What are the best free tools available to increase productivity?

As you progress forward in your real estate career it will become more and more important to stay organized. Without mastering a few select tools it becomes very challenging to stay on top of everything that will be thrown at you as a real estate agent. If you are a beginner or looking for ways to stay more productive you may want to consider the tools I’ve outlined below. While they certainly aren’t the only productivity tools available, these are the tools I use personally. Best of all they all feature free versions or are have premium versions that are very affordable. Most of these tools are included in my technology guide for beginning real estate agents that explains easy ways to fit these costs in your starting budget.

Shift

The idea of shift is to bring all of your emails, apps, and extensions into one dedicated browser. After using Shift for almost two years now I truly don’t know how I would go back to another platform. It did take me a little while to adapt to the interface, but once I was able to, I’m not sure how I could ever go back to the way I used to work on my desktop. Not only can you combine emails, you can also streamline popular services from Google, Microsoft, and others all in one place.

Why I Use Shift

I own several businesses and have a separate email address for each company, along with a personal Gmail account. Shift makes it possible to keep all of these open at the same time without overwhelming my desktop. It also allows me to search all of my inboxes at once, which saves a ton of time. All of the other productivity apps I have listed below are also available at all times in the same Shift browser. It has really simplified my workflow and allowed me to be more productive. The custom workspace feature is new but is also a great way to organize things like Google Sheets or specific websites open in one place.

One Idea on How to Use Shift for Real Estate

Create a custom workspace that already has your MLS and prospects open. This will allow you to quickly go through and identify new properties that may be an ideal fit for clients to email them immediately. Also, include your calendar application in Shift for quick access to your schedule (Better yet, if you are a Gsuite user, send your client’s open slots that they can quickly choose from).

Evernote

Evernote has been around for a long time and is still the king of organizing notes and thoughts in one place. There are some other applications that will do the job, like Google Keep, but in my opinion, nothing compares to the simplicity of Evernote.

Why I Use Evernote

For me, organizing my notebooks and notes in Evernote each night has become a cathartic experience that also helps me relieve stress while I stay organized. I also really enjoy the ability to save web pages or articles I’m reading directly to a relevant notebook to reference later. The web clipper allows you to just save text from a specific area of a web page, add a few notes, and save it to the note of choice. On top of that, you can easily take a picture of virtually anything (including handwritten notes) and import it into Evernote with one click.

One Idea on How to Use Evernote for Real Estate

If you are doing real estate correctly, you should be meeting a ton of people, especially when you are just beginning your career. I always recommend new agents set quick face to face meetings with other agents in the office, loan officers, title reps, and others in the industry that you will come to rely on. Use Evernote to organize details about every meeting. Label people that you meet by industry, and then take real notes about the meetings you had with them. Categorize different people that you meet with things you believe they can help you with in the future. For instance, did you meet a lender that does a good job with grants, or a title rep that will close anywhere? These are good things to know in the future and if not cataloged properly, they can be easy to forget.

Todoist

I juggle way too many things at once, and have a lot going on. This becomes obvious to people in my life, and they often wonder how I am able to stay on top of everything going on. Unfortunately, I do miss things from time to time, but one way I eliminate mistakes as much as possible is by using Todoist to keep track of what I need to do.

Why I Use Todoist

This is somewhat repetitive, but creating lists really is the main function of todoist. What makes it better than a plain old sheet of paper is the ability to organize your tasks in a dynamic way. They even have a karma system that can make completing tasks more enjoyable and rewarding.

One Idea on How to Use todoist for Real Estate

Set up a routine in todoist that will take you through specific tasks you want to perform each morning. Perhaps you would like to set up a routine each Monday morning where you update sellers about their listings, alert buyers to new listings, and send out five hand written cards to people in your sphere. With todoist, you just set these as repeatable tasks and make notes on what you accomplished as you finish. That way you will be able to go back to your notes the next week to see what you accomplished.

RoboForm Password Manager

There are a few different password management software applications on the market that I like, such as LastPass. However, I personally use Roboform and believe it offers the most bang for the buck (especially if you just use the free version). It does a lot more than just manage your passwords and keep them safe. Roboform also allows you to store credit card information, addresses, and other information so that you can quickly fill them in while you are browsing on any device or browser.

Why I Use Roboform

Its almost hard to believe, but the amount of hackers and criminals trying to get access to your information on the web is simply out of control. After dealing with a few personal incidents where crooks were able to steal from me, I’ve been adamant about keeping sensitive information about myself private on the internet. Roboform is just one of the ways I’ve been able to do that. It is also a huge time saver and keeps a lot of data in one place. How many times have you had to go through the “forget password” link on a website in the last few months? With Roboform, that issue is all but eliminated.

One Idea on How to Use Roboform for Real Estate

This would be applicable to any profession and is fairly strait forward. However, real estate agents do have a lot of places they need to log into. Typically they have email, CRM, local MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and a variety of other websites that they will need to log into regularly. Use Roboform to keep passwords very safe and also easily accessible.

Airtable

The best way to describe Airtable is that it is essentially spreadsheets on steroids. They describe it as having the ability to create your own app, which in some ways is very true. It is very easy to create complex and dynamic spreadsheets to help you keep track of just about anything. People use it for everything from tracking their pets medical records to their social media calendars.

Why I Use Airtable

I like Airtable because it allows me to make production schedules and calendars for things like blog posts, social media, and listing marketing. Not only can I create these tasks to remember for the next time, but I can also easily share them with my team so that they can understand the process I want to follow and I can easily track their progress.

One Idea oh How to Use Airtable for Real Estate

There are a variety of templates available on Airtable for real estate agent users. One that I particularly like is the real estate transaction management template. With this template you can keep track of all of your listings and buyers in one place with easy to use labels. If you use this template I would recommend reviewing it each evening or morning to make sure you don’t miss any important dates.

Summary

I truly hope you found this article about free productivity tools helpful to your real estate business. Even if you are not overly busy when you are first starting out, it is important to get in the habit of utilizing tools like these. If you try to learn all of them when you are already busy they can seem overwhelming. Staying productive is all about creating good habits and staying organized. If you have any questions about these products please don’t hesitate to reach out, I’m always happy to help.

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