I have a problem: I’m a digital hoarder – links, PDFs, emails, calendar appointments, anything! When I caught myself looking through folders and folders of bookmarks (some links now obsolete!) on my web browser, I knew it was time for a digital organization overhaul. I did some research and came across these free productivity tools that helped me digitally organize my workspace. Here are my favorites:
Boomerang for Gmail is a plugin for Firefox, Safari, and Chrome that allows you to schedule emails as well as set follow-up notifications and reminders. It’s a pretty neat tool. I use it to schedule emails when I am working outside of normal business hours, but I also love to set up notifications to follow up on projects with deadlines weeks in the future, rather than clogging up my work calendar.
Trello is my digital dry erase board. It’s a tool that organizes projects into boards and cards – visually, the boards are columns and cards are tasks within each column. This is helpful in creating a workflow for yourself or your team. For instance, let’s say you’re a blogger. You can create 4 boards: Ideas, In the Works, Pending Approval, and Published. Next time you brainstorm and come up with 20 different blog post ideas, you can create 20 different cards in the Ideas board. As you start writing drafts, you can drag cards to In the Works, then eventually to Pending Approval and Published. Be sure to check out the Trello blog for more ideas on how to use it.
Milanote is a tool for organizing your creative projects into visual boards. Created to replicate the feeling of working on a wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – I find it a good fit for professionals in both the marketing and design spaces. Milanote has lots of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a moodboard to set out the visual direction for a project. Milanote’s basic plan is available for free with no time-limit. It is a good choice at the early stages of any project that requires gathering of many visual elements.
Slack is an alternative to email. It operates like a forum, allowing teams to communicate in real-time. It also encourages knowledge sharing as well as transparency. There are always multiple projects going on in our office simultaneously, so it serves as a one-stop shop for all project-related communication. It’s also served as our water cooler for all Game of Thrones-related commentary. Attach files, share links, direct message someone, and create new channels without any hassle.
I was inspired to try LastPass after the Heartbleed debacle. Forget using the same password for every website or creating different variations that you’re constantly forgetting. Let technology do the work for you. LastPass is a free tool that securely stores your and generates passwords through your web browser; the premium version allows you to store passwords across multiple devices. You can also store debit/credit/banking information (though I have yet to try that feature). It’s so simple to use, I can’t believe I didn’t try it sooner.
To me, Evernote is like a filing cabinet, a collection of ideas, articles, notes, business cards, and more, all sorted into drawers and folders. However, Evernote is more than just a content collection tool. It’s also an excellent way to collect and organize data to share with teams. Have an idea for a website? An article that requires tons of research? Collect, annotate, and share. Evernote is available for free on desktop and mobile, and the nifty Web Clipper extension for web browsers makes collecting and annotating even easier. There is a premium version if you need additional space, but I haven’t had to upgrade just yet.
So that’s my list of free productivity tools to help digitally organize your workspace. There are plenty of other tools out in the market, and I’m always looking out for the next big thing, so if you know of another tool that Eureka should check out, send us a tweet and let us know!