useful tools I.

elephant_tool

There are a lot of arguments about what to use to create your presentation, but I think that's secondary. Of course I have my own opinion, and I'll talk about it later, but the most important thing to create a successful presentation is the preparation period. If you're not prepared, especially if you aren't used to giving presentations, it doesn't matter what you use. This period can be quite lengthy, but there are a few things that can help you make it less messy.

Here's a list about the tools that help me a lot: not just when I'm preparing to a presentation, but also in my daily life. 

Evernote – I think I don't really have to introduce Evernote to anyone. By today it's been grown into a "workspace" (as they identify themselves), that offers many options to you to organize your digital assets. Even though I had an Evernote account for a long time, I only started to use it more frequently about a year ago, when I decided I needed to go paperless. For someone who adores every kind of papers, pens and everything related, it's kind of a big deal to give up using them. And I was (and a little bit still am) that person. I wrote my first journal when I was fourteen, and after that I'd been collecting my thoughts in nice looking booklets for years. I love the smell of paper, and I love handwriting. But when it comes to "business", I couldn't find a good solution to get organized when I was writing everything in different calendars and exercise books. Maybe I didn't have enough self discipline. Maybe I'm simply not that kind of person. No matter what I tried, I always ended up with loads of paper everywhere around me without the ability to find what I was looking for (it turned out that my brain capacity was not endless, who knew). So I've decided to try getting rid of it all. And I've never looked back ever since. Evernote collects me everything I write down, everything I scan in, everything I want to read later and so on. They make it so easy, that it's not a question any more. Everything is searchable, and by everything I really mean everything. Even a scanned document, without the need of transforming it. I feel so much lighter since I don't have to remember every little thing in my life.

Scannable (by Evernote) – Scan documents with your phone. This is a brilliant app. Creates wonderful scans (after recognizing the document automatically), and makes the upload (I only upload to Evernote, but there are many other options too) so fluent I just want to scan everything since I started using it. I love it.

Evernote Web ClipperThis is a browser add-in (from Evernote, yes, I'm kind of an addict), that helps you save anything in Evernote from the web, in many formats. For example you can clip screenshots, simplified pages, whole pages (you can browse offline). You can add tags to everything and place them in the according notebook in Evernote right away.

Evernote Clearly (told you!) – Another fabulous add-in to Chrome that makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read. When I found this a long time ago, I was so happy I can't even put into words. Before that, if a messy article hurt my eyes, I tried to switch to unformatted page, copy the text to a notepad, and so on. Clearly frees you from distraction, makes reading the important content enjoyable and makes your working process at least three times more effective by removing the clutter. In addition: the result pleases your eyes. (You can even personalize it). 

So, after this clear confession I jump to my other personal favourite:

Wunderlist. Evernote was missing one crucial thing for a long time: reminders. It's built in by now, but for me it's far from perfect. I was looking for something more intuitive, and after a small research I found Wunderlist. The name doesn't lie: it's totally, magnificently wunderbar (I don't speak German, but come on, everyone knows this word, right?). It's a simple, extremely user friendly to-do list / reminder app, that works effortlessly; but in the meantime it has its deeper layers, where you can store more information and even discussions about the tasks. Gut gemacht! (One additional note: in the upcoming months it becomes a part of Microsoft, as it was announced in the beginning of June. I hope it doesn't mean anything bad, and the software remains as intuitive as it is now).  

This is pretty much it. There's no need to use endless number of apps to become more effective and organized. But of course everyone has to explore their own ways, because we're all different (no, I'm not!). And when you become more organized, you'll see that preparing to a presentation is less of a hassle. Then you can focus more on your design, even if you are not a "design person".

(Of course most of these tools have premium option, but the free versions also work fine. This is something I will write about in a later post).