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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

4 Simple Tech Tools That Will Change the Way You Get Things Done

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Ever start a work week with so much to do and so many things to remember that your run-of-the-mill Monday turns into a disaster before you even make it to lunch?

Yeah, you’re not alone.

If you’re tired of repetitive tasks, lost passwords, browser chaos, and forgotten work, try these four tech tools—essentially productivity apps—to make your job quick and easy. All of the tools are simple to get started with, most are available for all kinds of devices, and some are even free to use.

Not only will you soon be on your way to much more enjoyable work weeks, but you’ll also start getting the right kind of attention. Sounds like a better way to start any day, doesn’t it?

1. Text Expansion

Everybody has them—those phrases and sentences (or even whole emails!) that you have to write over and over again. So many times that your wrists hurt just thinking about it.

Save your hands and your time by using text expansion software. The way this tool works is that you create short abbreviations in it. Then, any time you type those abbreviations later, they’re automatically turned into full text. For example, when you type your abbreviation “br,” it would turn into “Best regards,” or when you type “em,” it would turn into your email address.

Once you start using text expansion, you won’t be able to fathom how you lived without out it before. You’ll get back hours of your time and rid yourself of all those reputation-crushing typos.

Try TextExpander if you’re on a Mac and PhraseExpress or Breevy if you’re on a Windows PC. Or take a look at Gmail’s “Canned Responses” if you do most of your typing there.

2. Password Manager

You probably don’t need or want to hear about the security pitfalls of the internet or the importance of strong and unique passwords yet again. But, you’re only human, and humans remember “mypassword” a lot easier than a 20-digit mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. But—hacking elephant in the room—that flimsy password is almost sure to get at least one of your accounts compromised.

Instead of giving in to the bad guys (or all those sites that insist on passwords with symbols), you can rely on a password manager to keep you safe online.

Password managers are apps on which you can store either passwords you’ve created or ones generated by the app. Then, when you need to log in anywhere, you just enter your master password, and the password manager takes care of the rest. So, you can forget those dozens and dozens of passwords (or just that one easily guessable one) and let your password manager handle all your secure credentials for you.

Check out this review of top password manager picks for almost every platform. Prices range from free to just a couple dollars a month—not much for security and peace of mind.

3. Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are little apps that you can use with almost any browser to do all kinds of things on the internet. They can help you with small but important online tasks, like wrangling multiple tabs (admit it—you’ve got more than a few open at this very moment!), taking screenshots, copying text, printing documents, and even managing extensions themselves.

Two of my favorite extensions for staying organized are Humble New Tab Page, a customizable Chrome start page with a list of my favorite web pages and recently closed ones and Save to Pocket, which lets me save articles that I want to read later. For even more, check out “5 Chrome Extensions That Will Change the Way You Job Search” and “13 Chrome Apps You Won’t Believe You Survived Without.”

4. Task Manager

Speaking of staying organized, this last tool could be the one that makes the most difference to your working life. No matter how good you think you are at keeping track of all your tiny tasks, large projects, personal errands, and “someday-maybe” plans, something always slips through the cracks. And, if that something happens to be the report that your boss needs now, no amount of blaming lost Post-its or your faulty memory will save you.

But a task manager can! Task managers are basically digital to-do lists. Some are super basic, letting you just record tasks and maybe check them off when they’re done; others offer due dates with reminders, sharing, color-coded categories, natural language recognition, and much more.

Whatever task manager you choose, they can make you more productive with all the work you have to do and less stressed about trying to remember it all.

Some worth trying out are: karma-promoting up-and-comer Todoist, minimalist design stand-out, and popular clasic Wunderlist.

Stop stressing out at work, and start using these tools to manage it all like a boss. You’ve got this.