Everyone is always looking for a way to work better, faster; the problem is that we either don’t have the time to look or we don’t know where to turn. I want to provide you some insight into just a few tools that I use while working that help me. These tools will help you at work, in business or at school.
Cheats for Google
Search better with Google by knowing what to say to it. Usually, Google or any other search engine are on-target. But sometimes, you’re looking for something specific and can’t waste time. These are a few tricks that I’ve learned and use on a daily basis.
Put phrases in quotes; it will search for that exact phrase. You’ll notice an enormous difference.
Type AND in capital letters to find two terms within a site.
Are you looking for a particular place, like only college or institutions? Use the ‘site:’ code to find it. The site: code comes in handy if you’re looking for a website from a particular country, like ‘site: UK’ when looking for sites with a British country code.
Use filetype: code if you want to find a particular file such as a pdf.
I use Evernote to take notes. I’ve only started using it, but it comes in handy. It helps me outline and write ideas for blog posts (like this one). With your smartphone, you can take photos of receipts and checks if you’re keeping track of expenses and you can record audio notes. Your notes live in the cloud, no worries about having to bring anything physical with you. You can share and collaborate on notes with other people who use Evernote. Be aware that the cloud can have problems. I was using Evernote to take notes on a translation I was working on, and the cloud crashed. It left me without access for a few hours.
Evernote is free, but there are different pay levels with added features if you decide to buy it. I use the free version. Google Keep is another note-taking app and Siri can also help you keep reminders.
Grammarly is an add-in for Chrome or for Microsoft’s Office, which checks your grammar and spelling. It makes my writing better. If someone needs another set of eyes, it makes me a better editor too. I also have found that it helps me look at my work 2-3 more times to be sure everything sounds clear and makes sense.
There’s a free and premium version available. I use the premium version because I like knowing the difficult issues that I can work on to make me a better writer. While Grammarly is not perfect, it makes it easier for me to use than bothering someone every few minutes to check on a draft I have. The Elements of Style is a great IRL non-electronic alternative. The version I’ve hyperlinked is also the illustrated version.
For Social Media:
I use HootSuite because it puts all your social media profiles on a single page. It makes it easier to interact with users seamlessly across multiple platforms. You can schedule tweets, posts, messages for WordPress, and others. My favorite reason for using Hootsuite is to manage the Twitter lists I’ve created. I also like that I can search by geography on Twitter. With organized lists on a single page, I find it easier to use it to come up with content ideas.
Boomerang is an add-in for Gmail, which can let you schedule e-mails to recipients. It can also remind you if a recipient hasn’t gotten back to you. There’s a free and varying level of premium versions available.
Because I also wanted to add something non-work related, I like using camelcamelcamel to track prices of Amazon items. Did you know that prices go up and down and that there are times when prices can quietly drop 10-15%? With camelcamelcamel, you can put in the item that you’re looking to purchase in its search engine. It will give you a price history of how much it has cost over the past few months. If you do your oil changes, this is handy to use because oil prices have been jumping around lately. I recently set up an alert to let me know when there’s a deal on diapers for my older sister.*
*She has a baby.