Our world has changed dramatically over the past 10 years.  If you aren’t increasing in your awareness and knowledge of technology, you will find yourself quickly out of touch.  The key is not becoming a technological guru, but in knowing one…or two.

I’m the guy always calling our network administrator complaining about something going haywire on my computer.  The printer always seems to break when I use it.  So it is a little ironic that I am writing a post on this topic.  I am writing on this only because I think the little steps I’ve made in this direction have yielded huge returns.

Over the past year, I’ve been intentional on getting some time with some of my good friends that spend a lot of time reading and learning about technology.  These guys get excited about the latest and greatest gizmos.  My strategy is just to absorb what they know.  They read, I listen.

Here are a few different programs or applications that have come in very handy.

1. Hootsuite – I wouldn’t use Twitter if this program didn’t exist.  Even as I type, I’m not sure what the draw would be.  Each week, someone will inevitably ask my how I tweet so much during the day.  I have a one-word response: Hootsuite.

Using this, I am able to break up the people I follow into lists, so I can better watch what is happening in their world.  But best of all, I am able to schedule tweets.  Meaning, if I come across a blog that I really like, I copy the link into a tweet, but might schedule it to go out later that day.  It is extremely helpful.  I typically spend about 30 minutes in the morning reading blogs, but I also schedule tweets at the same time to post throughout the day.

2. 1Password – Are you that person who uses the same password for everything? So if someone is able to hack into your Facebook account, they could also get into your bank account as well.  I used to be that person.  With 1Password, I have one main password to get into it, but then have different passwords for many different websites that I frequent.  It not only makes my passwords more secure, but it keeps me from making sticky notes to remind me what my different passwords are.

3. Noteshelf – Almost a year ago I got an ipad.  For months I have been considering getting rid of it, for too many reasons to explain.  This one application has totally turned my opinion of the ipad around.  It has finally solidified a good purpose for it.

Noteshelf allows me to take hand-written notes straight on my ipad.  I can export it to many different places.  This past week in church I took two pages of notes using it, and know exactly where they are if I want to review them later.  It is a game changer for me.

4. Nirvana – In an effort to organize my tasks for the different areas of my life, I have tried a few different programs.  For a while, I used Things.  Then I tried Nozbe.  I recently switched to Nirvana, and I’m glad I did.  If you are looking for a good, free, task management system, I’d recommend this one.

5. Google Reader – There is much to glean from good blogs.  However, it seems that to find some good nuggets to chew on, you need to skim through quite a few posts.  If you haven’t discovered Google Reader yet, get acquainted with it.  It makes blog reading so much easier.

6. Grooveshark – For those that like to listen to music while you work, Grooveshark will become a favorite.  I got tired of hearing the interrupting commercials on Pandora.  A few months ago, someone told me about this.  I use it almost daily.

7. Evernote – I think it just needs to be said.  If you haven’t found Evernote yet, you are missing out.  There are too many capabilities of this application to write about.  I use it daily, but still don’t scratch the surface of what it is capable of.  Try it.  You’ll wish you discovered it months ago.

8. Dropbox – We have a home computer we use quite often, but I also use my laptop from work.  Dropbox allowed me to access and update files from either place, including my ipad or iphone.  I am so using to storing “in the cloud.”  I can’t imagine going back to the way it used to be.

Thanks, Cody and Chad.  As you can see, I listened and applied what you taught.

Are there any technological finds you have made that you think has increased your effectiveness?

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