90+ Tech Tools to Help Manage Your Life

Two weeks ago, I shared 10 must-have tech tools I can't live without  -- then asked for your best tips, and man did you deliver! I'm excited to share the full slew of suggestions, with a few more of my own that I snuck in below. But first . . .

Contest Winners

Huge congrats to Jennifer (baxlala) who won the HP Laptop, and to Chelsey, Ellen and Cassie who each won copies of Julie's book! Enormous thanks to all of you who left comments for the thoughtful contributions. On that note and without further ado . . .

90+ Tech Tools to Help Manage Your Life

Tracking To Do's and Getting Things Done

  • Tania - ToDoist "such a clean and simple website (and a browser app too!) where you can input any kinds of tasks you have and their deadline, and then you can check them off whenever you are done." Katie Smith says " I love that you can have categories and sub- categories. Perfect tool to handle work projects, personal lists, and even 'one day' items."
  • Tmoobc - Astrid - "I use it to set reminders for pretty much everything."
  • Clear for iPhone - "the future of to-do lists" - described as having a beautiful interface with simple swiping (though I don't actually have an iPhone)
  • Amanda Leighty - Cheddar - "great list making app."
  • RachaelGKing - Wunderlist "is integral to my organization process. It syncs on desktop, mobile and iPad, and you can make as many lists as you want and mark things off when they're done."
  • Don Harper - Taskwarrior "to handle my scheduling for the day and the tasks."
  • Jamie C - Excel Pivot Tables " I can cram so much information into lists, tables, and charts- and I love being able to tweak it all so that it looks nice too!"

"Smart Notebook" Apps

  • Blake - WorkFlowy "has changed my life. I have always been a 'list guy' and it make lists for everything. I just leave workflowy open all day and jot down notes and task to do. It really has helped me keep all my ideas in one place. I love it! Rebecca seconds that" EllenQ says "It's clear, intuitive, and most similar to the pen and paper method I was using, but with all of the advantages of digital. I'm using it in conjunction with the Pomodoro technique."
  • CamMi suggests - Evernote: "I have it sync with my social network, RSS reader, email...i can save important notes anytime. It is the source for my twitter feed." Rachael uses it for "keeping track of goals, recipes, to do lists, and fun quotes!" Jennbizzle says she can "easily sync it between all my devices!" Hayley loves Evernote "especially for taking photos of written notes and scrawls and then filing them away to reduce clutter in my purse (and to make sure I can find them again!" Tom "definitely my go-to app for remembering everything!" Abby Butts says " It has everything I need for work, family, and home. I love that I can drop it into Evernote and find it when I need it later."
  • Lindsay Hunt also suggests the Clearly Chrome extension that "integrates with Evernote and makes it easy to save websites or blog posts you come across to Evernote."
  • Chelsey - OneNote is "an awesome tool for keeping research and all of my random ideas organized. It's available as an IPhone app and you can log into your account online so you can access your "notebook" from any computer."
  • MiriamCrystal - Scrapbook for Mac "it's a clipboard tool that allows you to store hundreds of snippets at once. Takes copying and pasting to a whole new level."
  • Raghav - Springpad - from their website: "save anything to Springpad from anywhere."
  • Renee - ColorNote "Every time I have an idea for a blog, I don't need to search for pen or paper and no worries about the only copy being on your phone since it syncs to your Google. So even if you change phones, you still have your lists."


  • TripIt - I don't know how I left this off my last list! Essential travel app for managing upcoming trips all in one place. If you use gmail, it will automatically pull hotel and flight itineraries from your inbox into TripIt. Also tracks your travel stats -- so far this year I'm up to 14 trips across 8 countries, 27 cities and 62,000 miles. Crazy!
  • HotelTonight - an awesome up-and-comer app that The Man and I tested while traveling (thanks to Chelsea Rustrum for the suggestion!) -- it allows you to check unused hotel inventory from 12pm on the day you want to stay. Super fun way for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants'ers to get an awesome hotel reservation at bargain prices in just a few easy clicks - from the convenience of your phone.
  • Jennifer Howard - Saving Grace: a "packing app so I know I'm not missing anything when I travel (can you tell I like to track things and make lists?)."

