Be Your Own Virtual Assistant: 100 Tools to Keep Yourself Accountable and Organized

Friday, December 21, 2007 at 4:57pm by Site Administrator

Having your own personal assistant can be great. With an assistant, you don’t have to handle your filing, mail, errands or all of the other little tasks that eat up your day and keep you from getting to more important projects. Of course, not everyone can afford to have their own personal assistant, real or virtual. But with the right tools, you can make your life easier without outsourcing your work to anyone else. Follow this list of tools and resources to make being your own assistant easy.

To Do

While it would be nice to leave the day-to-day tasks to someone else, managing them yourself doesn’t have to be a headache. Keep track of everything you need to do with these simple tools.

  1. Backpack: Backpack can help even the most unorganized business owners get their tasks in order. Not only can you create to-do lists, but there are also features for notes, calendars and reminders.
  2. Stikkit: Leave yourself virtual sticky notes with Stikkit. Whether you’re planning a meeting, organizing your day, or just trying to remember what to get at the grocery store, leave yourself a memo with this program.
  3. Webnote: Never lose your notes from a meeting again with this useful program. Users can take notes on any computer and save them to the Web for easy access later.
  4. The Online CEO: Organize and prioritize like the business owner that you are with this nifty program. Users can assign point values to tasks, with more points for more important tasks, and get the tally at the end of the day.
  5. Ta-Da List: Ta-Da List will allow you to make to-do lists for yourself or anyone else on your staff, making it easier to manage your own tasks as well as those of others.
  6. Remember the Milk: While you can use Remember the Milk to actually help you remember the milk, it can also be used for managing a variety of other work related tasks as well.
  7. Swift To-Do List: This to-do list program allows you to create hierarchical lists, attach email and web addresses to tasks, send reminders, and even create to-do databases to keep track of your tasks long term.
  8. Todoist: This simple to-do list has a built-in calendar and task ranking system to help you stay on top of your tasks. You can even use the keyboard shortcuts to make your work go faster, no assistant needed.
  9. Voo2Do: Voo2Do makes it easy to manage and use your to-do lists. You can organize tasks by project, track the time you’ve spent on them, and even add new tasks by email.
  10. Toodledo: Improve your productivity with the to-do list system on Toodledo. You can even bring it with you on your mobile phone so you can work on the go.
  11. Orchestrate: Simply register on Orchestrate’s website and start creating easy-to-use to-do lists right away.

Accounting

Dont’ make balancing your business’ checkbook more of a chore than it needs to be. Keep your finances in order with these great accounting tools.

  1. Wesabe: Keep track of your money with this great online financial tool. Set financial goals or track incoming and outgoing money with ease.
  2. Instacalc: Chances are pretty good that in the course of your bookkeeping you’ll need to do a few calculations. Use this online calendar to make it easy to get figures, make spreadsheets, or even generate graphs you can embed on a webpage.
  3. Dimewise: Maintain a handle on your finances no matter where you are with this online tool which allows you to manage multiple accounts, generate reports, and log all of your purchases.
  4. LessAccounting: Since you’ve got tons of other things to do, use LessAccounting to manage your finances. Great for small businesses, you’ll be able to keep track of expenses and send out invoices.
  5. Saasu: Saasu will help you speed up your accounting tasks with automated payments, purchasing, billing and even payroll. A computer that does work for you is almost as good as a real assistant!
  6. Xero: Online accounting with Xero allows you to track your finances from anywhere and seamlessly integrate your banking statements to make it much less work for you!
  7. Mint: Take managing your finances to another level with Mint. Not only can you track and record your expenses, but Mint will give you recommendations on how to save or make more money.
  8. QuickBooks: One of the most popular accounting programs, QuickBooks is as fully featured as it gets. Get your finances in order, send invoices, create reports and much more.
  9. Freshbooks: Freshbooks promises "painless billing" to help reduce the amount of time you have to spend sending out invoices by making it easy to send out reports and manage invoices.
  10. Vebio: Freelancers and small business owners will find Vebio to be an especially useful accounting tool. It gives users an easy way to invoice clients and track client billing.
  11. Billing Orchard: Send online bills to clients with Billing Orchard. Whether you’re billing by hour, flat fee, or on a recurring basis, this program can help make it easier.
  12. BillMyClients: Make billing hassle free by using BillMyClients. Send out invoices via the post office or your email with just a click of a button.
  13. Cashboard: This free program will help make logging time and getting paid simple and easy so you’ll have more time to dedicate to other tasks. Design attractive invoices and even integrate Cashboard with Basecamp to keep clients in the loop.
  14. Fluttervoice: Looks matter when it comes to representing your business, so make attractive invoices with Fluttervoice.
  15. Invoice Genie: Invoice Genie gives you an easy way to create invoices, track time, schedule meetings, and manage all of your fiances within one program.
  16. Invoices Made Easy: Designed for small, service-based businesses, this program allows users to print, email, track and even get paid right from the office.
  17. Invoice Place: Save time preparing invoices with Invoice Place. You’ll be able to manage invoices on the run, get overseas currency support, and send and receive billing on everything.
  18. Invotrak: Don’t miss out on payments. Use Invotrak to keep your invoices in order. Track, bill, and manage all of your billing information in one easy-to-use program.
  19. SimplyBill: SimplyBill lives up to its name by making billing extremely simple. Create new invoices, track old ones, and do so much more.
  20. The Invoice Machine: Send out PDF invoices with this easy-to-use online program.

