5 Resources for the Busy Creative

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Balancing school, my creative hobbies, and my collection of small businesses would be nearly impossible without a handful of tools to help me keep my thoughts and ideas together, be more productive, manage my time, and keep track of… just about everything in my life. I can’t fathom what life was like for busy individuals before technology and the internet. I would be doing a serious disservice to this blog if I didn’t share the very tools that keep me sane, so I compiled a list of some of the best resources for creatives, especially those who are trying to make the most of their 24 hours. Some of these tools could apply to any individual, “creative” or not.

1. Pocket

Ever stumble on something interesting online that you simply want to read later? Rather than clogging your browser full of bookmarks that are hard to organize, let me introduce you to the best friend to my cluttered brain. Pocket lets you save anything, anywhere, to your personal “pocket” which you can access from any of your devices. Example from today: I stumbled upon a New York Times article this morning that I wouldn’t have time to read before I headed to the gym, so I saved it to Pocket in as few steps as a right-click on the link and read it from my phone later in the evening while I was waiting on a latte. It’s that simple, yet also jam-packed with awesome features and a nice interface. There are other read-later services, but in my opinion, Pocket still wins. You can also learn how to use Pocket like a pro.

pocket

2. OneNote / Evernote

If you’re not using at least one of these applications, you’re not doing productivity right. I love OneNote because it feels like a blank canvas for my creativity (using this with pen-enabled devices is honestly magic waiting to happen). I use OneNote to keep track of everything related to this blog, from branding to future blog posts. Additionally, I use it to maintain documentation and gather inspiration for client projects. Evernote is home to literally every single one of the notes I’ve taken through my 4 years of college. A little bit more fun, if you follow me on Twitter, you’d know that I love a great quote. I’ve kept track of every meaningful quote I’ve stumbled on (whether online or in literature) on an infinite Evernote document. Both of these tools make note taking easy, organized, and accessible. The basic point is the ability to bring your ideas, creativity, thoughts, and notes to one digital space. These days, I use OneNote tons more than Evernote because it’s more like a notebook and is great for brainstorming. Evernote has proven to be great for organization, storage, and basically spectacular information management.

3. Intuitive Color Picker

My fellow creatives that work with color palettes will love this one! Stumped on a color scheme? Play around with this color picker for a couple of minutes and I’m sure you’ll find a winner. When you load the page, the entire screen fills up with one single color, as you move your mouse around it changes, and clicking when you see a color you like ‘saves’ it to the palette. You’re also conveniently provided with the hex values.

Color Picker
Still can’t come up with a palette you love? Check out pltts.me for great palettes created by others.

4. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the ultimate ‘get your life’ resource. There’s nothing I love more than the satisfaction of getting to check something off a to-do list. I’ve made it a practice to make a to-do list every day of things that need to get done during my day, keeping me accountable for how I manage my time. Wunderlist makes this super easy. It’s a cross-platform application that helps people “capture their ideas, things to do, and places to see”. It syncs with your phone, tablet, and all of that good stuff so your lists are always accessible. Other than my list of tasks, I keep track of travel destinations and movies I’ve been meaning to watch.

wunderlist

5. PlaceIt

This site is my secret treasure, you’ll thank me later. It’s probably one of the best resources I’ve encountered and a really easy tool that helps you create great product mockups in a few clicks.

PlaceIt

There are few things I love than nifty tools that help me do life better, so this is simply part one of these ‘boost your productivity’ posts, because I have tons more to share (especially relating to managing finances, becoming a super star student, being a more efficient small-business owner, etc). What are your favorite productivity resources?