,

Getting Things Done – Free Online To Do List Tools

When I was thinking about entrepreneurial productivity, I polled my Twitter followers on their favorite productivity tools. The number-one answer: To-Do lists! I was surprised at the number of techy-types who owned up to using the old-fashioned pen and paper to create their lists. Once they read the following list of high-tech options, I bet they'll convert quickly!

 
What to-do list program works best will depend on a number of things, including:
  • Are your entries simple tasks or complex projects?
  • Do you want to group or code tasks together?
  • Is the list just for you, or will you be managing and assigning tasks to others?
  • How do you want to archive completed tasks?
  • Where will you access your list: On your computer, remotely, or on your iPhone?
  • Do you want to track just the task, or additional elements like time, priority, etc.?
There are dozens of to-do tools available, including the following:
 
Ta-da List
Looking for basic list capability without a lot of jazz to distract you? Then Ta-Da Lists is the answer to your prayers! Create multiple lists, share them with others, and download them to your iPhone. Free service. Find out more at TadaList.com
 
Remember The Milk
This is like a To-Do list on steroids with interfaces for Google Calendar and apps for Twitter, the iPhone, and the Android. Set up reminder messages to be sent via IM or email, share tasks with others, and set priorities. Free service. Find out more at RememberTheMilk.com
 
TeuxDeux
With its pared-down, drag-and-drop interface, you can get started with TeuxDeux's to-do list immediately. An iPhone app is underway, but for now it's entirely browser-based, which means it's accessible from any Internet-enabled computer. Free service. Find out more at TeuxDeux.com
 
Toodledo
Assign priorities, tags, and deadlines, set goals, create folders, and collaborate with others via Toodledo. A robust list function lets you store all your lists and notes together. Free service. Find out more at Toodledo.com
 
Gmail lists
If you're already a Gmail convert, add to-do lists to your mix. Convert Gmail to tasks, integrate with your calendar, and access from your mobile device. Free service. Find out more at Mail.Google.com/mail/help/tasks/
 
While all the bells and whistles may make your eyes glow, remember that the easier the program, the more likely you will be to use it – and that's the end goal!

 

,

Project Collaboration Resources

Working with a JV partner on a new class? Editing a document for a client and have some questions? Co-authoring an ebook or course? You could take turns working on a Word document, relying on the “show edits” function to keep track of what's going on. But what if your partner loses the file? Or if you both want to work at the same time? Or if you want to be able to annotate your additions and changes? Then you need a collaboration tool so you can work with your partners quickly and easily. When choosing a collaboration tool, you want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want a free or a paid solution?
  • How many people will I be working with?
  • Will we be working together for a one-time project, or on an ongoing basis?
  • Are we brainstorming, writing, or creating another sort of project?
  • What programs will we be using?
  • Will we be working simultaneously?
The answers to these questions will drive your choice of program. Here are a few popular collaboration tools that many online entrepreneurs have used with great success:
 
Google Docs
This free web-based file sharing system enables you to share files and work on them simultaneously. Great for spreadsheets, Word documents, presentations, and drawings. Google Docs is available from any Internet-enabled computer, and anyone with a Google account can be invited to contribute to your project. You can also chat if users are online at the same time. Find out more at Docs.Google.com 
 
Acrobat
Most people are familiar with Adobe Acrobat, having used it to read or share .PDF documents. But Acrobat also offers terrifically powerful collaboration abilities. Using Acrobat, you can share a set of documents in one place, collaborate with several people at once, and access your files from anywhere. You also get web conferencing and many other options. Acrobat is priced from $14.99 to $39 a month, and a scaled-down free version is also available. Find out more at Acrobat.com
 
Google Wave
The cutting edge of collaboration technology is Google Wave. Cross Gmail with Twitter and Wikipedia, and you'll have an idea of what Google Wave is. Its greatest strength is its users' ability to see edits in real time. The document formatting is a little rudimentary, but the social media aspects may make up for it, particularly if you're an early technology adopter who sees value in the “cool” factor. Cost is free, but users must have a Google account, and you must be invited to Google Wave because it's still in private beta. Find out more at Wave.Google.com
 
