Yes, I am back after a month-long hiatus! My March and early April calendars were filled with activities of all sorts, from planning and executing Ready, Set, Optimize to preparing for two interviews to presenting and promoting MError, our Digital Halo-Halo winning project to working for three clients to welcoming a new granddaughter! Whew!
I wish I can extend the hours of my clock to at least another 12 hours per day, but of course, that’s just wishful thinking.
Since I can’t do that, I had to search for virtual assistant tools that could make my life easier – and yours too!
My Top Ten List of Virtual Assistant Tools
They say a carpenter is only as good as the tools he uses. Similarly, we need virtual assistant tools to help us accomplish our tasks more efficiently.
Here are ten tools that I use. Try them!
1. World Time Buddy
As virtual assistants, World Time Buddy is one of the most important tools that we need. How else will you know the time of your interview in Philippine Time if the client tells you to be online at 8:00 GMT? No worries, you don’t have to compute anything. All you have to do is type in Philippines, then the country which time zone you want to find.
Here’s an example:
My client is from Chattanooga. Her time as of the moment is 6:30 pm (12 hours behind us). She’s already home, probably preparing for dinner, so I don’t disturb her. Unless, of course, she sends me a Skype message.
Of course, I love mind mapping tools! They make brainstorming a breeze. Among the mind mapping tools I have tried, I consider MindMeister the best so far. It’s fast and user-friendly. What I like most about it is that you don’t need to download it so you save precious computer memory space.
You can use it for FREE or go Personal which costs $5.99 per month billed annually.
Here’s a short video on how to use it:
You can use this for FREE or pay $15 for one year. With this tool, I can record anything that goes on my screen. I can choose to add computer sounds and narration. I can record my whole screen or just a part of it. It’s very user-friendly. I use this for recording all my tutorial videos, including the MindMeister tutorial above.
Here’s a hack if you need to convert a PowerPoint presentation to MP4. Let your presentation play then record it with Screen-Cast-o-Matic. No need to convert!
4. Pomodoro Timer
Ahh, yes! The popular time management tool, Pomodoro. How can I forget this one when it has helped me become the more productive person I am now? The one I use often is an online tomato timer: 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break, and when I’ve already worked 3 hours or so, it allows me a 20-minute break. Use that break wisely, though. Stand up, walk around or do some flexibility exercises.
5. Google Docs
If you are looking for a basic word processor to create, edit, access, and share documents, Google Docs is definitely the answer. All you need is a Google ID plus internet connection and you’re ready to go!
All documents are hosted online which gives you instant access to your documents from your computer, phone or tablet. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues in uploading files since Google Docs is compatible with the most commonly-used word processing formats like doc, docx, etc.
Documents can be edited by multiple users at the same time so you can get feedback in real time. It may lack a few features offered by Microsoft Office, but it does the job without spending a lot (or none at all).
You can get if for free for all it’s features with 15Gb of storage or you may upgrade for $1.99/month for 100Gb storage.
6. Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer is for the VA who wants to level up in Marketing and SEO. This will help you find the keywords that your target market is searching with just a few clicks. It’s simple and straightforward with over 95% accuracy. You can search up to two keywords per day for free. If you need more, you can take advantage of the one-month free trial but it becomes $150 per month after.
7. Social Media Image Maker
You know one issue I had when I was just starting out with Social Media Management? Remembering the right image size for each social media platform. I did hit-and-miss sizes in Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Picture Manager. Not anymore! Social Media Image Maker is a great tool for this purpose.
It is well designed and easy to use. It has multiple image templates for all of the social media platforms you will need. It also has basic photo editing features and lots of filters to choose from. And it’s FREE! No Registration needed at all!
8. Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the best cloud storage services available today. You can import documents directly from your email or desktop and share them with coworkers to combine information and organize projects, even if you’re working remotely, which is very important to a Virtual Assistant.
It is simple to use and integrates seamlessly with your other Google apps. You can just drag and drop your files into the web drive and your files will be automatically uploaded. You can also preview and save attachments directly from your Gmail and then share the link to your files to your colleagues.
Google offers 15gb of free storage to all its users. If you need more space, you can upgrade to 100gb storage for $2 per month.
Trello is a fun and highly visual task management tool that can help Virtual Assistants keep track with their projects. projects are represented by boards. Within each board, are cards where you enter your tasks. Each card contains lists which you can use to put all project details. It also has a drag-and-drop functionality and is fully customizable.
Did you know that based on research, sitting is the new smoking? This is why I try to be active while working and Flexbot.ai helps a lot with this. Think of it as your personal wellness coach. It is an Artificial Intelligence based wellness bot that gives you timely reminders to stretch, meditate, breathe properly, drink water and a lot more. Oh, and did I say I am the writer/editor for its blog? Check it here.
Add Flexbot.ai to Slack and you’ll get reminders like the ones below.
So, there you have it – TYG’s top ten tools. Try them out and let me know how it goes by writing in the comments box below.