Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a life coach for bad time managers and the founder of Real Life E. Elizabeth empowers clients who feel too overwhelmed, frustrated and guilty to accomplish more with peace and confidence through her Schedule Makeovers. In this post, Elizabeth offers a comprehensive comparison of some of the best online calendars, to-do lists and social media management tools. As a bonus, she presents tips on syncing your calendar with your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. Thanks, Elizabeth, for sharing these helpful tech tools! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .
You’ve had enough! Your life feels completely unorganized, and you know you should pick some online organization tools and start using them. But you don’t.
The sheer number of options is overwhelming, and the thought of comparing them mind numbing. I understand. As the founder of Real Life E time coaching, I empower people who feel too overwhelmed, frustrated and guilty to tackle big projects on a daily basis.
That’s why I’m offering this practical comparison of some of the best online tools for calendars, to-do lists and social-media management. Plus, there are bonus tips on how to sync your calendar with your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android.
The research is done for you. All you need to do is select your favorite pick from the options below. Let’s get started!
Here are some of the most popular options for staying on top of your schedule:
Summary: Keep track of and set notifications for different meetings, schedules and events. Event reminders can be sent to your email or mobile phone. Review your calendar schedule by day, week or month. Organize different appointments in customizable colors.
Compatibility: Mac or PC Users — Sync events with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird. With offline access, view a read-only version of your calendar no matter where you are.
Sharing: Share your calendar with others and view schedules that others have shared with you. Invite people to events on your calendar. Guests can RSVP to your events by email or via Google Calendar. Includes two-way syncing to your mobile phone’s built-in calendar or a mobile version of Google Calendar.
Summary: Track your schedules, appointments, birthdays, and to-do lists and set up notifications for important events. Organize with separate colors for work, home and school commitments, and create a list of high-priority tasks.
Compatibility: Apple users — iCal, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.5
Sharing: Subscribe to other people’s calendars, sync/share with MobileMe Calendar, iCal, Microsoft Outlook, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Summary: Email, calendar and contacts all on one account. Create tasks and notes, schedule meetings with other people, set reminders and send and receive email. You must first set up a Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 email account.
Compatibility: For PC users, Windows Phone 7
Price: The new Outlook 2010 Program is $140. It also comes with the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite for $280, which includes other programs such as Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
Sharing: Send meeting requests to others, and their responses appear in your inbox. Use Outlook Social Connector to see email exchanges and meetings you have had together, and send them requests to be part of your social networks.
Online To-Do List Tools
You can choose to keep your to-do lists on our online calendar or to store them in one of these special tools. These virtual lists will allow you to stay on track, even on the go.
Summary: Simple and straightforward, Ta-da List is like your basic paper to-do list, only electronic!
Compatibility: Works with the most popular web browsers (IE 6/7, Firefox 2, and Safari 2) and with Mac, PC and iPhone.
How It Works: Check a box and the to-do is marked, “Done!”
Sharing: Keep your lists private, or share them with your friends, family or co-workers.
Other Info: Ta-da List also offers a paid upgraded version of their to-do list for businesses called Backpack. Backpack is an intranet for your business. You create a “page” that keeps documents, discussions and schedules in one place all the time with content-sharing options.
Summary: Organize and track your tasks in more than just a list format. The calendar-view option is great for big-picture, visual learners.
Compatibility: Mac, Windows, most mobile devices. Allows you to import tasks from Palm OS PDA, Microsoft Outlook, Apple’s iCal and other online to-do lists.
How It Works: Tag and track projects by priority and in subfolders. Keep track of estimated time spent on a project versus the actual time spent. Even assign personal goals to individual tasks, allowing you to see how you spend your time contributes to long-term goals.
Sharing: Public or private with other collaboration options.
Summary: Much more than task management, Evernote is also great for keeping track of the mishmash of little things in life that you want to remember (receipts, trip itineraries, even wine labels!). With tons of fun and practical web software applications, techies can take this organizer as far as they want. Check out Evernote’s extensive array of desktop and web services (or as they call it, the Evernote “Trunk”).
Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS X, PCs, iPhone and other mobile devices. Applications for linking your Twitter and social media accounts, too.
