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9 New Productivity Tools to Simplify Your Online Life

This guest post is by Leo Widrich of Buffer.

After Google+ entered the social networking scene not so long ago, the number of online distractions hasn’t really decreased.

At the same time, innovations and smarter solutions to handle your actions online have fortunately continued to thrive too. Instead of the usual to-do lists, news readers, or sharing tools, they tackle things in new and more helpful ways.

What’s most important for me, is that they slot right into my workflow, and allow me to become more efficient without changing my behavior. A few apps recently managed to do so brilliantly.

Here are my favorite new tools to help you stay focused and use the Web more innovatively.

1. SimpleNote

Do you ever have that feeling of random thoughts and ideas floating around in your head, but there is no optimal solution to jot them down? With SimpleNote, I found a fantastic way to finally write down things in a very intuitive manner. The Chrome extension lets me write things down fast and easily. On top of this, it stores it very intelligently in folders, simply by adding tags.

Workflow tip: The app integrates with a lot of already existing apps to make note-taking inside them even easier.

SimpleNote

SimpleNote

Try it out here: SimpleNote

2. Let’s Crate

If you think the likes of Dropbox or Box are making filesharing easy already, you might be surprised as what Let’s Crate can do. Without any signup or signin process, you can start adding your files right on the landing page. The service automatically generates a link that you can share, embed in blogpost, or send via email. It truly simplifies my online life.

Workflow tip: If you do decide to get an account with the app, you can easily turn it into your online storage system, add folders, and use it as a backup.

Let's Crate

Let's Crate

Try it out here: Let’s Crate

3. Coolendar

This is one of the smartest inventions I’ve seen recently. The app is actually a to-do list that automatically turns into a calendar based on the entries you make. It uses super-simple syntax to understand the time and creates a calendar as you type a new to-do item. So, say for example, you write “Tomorrow, 5pm, blogpost due for Mrs. White” and the app automatically detects it and creates an entry in your calendar as well as a to-do item.

Workflow tip: The best part here is that you can set up a bot inside Google Talk, which will remind you right inside Gmail whenever a task is due.

Coolendar

Coolendar

Try it out here: Coolendar

4. Mockflow

As a full time blogger, my skills in design and programming are very limited. Yet, being able to express myself clearly is more vital than ever. A better blog layout is a crucial component of blogging success these days. With Mockflow, you can create powerful wireframes that facilitate working with designers and programmers a great deal. There exist a wide range of tools and templates to make them look pretty, and are easy to implement.

Workflow tip: What I like best is that the app also works offline, so if you are wireframing on the go, you never have to worry about connectivity.

Mockflow

Mockflow

Try it out here: Mockflow

5. StrawberryJ.am

As a blogger, my main focus is to produce the best content I can write each day. Of course, keeping up with the great posts my favorite blogs write is vital here. Yet knowing what the really good bits are is sometimes tricky. Help comes from StrawberryJ.am. The app orders all the Tweets from your stream on the basis of most mentioned and retweeted. So at one glance, you will see the hot and most-discussed news items in your timeline.

Workflow tip: If you really don’t want to open another site each day, simply subscribe to your own top news and the app will deliver updates straight to your inbox.

StrawberryJ.am

StrawberryJ.am

Try it out here: StrawberryJ.am

6. Do it Tomorrow

This is a piece of innovation I would never have thought could be useful. Yet Do It Tomorrow slots perfectly into my workflow. I am usually the kind of person that puts way to many to-do’s on the list for one day. With this neat Android app, I create a simple to-do list of the things I need to get done and never worry about putting too much on my plate.

Workflow tip: By simply tapping on the little arrow, a to-do gets pushed onto the next day. You’ll never lose to-do’s you didn’t get to.

Do It Tomorrow

Do It Tomorrow

Try it out here: Do it Tomorrow

7. Oh Life

You will most likely know that the benefits of writing are plentiful. One of the most important factors for me is to order my thoughts. Oh Life takes a very new approach to making it easy for you to write down your thoughts about life. Every evening, the app will send you an email asking “How did your day go?” By hitting Reply, your entries will be safely stored as an online journal.

Workflow tip: Going through my personal Oh Life stories every once in a while helps me a great deal to focus and recap what I am working on.

OhLife

OhLife

Try it out here: Oh Life

8. Rapportive

I found that one of the most important things when speaking to someone via email is to really understand what the person is all about. Rapportive is a Chrome extension that slots right into Gmail and gives you a new tab of information all related to the person you are speaking to. This includes recent tweets, information from Facebook, LinkedIn data, and much more. You can build a rapport with them immediately and fully understand what they are all about.

Workflow tip: Very recently, the app has added a functionality to allow you to reply to tweets right from inside Gmail. This facilitates interaction a lot, I’ve found.

Rapportive

Rapportive

Try it out here: Rapportive

9. Skinnyo

This is my extra tool for you, as, different from all the others, it focuses on your physical shape. For a healthy online workflow, the Latin saying of “Mens sana, in corpore sano” (healthy mind, healthy body) is something I follow very closely. The app allows you to enter into online challenges with others, keep track of your weight, and have fun staying in shape with others. You can create teams, challenge each other, or use it strictly for personal use to keep track of your exercise.

Workflow tip: I particularly like the Social Network behavior of Skinnyo. It makes it easy to see how others are doing and keeps me motivated.

Skinnyo

Skinnyo

Try it out here: Skinnyo

These are my favorite tools to make the most of my day online. How about you? Do you think some of them could be useful for you too? Are there others you can add?