Writeboard
A subset of 37Signals' Basecamp, Writeboard is a free service that enables users to collaborate on sharable, web-based text documents. You can roll back to previous changes and compare edits easily. You can also make comments and track authorship, as well as subscribe to the RSS feed so you can be notified any time someone makes changes. This solution is perfect for one-time, standalone documents. Find out more at Writeboard.com
 
Since most of these options are free, you can test them out on a variety of projects to see what works best for you. Whichever you use, it'll be sure to make your joint projects easier. 

 

,

Time Trackers for Productivity

Want to know how many hours you spent last week on the website for your new client? Need to track your team's hours by function? Want to figure out your hourly wage by project? Or maybe you would like to monitor the time you spend playing solitaire or cruising blogs? Then what you need is a time-tracking software program. You have a bevy of paid and free options to track your time. Let's take a look:


Klok
This desktop application allows you to create a visual representation of your time, track by client or project, and export your time totals to your time sheets for clients. Available as individual licenses for $15.99. (www.getklok.com).
 
Paymo
This system provides free time tracking and three invoices for individuals. You may also use overview and reporting systems for businesses, for $3.99 per user per month. You can sort and track by user, client, project, and task, and track by iPhone or desktop. (www.paymo.com).
 
Toggl
One-click tracking on your computer or iPhone with Toggl. Free for up to five users; plans scale up from there. You can also embed Toggl into your favorite Internet application, like iGoogle or Gmail. (www.toggl.com).
 
RescueTime
RescueTime doesn't just let you track your time; it helps you focus by blocking distracting sites (Facebook, anyone?). It also creates time tracking reports and graphs. RescueTime's Solo Lite is available for free but is limited on features; Solo Pro is available for $6-$9 per month, and the Team Edition is available for $15/month or less. (www.rescuetime.com).
 
Clock My Time
Clock My Time is a desktop widget for Yahoo or Vista. You simply download the widget to your desktop and use it to track your time. You can monitor your or your team's time from any Internet-enabled computer. $10 per user per year. (www.clockmytime.com).
 
iPhone apps
If you are on an iPhone, you have a number of low-cost apps for your own tracking time, including ClockedIn, Timely, and Easy TimeSheet. Be careful when shopping for an iPhone app, though, as some require a membership subscription to a more powerful desktop application.
 
When evaluating your time tracking options, consider:
  • How many users you'll need
  • What reports and charts you'll want to create
  • How many tasks you'll be tracking
  • If you need access from other computers
  • What kind of storage you'll need
  • If you want to generate invoices from your time sheets, and if so, how many per month you'll be creating
Once you select a time tracking program, be sure to USE it. Just like a budget, it won't do any good just sitting on your desktop. Put it to use to increase your productivity and start saving time… and money!
 
 
,

Online Project Management Tools for Entrepreneurs

 

As an online entrepreneur, you have tons of projects and ideas to keep track of, and hopefully, more than a few team members helping you get everything done. Making sure everyone is on the same page, that nothing is falling through the cracks, and that best practices are being documented for future use, are all part of business excellence.
 
You can invest as much – or as little – money as you would like in a solution that will work for you and your team. The key is to find a program that fits your budget, your requirements, and your future growth. There are dozens of project management programs available at every price point, but I don't want you to over-invest. So I've put together a list of three possible solutions, one free, and two at a monthly paid level. Let's take a look:
 
Free Option
  • Google Docs
This is part of Google's suite of business management tools. While it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles as far as communication, it provides a basic level of collaboration services, including document sharing, like spreadsheets, text-based documents, drawings, etc., as well as shared folders. It also has the ability to chat when team members are online and logged in at the same time.
 
