Free Tools That (Almost) Get You in Two Places at Once

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: my one and only true enemy is time. And despite what physicists tell me about time warping, speeding up and slowing down, I'm not buying it. Time is definitely the one thing you never get back... it's limited and finite, at least in this lady's universe. So, the next best thing we can attempt is to be in two places at once.

Again, the physicists say this is doable, since matter acts as particles and waves, but I need more practical applications to split my time--I can't wait around for Schrodinger's cat!

If you're as obsessed with time as I am, here are 5 tools for your consideration to get you in two places at once...almost. Oh, and many of these tools are free or freemium. Ready?

Boomerang for Gmail/Chrome - I love, love LOVE this newer plug in for Gmail/Chrome! (No, I'm not talking about the Instagram version of Boomerang that lets you create gifs.) The Gmail/Chrome Boomerang is cool, in that it lets you schedule emails to be delivered into the future. (Yes, you can send them LATER, and ANY TIME YOU WANT!) So, want to remind someone about a meeting after the holidays, but don't want it lost in their inbox? EASY! Just schedule the email before you leave for the holidays to hit their inboxes AFTER everyone gets back. You can also schedule messages to be returned to you at a later date. Boom.*

*(BTW - if you go to the trouble of downloading Boomerang for Chrome, you may also want to grab honey - it's for coupon code hunting. A GREAT app during the holidays while shopping online! I also wish Google Chrome would get us a plug in to allow us to pin our favorite stuff around the 'net and tell us when it's on sale, but I haven't found THAT plug in...yet, anyway!)

Slack - When you just have too many emails for just one project - throw your peeps into a slack group. It's great I think for project-based smaller teams that want to keep all their documentation in one place (rather than in the cluttered inbox). It also has the ability to create smaller teams inside it and share documents, videos, photos, etc. Dig the smartphone app for it too. I've used this one in the classroom as well - here's my rave review of it earlier for class.

Tweetdeck/Hootsuite/Buffer - Shoutout to tools that help you schedule your social media posts in advance. All three of these do that similarly, but with small differences. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to schedule across accounts posts at different times, while Buffer "drips" your content out at optimal times. There's a buffer plug in for Twitter now too. And a Buffer Chrome plug in.

Let's say you're watching Harry Potter 4 for the 30th time on Sunday night just chilling - great! Grab your laptop and set up all your social media for the coming week with these tools - and bam. You're posting great social content at the optimal time for it automatically for the future...maybe even while you're working at the j-o-b later on that week! (See how you get to be in two places in once here? Brilliant!)

While you're at it - check out Tweet Jukebox.

You're welcome.

Google Forms/Surveymonkey - I love both of these survey tools, but for different reasons. I love Surveymonkey's analytics and summary analysis of surveys on the back end (charts graphs and sharing is pretty easy and visually pleasing), but I like that Google Forms is a little more flexible on the front end with different layouts of forms. Regardless, both of these tools are great for quizzes, assessments, surveys and call outs for participation in associations, events, meetings, etc. I've used both of these for sign ups at events, quizzes, and "keep us updated" forms. I even used Google Forms this fall for a mastermind sign up sheet - check it out here.

Skype - After podcasting this year with pharmacists, professionals in HIT and experts all over the world with Skype for the Pharmacy Podcast, I am experimenting with this for one of my new books. I'm interviewing people for a new project on Skype. I don't have to get on a plane, get in the car, or hop on a train to interview this professionals. They are only one Skype call away.

There are 5+ free (or nearly free) ways you can almost be in two places at once.

Take that, Schrodinger, and your cat too!

Erin Albert is president of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association Indiana chapter.

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