How It Works: Type a text note, clip a web page, snap a photo or grab a screenshot. Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed and made searchable. Add tags or organize your notes into different virtual notebooks. Search for notes by keywords, titles and tags.
Sharing: Public or private — your choice depends on what you need to organize.
Summary: Similar to Evernote but a bit more basic. Remember the Milk has dozens of mobile and desktop applications; this service is focused more on task management, tracking and organization.
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Gmail, Outlook and more. Sync with iCal and Google Calendar, too.
How It Works: Create a list and set due dates, then get reminders to any of your mobile devices, email or social-media accounts. Add notes to your list, and use the maps feature to track where you have to go to accomplish each task. Even print a hard copy of your list or weekly planner.
Check out this Tour of Things to Do with Remember the Milk.
Sharing: Keep your tasks private, publish them or send them to your choice of contacts.
Social-Media Management Tools
Instead of checking your social-media channels separately, you can view and respond to key items in one place with these tools for social-media consolidation. This ensures that you’re effortlessly on top of @replies, tweets and messages.
Summary: This online program helps you keep track of all your social-media accounts in one spot (from Facebook to WordPress) and update all of your networks in one step. A calendar option lets you decide the best times to update your audience. You can keep track of mentions of your brand or key search terms. Other features include foreign language translation and report building.
Sharing: Use the Team Collaboration feature to manage different contributors and assign tasks to your contacts.
Compatibility: Internet Explorer 7 or 8, Firefox 3, Safari 4, Chrome 4 and higher. Also supported on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices, with iPad and Keitai versions coming soon.
Price: Free Basic version allows for 5 social media profiles. Pro version is $5.99 per month, which includes unlimited social media profiles, and 1 free team member. A free pro trial is available.
Summary: An online personal browser connecting you with all your social media contacts. Social media outlets are arranged in vertical columns, composing your “tweetdeck,” and allowing you to access and update contacts from different accounts in one place.
Sharing: With the feature called Foursquare, you can check in to a location from your desk or laptop. Find out where your friends are in a column dedicated to location while also viewing their profiles and Foursquare badges.
Compatibility: iPhone, Android and Google Chrome
Summary: This site allows small or large companies to track, analyze and engage in social media conversations about their brand through Facebook and Twitter only. One inbox enables you to see your streams and conversations in one place. Email notifications and scheduling options are also available.
Price: Free Standard edition and a paid Enterprise edition. Here’s a product comparison.
Sharing: Create workgroups, choose team member accessibility and assign roles such as leaders, contributors or viewers only.
Compatibility: An online resource available to anyone with a Twitter account.
Summary: This resources goal is pretty straightforward. Receive all your social media account updates in one nutshellmail email on a schedule that you choose and an email address you already have.
Sharing: The update messages are sent to the email inbox you choose.
Syncing Your Calendar with Your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry
Looking for some resources to keep your calendar in sync with your mobile devices? Here are some bonus tips to get you started:
Outlook: Check out this article for very detailed instructions and screenshots for just exactly how to sync your BlackBerry with your Outlook calendar.
Google Calendar: Google has a GoogleSync App for your BlackBerry. The two-way sync works with BlackBerry’s built-in calendar and contacts. This means you do not have to physically connect your BlackBerry to your computer. As you make changes to one, GoogleSync automatically updates the other. Download the Google Sync App, and get set-up instructions sent to your BlackBerry.
Outlook: Third-party software, such as CompanionLink, enables you to have a two-way sync with your Outlook account and your Android. (There’s a free two-week trial!) Here are four different ways you can sync using CompanionLink.
Google Calendar: There is an Android Google Calendar App. Once you download this free app, you can update your Google Calendar on your phone or your computer.
Google Calendar: iPhone will sync with Google Calendar using the iCal step-by-step guide.
Another option is to use the Google Sync App (here) to create a two-way sync for your calendars, contacts and email (for IOS versions 3.0 and above). This means you do not have to physically connect your iPhone with your computer every time you need to update. As you make changes to one, Google Sync automatically updates the other.
Voila! The research is done for you so that you can select the best online tools for calendars, to-do lists and social media management. Watch for an upcoming follow-up post about the best online tools for business management.
To your brilliance!