Communication and Calendar Tools

  • From Inc. Magazine's "Say Goodbye to Your Junk Email" article - - works with gmail, shows a list of ALL lists you are subscribed to and allows you to mass unsubscribe (yay!) and SaneBox - prioritizes email (sounds a lot like gmail's priority inbox).
  • Lezbehonest - The Email Game " it helps me get back to a manageable inbox."
  • Captio - an app that enables you to "email yourself with one quick tap."
  • Matthew - Gmail Labs Undo Send"One helpful setting in Gmail: under settings you can turn on the option to "undo send" and then set a time frame. Those first 20 seconds after I hit send I normally think of one final question, or remember that I wanted to attach 2 files and not just the one. So I can just hit "undo" and fix my omission."
  • Emily Outlook "I use categories obsessively so I can sort contacts by sales rep, services purchased, follow up schedule. I use the journals to track different types of interactions over time. And of course the follow up feature is great. I can sort my e-mail every which way but Sunday, and use message rules so I don't even have to manually do most of the sorting/flagging."
  • suki Rapportive  ...shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox "Super useful." James Ryan Moreau says "Rapportive is my favorite of all the plugins that I use. I love being able to connect an email address with a face and social media account."
  • Google Voice - being a total Google fangirl, I'm slapping myself on the wrist for not mentioning this last time too. If you switch over completely to a Google Voice phone number you can use all kinds of crazy features -- but if you're attached to your digits, have no fear -- it can still transcribe voicemails (often with great inaccurate hilarity) and send them to your email inbox.
  • Brittany - Google Calendar "I love that it emails you reminders when an appointment is coming up. It works especially for me when I have writing deadlines." Carl says both Google Calendar & Google Docs "have become a huge part of keeping me organized and on track. These tools help me to plan, organize, connect with people, and so much more. I would definitely miss them if they were gone.
  • Joy - iCal... keep track of your schedules, appointments, birthdays, reminders, and other important events.
  • Pam - Doodle "for organizing people's schedules that I can't see (via scheduling on Outlook, etc). It makes it much easier to find a common time everyone can do something instead of e-mail back and forth on potential dates."
  • Lauren Rutlin - gChat "while it has the reputation of being a distraction for socializing during work, it has been a lifesaver for me in terms of collaborations. I would never be able to touch base with those in other time zones and with wildly varied schedules without it. Nothing is as easy as checking in for a few minutes when you're already checking your email."

Photos, Docs & Videos

  • Ali - Dropbox - "Don't know what I'd do without Dropbox! And Carl says "Rather than have to search through email attachments and files on my computer, it's so simple to just upload and download them from organized folders on Dropbox." Stacy says "It's such a quick and easy way to share pretty much any kind of file between computers and other devices."
  • Rachel and Taylor - Picasa and Instagram for photo editing. Emmy suggests the Instagram App because "it allows me to take creative photos" and the Twitter App "I can keep everyone back home updated on how I am doing and what I am doing and vice versa."
  • Steph Diaz - Scrivener - "Best application to write long papers on and you can organize every section of the paper on it too!"
  • Emily Smith says Google Apps for Education "literally revolutionized my pre-k student assessment efficiency and productivity"

Keeping Online Reading Organized

  • AN - InstapaperTrezlen - iGoogle "organizes my RSSs, gmail, news and calendar in one place"
  • Seatn - Read Later ...allows you to mark a link to read later, and close the tab.
  • Pulse - great for tablet devices, organizes a variety of websites into a magazine-like format. I tend to prefer Google Reader for keeping up with blogs, but this is nice if you want to browse casually across a variety of subjects.
  • Melissa - Calibre - "An absolute MUST for anyone who uses an ereading device. It allows you to store all of your books in one place and easy-connect them to your device. I am a long-time ebook reader (since 2004), so the number of books to keep track of is just insane without Calibre. Couldn't live without it!"
  • Chitownchica - Pocket "I can clean out emails and read everything that needs reading when I have time to sit down."

