Thomas Mondel Writer. Thinker. Blogger.

Tools

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Here you will find all the tools I use for handling my life. These tools and resources provide me the most value to live my life most effectively and productive. They help me keeping stuff organized and increase my learning and studying potential. I collect here all the assets I need to create and run this blog. I will show you what I use to management my money (and how I became debt-free) and I will list all the books that shape my mindset and inspired me the most.

Note: Most of the resources here are completely free. Of the few that aren’t, some contain affiliate links. If you use them, I’ll get a small commission – though there is no extra cost to you. I recommend these resources because I use them myself and have a lot of experience with them, and being an affiliate for them allows me to make money to keep running this blog. Remember that for each resource, there are other options out there – these are simply what I use and love.

Productivity/Time Management

  • Pick Four – Best tool for setting (and achieving) goals I found so far. It is basically a simple workbook where you have to define 4 goals you are working towards in the next 12 weeks. Since you write down what you did to getting closer to your goal EVERY day, the “streak” effect and momentum you gain are invaluable. (Also, you might also feel disencouraged to write “nothing” into your today’s column which might be an additional push for yourself to keep going).
  • Dropbox – the most essential app ever for anyone who uses a computer. Keeps your files backed up and synced across all your computers and devices, as well as on the web. Forget your paper on your home computer? Log onto Dropbox at school/work and print it out there. Use it. Seriously.

Social Media/Networking

  •  Buffer – This is like the best tool I found in 2013 (no kidding)! It allows you to schedule your posts on your social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (only works with pages on Google+ at the moment tough). The tool then posts the queued updates on a predefined schedule and you don’t have to worry anymore. Very helpful when you are on a tight schedule or traveling a lot. It is free for up to 10 queued posts and 1 profile on each network.

Writing/Note Management

  • Moleskine Notebook when I need to simply write down rough ideas or sketch things, I find that doing it in a high-quality Moleskine feels better. High-quality holdings for high-quality ideas. I also use bigger formats as a personal journal!
  • Notes – I use the basic Notes app from Apple to quickly write something down and sync it across my devices. Super comfortable when you are moving around a lot and want to keep fleeting thoughts in your mind.
  • XMind – Perfect tool for mind mapping tasks. Spread out your thoughts and put them back together in a more structured form. Helped me a lot with structuring this blog.

Studying/Learning

  • Duolingo – It is basically the little brother of the Rosetta Stone. Learning new languages by fully immersing yourself into the environment. Easy to use and great for making progress. If you are curious about learning new languages check it out. There is also an app available, so I basically use it everyday when there is some free time.
  • Spreeder – it is a free online speed reading software designed to improve your reading speed and comprehension. It can really work wonders when you put some time and effort into it. Think about all the knowledge you could absorb faster by doubling your reading speed.

Personal Websites/Blogging

  • WordPress – There is a serious difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, which I didn’t know in the beginning of my blogging experience. Check out this article and don’t make the same mistake as I did! = ) In short: if you just want to write about some stuff and show your friends, use WordPress.com (it really simplifies a lot of the processes). If you want to be taken more seriously and reach out for a lot more people use WordPress.org. It really makes a big difference in regards of Google rankings and SEO optimizations.
  • HostGator – My personal web host of choice. I have used it every since for all my websites and also this blog. I am incredibly happy with their performance and customer support. They have been a HUGE help back then when I decided to move my blog from WordPress.com to the self-hosted WordPress.org and made that whole process SUPER easy. Service is reliable and the support is extremly friendly and caring. Just what you expect it to be!
  • ThemeForest – If you are lookin for a new premium theme for your blog or personal site, this is the place to go. Although there are many free themes out there, if you are looking for something more elegant or classy, this is what I use for my sites.
  • MailChimp – My choice on creating email forms and integrating them into my blog.
  • Plugins – Here is the complete list of plugins I use here on my blog:
    • Ad Injection – This is the best plugin I found for injecting AdSense ads into my blog. Used it in the beginning, but decided later to drop it again, since I no longer wanted to fill my blog with stupid ads. Still, it is very easy to use and makes all the processes super easy.
    • Broken Link Checker – Automatically checks your blog for broken links and notifies you per mail.
    • Contact Form 7 – There are a lot of contact forms out there. And to be honest, they are all the same! =)
    • Disqus Comment System – Very cool plugin for commenting.
    • Google Analytics for WordPress – Google Analytics are an absolute must and this plugin works great for integrating it into your WordPress blog.
    • LeadSquared Website Topbar – This plugin will add a nice, customizable bar on the top of your website. Great to highlight featured articles.
    • Light – Responsive LightBoxAutomatically makes all images that link to other images into a responsive lightbox. Click on any image on this blog to see how it looks like.
    • Limit Login Attempts – Name is program. Limits failed login attempts and adds an additional level of security to your blog.
    • MailChimp for WordPress Lite – Simple plugin to integrate MailChimp email forms and newsletters.
    • Redirection – Set custom routes to fix broken links and prevent 404 errors.
    • Table of Contents Plus – Allows you to create content tables and add them to your blog posts or whereever else you want them. Very handy when you create longer posts to keep the overview.
    • WordPress Importer – Used it to import my stuff from my old WordPress.com account. It includes posts, pages and all media and comments and really helps you with the process.
    • WordPress SEO by Yoast – Probabely the only SEO plugin you will need.
    • WP Socializer – Allows you and your readers to add your content on social media networks. Also adds this little fancy floating social bar you see on the side.
    • WP Super Cache – Speeds up the loading of your blog by caching already loaded content.

Money Management

  • YNAB – This is THE money monitoring app I use and can recommend. A wonderful desktop + mobile app that integrates all your financial accounts and gives you a picture of your entire financial life at a glance. With a price of $60 it might be a little expensive, but the value it gave me was multiple times worth the initial price. Also there is a 34 days trial for you to check and see if this is something for you worth investing in. Addionally, subscribing to their newsletter is very informal and eductional on money matters and the general idea of cashflow. Even if you decide not to get it for yourself, give yourself a minute and read more about their method. This knowledge alone helped me a lot and it might do the same for you too.
  • Mint – Basically the FREE version of the YNAB concept. It’s also got great budgeting tools, which I don’t really use – but if you’re into budgets, more power to you! Definitely a wonderful alternative.

Books

  • Goodreads – I use it to keep track of what I have already read and also what I am going to read in the near future.
  • My Reading Adventures – Check out the stuff that I put into my brain. It is a complete list of all the books I have read so far (plus I update it monthly so you can also bookmark it if you are interested in some nice lecture).
Thomas Mondel Writer. Thinker. Blogger.