September 14, 2016
Favorite Unknown Online Resources
By Erin Barner
I am not a robot, which means I’m always working towards being more efficient. As such, I’m constantly on the lookout for tools that can make daily tasks a little easier or a little more enjoyable. While I tap a substantial list of resources to do just that, you’re probably using some of them already. So, today I bring you the short list of “off the beaten path” resources you might want to add to your toolkit.
Anyone who has spent time managing a content calendar knows that ensuring images meet all social platform requirements can be a real hassle–especially when creating multiple placements for each platform. By automatically sizing images to the appropriate platform specs, Landscape takes all the brainpower out of it, making it super easy to fill your content calendar with images. For all of you social media marketers, content creators and business owners out there, managing your social presence just got simpler.
Recommendation: Images that contain text can be trickier to crop and scale, and it can be challenging (if not impossible) to ensure the image includes all of the necessary copy. For best results, use large images that don’t contain text.
At an agency, you’re not always in charge of the music selection and our “Rihanna Fridays” may not be your jam. If you need some white noise to support your creative process, check out Defonic. This site lets you create your own melody by combining some everyday sounds like purring cats, gusting winds, and choppy fan blades. Defonic will provide a nice mental break as you compose a melody that feels right for you–whatever helps you focus, create or sleep.
Recommendation: If being awake is pertinent to that task you’re working on, I recommend avoiding the lightning bolt!
This has quickly become one of my most-used tools, both from my desktop and the iOS app. Feedly is a news aggregator that compiles articles from a variety of sources that can then be read, archived, and shared from one convenient RSS feed. Feedly makes it possible to keep up with the brands and sources you’re interested in, without flooding your inbox with subscription emails. Hello, efficiency!
After sources are followed, they can be organized into collections, which can be viewed as individual feeds or combined with other collections as a master feed. Icons on the articles give an indication of its popularity, allowing you to quickly see just how relevant an article is. See something worth saving? Keep articles accessible by creating a Knowledge Board (similar to a Pinterest board), where they can live for safe-keeping or be exported to programs like Evernote. Read a post that you want to share with your entire team or perhaps a client? You can also email the articles directly from your feed. Feedly also offers a paid subscription that delivers even more ways to utilize all that informative content it brings to you.
Recommendation: We all absorb information differently, so be sure to customize your feed’s appearance in the display settings. Choose to view entire articles as one continuous scroll or preview titles only, whichever presentation style works best for you.
Full disclosure, I actually learned about this tool while writing this blog post, but I’m still going to sing its praises. With this nerdy little application, your computer display will automatically adjust light settings as you progress through the day. During daylight hours, your computer will resemble sunlight, making it easier to read. But, as night approaches your screen will slowly warm, reducing the amount of blue light it emits. Not only does this eliminate some of the blinding screen light that seems to assault your eyes in the evening, but minimizing the amount of blue light has been shown to help you unwind a little quicker later. For all you folks that save work for the evenings, let f.lux save your eyes and prevent some insomnia.
Recommendation: As the day progresses and your screen is at its warmer (i.e. redder) settings, make sure to disable f.lux when viewing things like design proofs and videos. The icon lives in your toolbar making it easy to disable for an hour, the day, or the app currently in use.
What tools do you use to add joy or ease to your day? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these tools or any others that you find necessary to your daily process.