Phone

These tools will help you keep track of your messages and incoming calls.

  1. FaxZERO: While sending things via email is often easier and faster, sometimes you just need to send a fax. Don’t buy an expensive fax machine for this, just use this online program to send a fax anywhere in the United States or Canada for free.
  2. eBuddy: Keep in touch when you’re out of the office with ebuddy. It allows users to sign on to various instant messenger services from a mobile phone, meaning no important contact with clients will be sacrificed if you need to run some errands on your lunch hour.
  3. Gaboogie: You won’t need an assistant to remind you of your conference calls with Gaboogie. This web-based program will make the calls for you and eliminate the need for long passwords and PIN numbers.
  4. AbbyMe: Send phone messages over the Internet with AbbyMe. It can be a great way to send out meeting reminders ahead of time. Simply type in your message and the phone number you want it sent to and the program will read the message to the recipient, acting like your personal assistant without the paycheck.
  5. K7: FaxZERO lets you send out faxes, but you can receive them without an actual fax machine with K7. K7 will assign you a phone number for faxes which will be directed to your inbox.
  6. GrandCentral: Make managing multiple phone lines easy with GrandCentral. The program gives you one number that rings all your phones, goes to one voicemail box, plus lots of extra features.

Email

Make sorting through your inbox easier with these email tools.

  1. Viapoint: Don’t waste time hunting through your inbox for important emails. Viapoint will help you organize emails by contact, company, project or date range without you having to do a thing.
  2. Thunderbird: If you’re looking to an alternative to Outlook, give Thunderbird a try. It’s free, and allows you to customize your email experience.
  3. Plaxo: This online address book service allows you to automatically update your contacts as you or others change them in Plaxo, Outlook or Thunderbird.
  4. Breeze: Don’t spend hours creating and mailing email campaigns to customers. Just use Breeze to easily send out mailings to hundreds of customers at once.
  5. DropSend: Don’t bog down your servers sending out huge emails. Instead, use the service from DropSend to send files of up to 1GB.
  6. iContact: Make email marketing easy with iContact. Send out email campaigns, and track and organize them easily with this program.
  7. Sproutit Mailroom: Overwhelmed by your website email but can’t afford to hire an assistant? Sproutit Mailroom can help by allowing everyone on your team to manage and respond to the emails.
  8. 9cays: Save time reading through email with the great features on 9cays. Instead of paging through tons of responses to group emails, 9cays allows you to create a webpage with all the messages in one easy to read place.
  9. MailWasher: If your email doesn’t already have a spam filter, MailWasher offers a great free solution that will help make navigating through your email easier.
  10. BlueTie: For the small business owner looking for a hosted email solution, BlueTie can be a great choice. You’ll get email as well as tons of other business boosting features.
  11. Contact Grabber: Make collecting contact information easy with Contact Grabber. Simply highlight an email address and the program will save it for you easily and quickly.
  12. Skemma: Save time by automating communications between your coworkers, clients, vendors and more with Skemma.

Scheduling

Plan your day with as little hassle as possible using these great tools.

  1. Acuity Scheduling: Let clients do the scheduling for you with this online tool. Simply set your availability, types of appointments you accept, and clients will choose the appointment they want.
  2. Calendar Hub: This online calendar can be a great place to keep track of appointments and company goals and you can access it from anywhere.
  3. epointment: Create an online agenda as epointment. You’ll find tools to schedule meetings, keep track of important dates, and even get reminders sent to your phone if you’re not on the Internet.
  4. Schedulebook: Schedulebook will make it easy to schedule meeting rooms, supplies, and appointments depending on your needs.
  5. SmartCal: SmartCal is a great way to keep yourself organized and schedule appointments online. You can also get reminders, organize groups and much more when you sign up.
  6. ScheduleAnywhere: Need to schedule your employees for hours, meetings or conferences? Try out ScheduleAnywhere to make scheduling easy and quick.
  7. EZAgenda: This web-based scheduler is integrated with your email, allowing you to add appointments and share them easily.
  8. MyMRM: Have trouble with scheduling space in your office? Don’t fight over the conference room, try using MyMRM to let everyone know and share scheduled time.
  9. OrgScheduler: If you don’t have a personal assistant or secretary, OrgScheduler can make it easy to share an organization-wide calendar that lets employees know about important meetings, company holidays and more.
  10. Memo to Me: Get a friendly reminder sent to you with the Memo to Me service. Remind yourself or others of meetings, deadlines, projects and anything else you can think of.

Presentations and Meetings

Use these tools to get ready for your next big meeting with clients or investors.

  1. Campfire: If you need to have a quick online meeting, Campfire can be a great tool. Private, password-protected chatrooms can be set up quickly and easily.
  2. GoToMeeting: Web conference with ease using GoToMeeting. You’ll be able to share files, give presentations, and more with a subscription to the service.
  3. Demofuse: Create tours of your website, or a client’s site, and send or embed them in a webpage with Demofuse. It’s a great way to show off your work!
  4. Dimdim: This open source meeting web conferencing tool will make setting up and attending online meetings easy as pie. You’ll also be able to share presentations, applications and even your desktop through the program.
  5. PreZentit: PreZentit will allow you to create wonderful presentations online and share them with clients or anyone you’d like.
  6. Screencast-o-Matic: Make showing clients how to use software or websites a snap with this program. It creates a video recording of your screen and the site hosts it for free.
  7. SlideBurner: Create slideshows of your work or business and share them with clients all over the world.
  8. Spresent: If you’re looking for an alternative to PowerPoint, give Spresent a try. This web-based program is flash based and easy-to-use.
  9. Thumbstacks: Make presentations and share them with coworkers and clients online with Thumbstacks.
  10. Viewbook: Viewbook is a great place to store your presentations, slideshows and portfolios online so they can easily be mailed to others or retrieved later for use.

Information Management

Keep track of important information, files, and anything else with these organizational tools.

  1. Basecamp: Store and share information online with Basecamp. Collaborate with coworkers or just keep your files in a secure place online.
  2. Project Stat.us: Don’t keep your clients in the dark about information on your projects. Keep your status online so you won’t have to field constant calls.
  3. iOrganize: Keep all your important information like contacts, notes, and bookmarks in one place with iOrganize so you won’t be left wishing you could call someone else to find them.
  4. Bubbl.us: Get your ideas out there with Bubbl.us’ online brainstorming tools. Create mind maps, write down ideas, share them with others and more.
  5. Cebase: Cebase is an impressive online database program. A simple point and click interface lets you enter data and quickly share it with anyone you’d like.
  6. DabbleDB:Get tons of great features with this database program. Users can enter data, share it, change views and more.
  7. Domain Log Book: Own multiple domains for your business? Keep track of them and view their page rank with this program.
  8. Fluxiom: Manage your digital media with this online tool. Host your pictures, marketing materials, contracts and more on Fluxiom.
  9. iOutliner: Organize your thoughts, ideas, projects and anything else you can think of into structured outlines with iOutliner.
  10. Lazybase: Would you like to create an online database but want it to be easy? Try out Lazybase. You can upload any kind of information you want by using a secret URL.
  11. Quickbase: This web-based database from Intuit is great for project management, sales management and much more.

Project and Time Management

Your time is valuable, so don’t waste it on tasks you don’t need to. Instead, use these tools to help you make the most of it and keep your projects running smoothly without any outside assistance.

  1. Harvest: Track your time with this simple web-based program. You can even generate reports to let clients know the status of your projects or just keep track of time for your own purposes.
  2. Dot Project: This open-source project management tool can help you get your next project organized and on task.
  3. FunctionFox: If you’re in a creative line of business, give FunctionFox a try for tracking your projects and making sure everything progresses smoothly.
  4. 88 Miles: Keep track of how much time you’re spending on all of your projects for easy billing. 88 Miles lets you easily punch in and out of projects and has an on-screen timer to let you know how much time has elapsed.
  5. ActionThis: ActionThis is a web-based team management program with great centralized project management as well as systems to track client information and individual assignments.
  6. Clocking IT: Track your task progress and time at once with Clocking IT. Features include tagging, search, milestones and integrated wikis.
  7. Emergent Task Timer: This timer from the Printable CEO can help you break tasks down into 15 minute intervals.
  8. PunchyTime: Keep track of the time you spend on every project as you work, rather than after the fact. PunchyTime is a great solution for creative companies working by the hour.
  9. Project Insight: Project Insight is one of the leading online project management systems. It’s intuitive and easy to use and will allow you to collaborate easily with coworkers.
  10. Timepost: This project timer will automatically get all your projects and to-dos from different web project managers, saving you the hassle of having to re-enter things from each program.

Client Relations

You won’t need an assistant to bring up customer contact information with these programs. It will already be at your fingertips from just about anywhere.

  1. DocuSign: Need something signed right away? Dont’ bother sending it over, get a signature online with DocuSign. Get legally binding signatures that allow you to seal the deal quickly, shutting out the competition.
  2. HoneyPitch: Put together proposals, presentations, contracts and estimates with this great CRM tool.
  3. ClientScribe: Keep track of all your client contacts using ClientScribe. You can keep your emails, phone records, faxes and proposals in one place, organized by client.
  4. Entellium: This CRM tool has award-winning design, free support and great features to help you treat your customers like they deserve.
  5. Highrise: Keep in touch with your customers with the online contact management system in Highrise.
  6. Heap: This is a simple CRM system that allows you to instant message, keep track of a calendar, and organize contacts.
  7. Pipeline Deals: Make CRM easy with Pipeline Deals’ simple notebook format that allows you to organize files, emails, notes and documents.
  8. Relenta CRM: Relenta CRM makes keeping track of customer data easy with systems to manage contact info, documents and much more.
  9. Sugar CRM: This CRM program focuses on improving your sales performance and marketing effectiveness.
  10. vtiger: vtiger is a great open-source CRM designed for small businesses. Users will get access to features for automation, customer support, sales, marketing, inventory management and more.


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15 Comments »

  1. Hey Christina, thanks for including http://www.calendarhub.com in your post! We like being a part of these ‘Getting Things Done (GTD)’ and ‘Getting Organized’ lists because we think that this is where we provide the most value for our users. Thanks again!

    Comment by Barry Welch — December 21, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  2. Great list, never heard of most of those CRM managers and I’ve been doing it manually with Excel!

    Comment by Contact Lens Man — December 21, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Another great bookmarkable resource, this time for personal organization. Keep up the good work.

    You guys have a very clean and attractive blog template. All I can recommend is an about us and contact us page that explains who is behind this. All I could find was info about your business card company.

    I’ll be adding bootstrapper to Gearfire’s blogroll on the next update. Keep up the good work ;)

    Comment by Geoff R — December 21, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Wow, this is a great list! Thank you for putting this together. I really like the accounting section and can’t wait to check out all the sites you listed.

    Comment by Kristine — December 26, 2007 @ 4:28 am

  5. Great list. Any entrepreneuer or mom could use some help staying organized. Know I could. Thanks for the tools

    Megan
    http://www.PassportMentors.com

    Comment by Megan — December 29, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  6. Great list! I can’t wait to dig through here and find some useful gems! I linked to you from my site.

    Liz

    Comment by Liz Fuller — December 30, 2007 @ 8:20 am

  7. Awesome list. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Dana Williams — December 30, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  8. I really appreciate this list. I plan to share it with my husband and friends too!

    Comment by Patty — January 2, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  9. This is a great list, there is so much on the net these days that it’s getting harder to find what you want.

    I would like to add another nmae to the accounting list, http://www.winweb.com is a fully functioning accounting/small business infrastructure that operates online, some of your readers may find it of interest.

    Comment by Jason Holden — January 2, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  10. Very informative and a great resource especially Presentations and Meetings. Thanks!

    Comment by Michael Gass — January 4, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

  11. All I have to say is WOW, thanks

    Comment by Ash — January 4, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  12. What a fabulous resource, Sagar! And thanks for submitting to Mom’s Blogging Carnival. You can see your post here: http://www.gogirlfriend.com/reviews/moms-blogging-carnival-4560

    As for me, I’ll be bookmarking this page and coming here often to find solutions to all my challenges.

    Now, if you could only list a resource that finds me another week of vacation……

    Comment by Julia Rosien — January 5, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  13. You should really look into http://www.iwantsandy.com/ by the creators of stikkit. You can find a great review at http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/01/sandy_personal_assistant.html (no I’m not paid or in any way related to either company). Thought your readers would appreciate the addition.

    I’m an avid user of highrise as a crm, campfire for online meetings, basecamp for project management and time keeping, remember the milk for todos, and wesabe for managing my finances (though I’d use Mint if they supported Canadian banking institutions). I also use http://www.blinksale.com/ for sending simple invoices. Excellent tools. Google docs is great for information management and google calendar is great for scheduling too. Their tight gmail integration is a lifesaver.

    Great post. How did we live without web based software to manage our workflows?

    Comment by Lisamac — January 7, 2008 @ 5:08 am

  14. Great list. You can also check out ProjectOffice.net, an online project management tool that provides all-in-one functionality. With ProjectOffice.net, individuals and teams can create projects and tasks, can assign tasks to project members, can track time, expenses and issues and can use wikis to boost collaboration and knowledge sharing an moreover, it is completely free of charge.

    Comment by Natalija Trajchevska — January 9, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  15. Try Time59 (www.time59.com) to manage your client billing. Just enter your time and expenses and Time59 will do the math, create the invoices, and keep everything organized! Only $19.95 per year. Free 30 day trial.

    Comment by Chris — February 14, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

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