Just about every dad I know wishes he had more time with his family and needed to spend less time at work. Well, it's time to stop wishing and start doing. These productivity tools will help any dad work more productively so he can spend less time working and more time with the family.
They are simply everywhere. In my world, it seems that everyone has and uses a Blackberry. In some ways, they are the ultimate in convenience. Cell phone, email, MP3 player and Internet access right in your pocket or on your hip 24/7. I recognize that Blackberries are in some sense the ultimate productivity tool because of the convenience. On the flip side, I know lots of people who can no longer distinguish between work and personal and family time because of their Blackberries. So, if you want one, make sure that you are able to take it off and put it away when you shouldn't be connected.
While the Blackberry seems to have taken over the personal digital assistant market, some of us more old fashioned guys still like Palm products. The original PDA supplier, Palm still has some great digital planning products. The Treo in various forms has been around for several years, and combines the Palm Planning tools with a smartphone. And the newest Palm, the Centro, is built for Web 2.0 social networking on the go. The availability of Palm software for every man's unique interests makes a Palm device a good option for busy dads.
Courtesy of BasecampHQ.com
Basecamp is an online project manager with amazing capabilities. If you have a job that requires managing projects or if you are a consultant, freelance designer or self-employed in almost any sector, Basecamp will take your project management to a new level. You can view project progress by client, date or project, you can share files with co-workers or clients, track deadlines, create newsletters, and have online discussions. As a dad, I just create projects for things around the house, events with the kids, a family trip plan and more, along with my work projects, and I seem to be able to keep all the commitments in balance.
Courtesy of LinkedIn.com
My college aged daughter is a big Facebook fan, but I have just never felt comfortable with Facebook and MySpace as a social networking opportunity. But I love Linked In. I think of it as social networking for professionals. LinkedIn allows a member to connect with others with similar interests, and then to connect through multiple layers of contacts. LinkedIn also allows you to create and join groups that further expand your sphere of influence. For dads, LinkedIn can let you connect with other adults in your kids' lives (teachers, coaches, friends' parents, relatives) and to look for opportunities to help kids with everything from homework to job opportunities to college admissions and scholarships.
Courtesy of BackPackIt.com
If you work with others, then an Intranet is a valuable tool. Backpack is a web-based organizing system that let you work with others in coordinating calendars, sharing contact information, reviewing and editing files, tracking expenses and more. It can save a tremendous amount of time in setting up meetings, reviewing information, and coordinating projects. You can also calendar times for family events and commitments so your colleagues don't overbook your important family time
Courtesy of Google.com
There are lots of great online family calendars available today. Coordinating schedules among busy family members can be a real challenge, and an online family calendar can be a big coordinating tool and time saver. Read my reviews of the top ten online family calendars and choose one that will work for your family.
Courtesy of MapMyRun.com
If you are into running, walking or biking, then Map My Run offers a great productivity tool for you. You can find great running routes in your immediate area that are posted by others, or you can use an interactive map to create your own run and measure the distance. You can create or join a running group, develop a running workout plan and more. You can also keep a running log to see how you are progressing. If you involve your children either running with you or in a stroller for the littler ones, you can find routes that will work for your family.
Courtesy of NetVibes.com
If you are often on the Web, then you should consider using Netvibes for your customized home page. You can add from thousands of widgets, newsfeeds, email readers, news videos, Flickr photos and more to your tabbed homepage. If you read lots of newsfeeds like I do, you can put the RSS readers on your Netvibes page and read them together quickly. For family activities, I have RSS event feeds from local movie theaters, playhouses, colleges and family fun centers so I can quickly find fun things to do with the family on weekends. And I have weather feeds from our favorite camping and hiking locations so we can check the forecast before we head out.
Courtesy of ReadTheWords.com
The people at ReadtheWords.com have come up with a great time saver. Their online service converts RSS feeds, PDF files and MS Word documents to MP3 files that can be listened to on your iPod, MP3 player or cell phone. So if you are into podcasts, this is a chance to easily and quickly make your own from document files and put them on your audio device. Instead of listening to music on your morning run or while commuting, listen to your regular RSS feeds and save time at the desktop. The service is free to registrants.
Courtesy of FranklinPlanner.com
For those fathers who are more analog than digital, the tried and true Franklin Planner from Franklin Covey is still one of the best pen and paper productivity tools around. With binders and planning systems from compact to full-sized, there is something for every taste. And Franklin offers packets that help plan and program family time, fitness and health time and more. If you are not yet into digital planning, then Franklin Covey is your best and most flexible resource.