groups or categories, i.e. Apptitude or a particular client or chores, etc.
Speaking of focus, it’s also crucial to filter out distractions you create for yourself. Throughout the day, I see at least 10-20 articles, posts, videos, and longreads that I want to check out. But if I read every single one of those every time they came across my screen, I’d never get anything done. People approach this problem with a variety of solutions of questionable worth: saving links to folders, emailing links to themselves, or worse yet: just reading the article right then and there. It’s 2015, man! You can’t go around emailing links to yourself. We’ve evolved way beyond that.
Enter Pocket, which exists to solve one simple problem: I want to read this, but I don’t want to read it right now, and I also don’t want to forget about it. You create an account, install the Pocket app on your device (or computer via browser extension), and whenever something interesting comes along, you save it to your Pocket. Boom! You now have an ongoing list of things you really want to read, available to you at a time when you really want to read them.
This does wonders for your daily routine. I have a habit of reading in bed for a full hour before I go to sleep, to help me reflect, wind down from the day, and get ready to kick the next day’s ass. Pocket has become a very pleasant part of that daily routine. I’ll use some of that time to go through articles I’ve saved to my Pocket, retaining crucial information that I would’ve either completely missed out on or found distracting had I read it during the other 23 hours in the day that I’m working.
Speaking of great content, I also want to be sure to tell other people about all the great things I’ve found on the interwebs. But once again, if I didn’t keep this activity in check, I’d spend all day tweeting out links to articles I think are worthwhile.
This is where an app like Buffer saves your life. While I can’t recommend its business and team features because they’re still not quite ready for prime time, for personal social media management, Buffer is tops. It works like a reverse Pocket: I take a link or a photo, drop it into Buffer, and select which of my social media accounts I want it to go out to, or just let it use my default set of accounts. Based on a schedule I set up, Buffer saves the post and schedules it for the next available timeslot that I’ve told it I want to post on a schedule throughout the day.
So my loyal following on social media receives interesting posts throughout the day, but I don’t have to sit there and post things at the exact moment I want them to go out, and they don’t get a rapid fire series of posts at the end of the day when I finally chill and take a moment to catch up on Pocket.
The default Twitter app on iOS was actually born as a 3rd-party app called Tweetie, which was excellent for its time. It was so good in fact that Twitter bought it and turned it into the company’s official app, and the design and UI have driven Twitter’s interface on all platforms since.
However it’s 6 years after Tweetie’s heyday, there are better apps out there now, and Twitter as a company has been somewhat ham-fisted with its own app development even as its platform has exploded and become the go-to social network of note for many people, myself included.
Tweetbot is made by Tapbots, a fantastic shop that makes killer iOS apps. It sports a slick, modern, themeable design, and frequently introduces killer features years before Twitter gets around to including them in the official app. It also makes managing multiple accounts dead simple: just swipe left at the top of the screen to move to another account.
Even better, Tweetbot has a feature that allows you to save to your Pocket directly within the app! See a link you want to save for later? Simply tap and hold, and you’ll be able to choose Save to Pocket as an option. Just be sure to set up Pocket integration as soon as you get your accounts all set up.
Pro tip: Switch the theme to night, the font to Avenir, and the quote format to “RT with comment.” That’ll provide the best, most pleasant Twitter experience possible.
Email is the worst. If there was a mail client that automatically changed the subject line on every email to “Stop What You’re Doing Right Now and Make Me Your Top Priority” I would use it in a heartbeat. Because that’s what email is: an eternal, relentless list of things other people want you to shift your focus to, ignoring your to do list and the goals you’d set out for the day. The worst part of email is that the more you pay attention to it, the more it grows. The response you quickly fire off to help clear your inbox only creates three more emails in its place. Setting up a meeting can take three, four, five emails just to get schedules coordinated.
Enough. All of this is draining you of your utmost precious and valuable resource as an entrepreneur and a human being: time. Mailbox helps you take back some of that time, by giving you quick, easy, simple ways to dismiss, postpone, or delete emails, all day long.
If you need to respond to an email, but don’t want to lose your focus because you’re in the middle of an important task, Mailbox lets you simply swipe right and choose a better time to address the email. And then it disappears until its assigned time. Beautiful.
Mailbox centers around the principle of the mythical, ever-hunted Inbox Zero. The idea that when you have zero messages in your inbox, your life is incalculably more zen and peaceful, and you have the freedom to actually work on attaining those goals you’d set for yourself at the start of the day. I’ve heard of this beautiful, mythical phenomenon before, even caught glimpses of it myself on occasion, but as any entrepreneur will tell you: Inbox Zero is a journey, not a destination. Savor it when it comes, but know that there’s always another person about to hit send on that message demanding that your attention shift away from you and towards them.
Now I hope you cross reading this post off your Wunderlist, mark it as read in your Pocket, save it to your Buffer so your friends can see it, and tweet it out to your followers on Tweetbot. But whatever you do, don’t email it to someone because email is THE WORST.
For more tech tips, follow Chris Boyd on Twitter at @chrisboyddotnet.
And for all the latest NOEW News, follow “@helloNOEW” on Twitter too!