How To Deal With An Overload of Online Tools

Technology can be a great accelerator of productivity, but it can also hinder it.

With so many tools available, how do you decide which ones to use? How do you keep up with all the information overload of online tools?

For Millennials, this is actually kind of normal.

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All of today’s (well-created) apps, usually have an Open API so they can easily communicate with others.

1. Find tools that automate or aggregate all others

Therefore, the way I see it is that you simply need to choose a core app that aggregates all functions of the other apps seamlessly.

That, or just map out which app serves which core functions in your business. Here’s an example of my own:

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For example, Hootsuite or Buffer can schedule/post messages from one place onto multiple platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Or a single image from Instagram can be posted automatically to Twitter/FB.

Services like IFTT or Zapier are also great ways of aggregating repetitive functions from one place, even if you’re signed up to a gazillion services (like I am, because I love testing and experimenting with the latest tools).

2. Spring clean your suite of tools

The next thing to do is make sure you do a Spring Cleaning on your tools very couple months, obviously to keep yourself sane.

I typically keep a spreadsheet with all my username and passwords, thus informing me of exactly how many things I’m registered to.

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3. Get clear on what’s most important

This perhaps should’ve been placed as number one. Tools are only useful if you know what you’re using the tools for. It’s certainly easy to get enamoured by the shiniest new things, but know that many large corporations of today are “efficient” while still using old or antiquated tools.

Yes, these tools could make things faster or even more efficient, but knowing how to communicate is the most important thing. And the same thing applies to the way tools communicate with one another. But without purpose or clarity, tools will only distract you from what’s important.

So, when asking how to deal with tool overwhelm, ask yourself, “Why do I have so many tools in the first place? What activities are really the most important for me to be doing?”

Once you can answer those questions, you can start getting rid of, or delegating, functions that really don’t matter that much.

Also, once you’ve found a tool that works, stick with it and maximise its abilities. Stay with it for at least a month (preferably 3), before moving on to the next thing.

Although it’s fun to try new tools (I’m certainly guilty of this), a tool will only be as good as its wielder. And when you work with more people than just yourself, being wise with your choice of tools will be imperative.

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