As manager, you can create documents for each project and share with the applicable team members. Google Docs is a great, entry-level solution for small teams that mostly need file sharing and joint access to documents, and don't need a high level of interactivity or flow-chart planning. Cost: Free, but all members must have a Google account. Find out more at Docs.Google.com
 
Paid Options
  • Basecamp
This is the gold standard for online project management. With a variety of membership levels, there are several options for everyone from the independent freelancer to a ramped-up team of many. With tons of options, Basecamp provides you whiteboards for sharing brainstorming, messaging, milestones, and to-do lists for multiple users. The drawback? A commonly cited complaint is that there is a bit of a ramp-up before users feel comfortable with all the features and elements. Cost: $24 to $149 per month, unlimited users. Find out more at BaseCampHQ.com
  • Teambox
This is one of Basecamp's main competitors. It offers many of the same options, including file sharing, messaging, and assigning and managing tasks. One of the benefits is that it uses a familiar, Twitter-style interface for users, and you can be updated via RSS feed. The interface is a bit more intuitive than Basecamp. Cost: $12 to $299 per month, unlimited users. Find out more at Teambox.com)
 
When selecting your solution from these or other options, keep in mind that what works for you today may not work tomorrow and beyond. If you're hesitant to invest in a paid option right off the bat, you might want to start with a free or low-cost option so you can see what features and options you need, and then upgrade from there. Do remember that you're investing in a solution that will save you time, and therefore money in the long run, so any investment you make now will pay off over time.
,

How to Upload Photos to Flickr?

Flickr allows you to easily upload photos that you can share publicly or just with friends or family. All you need is a free Yahoo account and you can use this service.

 
Step 1: Go to flickr.com to sign up
 
Click the “Create Your Account” button as shown below.
 
 
 

 

You will be redirected to Yahoo to sign in with your Yahoo account. If you don’t have one, you’ll be able to create one there.
 
Assuming you have an account, enter your username, password and click “Sign In”.
 
 
Once you’re logged in, you’ll be asked to create a screen name. Enter a name of your choosing and click “CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT”.
 
 
Once you’re logged in, you have a few options. Let’s begin by personalizing your profile.
 
Step 2: Personalize Your Profile
 
 
Click “Personalize your profile” and you’ll see a few options. We’re going to start by changing the “buddy icon”. Just click “Browse” and choose the photo you want as your icon…aka avatar.
 
Click “UPLOAD” when you’re done.
 
Next you can “Choose your customr Flickr URL”. Enter a name that you’d like and is easy-to-remember, so your friends can find it.
 
 
Once you’ve clicked “PREVIEW”, review the following screen:
 
 
If you’re happy with it, click “OK, LOCK IT IN AND CONTINUE”. You’ll then automatically be taken to personalize your profile. You can add whatever information you’d like and skip whatever you’d like.
 
Click “NEXT” when you’re done.
 
 
You’ll then be taken to a screen where you can start uploading your photos.
 
Step 3: Upload Photos
 
Once your profile has been updated, you’ll see this screen. Click “Upload your first photos”.
 
 
You’ll then see a screen that shows the upload steps. Click “Choose photos and videos”.

 
Once you click that, you’ll be able to choose the photos from your hard drive. You can choose multiple photos by left clicking your mouse and holding down the “Ctrl” key at the same time. Click “Open” once you’ve selected your photo(s).
 
 
You’ll then see a screen that looks like the one below. You can choose to delete any files and choose your privacy settings. In this case, the setting is to allow anyone in the public to see the photos. Once you’ve chosen your settings, click “Upload Photos and Videos”.
 
 
Once the photos have loaded (it may take a while), you’ll see a link that says:
 
Click it if you want to add a description.
 
If you click it, on the next screen, you can add a description and tags for your photos to make them searchable. Click “SAVE” when you’re done.
 
 
That’s it. Then your photos have been added to your photostream and you can edit them anytime.