5+2 Structuring Tools I Use
I use a myriad of tools in my professional work. Some I explicitly use every day, some I implicitly constantly use (they work for me in the background), and some I use only occasionally. Every tool I use helps me not only accomplish a task, but also structure it, so that over time I get that task done faster, better and easier.
Here is an almost random selection of 5 tools I use very often. For each tool, I am providing a quick commentary of my use of the tool, and a link to the vendor's website, for more information (you can also click on the tool's logo image to get there). For full disclosure, these are affiliate links, so I may get some financial benefit if you decide to get that tool from the vendor. If you don't want me to gain from this, no problem: simply google the name of the tool and visit their website independently.
In addition to the 5 tools, I am also mentioning two additional resources that either I created or use constantly and intensely.
Here we go:
[TOOL #1] Structuring Information
I structure knowledge and information partly through mindmapping. Why? Because mindmaps allow me to see both "the forest and the trees" in one single glance, to drill down into details without losing sight of the whole. I use several mindmapping tools. However, when I create mindmaps for distribution to clients, customers or prospects, my choice is often NovaMind, a program created by a small Australian firm.
Why? Because NovaMind gives me the most sophisticated control over the layout of my mindmap. It deals extremely well with a universal problem most mindmapping software has: mindmaps get too large too quickly mainly due to white space between branches. If you've ever created a mindmap that has more than just a few branches and a few levels, you'll recognize this problem right away.
Like every software tool, NovaMind has both positives and negatives. For NovaMind, it is still a young program (version 5 is a complete remake) with a few rough edges (yet fairly stable). Yet its superb display layout advantages overshadow its drawbacks.
For more information and to get a trial version visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/NovaMind
[TOOL #2] Structuring Virtual Events
I produce a fair number of live virtual events (teleseminars, tele-webinars, etc.). Why? Because this is one of my favorite methods for both dialogging with my market as well as delivering content. I've produced over 55 of them, at the time of this writing. I use several platforms for running the live event. However, the one I've used most and with most success is InstantTeleseminar.
Why? Because I've found InstantTeleseminar to be highly stable, technically reliable and easy to use, especially when I play both producer and host roles. Its Web interface is straightforward, the sound quality (within the limitations of the phone network) is superb, both during the live event and in the recordings it produces. I love its backup recording facility, and I also love the flexibility to use it either with its own automatically generated participant interface (for both pre-, during and post- event incarnations) or within my own pages.
Like every platform out there, InstantTeleseminar has both positives and negatives. For InstanTeleseminar, it is the lack of webinar (screen sharing) capabilities (although it does support PowerPoint displays) and the current lack of video-casting capabilities. Yet its reliability and ease of use overshadow its drawbacks most of the time.
For more information and to get a trial account visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/InstantTeleseminar
[TOOL #3] Structuring Projects
I always work on multiple projects. What do I mean by projects? Some of them are external, meaning for clients or customers. Others are internal, such as my own marketing, promotional, product development and personal projects. Some of them involve just me, others involve additional people. I've used several tools in the past to manage my fairly extensive Master Task List. The one tool I've been using over the past few months with an increased level of satisfaction is BizPad.
Why? Because it is simple yet very flexible in accommodating multiple projects, generating daily task lists, and enabling me to standardize my own internal processes for repetitive projects into templates. I am even able to publish some of these templates as info products (stay tuned!).
Like every task management software out there, BizPad has both positives and negatives. For BizPad, this has mainly to do with its earliesh stage of development: there are still a few rough edges here and there, having mainly to do with the clarity of a couple of their concepts, as well as with their user interface. There are also a few under-developed facilities. However, its robustness, flexibility and simplicity more than overcome the current drawbacks. I use it daily, throughout the day, multiple times. It works like a charm!
For more information and to get a trial account visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/BizPad
[TOOL #4] Structuring Videos
Over the past few months I have produced several videos, some for training purposes and some for marketing and promotional purposes. Why? Because with much improved Internet connectivity for most professionals (my main audience), video has become the choice media, as it combines both visual and auditory communications, thus working for most people. Most of my videos so far have been screencasts. Most of them have been for my own business, and a couple for my clients. I use several tools to record, structure, edit, and produce videos. The one tool I've found quite powerful, in spite of its very low cost, is AVS Video Editor.
Why? Because of its well organized interface, its being part of a whole toolset for processing media (video, audio, etc.), its stability (I'm yet to see it crash even when dealing with very large clips), and its solid documentation (I am a beginner in this area, so I need all the help I can get).
Like every video editing tool out there, AVS Video Editor has both positives and negatives. For AVS, this is mainly in the details. Here and there, a feature is a bit obscure or not entirely intuitive. But overall and for my needs, it really works.
For more information and to get a trial version visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/AVSvideoEditor
[TOOL #5] Structuring Product Delivery
Since I started to create info products and deliver them to both paying and trial customers, I've used several methods to deliver them, ranging from very basic (a simple delivery web page with an obscure or not so obscure URL) to much more sophisticated (membership sites). I've used two such membership site facilities, and I must say that the choice was hard. So far, the winner has been WishListMember.
Why? Because of its simplicity and flexibility in supporting many delivery models (one time, drip, ongoing membership, and much more), as well as its solid documentation produced exclusively via video.
Like all other such membership site software, WishListMember has both positives and negatives. For WishListMember, this is again mainly in the details. Some of their documentation is incomplete once you get beyond the basics, and the integration with my shopping cart has only recently become more sophisticated. But again, the enthusiasm of its creators and the quality of the product definitely makes it a winner in this crowded marketplace.
For more information and to get your own copy visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/WishListMember
[Resource #1] Structuring Time & Space
A few months ago I became a Certified Productivity Coach through the International Association of Productivity Coaches, run by renowned productivity expert Dave Crenshaw, author of "The Myth of Multitasking" and "Invaluable." As part of the certification process, I learned his productivity principles and techniques, and started applying them in my own professional life. Then I started teaching them, and coaching the clients into adopting the same.
Why? Because the results in my own professional and personal life have been dramatic, and measurably so. I do insist to only teach and coach what I practice. I daily structure my time using these principles and techniques, which I implemented with my own existing tools. I also daily structure both my physical and my digital spaces using the same principles and techniques.
I incorporated many of them in my new Productivity Workshop, now available as a combination of home-study material (197 minutes of audio + Action Guide + mindmaps, of course) and live, interactive Q&A sessions.
For more information and to access it visit: http://ProductivityForLife.com/Workshop
[Resource #2] Structuring My Promotional Campaigns
I'll make this quick: I learned much of my skills in structuring, producing and carrying out teleseminar-centric campaigns from my teacher, mentor and good friend Alex Mandossian's Teleseminar Secrets tele-course and other related programs. In fact, because of the superb quality and extensive quantity of his material, I even mindmapped the entire material and created an info product, the Teleseminar Secrets SuperCharger. So here are actually two resource links:
For more information on Alex's Teleseminar Secrets, and to join the upcoming live interactions (only two weeks away at the time of this writing), visit: http://SergiuRecommends.com/TSS
For more information on my own "add-on" Teleseminar Secrets SuperCharger and to access your own copy visit: http://TheMindmappingGuy.com/TSSSuperCharger. Note: if you join Teleseminar Secrets through my affiliate link, you get the TSS SuperCharger for no additional cost!
So if you made it thus far in this reading, here is the question for you:
What are YOUR top 3 tools you use often and would recommend to me and others? Please share in the box below.