Hey there inter-webs! I havn’t written an article for a few weeks due to a hectic schedule, however today I felt obligated to slang out a quick list of the top 5 tools I have come across as-of-late. To keep this post as short as possible, I’ll get right into what your here for, the top 5 list!
Coming in at number 5, TinyPNG is actually a tool that solved one of the more frustrating problems I’ve had for a while: optimizing image file sizes for the web. Just drag and drop a png image into the window and it will shrink the size without loosing image quality. In my best optimizations I’ve hacked myself in Photoshop, TinyPNG still outperforms by about 30% and saves a ton of time fiddling with fickle photoshop degradation settings. Works every time perfectly, and has reduced a huge headache I used to have when optimizing images for the web.
Stay focused is a plugin for Chrome that redflags distracting websites like facebook. Each day you are allowed 5-10 minutes of time on any given distracting website, and once that time is reached the website is blocked. It helps you realize the amount of time you waste, and brings you back to being a much more productive person. If you’re like me and get sucked into checking the facebook feed wayyy too much, this is an essential tool to keep your work-time productive. You can also add or remove sites from the list, and increase or decrease daily allotments of time if you need to. StayFocused is a great way to raise your own awareness of the time you waste on unproductive sites.
Rescue Time is another productivity encourager, but runs in the background and detects your productive vs. unproductive practices. It records this data into a stunningly helpful breakdown of your productivity trends on any given day, week, or month. It is an overall fantastic way to track where you could cut a bit of procrastination out of your lifestyle and be the most productive person you can be. Unlike StayFocused, RescueTime will not remind or prevent you from visiting distracting websites, but it will let you know how much time you are wasting on facebook, youtube, twitter, etc. and will give you an awesome breakdown of your productivity rating. Great app, I highly recommend it.
It is hard to describe the amazingness of Fluid because you really just have to use it to ‘get’ how powerful this application can be. It turns any website into an application. ANY website. The goal of Fluid is to take the increasing ‘application-esque’ functionality of websites, and bring them to your mac to operate exactly like a native app would. Wish you had a facebook app like the one on your smartphone? Just add Facebook.com to Fluid and it will build a facebook app for you in a matter of seconds. My top uses of Fluid are for Magic Seaweed (surf report), Surfline (surf report), Indie Shuffle (music), and the Hype Machine (music). It is seriously scary how well Fluid works to make a robust desktop application out of any website URL. If there is one thing you should try out from this top 5 list, it’s Fluid. It’s forever changed my life, seriously.
I first learned about Trello at the Startup School at Stanford University, after the speech by Fog Creek Software, Stack Overflow, & Trello founder Joel Spolsky. Trello is Spolsky’s latest venture that simplifies project management. It has become one of my most used tools for organizing my life. You can use it for something as simple as creating a grocery checklist, to managing a team of workers on a project. This is another difficult application to describe in words, and it’s best to just dive in and use it to understand the real power of Trello. This is certainly a web application that will inevitably transform the way projects are managed and it would only be a benefit for your life if you started using it sooner than later.
So there you go, 5 awesome tools I use almost every day that keep myself optimized and working at my fullest potential. If you have any cool tools that you use, let me know in the comments below!
Riley scribbled this article down on: December 4, 2012