50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity and Profitability

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50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity and Profitability

When Penny Catterall offered to write about Deb Lee and Kim Oser’s MARCPO session about technology, I was thrilled, because it’s one I’d have chosen myself, had I attended the conference. I’m a huge fan of Deb’s SOHO Tech Training, so I was sure that she and Kim would have lots of fabulous information to share. Read on to see if I was right!


On October 19th, 2013, I attended a session called 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity and Profitability at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Professional Organizers (also known at MARCPO) in Bethesda, Maryland. Jointly run by Kim Oser, CPO®, founder of Need Another You?, and Deb Lee CPO®, founder of D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers, the session was packed with information on gadgets, tools, apps, and extensions to help professional organizers accomplish more and improve their bottom line. As an avid tech junkie and productivity consultant, I was excited to get some new information for both my clients and me, and I was not disappointed.

Kim and Deb covered several areas of technology and productivity, including Staying Focused, Task Management, Calendar Management, Email Management, Password Management, Financial Accounting, and Email Marketing. They listed many apps and tools in each area – far too many to go through here in one blog post – but some of the highlights are below.  Almost all of the tools below are free, unless otherwise specified.

Stay Focused

  • StayFocusd – Google Chrome extension that blocks out time-wasting devices for a specific time period that you set yourself.
  • LeechBlock – Firefox extension that does the same thing
  • KeepMeOut – works on multiple browsers, but only gives a warning if you go to a timewasting website too often

Task Management

  • Carrot – The digital task app with a personality. Get rewards, badges and achievements when you accomplish your tasks, and snarky reminders and cheekiness when you don’t. $1.99
  • Toodledo – Allows you to separate your to do’s into subtasks, divide personal and business tasks, get reminders, upload files, track time, and more.  Both app and web-based. $1.99
  • Any.Do – Simple, clean task list app for Android and iPhone. Also has a Chrome extension with seamless sync, and syncs with Gmail as well.
  • iDoneThis – Simple app to track accomplishments by creating a “done list” rather than a “to do” list. Works on iPhone and iPad. Great for positive reinforcement, and easy and intuitive to use. Free for individuals, but fee-based for business.

Calendar Management

  • Google Calendar – Available online and offline.  Can share calendars with others, color code by category of event, attach documents to events, add maps to locations, and show a daily agenda.  However, a Gmail account is necessary to have one.
  • Boomerang Calendar – Works through Gmail to help schedule meetings without the usual back and forth of emails. Just propose a meeting by email and suggest a few meeting times. When the other person selects one, Boomerang Calendar automatically finalizes the meeting and adds it to both calendars. Use with Google calendar or Outlook Exchange.

Email Management

  • Gmail – Use one inbox to check and reply to all of your email from different email addresses. Create labels for a set of emails (like folders).
  • Unsubscriber/OtherInbox – Just move unwanted messages to the Unsubscribe folder and they take care of the rest.  Works with Gmail, AOL, Yahoo and Outlook.
  • unroll.me – Gathers all your email subscriptions in a daily “roll up” and lets you unsubscribe from the ones you don’t want anymore in one click.  Works with Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo.

Password Management

  • OneKey Pro – iOS app, not web based. Has an auto lock and a time out feature after one minute. Has a master pass code, can create folders, backs up to Dropbox and no limit in the number of records stored, including credit card numbers, website logins, bank account information, etc. $4.99
  • RoboForm – Web and app based.  Works on both Windows and Mac based platforms. Syncs passwords, usernames, PINs, credit card info, and fills forms.  Browser extensions available.  RoboForm Everywhere account – currently $9.95 per year.

Financial Accounting

  • Freshbooks – Cloud accounting software service for small business. Web based with apps for iOS and Android. Online billing invoices, can link credit cards and bank accounts to keep track of expenses.  Price based on plan chosen.
  • Quickbooks Online – Mobile accounting software.  Also web based accessible from any web based device with free app support. Can link bank accounts and credit cards. $12.95 per month.
  • Shoeboxed – Fast painless way to digitize and archive receipts and important paper documents in a single secure location. Send receipts with prepaid envelopes, email, or free online and desktop uploaders, which are then categorized and organized before being posted to online account.

Email Marketing

  • Constant Contact – Online marketing company offering mail marketing, online survey, and event marketing services. Easy to use, intuitive drag and drop system, excellent customer service. Basic plan starts at $15 per month.
  • MailChimp – Free to low cost email marketing service.  App allows you to draft campaigns on iPad. Many templates to choose from, Google analytics integration. Not as great with customer service as others.
  • Emma – (myemma.com) Creative and stylish email marketing with templates. Drag and drop editor. Can publish to FB and Twitter. $30 per month.

Kim and Deb also presented great tech tips and apps on Shopping/Meal Planning, Project Management, Video Marketing, CRMs, and Social Media.  I learned an incredible amount of new information at this session and am still digesting it all.  If you want to get the full details on all these and more, you can order Kim and Deb’s new eBook called 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity and Profitability.

Application icons courtesy of emptyglass / http://freedigitalphotos.net

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Penny Catterall of Order Your Life, LLC offers in-person professional organizing services for clients in the Washington DC Metro area and virtually, around the world. She specializes in home office and small business organization and loves to use technology to help her clients achieve greater efficiency and productivity.

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  1. Avatar Jan on November 16, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Awesome list of resources. Some are new to me and I will have to check them out.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

      It looks like it could take a few hours – be sure to grab a nice cup of tea!

  2. Avatar Dan on November 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    If you’d like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this web-application inspired by David Allen’s GTD:

    GTD Agenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

      I like the sound of this! I’ll be sure to check it out.

  3. Avatar SeoLogico on November 26, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve been using Toodledo for a long time. The free version is more than enough to better manage many commitments. I recommend it to everyone.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 27, 2013 at 6:27 am

      Toodledo looks to be very powerful for a free app!

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