June 23rd, 2008 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Useful Personal Productivity Sites

There are a ton of personal productivity sites out there these days. Many aren’t useful as they don’t seamless integrate into my daily workflow. That is, the additional cost (additive + adjustment time) of using it is too high. I like productivity tools that fit easily into my life without minimal switching costs. Here are the latest sites that I’ve currently integrated:

Mint – Fantastic site that acts as simple financial glue. It allows you to create a single dashboard for all of your bank, savings, credit card and investment (private beta) accounts. The visualization is awesome; the UI is very clean and easy to use. My favorite feature on Mint is the credit card payment reminders. Much better than logging onto the individual site to see when it is due. Plus, Mint will give you a very good look into your spending over the last year or so. This is much better than Quicken which requires you to get special pins, online banking access costs, etc. All of which is very annoying. Mint just works.

Spinvox – Turns voicemail into email and text messages. I was introduced to SpinVox by the Alliance team at RIM a few years ago. This is back when Spinvox was in beta and didn’t have an online interface. You had to email them to change your account set-up. Well, $100 million dollars later Spinvox is doing a lot more. I still only use Spinvox for Voicemail to Text, which works very well and has improved quite a bit in the last year or so. There are other companies who do this: Jott and Simulscribe Phonetag.

Rememberthemilk (RTM) – Allows you to manage your task list from anywhere. RTM has a great integration with Gmail in Firefox. It adds a simple todo list box next to your inbox. Then it integrates with Jott and other products to update it via voice, twitter, IM, etc. It works very well. And, I can use it without changing my life much at all. My daily workflow — right now at least — revolves around Gmail. It also allows you to star an email in gmail to automatically create a to-do item.

Jott – Allows voice to text to almost anything. The Jott team has done an incredible job integrating with damn near everything. This service may eventually displace my SpinVox use, but for now I’m using it to integrate with RTM. I was using Reqall before to add items to my to-do list while out and about and didn’t want to type. But, it didn’t integrate well into my daily life – i.e., no add-on for gmail and firefox. Another one to look out for is Xpenser! This allows you to use Jott to keep track of business expenses; e.g., Lunch with Customer X for 54.14. It’ll add an entry to your Xpenser, which you can export or view via an RSS feed. Very nice.

Liquidplanner – Replaces project for those who hate MS Project and despise Project Server. Liquidplanner has been steadily adding to new features which have made it very competitive with traditional project management software products. So, if you’re trying to get a project set and resources aligned, then check out Liquidplanner.

Huddle – Collaboration site which makes virtual teams productive. Allows you to set goals, timelines, and share and write documents. I use to be a loyal BaseCamp user but the site hasn’t innovated in a while. And, I feel they’ve failed to add a lot of nice workflow value-adds (i.e., approvals, notifications, etc.). Plus, I don’t have to remember 37 logins for each project I am working on. And, it’s nice that you can white-label your project, but the different URLs get confusing. Huddle makes all of this simple. Simple enough for the non-technical to navigate it and use it simply. Google Sites the latest entrant into this space (on my radar at least) is very painful to use. And, it’s impossible for non-technical people to figure out. So, I’d stay away from it for a while longer.

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