Here are three tools that I can’t do without (and a few more).

SaneBox is a maniacally simple email overload. I’ve been using it for a few months, and watching it save me 10-12 hours a week that I don’t have to spend wading through my inbox. The magic: it watches my contact list and social media networks, and figures out which emails really belong in my inbox and files the others as Newsletters, Bulk, Spam or simply “Later.” It seems to be 95+% accurate, and learns as I reallocate emails from one folder to another. (The one caution: sometimes emails you really care about but isn’t yet in your system can wind up in the SaneLater folder, so now sleepwalking allowed.)

Office AutoPilot has  become the backbone of our back end. OAP is an integrated marketing and customer service platform that integrates with WordPress and provides most of the magic for our web site and email campaigns, including automated multi-setup sequences and [reasonably] smart response to your online requests, so we can both reach you and serve you more quickly and efficiently than our small organization would otherwise be able to do. (We formerly used Constant Contact, which was very satisfactory for managing newsletters and mailing lists, but we wanted both the sophistication and the customer care that OAP provides.)

DropBox needs no introduction, providing simple filesharing so our teams can [mostly] avoid the dread version-control problems of emailing files back and forth, and work both online and offline. (Why DropBox rather than Google Drive (formerly Docs), or Evernote? I don’t know; I’m still exploring. What do you think?)

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Our core CRM system has been Daylite—a Mac-only product that has been the only exception to our long standing “OS-agnostic” software rule because it integrates calendar, project, contact, sales and email in a way that nothing else I’ve found has been able to do. (But times change and it may yield its privileged seat to other newer, webbier apps.)

One candidate: Trello, one of several implementations of Kanban-style control systems that provide the dual benefits of ready visibility across all your commitment plus ruthlessly limiting “work in progress” to the single thing that you’re really able to do at any one time. (See Personal Kanban for more on the general approach.)

And work those of you who wonder how I manage my social media activity: HootSuite.

Those are some of my mainstays. What are yours?

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