A few good links

I run into so many great resources each week, so it would be a shame not to share some of them with you. Here I I run into so many great resources each week, so it would be a shame not to share some of them with you. Here are a few links I thought you'd find interesting.

Workflow Field Guide: Last week one of the apps I recommended was Workflow. If you want to learn more, David Sparks (aka MacSparky) has a great video guide. David does a series of field guides. They're normally iBooks, but he has now done 2 video guides. The first one was for OmniFocus (another app I recommended) and then this one for Workflow. I bought the OmniFocus one too but haven't watched it yet. I'm sure I'll be recommending it too, but the Workflow guide is really helpful if you want to get started. It's a bit of an intimidating app when you first open it up, and I think David does a great job of stepping you through some basic and then more advanced use cases.

TaxTips.ca: I'm sure I've mentioned this one before, but this is a great site when you need information about Canadian tax returns. The CRA's site is actually quite a good resource too, but I find this one much easier to navigate. If you really want to stay on top of the latest news you can subscribe to the blog too. It posts tax related updated regularly, which is especially handy this time of the year.

Earth Class Mail: Here's a great service for my US readers. Earth Class Mail is something I really wish we had in Canada. You sign up for ECM, fill out some forms, and get all of your physical mail forwarded to them. When you login to your dashboard, you will see all of the mail that arrived. From there you can have them open and scan the mail, forward it somewhere else, or shred/recycle the junk mail. My favourite part for small businesses? You can setup your bank account, and if any of the mail contains a cheque (sorry...check), it's automatically forwarded and deposited into your bank account. Yes, I know...this is probably setting off 101 security warnings in your head, and that's understandable. All I know is that one of my clients has been using it for the better part of a year and it has been incredible. You can set it to automatically open and scan new mail, so checks will show up and deposit to the bank, even if you're away. For anyone who has ever tried to make a business deposit on a Friday...that's a lot of time saved each month.

Hopefully you'll find these as useful as I have. If you try these out and want to share your thoughts, let me know by email or in the comments.

My 5 Favourite iOS Productivity Apps

For better or worse I can run my business from almost anywhere. Ideally I’m doing this from my desk with a proper keyboard and a 27" screen, but that’s not how real life plays out. A lot of times, I need to get work done while I’m out running errands or waiting in a doctor’s office. In those cases, I have to make the most of what’s available to me.

I’m very guilty of trying out the latest and greatest apps. My home screen is constantly changing as I try to find the “perfect” setup. Despite all the chaos, there are a few that really stand out as favourites. In no particular order, here are 5 iOS apps that help me stay productive while I’m away from my office.

Drafts 4: This is where most of the text I create begins. Think of Drafts like a super powered scratch pad. Text can be sent out to apps like Twitter or Facebook, or appended to a running list in Dropbox or Evernote.

Workflow: Workflow brings automation to iOS with a very easy to learn interface. The workflows you create (download a file from mobile Safari, shorten URL, cross post to multiple sites, etc.) can be saved to the Home Screen, so they become these great single-use apps that would normally take several steps.

Dispatch: When I just need to scan email and reply to one or two messages, the default mail app is great. If I really want to get a lot done though, I use Dispatch. Dispatch adds a lot of extra options to processing email. I can send emails directly to OmniFocus, turn them into PDF’s, or unsubscribe to newsletters.

OmniFocus 2 for iPad: If you need an app to keep a grocery list, or track one or two projects, OmniFocus is overkill. It’s pricey, it’s has a lot of features to learn, but if you manage a lot of clients and want to use a powerful task management app, I think this is the best one out there.

1Password: This is the easiest one to justify. If you want to be safe online, you can’t use the same password for each site. Instead of trying to remember them all, or writing them down, using a password manager is an amazing way to keep yourself safe. You remember 1 password (see what they did there?) and let 1Password create complex passwords for each of your sites. Having the mobile app means I can safely login to all my sites on the go.

Honourable mention: Mobile banking

This isn’t one specific app so it doesn’t officially make the list, but it’s important enough to mention none the less. I think it’s safe to say that the various bank apps I use each day make the top 5 most used apps on my phone. I am constantly checking balances, making transfers, paying bills, and verifying deposits. I’m pretty sure I do more banking on my phone than anywhere else, and that ability has been a huge boost to my productivity.