Great tools make life better. Here are products, apps, and services I use and recommend to anyone that asks:
- Google Domains – Gotta have a .com, lots of places to get them totally suck. Google does it right. Free privacy, no annoying upsells, really easy to manage.
- WordPress – This is the website building system I use. However, there is a learning curve. Do not use if you’re not willing to invest time. If you use WP, I recommend installing The Divi Theme.
- A Small Orange – If you need web hosting to install WordPress or build a site on, this is a great one. Fast, easy, and remarkably inexpensive.
- Sumo – This tool makes it stupidly easy to collect email newsletter signups, analytics data, and more.
- Squarespace & Strikingly – *[I don’t use these because I’m a web geek, but I’m guessing you’re not] Sign up for one of these and easily build a great looking site without prior know-how.
- MailChimp – It’s free to sign up and you get everything you need. Do it.
- DaVinci Resolve – Used to be just a color correction app. Now it’s got a full set of video editing tools. And you can’t beat the price tag: FREE! It’s a full editor, not as simple as iMovie. Not recommended for total beginners.
- ScreenFlow – Screen capture software. Grab video that’s playing, record presentations, and edit after. You can also edit any other type of video very easily.
- VLC – Ditch quicktime or windows media player. This plays everything, it’s free, and awesome.
- Fade In Pro – Super easy screenplay writing and publishing. All the features you need without the hefty pricetag of Final Draft.
- Scrivener – I was skeptical about this app at first. There are lots of features and it takes a little getting used to, but it’s an amazingly powerful tool to structure and organize large writing projects.
- 750 Words – In The Artist’s Way, the author recommends writing “morning pages”: basically a writing meditation to get your thoughts out of your head. This site helps you do that. Also is a great excercise to practice writing without editing yourself, which helps when writing other projects.
- Trello – Amazing project management app. It’s like a digital pinboard with cards, but much better. I use this to keep track of my projects and todos.
- Evernote – This is my digital brain. I use it to store ideas, save articles to read later, outline writing projects, and store lots of other important info. There are million ways to use it… just use it.
- Facebook Feed Eradicator – Chrome browser extension that gets rid of your Facebook feed. Life is better this way.
- Scapple – This is technically intended as a writing tool, but it’s so much more. It is a simple information visualization tool, or mind mapping tool. But better. It’s like having an unlimited whiteboard on your computer screen.
- Writeyboard – Speaking of whiteboards, they are my favorite planning and productivity tool. But who want to deal with giant whiteboards you need to hang on your wall or whiteboard paint? Writeyboards are like posters that stick to your wall. But it’s a whiteboard. I have 4 of them.
- Momentum Chrome Extension – Chrome browser extension that replaces the new window/new tab default screen (full of distractions) with a beatiful image and your focus for the day.
- Gmail – It’s not fair, but you will be looked down upon if you still have an AOL email address. Also, Gmail’s tagging and filtering features are the best for managing lots of email efficiently.
- Boomerang – Schedule emails a) to be sent later or b) to be hidden and return to your inbox when it becomes relevant. Incredibly useful. Works with Gmail only.
- DropBox – Syncs files across devices. Easy way to share files with friends or coworkers. A must-have.
- Google Drive – Word and Excel are so last millenium. I create and store documents, spreadsheets, and presentations here. Also great storage for other files that I don’t need cluttering up my hard drive.
- Be Focused Pro – Mac and iOS app so you can set a timer to get work done.
- Text Expander – There are things you type every day that you don’t need to. I type my email daily, but now with 3 keystrokes it’s pasted. I do the same with commonly pasted URLs and other info.
- LastPass – Remembers your passwords so you don’t have to. Also generates secure passwords for you. Because using the same password everywhere is not smart.
- Adblock Plus – Get rid of ads (distractions) on Facebook and other sites.
- CheatSheet – One of the best ways to work faster is to learn the keyboard shortcuts on your computer. This Mac App lets you easily reference all keyboard shortcuts for the current app.
- IFTTT – Stands for: If This, Then That. This is a powerful & free automation service. Connect tons of items. If you tag an email in gmail, send to evernote. If it’s this time or date, send a tweet.
- TweetDeck – Great app for using twitter the smart way. Easily display lists, because a full feed is overwhelming. I use the web browser version, but there’s a desktop version that’s great too.
- GroupMe – For a small group of people who communicate regularly and only need a single feed of messages, this app is great. Better than Facebook messages or group text messages, and works on all devices.
- Slack – Great for small or large team collaboration where (unike GroupMe above), the team has need for several feeds. Great for organizing coversations about different projects, topics, or departments. Free for small teams.
- Canva – Make great looking documents; tweetable, pinnable, instagrammable images; business cards; or just about everything else. The best part is – you can make amazing looking stuff without knowing a darn thing about graphic design.
- Simple – Banks aren’t particularly exciting… but this one is. It’s a checking account with a Visa check card, and a great app for tracking your spending. Totally free, no fees, no headaches. It’s amazing.
- Venmo – Easy money transfer to friends. Pay someone back for dinner, etc.
- Paribus – When retailers change prices, you can get money back. This company files price adjustment claims on your behalf. You pay nothing, they just take a small chunk of your refund.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
- F.lux – Excessive blue spectrum light messes up your internal clock, causing sleep problems. This fixes that by changing the colors of your computer screen in the evenings.
- Philips Hue Lights – These are magical LEDs that can be controlled & programmed from a phone. Set to any color. I programmed mine to change color throughout the day just like F.lux to give me better light indoors. I also set them to turn on when I arrive home and off when I leave.
- Sleep Cycle – An app to track how you sleep. Odds are that you could be sleeping better. Get info about how your sleep was. Track how activities during the day affect sleep.
- Waze – Essential for Los Angeles residents, or anywhere else there’s traffic. Great navigation app that gathers user data for read-time updates for the fastest route.
- Atom – This is the text editor I use. It’s pretty.
- GitHub – I’m still a n00b with git, but it’s fun to use. I love seeing all the other projects people have made too.
- Duolingo – Don’t bother looking for a better way to learn a language. This is it. And it’s free!
- Free Code Camp – Learn HTML, CSS, and more acronyms as well. This is a fantastic & FREE resource to learn to code.
Got suggestions for me? Tweet me your favorite tool!
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