Post’s like this one usually evolve into an epic laundry list of apps with pithy commentary. Reading such a post would be a waste of your time and defeats the purpose.
My goal is to keep you writing, promoting, and earning.
So we’ll keep this short by focusing on the few “force multiplier” apps I use every day. Each of these apps can be used for several different tasks. And, each of them will keep you focused on publishing content.
Let’s do it.
The goal is to write great content quickly. I would love to massage masterpieces for day on in but every new post is an opportunity to attract new readers. I want as many of them out there as possible.
Mindmeister is a mind-mapping app. Mindmaps are great for quickly capturing your thoughts and visually seeing how your points relate to each other. I use Mindmeister to create post outlines.
Writing an outline for your post before writing will cut your writing time significantly. Your outline will also keep you from wandering off-topic as you write.
Windows users: Consider using MarkdownPad
Microsoft word sucks as a post writing tool. It has too many features that get in the way of well…actually writing. Also it’s a nightmare copying word document into WordPress. Save yourself the hassle by using a stripped down text editor like Byword.
Byword is designed around the blank page. It opens in seconds and keeps the heck out of your way as you write. The latest version of Byword will also publish your post directly to your blog.
Great content creators, like yourself, are always on the hunt for topic ideas. Once you find an idea, you’ll take note of it and get ready to use it for a post. I’ve learned that time eats good ideas. The faster you can note and begin outlining the idea the better.
These two apps will help:
My RSS reader of choice. All RSS readers consume feeds and spit out headlines in easy to read format. Feedly excels at making it easier to export promising idea-starting headlines to other services for later reference. For example, I use Feedly with IFTTT to save time creating my weekly round-up post.
Evernote is a groovy way to stash and categorize almost anything you find on the web. My advice is to put anything that is mildly interesting in Evernote for future use. Evernote also plays well with other apps allowing you connect it with Feedly, Dropbox, all web browsers.
I have a simple time management philosophy. Pick three priorities every morning. Don’t go to sleep until they are done. If the task can’t get done in 8 hours, write, start the next day working on that project. I love the results.
I prefer software that gets out of my way and allows me to quickly get back on task. The following apps fit the bill. By the way, these are the only tools I use. It’s very easy to waste time fiddling with time management software.
Is a minimalist to-do list app. Download it, open it, and tuck it in a corner of your monitor. Put your ideas, stray thoughts, anything on a list on Clear. Windows users, you poor devils, you can use Trello .
Time management is an exercise of sticking to one task until finished. It’s hard to stick to one task when you have thoughts zipping through your mind begging for attention. You can stay on track by adding these random ideas on a list until you can get to them. This tip has saved me hours of distracted fiddling.
Tomatoes (MAC) or Tomatoist (Windows/Web)
Productivity experts say that our brains are wired to focus on one task for about 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, our minds wander prompting us to rest for a bit. Now, you can try to be a stud and power through the 90 minute barrier, but research shows your focus plummeting after that point. I say, use the 90 minute barrier to focus and get more down during each session.
I use the Pomordoro Technique to split my 90 minute sessions into three 25-minute work sprints. I time each of these sessions with the Tomatoes app. This method helps me get more done without wondering off tasks.
As with any tool, you will need to establish a habit of using your timers to focus your attention. You’ll quickly notice a jump in your productivity when you do.
Infusionsoft is a marketing automation service that powers email marketing, ecommerce, and content distribution. I use infusionsoft to manage all of my online marketing tasks. I couldn’t begin to explain the power Infusionsoft offers and it is something you have to see to believe. Here’s a link to learn more about these guys.
Infusionsoft is particularly valuable to a blogger because it combines the functions a variety of individual tools into one solution. Before Infusionsoft, I cobbled together, Aweber, Loopfuse, Kissmetrics, 1ShoppingCart to handle my marketing Eliminating these pieces and focusing on one freed 3 hours per week.
For example, I talked about how I use IFTTT to connect Feedly and Google Drive to automatically write one of my weekly posts. IFTTT is free and can be used in hundreds of different ways to save you time and cash.
Zapier is IFTTT sexy cousin.
Zapier connects web services as well but offers more options with enterprise/business-focused services. I use Zapier to connect Infusionsoft with Basecamp and Gmail to automatically start a custom email campaign by simply starring someone’s email in my inbox. This stuff will blow your mind and recover lost time trying to connect your most important services manually.
Do you have a favorite blogging app? Share in the comments.