I've gotten a few questions recently about my "must have" tools for personal productivity, so here are a few (with potentially more to follow, if folks are interested):
Roboform AI - This is an add-in program that securely stores your personal information and fills out web forms, passwords, and other web-centric information for you.
- It has a toolbar that shows up in IE and Firefox and can track multiple profiles (home, business, etc.) for both address information and payment information. It can even generate random, secure passwords for web sites -- and track them for you. Pretty cool stuff.
- Note: I resisted using something like this for a really long time, and decided to take the plunge about 6 months ago. Now, I have noticed that it saves me a ton of time.
- They have a long trial period - worth a try.
Anagram - This one makes it easy to add appointments, contacts, and other stuff into Outlook (it also supports Palm, and Salesforce.com).
- Pretty simple - highlight the text, hit Ctrl-C twice, and it automagically figures out how to put it into Outlook in the right form. It's pretty smart.
- A very generous 45-day trial period.
- To use: copy just like you always do, but when you paste you hit the <Windows key>+V instead of <Ctrl>+V and it strips out all the special characters. This is a good shortcut to having to go to the edit menu in Windows apps to select "Paste Special..." from the menu.
- It's free!
Sharpreader - This is an RSS feeed reader / aggregator that I find very easy to use. I have a couple dozen blogs I follow on a regular basis, and use Sharpreader to bring them together. It will grab them automatically and I can then read them off-line (on planes or whatever). It can be scheduled to poll and retrieve my subscribed sittes on a scheduled basis, which I love. I have it running in my Startup group in Windows.
- It's free!
MindManager - I never used to engage other people to help me solve problems. MindManager helped change that.
- This is such a great tool for creating mind maps, facilitating brainstorming, and bringing people up to speed very quickly on 'where my head is at' on issues.
- I've found that using diagrams and maps to discuss issues really makes it easy to keep debates focused on the issue - and it doesn't become personal.
- Again, a decent trial period. And the sales folks are nice (my sales person was Laryssa, who was great to work with). I ended up buying MindManager X5 Pro.
Just so you know, I have no affiliation with any of these products other than being a happy customer.
Others might see me write about in the future: