Thinking About Efficiency in 2014 With These 3 Tools

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The start of the new year is usually a time for resolutions. However, as most of us know, resolutions generally don’t last the entire year. A 2007 study of over 3,000 people showed just how pervasive failed resolutions are–it turns out that 88% of all resolutions ended in failure. I haven’t set any particular resolutions for 2014 since, like those surveyed, I doubt I’ll be able to follow through all 365 days. However, I’m always trying to find innovative ways to manage my time more efficiently. Maybe I’ll be more efficient in 2014? I thought I’d share three of my favorite web tools that I rely on frequently to help me achieve this goal. I thought that by posting these three tools you might start using them as well this year because they are true and tested time savers.

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Zamzar.com is a free website for file conversion. The online interface is easy to use–just select or drop your file needing conversion to Zamzar and then choose how you want it converted. zYou’ll receive an email with the converted file in about a second. The interface (image on left) is simple and effective. For example, to get this image, I took a screenshot of part of the Zamzar website and since WorldPress doesn’t accept this file I used Zamzar to convert the image to .jpg then had it emailed to myself so I could upload it to this blog post. It took about 1 minute from start to finish. This service is great if you’re looking for an efficient way to cut and paste scanned student work into presentation software. Most presentation software won’t allow you to embed .pdf so Zamar could solve this problem for you by converting all or part of the file into .gif or .jpg so you can quickly embed the images into your presentation.

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Doodle.com makes scheduling a meeting a breeze. Just invite your colleagues or friends and establish some dates and times using their calendar. doodleYour invitees will be able to select with checkmarks when they are available. After everyone has selected when they are free you can schedule a time to meet based on what’s mutually convenient. No lengthy e-mail exchanges and a totally transparent process. It’s incredibly efficient! (And yes, I used Zamzar to capture the image to the right!)

Here’s more information about the capability of Doodle:

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Dropbox.com allows users to save anything they want electronically and be able to access it wherever they are online. devices-vfl3TTUs-No more thumb drives needed! When you upload a document to dropbox you can get it on your tablet, mobile device or computer. I’ve found Dropbox to be incredibly user friendly and 100% secure. You can edit files directly on Dropbox and share them from the cloud. I couple Dropbox with a service called DropitTome which allows me to receive files from anyone with the password directly into my Dropbox account. This works great with things like lesson plans or even student work. Files are delivered into folders in my Dropbox account. No e-mail and no hassle!

All three of these services are free (upgraded accounts are available for a fee) and I’ve never received a single spam e-mail after using these services. Here’s to a more efficient 2014…at least for now.

Happy New Year!