The Top 7 Business Tools That I Use Every Single Day

There are a TON (and I mean a ton) of free or nearly free apps out there to help you run your small business. But, are they all created equal? No. Here are the top 7 business tools that I use every single day and that make my life easy-peasy.

Last year, we wrote a blog about 11 Amazing Free Business Tools to Run Your Business the Easy Way. Quite a few of the below business tools are listed there, but some are new!

  1. Nutcache

LOVE this app! While it isn’t completely free, it’s well worth every penny spent.

Nutcache is:

Time Tracker + Invoice & Expense + Project Management

ALL-IN-ONE!

Nutcache Project Management Screenshot

Seriously, all-in-one. It’s pretty amazing and I use it all the time. I use it as a Customer Relationship Management system also, but it’s not quite as robust on that front as other options like Insightly.

  1. Grammarly

I can’t even explain how much of a life-saver Grammarly is as a business tool. For a writer, it is my saving grace and helps me maintain my sanity on a daily basis.

Grammarly is a web-based grammar, spelling, and basic sentence structure checker. I typically write all of my content in Google Docs and then paste it into Grammarly for review. This includes client content projects.

  1. Google Drive | Google Docs

There isn’t much that needs to be said about Google Drive & Google Docs. My business lives on the cloud within this web-based tool. Literally, lives there.

If you’re not utilizing the wonders of Google Drive as one of your daily business tools, you’re doing it wrong.

  1. Canva

I’ve written love letters to Canva before, and my feelings have not changed.

This web-based graphic design app is literally heaven on screen. I use it for everything from social media imagery to postcards and website graphics. Plus, they have a huge library of design tutorials to help you learn and get started!

Canva Tutorial Screenshot

I personally use the free version currently, but will be updating to the Canva For Work paid version very soon. Stay tuned for a blog detailing the difference between the two!

Interested in Canva? Read our blog: What Does Canva Mean to a Small Business.

  1. Pinterest

Primo inspiration, baby!

Pinterest is a GOLD MINE for all kinds of inspiration. I personally use it to stash content ideas and continued learning opportunities. Honestly, with such a deep well of content on Pinterest, you’ll be hard-pressed to actually consume everything that you pin. But, here’s to trying, right?!

Feel free to follow Ink.e Digital on Pinterest OR Follow me to share my inspiration.

  1. Pixabay

This website is an amazing partner for Canva. Although Canva offers a ton of really great free photos with their free app, sometimes you just need a more professional looking option.Pixabay Screenshot

Pixabay is a royalty free photography site that happens to offer some really high-quality stock photos. Although I’m a compulsive graphic asset hoarder, I still use Pixabay just about every single day for my own brand or for a client.

  1. Day Planner

Everyone has their own preferred method of organization. Me? I’m a COMPULSIVE list-maker. Seriously, I make lists of lists on paper, whiteboard and in my day planner.

Instead of using a disposable day planner, I use the M by Staples ARC system planner. It’s a scalable planner that offers a variety of different insertable pages and page dividers. They come in lots of pretty colors and have page refills and expander ring for just about everything.

The initial investment is a little on the higher end for a day planner, but after the first year, it’s only a few bucks to replace your pages.

Well, there you have it! These are my top 7 business tools that I use every single day to keep my business strong and healthy.

Do you have a really great tool that helps you run your business?

5 Ways to Make the Most of Working in a Cubicle

 

Working in an office or a cubicle is more stressful than people think, and it isn’t for everyone. We’ve put in our time on the cube farm, and it most definitely was not the right fit for us. But, there is hope!

We’ve put together our favorite 5 ways to make the most of your time working in a cubicle or stuffy office environment.

1. Treat It Like Your Little Slice of the Farm.

There’s something about making your office space like the home; it makes a difference in how you feel about going to work.

Do what you can to make your office special. Make it unique to you. Add photos of family and friends, bring in a plant to brighten up the space, etc.

Make your office cozy.
Image credit: deathtothestockphoto.com

2. Use the Environment As Your Inspiration.

If you’re in any branch of the.field, you can use your environment and co-workers as inspiration for your projects. Your co-workers could carry a wealth of information without even knowing it.

For example: If you’re a blogger, try using them as what to do/not to do topics. Or if you’re a designer, pay attention to some of the things that they hold dear or often do. They may hold a little insight into great design.

3. Take Breaks. Lots of Breaks.

We’re serious. Take tons of breaks. They don’t have to be long breaks, but you should take advantage of any breaks your employer provides to you. For instance, most employers allow two 15 minute breaks during an 8 hour work day.

Otherwise, a break can consist of getting up to grab a cup of coffee or taking a moment to get caught up on a new ebook or webinar.

4. Be Organized.

Organization can be key to maintaining a healthy balance at work.

There are several free ways to remain organized electronically, but keeping your desk clutter to a minimum is going to be your primary focus. Trust us, if your desk looks like a disaster zone, it spells stress for you and your co-workers. Plus, your boss probably won’t approve either, which is not something you should have to deal with.

5. Insist on Good Coffee.

We’re not kidding on this one. If you work in an office environment, having a decent source of caffeination is pretty much pivotal to your success. At least…it is in our world.

Insist on good coffee!

The simple fact is that people are less grouchy and easier to deal with when they’ve had coffee that taste good going down. It isn’t a necessity; it’s a treat. So, even if you’re not a coffee drinker, chances are good that your co-workers are and keeping them in high spirits will keep you there too.

So, in Conclusion…

Working in a cubicle is hard, but it’s only as hard as you make it. Put a little effort into making it a pleasant and productive experience and you’ll be fine.

The Glory of Gmail Labs: Undo Send, Reading Pane & More!

Whether you use Gmail for personal or business email, you’ve probably noticed that while it’s pretty awesome it is not quite as robust as it could be. Have you ever wished that your Gmail account offered the same options that Outlook does? We all want to preview an email or recall a sent message, right?

Well, please allow us to blow your mind with the glory of Gmail Labs! We’ve only just discovered this killer feature, and it is revolutionizing the way we handle email.

1. To find the Labs, just go to your gear widget in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail window.

From there click on Settings. This is the same area in which you would add Labels or additional email account imports.

Gmail Email Settings

2. The Gmail Labs tab is on the far right. Click through and be amazed at all the crazy options, but don’t overdo it.

If there’s a specific lab that you’re looking for, you can easily search for it by name.

Gmail Email Labs Settings and Navigation

3. When you find your preferred lab, simply click Enable and scroll back to the top to save your changes. All changes will automatically update once you save and click out of the Settings area.

Available Undo Send Lab

Some of the labs that we installed are:

Ink.e Digital Enabled Gmail Labs