Friday, February 8, 2013

Strategic Tools

If we're going to make the most of our lives online, it's not just going to happen. We need to be smart about it. Be strategic about how you manage your online life--your blog, your brand, your shop, whatever it is you do--with the right tools. Finding the right tools for you is a process. Here are some ideas to get your started.

These are the tools I rely on:

A legal pad and a good pen.

Don't forget about these old-fashioned tools. I adore my laptop, but the ideas seem to flow faster when I have an actual pen in my hand.

A few good plug-ins.

I’m a Wordpress girl, and I rely on a few good plugins to keep my blog humming along. I love Comment Reply Notification to foster conversation and community, Akismet for blocking spam, and Backup Buddy for my own peace of mind.

The right apps

A good app can keep you organized, capture inspiration, or hold you accountable. Find the ones you need to track your to-do list, moderate your blog comments, or track your goal progress, and learn how to use them.

The right lists.

What do you need to stay on top of? Keep a running list of post ideas, photos to stage, products to experiment with, projects that might be fun or profitable, collaborations to pursue, bloggers to chat with. Commit these lists to paper or digital memory.

A good brainstorming session.

I'm busy, so are you. I get that. But don't let the doing crowd out the dreaming. Set aside some regular time to sit and think--and make sure you're ready to capture your ideas.

A way to see the big picture.

I think best when I can see the big picture, so I made a bulletin board that holds my editorial calendar, my goals I'm working on, my most important lists, and other snippets of information and inspiration. This tool lets me see the big picture with a glance, which helps me to prioritize, stay organized, and be realistic about my schedule.

Whatever you need.

Strategic tools are highly variable: figure out what works for you and stick with it. What strategic tools do you rely on?

Anne Bogel loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy.

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