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3 Everyday Work Tools I Wish I Started Using Sooner

Before joining Wharton’s Marketing and Communication team, I spent the last three years as the assistant director of publications and alumni magazine editor at a small private university. We had limited resources, a tight budget, and little time to experiment with new tools.

In just two months at Wharton, I’ve been introduced to quite an arsenal of apps, programs, and resources that could have saved time and improved productivity at little to no cost. Here are three free tools I now use every day that I wish I had started using sooner:

  1. HubSpot’s marketing blog gives me quick tips and inspiration I can use immediately  

When you’re in a time crunch trying to get content out, looking for new approaches to bring more readers in may feel like a luxury you can’t afford. Where do you even begin?

HubSpot’s Marketing Blog is a great place to start. Since subscribing to their daily roundup, I get an email every morning with three of their top posts. These brief, digestible articles are brimming with valuable tips I can implement easily and immediately to write more captivating content and work smarter.

Here are three of my recent favorites:

Bonus: If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of inbound marketing, check out HubSpot’s free inbound certification course.

  1. Slack lets me communicate quickly and easily with my whole team in one spot

You finally have a minute to follow up on that great story idea someone sent you last week, but sifting through your inbox to find all the details could take an hour or more. Sound familiar?

Slack keeps the whole conversation in one place so you don’t have to search through a hundred emails or burrow through a thread the length of War and Peace to get all the details. This messaging app literally gets all your team members on the same page and allows you to segment your conversations with public channels (similar to chat rooms), private channels, and direct messages.

You can use a channel to keep everyone in the loop about a particular project or topic, or you can limit the conversation to a few team members with a private channel. For quick follow-up with one team member, direct message is perfect.

It’s also easy to share files, including images, documents, and spreadsheets on Slack. Best of all, it cuts down on unnecessary meetings so you can make the most of face-to-face time with your team.

  1. Google Docs allows me to edit and collaborate with colleagues in real time

The familiar look and feel of Microsoft Office has kept me loyal to Word for years, but the increased convenience and collaborative capabilities of Google Docs have finally won me over.

Its accessibility online and across multiple devices means no more panicking about whether I remembered to save that vital doc on the shared drive instead of my desktop. In fact, I don’t even have to worry about saving at all because Google Docs saves all of my changes automatically as I type.

And there’s no more confusion about whether I attached the “right” version of the document—we’re all working on the same document. Thanks to the real-time collaborative editing features, I can make a last-minute change to the document while another person on my team is editing and reviewing it. The revision history keeps track of old versions of the same document, sorted by date and who made the change, so that we can easily revert to a previous version if need be.

We’re always looking for new tools and apps to share with the group. If you have a go-to, send it my way at cbm@wharton.upenn.edu.

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