Productivity Timers, Procrastination Busters and Break Encouragers

  • Briana - Pomodoro Technique ...a way to get the most out of time management. "I'd never accomplish anything without it!"
  • BellaRenee - - "I'm a huge fan of - it's a productivity timer based on the pomodoro technique. Basically, the idea is your brain works best in 25 minute intervals with five minute breaks, so it's a web-based timer for exactly that. After each 25 minute interval, you can jot down what you got done in that work period. It's amazing how productive you can be!"
  • Alex Marcy  - Hover Zoom extension: "It makes it feel less terrible when I am procrastinating on reddit and I don't have to actually click all of the links.
  • Connie Liao - Stay Focused extension "to remain on task."
  • Tamara Epps - Workrave: "I spend a lot of my day on my computer and it reminds me to take breaks from staring at the screen."

Managing Projects

  • Cat Trello - from their website: "Your entire project in a single glance." Sean says "if you're managing a small team of people I've found Trello to be the absolute best free tool for collaboration."
  • Jana - Asana and SmartSheet "Love those!" ...task management for teams. Manage projects and collaborate online. Amanda Leighty says "Asana is more of task-management system.
  • Jennie Blake (great name!) suggests FreeMind: "A mind-mapping program. I've just switched it up and downloaded "Freeplane" as well to compare the two--but the ability to draw connections between projects, goals, and events really keeps me focused!"
  • Don Harper - GitHub... ideal for the collaborative development of software.
  • Sean - Trello - "If you're managing a small team of people I've found Trello to be the absolute best free tool for collaboration. I actually found it to be even more useful than other paid solutions like Basecamp." Meghan L. is looking forward to their related project, "Super excited for the app to come out. It's a way to track your goals and dreams."

Business Owners & Webmasters

  • Much like OutrightFreshBooks helps small business-owners "invoice, track time and manage expenses on the go."
  • Derek - Unbounce, unbounce, unbounce. "Invaluable landing page tool to mock up pages/mini sites in minutes instead of days and without any coding."
  • Adam suggests Squarespace for creating gorgeous websites in a flash, as well as Behance's awesome WYSIWYG portfolio builder, ProSite. (SeedProd's Coming Soon Pro is a great WordPress Plug-in if you just need to quickly prop something up; includes MailChimp and AWeber integration to capture email addresses).

Social Networking

  • MarkMario - TweetLanes "one of the best android twitter apps."
  • Elan - Buffer "For personal Tweeting and FBing, it is a lifesaver."...schedules updates across multiple platforms, automatically paces updates throughout the day. Check-out the related app, Timely, which also allows you to schedule tweets.
  • Sean - Smartr "import contacts from Facebook, Google +, etc. to your phone."
  • Kristen - IFTTT "automate some of my Internet-related processes. Bonus: it almost feels like I'm learning basic programming when I create a 'recipe'!"
  • Becky L - Hootsuite "It's so advantageous to be able to schedule twitter and Facebook when I'm out of the office, but when people are on their social media the most." Stephanie Halligan says "It's allowed me to manage my social media outputs from afar and helps keep me from browsing and stalking folks on Facebook and Twitter for hours. Type your message, schedule to all your accounts, close window. Simple." Jess Green says "I'm especially loving their new Hootlet browser extension, it makes it so easy to share articles I come across!"

Money Management

  • Diana Clark - Slice... the simplest ways to track your orders, save money and manage your purchase receipts. "An app that's fantastic if you do a lot of online shopping."
  • Chelsey - Mint "great for seeing how much money I really spend on coffee :)" Jess says "instead of logging into several accounts, I can just log into one! Also it sends me reminders on when bills are due." Alternatively, Doube A says Quicken "helps me keep my finances in check!"
  • Becky L  also recommends CreditKarma - "For personal use I LOVE and I've been going through a makeover of my finances and these two sites are irreplaceable. I also love a good excel spreadsheet and I'm still one of those people who uses a paper planner."

