Compiled and Edited By David S. Chang
SMART Time Management Resources from The Four Hour Work-Week written by Timothy Ferriss
- RescueTime – A free software productivity tracking tool. Just install it once, and it sits in the background measuring your productivity. Then, you can see exactly how many minutes you’ve spent on productive and unproductive apps at the RescueTime website.
- E.ggtimer – A convenient countdown timer. Use it when you want to give yourself a boost to get stuff done.
- Website Blocking Software – If you find yourself using some specific websites too much (Facebook, I’m looking at you!), consider installing website blocking software. You’ll need either Google Chrome or Firefox as your web browser. If you are using Chrome, install StayFocusd. With Firefox, use LeechBlock. These add-ons will let you specify time-wasting sites, set a maximum counter, and block the sites once you’ve used them for too long.
- Skype will allow you to route calls to online voicemail.
- Evernote – Evernote allows you to easily capture information from anywhere, using whatever device you have at hand. You can take photos, write notes, or record audio. It’s perfect for getting rid of your reliance on paper, and keeping everything stored in one place.
- Google Voice – Want to screen and avoid incoming calls? Google Voice will allow you to see who is calling before you pick up, send users to voicemail, and actually transcribe the voicemails so you don’t even have to listen!
- Doodle – a very impressive, free tool for quickly scheduling events. Create a poll in 30 seconds and forward a link to several people. Check back later to see which time is most popular/available.
- BookFresh – Let colleagues self-schedule time with you by setting available times based on your calendar’s available slots. Your colleagues can see what’s available, and choose.
- Siri or Google Voice Actions – Already built into your smart phone, use Siri (iPhone) or Google Voice Actions (Android) to quickly jot down reminders, set to-dos, or send quick emails without even unlocking your phone.
- CopyTalk – Dictate any message up to four minutes and the transcription will be emailed to you within hours. Excellent for brainstorming, and the accuracy is great!
- Freedom – Sometimes, the only way to be productive is to turn off your internet altogether. Freedom is an Apple app which will allow you to turn off your Internet, irrevocably, for a set period of time. Hit it once, and you’re free — you won’t be able to turn back on the Internet until the time has run out.
Virtual Assistant Resources
U.S. and Canada
North America and International
- Elance – Search “virtual assistants,” “personal assistants,” and “executive assistants.” Elance is a marketplace for assistants and workers. Each assistant has reviews, so you can see if your potential assistant is excellent or not. Other marketplaces to consider are Guru, or VWorker
Scheduling and Calendar Resources from The Four Hour Work-Week written by Timothy Ferriss
- BusyMac – I have two Gmail accounts: one private account for me and one for my assistant, where general e-mail is sent. I use BusyMac to synchronize her Google Calendar with iCal (Mac calendar) on my laptop.
- Google Calendar – It’s never been easier to sync calendars across multiple people. You can use Google Calendar to add your VA’s calendar to your own view, so you know exactly where you (and your assistant) need to be. Using Google Apps has allowed me to have assistants and employees create calendars within a single workspace, and share calendars easily with each other.
- Asana – Started by the co-founder of Facebook, Asana acts as a free task manager for teams. You can create to-dos, schedules, and metrics—and assign them to anyone on your team. Works seamlessly on your smartphone and computer.
- WebEx Office – Share your calendar online while masking personal appointments. Can be synchronized with Outlook, and also offers document sharing and other assistant- or team-friendly features. I suggest you compare this to synchronizing your Outlook with an assistant’s calendar.