In My Toolbox

Edit: This post has been updated on April 3, 2016. 🙂

Toolbox posts have been popping up in my Feedly this week and they have tempted me to write a post of my own. Most of the toolbox posts I’ve been reading have been by bloggers who run a business, so a lot of their tools pertain to that.

I don’t run a business (yet), however, I do freelance very heavily and have a few tools up my sleeve to help me make sense of life. Even when I didn’t freelance, I had some sort of toolbox because I’m obsessed with productivity and love apps that make life easier..or at least promise to. Since I love trying new apps, my system is constantly changing. Some things remain the same..others change as often as months. So here is a snapshot of my Life Toolbox right now:

Hardware

iPhone 6s – eventually I’ll upgrade, for now, it’s fine. When I upgrade..it’ll be for the more awesome front camera. Most of my pictures are iPhone pictures. Some are from a DSLR.

MacBook Pro – I’ve got the 15-inch newest one. I love it. It’s my primary computer. I’m a PC Gone Mac girl (albeit the transition happened when I was in grade 10)

Adidas Headphones – These are super comfortable, with crisp audio quality and a great mic that’s just sensitive enough. They are also noise cancelling!

Communication

Inbox by Google – Although Inbox is not quite full fledged yet, I really enjoy managing my email through it. It’s clean, the aesthetic is pleasing and puts my most important emails right in front of me.

Polymail – This is my current favourite email app on the iPhone after Inbox for Gmail. It has email tracking and scheduled emails included!

Skype – I use Skype literally everyday for work and often use it in tandem with Call Recorder for Skype because I need to record calls for parts of my freelance work. I pay them a small monthly fee to be able to call U.S. and Canadian phones from it and it makes parts of my work life much smoother.

iMessage – Ever since Messages.app on the Mac started working with iMessages I’ve used it extensively. Every single one of my best friends and family use the iPhone and this means I can text them from my Mac, this is often a timesaver, because I just switch over to the app instead of having to reach for my phone.

Sidekick by Hubspot – This is what I use to track emails and send scheduled emails. It works fantastically!

Rapportive – DUDE, how does email exist without this amazing extension? It’s awesome. AWESOME. You hover over an email address or you open up an email by someone, and on the right side of the email everything Rapportive can find about this person shows up. Name, Facebook link, LinkedIn, Twitter, latest status, links to recent emails, any notes you may have added about them. Love it.

Blogging

Dreamhost – my webhost choice. I like them. I’ve been using them for three years.

WordPress – My content management system of choice. All my websites are on WordPress and that is awesome. I could list off all the million plugins I use..but that would make this a super MONSTER of a post. Maybe another day.

Reading

Feedly – my RSS reader of choice. I actually don’t like the desktop version of the app as much as the mobile version, which means I read many of my favourite blogs on my iPhone right there within Feedly.

Facebook – Believe it or not, Facebook plays a very important role in my online reading. I like a lot of blogs, but I don’t like all of them enough to grant them access to my Feedly. So I just like their Facebook page. I scroll through Facebook Pages feed about 3 times a day  (in the left sidebar on your home page, scroll down to Pages Feed) looking for any reads that fit my criteria.

Twitter – great places for news and interesting links to read plus conversation factor.

Project Management

Trello – I love this web app. I use it primarily for work I’m doing (whether personal or freelance). It’s got just the right amount of features for me, isn’t overly complicated, and works flawlessly. I track design projects, parties, and anything else that might be deemed a ‘project’ in my life.

Simplenote – It’s simpler than Evernote, but has some of the same concepts built into it. It does exactly what I need and not more – there’s no bloat, it’s blazingly fast, and uses Markdown. I write everything and anything in it and even use it to collaborate with people on different notes.

Google Drive – Tons of free space is for the win. I use Google Drive to share a gazillion things with clients, friends, etc. I use it every single day.

DropBox – Now why do I need both Google Drive AND DropBox? DropBox makes sharing things with non-members easier than Google Drive does. Drive is more sharing for collaboration. DropBox is straight up sharing for me. It’s great.

Design

Adobe Creative Cloud – I bit the bullet in November 2013, I believe. Before Creative Cloud I had Photoshop CS5, I think, and it was decidedly not a legal version. But once I started needing Illustrator and InDesign as well, it just made sense to get the Creative Cloud subscription. So I did. It’s expensive, but it’s nothing compared to the money it helps me earn every single month.

Inspiration

Pinterest – I don’t go on Pinterest unless I want to be inspired for something very specific and then organize that inspiration. So I use it sporadically not everyday.

*That’s the only tool I can think of that I use for inspiration. But obviously it’s not the only way I find it.

Efficiency

Alfred – Although I loved Quicksilver, Alfred is much faster and feels more native to the Mac now. It’s my app launcher, my finder, my calculator, my file renamer, my workflow handler, and having a Mac without Alfred would make me feel crippled.

FormatMatch – I copy paste between programs very heavily, and it’s super annoying when the formatting of the text comes with it too. This app fixes that. It matches the format of the copied to text to the formatting of the document you’re pasting in. It’s always turned on on my computer.

Google Chrome – My web browser choice. It’s excellent. I recommend it. I use a variety of extensions to make it even more awesome.

OneTab – This plugin is worth mentioning especially because I couldn’t function as awesomely as I do without it now. I open tabs..a lot of tabs. At any given moment I have 3+ windows open each with 12+ tabs. I click OneTab and it puts all the links open in a window on one page, which means Chrome doesn’t slow down because of the memory hog all those tabs are, and I still get to read those links at my leisure. 🙂

And I think that’s it for now, folks! Lots of stuff, eh? 🙂 Happy Friday!