productivity toolsBy Jess Ostroff

Time is our most valuable asset.

Yet, with all the ways the internet has helped in making our lives more streamlined, it has also made us terribly inefficient, thanks to the never ending Facebook newsfeed, videos on YouTube, and my favorite – hilarious Buzzfeed lists!

But you can beat the shiny object syndrome, and stick with some tried-and-true productivity tools that actually make less work for you instead of creating more.

Productivity Tools to Automate

BlissControl. This is one of the simplest and easy-to-understand tools I’ve seen. It provides a platform to change your profile picture, bio, design, username, password, and more to your social networks. No more digging through settings and privacy information. The only thing that would make this tool even better is if they allowed you to change a setting on multiple networks at once!

Cost: Free

Hootsuite. You know the importance of having a social media presence, but the constant tweeting and status updates can be tedious, especially if you’re doing this kind of work for clients. Schedule in bulk, monitor and follow back new users, set up keyword-related searches, and keep your social life on track.

Cost: Free for individuals, premium options available for businesses and enterprise.

IFTTT. IFTTT stands for “if this, then that” and allows you to build recipes from the actions you take regularly on the Internet. “This” is your trigger, and “that” is the action you want taken from your trigger. For example, you could set up a recipe that says, “If I star an email in Gmail, create a reminder to take care of it,” or, “If I take a photo on Instagram, save it to my Dropbox folder,” or even, “When I wake up, send me a positive good morning text message.” With more than 75 supported networks, the options are virtually endless.

Cost: Free Another simple and effective tool, it posts new blog posts to the social networks of your choice as soon as they’re published while providing valuable analytics to monitor the performance of your work.

Cost: Free for the basic plan, premium options available for professional and business users.

SocialOomph. This tool has some of the same capabilities as Hootsuite and, but includes an added layer of automation through a simple follow-back feature, curated content monitoring, and blog post scheduling/management. This tool could take the place of several of the others included in my list.

Cost: Free for basic tasks, $17.97 per month for professional features.

Productivity Tools to Stay Organized

DivvyHQ. Managing your content can be a disaster, especially if you have multiple types of content and an army of authors. DivvyHQ provides a platform for planning, creating, setting deadlines, editing, and scheduling content, even if you’re managing multiple publishing platforms.

Cost: 14-day free trial, then $60/month and up.

WordPress Calendar. If you’re not managing multiple people or blogs but LOVE to plan in advance, the WordPress Calendar plugin may be just what you need. This simple calendar lets you view, add, and edit content from within your WordPress blog, so you never have to wonder what’s coming down the pipeline. Its drag-and-drop functionality also lets you easily move and reschedule blog posts – a major timesaver, especially if you’re juggling multiple posts scheduled into the future.

Cost: Free

Feedly. The premiere Google Reader replacement, Feedly lets you follow and monitor your favorite blogs and websites in one dashboard so you can read, save, share, and tag content for a streamlined (and beautiful) reading and curating experience.

Cost: Free

Pocket. If you’re anything like me, you’re gathering news from from emails, blog posts, and the social networks all the time. Don’t let all those articles turn your browser window into a chaotic mess of tabs! Install the Pocket plugin to your browser and save articles to a Pocket account to read later. Pocket has apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android so all those saved articles, videos, and images can be accessed on the go.

Cost: Free

Productivity Tools to Manage Your Messaging

Buffer. As you sort through news and blog posts using tools such as Hootsuite, SocialOomph, and Feedly, you’ll want an easy way to share that content throughout the day without manually scheduling. Buffer has a web app and browser extension that let you to connect your desired social networks, load up the articles you want to share, and schedule them automagically. Their analytics features allow you to see peak sharing times for optimum performance.

Cost: Free, with premium options available for business and agency features.

SocialBro. The best time and day to post on social networks isn’t the same for everyone, and it’s important to measure and track on an ongoing basis to be successful. SocialBro is a publishing and analytics platform that helps users discover new users to follow, identify influencers, analyze competitors, find the best ways to reach your audience, and track engagement. It also includes a built-in CRM system to keep tabs on the relationships you’ve built online.

Cost: 15-day free trial, then plans start at $13.95 per month.

Nimble. Nimble is a stand-alone social CRM system that lets you store contact information, monitor social media and email activity, set reminders, and track deals with the people you communicate with online, for an organized and detailed online dashboard. There has never been an easier way to keep tabs on your contacts, and this tool is especially useful for blogger outreach and influencer marketing.

Cost: Free for individuals with limited contacts, $15/month for business users.

The time-saving and organizational benefits of these productivity tools come from integrating them into your daily social life.

What’s your experience with using online productivity tools? Which ones did I miss?

Jess Ostroff

Jess Ostroff is the founder and director of calm of Don't Panic Management, a virtual assistant agency. She loves finding efficient ways to get work done, bringing good people together, and enjoying live music.

View all posts by Jess Ostroff