Tools I Can’t Live Without: Round Deux

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After some time, I wanted to communicate some more tools of the trade that not only make my business life easy, but actually a downright pleasure. Again, I’ve experimented with all manner of productivity tools and other stuff, but these are a few that I have found are particularly useful, have a great concept, and do a damned good job. Without further ado:

Mint.com

If you haven’t heard of Mint then you have probably been living under a rock for the past few years. But if you have, Mint is a site that lets you view all of your financial information in one place. It’s exceptionally secure, so you give it access to your online financial accounts, and it tells you balances, recent transactions, has budgeting tools, savings goal calculators, and can send you emails when you exceed your budget for a given category. Sure, you can check your accounts individually, but having them all collected in one place is really handy. There’s also a mobile app, which makes me want to recommend it to you.

Fitocracy

While this isn’t strictly business, it helps you keep track of your workouts, and producing good ideas and good work requires you to be in the best of health. Fitocracy is a fairly new idea that has managed to gameify going to the gym. It is set up like a social networking site that lets you log workouts. Each different exercise has a point value. Said points accumulate, earning you levels, unlocking achievements, and generally getting you more attractive. Be sure to go regularly though, they deduct points if you haven’t worked out in a while.

Google Chrome

As of last month, Google Chrome was the web browser of choice for around 35% of the world. That’s not too bad by itself, but I like it for a different reason. As compared to Firefox, it is more stable. See, Firefox runs as an individual application, so if one of your tabs crashes you lose all of the other ones. Chrome, on the other hand, runs each tab as a separate task, meaning if one freezes then you can just close that one tab instead of the entire application. That little function has saved my butt numerous times and makes me a convert. It tends to be problematic on older, slower systems, but anything that is less than a couple years old will handle it, no problem. Plus, adding new functions is a lot easier—Firefox uses extensions which are somewhat cumbersome to install, while Google has the whole thing set up to install new features, like a to-do list/calender, without restarting and with the convenience of an international store with user ratings. Not too bad for free software.

That concludes another installment of software that I can’t live without. So far I haven’t had any problem with any of these—quite the opposite in fact. They help me stay productive and less frustrated, and I imagine you’ll get similar results.