Recipes and Grocery Lists

  • Jennifer Howard - Shopper "for staying on top of my shopping lists and always having them when I need them."
  • SR - Yummly - "I also like to keep productive in the kitchen. It's tricky to cook for one and for that I like to use so I can find recipes based on the ingredients I have in the house. That ways, Im not overbuying groceries, and not wasting food/money. Productivity of another kind indeed!"
  • Brooke - My Recipe Box for iPad: "It's a great way to store all my recipes in one place instead of having the written on scrap paper."

Efficiency, Extensions and other Random-but-Cool Apps

  • Jana Quicksilver (for Mac) - from their site: "Perform common, every-day tasks rapidly and without thought."
  • Miriam - TextExpander "saves you from having to type the same thing over and over again. Just specify a keyboard shortcut."
  • SwiftKey3 - "Type faster and smarter" with a smart-phone typing assistant that learns about you the more you type.
  • Stefanie - Pin It (Google Chrome) "so easy to use, all I have to do is right click and hit the pin it button, and boom! it's on my Pinterest! It's awesome!"
  • liveintensely - Get Human - "For all of us busy people who just don't have the time to wait on the phone for customer support or work our way through the maze of support robots to get to a real person - is there. You simply pick the business you are trying to get in contact with, enter your phone number, and get human calls you when they've connected to a representative. (I got in contact with a real person at the LA DMV - true story)"
  • Jennifer  and Jeremy Orr swear by MapMyRun. Jeremy says, "I know it's not a productivity tool, but planning, scheduling, and mapping my runs keeps me productive, motivated, and on task in other areas of my life."

Password Managers

  • Rachel - RoboForm - password manager.
  • Jon - Keeper "stores all my passwords plus has cloud backup. Its a great piece of software if you are always forgetting passwords and account logins like me!"
  • JR Johnstone - LastPass: "I could not live without lastpass. It makes it so much easier for me to generate passwords and remember all of the different logins that I have."

. . . And Peace of Mind

  • Julie says Simply Being  is "a lovely meditation app; I find if I meditate a little, then I'm actually more productive."
  • Amanda Leighty - Bloom is "also an amazing app. It's more for personal goals and setting reminders for things that are important for you and a better life balance."
  • Wayk App - "a revolutionary new alarm clock" -- check out their site for the full list of features . . . everything from a "softer" wake-up to a daily agenda at your fingertips.

And we'll end on a great suggestion from Joyheart, who says "Best productivity tool ---> getting enough sleep." :)

Although list is pretty comprehensive . . . I know it will never be complete. If we missed any of your favorites, please share in the comments for future visitors to this post! 

10 Tech Tools I Can't Live Without + HP Laptop Giveaway!

Update: be sure to check-out the follow-up post to this one: 90+ Tech Tools to Help You Manage Your Life. We've officially entered the lull of summer...or at least in the blogosphere. Check out Jonathan Fields' list of 10 Things to Do When Your Audience Goes on Vacation (even if you're not a blogger) for some fun ways to pass the time :)

I just wrapped up a 6-day road trip from St. Louis to Southern CA -- it's a beautiful way to see the country and I'll be sharing a few more yoga pictures on the blog soon! Next up is a family vacation to Mexico for a little unplugged fun-in-the-sun before returning to my love, the big ol' apple.

Today I'm excited because I'm sharing my must-have tech tools (How I Stay Organized is still one of my all-time most popular posts) AND I get to give away a laptop to one of you as a thank you for being such an incredible community!

I was hesitant when HP first approached me since I try not to do anything too advertise-y on this blog, but after a little hemming and hawing I realized I would be silly not to say yes. I am grateful for the opportunity to get one of you set-up with a new laptop, and rather than just having a random "I want one!" list of comments, I'd love to start a conversation around tech and productivity tools that will be beneficial for all of us. I'm sharing some of my favorites to kick things off, and watch the video below for more details on how to enter!

