We use a lot of different tools over the course of a day, and because we'd rather spend our time focusing on our process than on fixing the things that are supposed to keep it moving, it's important for us to know that the tools we're using are the best ones we can find.
With that in mind, here are a few of the tools that have proven themselves to be extremely dependable over the nearly two years we've been running Lexicontent.
Anything with a firm date and time goes on Google Calendar, which is one of the first things I check every day. Amanda and I both have personal calendars that we use to schedule meetings that one or both of us should be in, but we also have a shared "Bandwidth" calendar where the dates for our projects are added as all-day events.
All of our documents live in Google Drive – even the ones that we edit with other applications on our computers. Google Docs is great for editing, giving clients the opportunity to add highlights and comments directly to a draft as we go through the revision process.
We recently started using Trello to keep track of all of the people we want to meet, and what we've done so far to try to meet them. Each company or person is given a card, and those cards are sorted into boards like "Charleston," "Atlanta," or "The Internet." Within each of those buckets, there are columns titled "People to know," "Contacted," "Scheduled," and "Met."
We love meeting people all over, and sorting them into different "buckets" this way makes it easy for us to focus on them at different times based on what we have going on, where we're going to be, and whether we have time to meet people in person or not.
HelloSign has been a huge time-saver for sending contracts to get signatures. After we create a Statement of Work for a project in Google Drive, this is as easy as right-clicking on it in Google Drive and clicking "Open in HelloSign."
Our invoicing tool of choice is Freshbooks, which has its own payment processor in addition to support for Stripe, PayPal, and several others.
GMail and Boomerang
It seems like there aren't a lot of people who aren't using GMail these days, so instead of explaining it, here are three things you can do to get more out of it.
If you find yourself sending the same emails over and over again, Canned Responses can be a big time-saver. You can save a copy of any email you write as a Canned Response to make it easy for you to grab it later and customize it for whoever you're sending it to.
For taming an out-of-control inbox, check out this guide from Lifehacker for tips on filtering out some of the noise. I've got separate filters set up to keep newsletters, Basecamp and Google Docs notifications, and form submissions from our website out of my inbox and in their own labels that I can check on my own schedule.
Last but not least, for night owls like me who want to write emails at midnight, give Boomerang a try. It adds a button to the composer in GMail that lets you schedule when the email will be sent out, so you can have Boomerang send it at a "normal" time of day.
We use UberConference for most of our calls because it's just the simplest way to get people on the phone. It also makes it easy to record conversations and download MP3s of them, so we can refer to them while we're working on content or preparing proposals.
Feedly, Pocket, Buffer, and Readkit
Feedly is our RSS reader of choice. We use it to gather new posts from all of our favorite content strategy and marketing websites in one place so we don't have to jump from website to website to keep up with them.
When I see something in Feedly I want to read but I don't have time to read it right away, it goes into Pocket, a read-it-later app that I can open on my phone or computer when I want to take a little reading break but don't want to waste time looking for something good to read.
Buffer is our tool of choice for queuing up the things worth sharing – again, perfect for night owls like me, since there probably aren't a lot of people looking at Facebook at 3 in the morning.
ReadKit (Mac only) combines the best of all three of these into a single app with convenient keyboard shortcuts. To send what I'm reading to our Buffer queue, all I have to do is hit the 'b' key to open the share window.
Those are some of the tools we keep in our Menu Bars and Docks. We're always looking for great tools to help us build better processes, so if there's one you love that isn't listed here, let us know using the form below so we can try it for ourselves!