Leo Widrich is a blogger and Co-Founder of Buffer, a tool to share Tweets and Facebook Updates at optimal times to get 200% more clicks and engagement. He writes more Social Media Tips here. Reach out to him @leowid anytime.
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Comments

  1. great tool list Leo and Darren! I’d only heard of two of them: SimpleNote and Rapportive.

    gonna play with a couple more of them…:-)

    Mtn Jim

  2. Great post, am off to try these out! Thanks so much.
    x

  3. Definitely a nice collection of tools. I haven’t heard about many of them. Thanks Leo!

  4. Amrit Hallan says:

    A great list of productivity tools. Up till now I have been using a mix of tada lists, remember your milk and more recent one lazymeter. My only problem is, remembering to check these websites :-).

  5. Shevonne says:

    Great! I can’t wait to check these out. With Strawberry J.am, it seems that you need a beta access code but no idea how to get on the waiting list for one. By the way, I love, LOVE Buffer.

    • Leo Widrich says:

      Hi Shevonne,

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and so glad to hear you like Buffer!

      Yes, you can try the beta code “toolschat” for StrawberryJ.am! :)

  6. Brenna says:

    Awesome list. Another great tool that makes life easier when it comes to cross medium research is Kyoo. It lets you pick a topic and aggregates information from all the social media sites, so you can see everything at once. Pretty cool to use for researching a topic or following a real-time event.

  7. Nice finds. I personally like to use Evernote, Things/Wunderlist.

  8. Anyone out there know of any new tools that help publishers share content across multiple platforms?

    • Leo Widrich says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks a lot for stopping by, there are a few tools that can help with this. Buffer allows you to cross post on Twitter atm, and if you signup early, to FB too at bufferapp.com/facebook.

      Alternatively I suggest you take a look at Shareaholic, which is a fantastic solution to post on mulitple Social Networks right from your browser. :)

    • Malissa says:

      Yes Chris, There are many! Posterous is one, as are ping.fm, yahoo pipes, plus a few others out there.

  9. Sanjeev says:

    Cool List though I am using few like Do it tomorrow or Simplenote, will check on others.

  10. Ava Jae says:

    What a great list! I’m definitely checking a lot of these out–thanks for sharing!

  11. Awesome tools, I only heard of SimpleNote and Rapportive before now, and will definitely check them all out, except maybe the last one, even though I should probably check that one out the most lol

  12. Nick Bentley says:

    You left off the unholy towering inferno of online productivity greatness: https://workflowy.com/

    I’ve tried a million organizational tools online, and nothing touches it.

  13. Alex says:

    Coolendar looks great, will try that. But I have to say, haven’t heard about half of these apps. Nice list!

    • Leo Widrich says:

      Alex, thanks a lot for your comment, so glad you liked this post and I could bring you some new Apps to learn about! :)

  14. Pepper says:

    I will have to check out these tools, but skinnyo def caught my eye as I’m working my way to a healthier me this year.

    I really like My Fitnesss Pal (myfitnesspal.com) and have just started using Fitocracy (fitocracy.com).

    Fitocracy is in invite only mode right now, but it is fun to look at your exercise as a game!

    I love MFP because there is such a great community behind it that will cheer you on and encourage you.

    Does Skinnyo have a real community feel to it? You say you like the social network aspect of it, but how about the community itself?

  15. My recommendation: NirvanaHQ.

    Nice post, and Buffer is great :)

    • Leo Widrich says:

      Felipe,

      Thanks for the heads up, will have a look at NirvanaHQ.

      Fantastic you like Buffer! :)

      • Team IQTELL says:

        Leo,

        Although we are only in beta, we would love if you’ll check IQTELL’s application too. We will look great on a list like that :)

  16. I just added Simplenote and StrawberryJ.am to my app list. I’m always looking to be more efficient online and these are all great suggestions.

  17. Eytan says:

    Good list! I had only heard of a few of these before, and I’m going to try out MockFlow now, it looks pretty cool.

    I would also recommend IQTELL. It is an all-in-one application for your email, contacts, tasks, notes, documents and more. It’s very powerful and extremely customizable. It’s in beta, private invites are being given out: http://www.iqtell.com

  18. Roving Jay says:

    Thought I’d try StrawberryJ.am — but you need a Priority Access Code to sign up for this Beta site — why didn’t you mention that in you post — doesn’t seem much point highlighting a good tool, if you can sign up for it.

  19. Aidy says:

    The ‘Do It Tomorrow’ is something I will definitely download. Seems I’ve been saying those very words as of late. At least now I will be able to keep up with the list. Thanks for the tips!

  20. Haven’t looked at them all, but I like the OhLife app. This is great if you have a personal blog and have issues writing on it, for lack of ideas or you’re too busy, whatever. Set up your blog for email posting, and when you reply to OhLife, bcc your email addy for posting. It worked great!

  21. Leo, Great and fantastic collection of tools. Simple note, Do it Tomorrow and Strawberry looks awesome and nice to have a try. Thanks for the post and update.

  22. Thanks for this list. Great new list of tools. I knew only of Rapportive and I love it, one of the most useful apps ever I think. The other ones you listed are really great too and I think Coolendar is a keeper.

  23. Excellent post … Its indeed a great tools

  24. Sameh says:

    Coolendar is really cool! I’m also looking at skinnyo right now.

    Thanks for the list.

  25. Great list of tools. There are many here which I didn’t know existed.
    Am going to check out Skinnyo to help in my weight lost challenge.

  26. Jeff Wright says:

    Thank you for this list!

  27. Tim Hill says:

    These tools are so great. I provide my readers Cool Tools of the Day and these will definately be in the list this week.