Top Five Web Apps for Busy Entrepreneurs

I’m a bit of a nut for web apps. I spend my free time scouring the internet for cool new apps. My clients love this, because they’d rather kiss a jellyfish than spend one second of their limited time searching for great apps that will make them more efficient, more productive and just plain happier. I’d like to share my current top five favorites, if you’ll indulge me.
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Time Saver: Edit PDFs painlessly

I don’t know about you, but trying to edit PDFs used to make me crazy. Someone would email me a contract as a PDF. Then I would download it, open it, print it out, fill it out, scan it (with my phone), email it to myself and then send it back to the person. Your version might be a little better, but probably not by much. Some people have access to expensive software that lets them manipulate PDFs. Good for them.

For the rest of us, there is PDF Escape. This amazing little app allows you to add text and images to PDFs in a way that is very intuitive and (relatively) easy to learn. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ugly. But I’ve used dozens of programs and they’re all terrible. This is the first one I absolutely love, despite it’s minor flaws.

Here’s my new PDF process:

1. Download PDF

2. Upload to PDF Escape

3. Edit (tip: I have my signature saved as an image for digitally signing documents)

4. One-Click Download (awesome!)

5. Email to the sender

Okay, I’m not sure if that sounds easier or not, but it really is amazing. My last tip, though it pains me to do this to the developers, is this: don’t waste your time creating an account. It’s much faster to skip the login (they make you complete a captcha every time you log in) and just use the webapp unregistered. The only benefit I can see to registering and logging in is that you can save documents on their server. So if you’re into that, perfect. If you’re like me, and only want to edit and send, then save yourself the hassle.

Enjoy!

Best Time-Tracking Web Apps

Where does the time go? If you work from home, you’re all-too-familiar with that sinking feeling you get at 5pm (6pm, 7pm or 11pm) when you realize another day has gone by and you’re not totally sure what you’ve accomplished. Often, it’s not the obvious time wasters that suck your time, it’s those sneaky this-is-kind-of-productive activities that are the most sinister. After all, they aren’t unproductive, right?

If you want to take back your day and find out where the time goes, I’m going to give you three of my favorite web apps for tracking and managing your time.

 

Passive
RescueTime.com

This one is awesome because it’s totally hands-off. Once installed, RescueTime just hangs out in the background and tracks how much time you spend on different computer activities (and websites). There is a little bit of management on your end (you sometimes need to re-categorize activities), but for the most part, it’s “set-it-and-forget-it.” After a week, take a look at where the time has gone. I mean, facebook is great, but is it 20 hours a week great?

 

Active
SlimTimer.com

This sweet app is a skinny little timer you keep open all day to track how long each activity takes. It’s definitely more hands-on and the benefit here is that you have to consciously switch between activities, instead of just slipping into the blogworld vortex unawares. You can create your own categories so it’s very personalized. I recommend keeping it simple – sticking to, say, four categories. Maybe even the four quadrants from the self-development classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

 

Proactive
e.ggtimer.com

Once you have a good sense of where your time is going, you can take control of how you spend your time. This web app is simply a digital kitchen timer. The cool thing is that you can quickly set it by entering the amount of time after the url (for example, http://e.ggtimer.com/20min will take you straight to a 20 minute timer and starts the clock immediately). If you know that writing that blog article should take you 45-minutes of totally focused productivity, set the timer at e.ggtimer.com/45min and get crackin’!

These are my top picks. I hope you find them helpful as you take back your day. Remember that to make the most of your day, you need to sacrifice the good to focus on the great – those super-effective tasks that make you money and grow your business. Please share your favorites and how else you keep the day from slipping away.