I have a friend who is always first in line for the newest iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac Book. She refers to Apple Park (Apple’s headquarters) as the Mothership. She’s my go to when I have a question about these products.
I jokingly refer to my son as HayDay Service’s Director of IT. He helps me when my computer or software doesn’t behave like I want it to. He also selected the best laptop for me to purchase, recommended the best podcast equipment, and passed on his boxed lights used for his high school video production projects for all my trainings and important meetings. (These suckers put ring lights to shame!)
If you are not a tech genius, it’s nice to have a nerdy best friend to guide you – or 2 or 3!
But what if you don’t have someone to help in that department?
That’s when Beth Z, Your Nerdy Best Friend, comes to the rescue.
She was the keynote speaker at the 2023 GrantSummit hosted by the Grant Professionals Association, and Kimberly and I were fortunate to speak with her for the Fundraising HayDay podcast. You can listen to our entire interview HERE.
Beth loves all the tools and apps, does the research, and teaches you how to best use them. What I especially loved about our conversation was her confession that while she is always on the hunt for the latest and greatest, she’s learned that moving on to the next generation of tools too fast means you never make use of the ones you have.
Over the years I have experimented with different tools to make my work more efficient.
Here’s what I’ve experimented with and learned along the way.
(1) Try one tool at a time. If you try too many at once you will never really make use of any of them.
(2) If a tool or app gets the job done, you can stick with it. I have used the same time tracking tool since I started consulting back in 2016. I’m sure there are newer options, but it works, and I know it, so why change now?
(3) If tools have a free version or trial period, give it a whirl! If you love it, you can always pay or upgrade your level of usage. If you don’t like it, it didn’t cost you anything.
(4) If you find a tool that doesn’t have a free option, but it does what you need, it’s worth the money. Kimberly and I budget several tools each year to make our work more efficient and doable.
(5) Talk to your colleagues. Ask them what they use. Find out what they love about the product, and ask what they wish it did. This will help you narrow down your search for the right fit for your needs.
You didn’t ask me, but I’m happy to be a nerdy friend who shares her tools.
And please note, this is not an endorsement of any product, nor am I, Kimberly, or HayDay Services paid to plug these products. I’m just trying to help out a friend, should you need such assistance.
(1) For project management, we use the free version of Asana. I love that it emails me when deadlines are approaching and projects are completed. You can communicate with your collaborators within the platform and attach documents for review. For the two of us, it gets the job done brilliantly.
(2) For meetings and training webinars, we use Zoom. I think I’ve tried out every online meeting platform, and this one is my favorite. Because we sometimes do larger webinars, we have a paid version. But if you are just starting and need a virtual meeting place, the free version isn’t too shabby. I think it is user friendly, but the downside of the free version is you are limited in your meeting time if adding more than one person to your meeting.
(3) Because we post information on multiple social media platforms, we wanted a one stop shop for everything. For a year I did some sub-contracting work for a friend who needed assistance at her digital marketing company. I used the opportunity to learn about social media practices. (I’m still no expert, but I learned so much.) She used Sendible, so we do, too. The platform is user friendly, and readily affordable for the needs of HayDay Services, so there you go. What I don’t like is it’s very hard to tag someone in a LinkedIn post at the level we pay for, but for the price it is not a deal breaker for me.
(4) To track my time, I use the Toggl app. I still use the free version. It allows me to track my hours by client, project, and then any other distinguishing title I want to add. I can even break down the hours by client, month, project, and more. The paid version helps with creating invoices based on your hours worked, if you need it.
(5) To create images and videos for social media, blog posts, newsletters, and even grant applications, I use Canva. I started with the free version, and quickly upgraded to the paid version to have greater access to images, fonts, and more. Worth. Every. Penny. And so user friendly. In fact, we have a great tutorial video thanks to Erin Goodier, videographer extraordinaire, that gives you a crash course on editing videos in Canva. You can watch that HERE.
I hope that list is helpful to you. But when it comes to tools, apps, and other software to make work more efficient and manageable, that is just a drop in the bucket. Beth Z is the go-to on all the things Your Nerdy Best Friend can share with you. Be sure to listen to our interview with her today: FIND IT HERE.
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