10 Tech Tools I Can't Live Without

  1. Google Calendar - an absolute must for staying on top of your schedule. A few tips: for important events set an email reminder, for recurring events (like scheduling yoga classes) use a different color, and for sharing an event with others, check "Guests can: modify events" on the right-hand side of the edit window for that event. You can also share your entire calendar with others by editing the calendar settings.
  2. - "scheduling made easy" - eliminates email back and forth by allowing others to see available windows that you set in advance (automatically syncs with Google Calendar to block off busy times). Additional tip: meetings tend to spill into all available hours the same way emails do -- use Tungle to select 1-2 blocks of times for calls and stick to them unless there's a special exception. You can also use Google Calendar's appointment scheduling feature for this purpose.
  3. - simple online "week at a glance" to-do list -- great for mapping out a busy week and checking off tasks by day. You can also move tasks around from day-to-day, which is helpful. I use for more project-based task tracking.
  4. - a long-time favorite for tracking personal finances (the Weekly Summary emails and spending trend pie-charts are my favorite features). Bonus: check out the Life After College Roadmap poster we put together earlier this year - you can also buy a copy for a recent grad in your life.
  5. Outright - tracks business expenses by importing from all of your accounts (including PayPal and Google Wallet) just like Mint . . . and it's free!
  6. Evernote - awesome for syncing notes, ideas and links across all devices (tablet, phone, computer, etc). I like this better than Google docs for instant editing for shorter ideas/notes, then Google Docs for full development.
  7. Google Docs (now referred to as Drive) - a must-use for collaboration and all document creation as far as I'm concerned! I use Google Docs for absolutely everything -- ideas, brainstorming, project planning, etc. Sign-up for the Inside Scoop newsletter to get access to my full library of 25+ templates to help organize your life.
  8. Gmail's Priority Inbox feature - use this in conjunction with Gmail's superstars feature, with different stars denoting different types of email and priority. For example: I use a yellow star for important emails that I want to get to that day or week, exclamation emails to mark highly important, time sensitive or overdue for a reply, then I use the blue stars for emails that involve scheduling.
  9. Boomerang for Gmail - can delay send on outgoing emails or set emails to leave your inbox and come back at a future date. This feature is great for following-up with people, or getting a long-term email to do out of your way.
  10. Rapportive for Gmail - social spying at it's finest! Shows someone's latest updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to the righthand side of a message they've sent. Also helps you make sure you're connected with the people you want to be, and shows a photo of the person you are corresponding with (helpful if you've never met them in person).

The Dirt: About the HP Envy 4

For those of you who want to learn more about the goods before you throw your hat into the ring, here are some feature descriptions from the promotional materials:

The HP Envy 4 Ultrabook is thin and light, with up to 8.2 hours of battery life and a soft-touch base that makes it easy to grab and go.

  • Beats Audio™:Designed to deliver the best sounding, richest audio available on a PC with extra amplification possible through a built-in subwoofer.
  • HP TrueVision HD Webcam: Always look your best, even in low light.
  • Speaking of low light – the ENVY’s backlit keyboard means you can keep working and playing in dimly lit rooms or red-eye flights.

Unleash your creativity on a 500 GB hard drive that can hold 116,000 photos, 105,000 tracks or 210 HD movies. Tons of video memory let you experience incredible gaming and multimedia without slowing down. 

The HP ENVY Ultrabook™ is loaded with the ports, including HDMI , USB, RJ-45, and a headphone jack, encased in a sleek, .78 inches thin and under 4 lb design.

How to Enter

Tell us about one of your favorite productivity tools, apps or browser extensions in the comments by Friday, September 7. I will select a winner via and announce on the blog the following week, with a round-up of all your amazing tips!

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, and a fantastic Labor Day holiday for those of you in the states!