Catalyst Arts Blog
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  • July25th

    Rounding out this Series of 10 ‘Inspired Productivity Tools’

    TOOL #8-
    STICKIES or POSTICA

    A great freeware tool that I use regularly is the computer equivalent of those little colored Sticky Notes. You can download it for free for mac or PC and then create as many notes as you want for various little snippets of info. You can color code the notes too. With Postica you can add images into the note and email them to yourself or others.

    http://www.posti.ca/

    TOOL #9-
    EVERNOTEwww.evernote.com

    This is a really great meta tool for keeping all the little snippets of interesting content in one place so you can remember it, organize it and utilize it in the future. You can email a note to yourself or someone else. Good when you stumble across a site you really want to keep tabs on, but you kow just bookmarking it won’t do the trick (how often do we really go through all our bookmarks?) Evernote it.

    EXAMPLE Below is a screenshot clip taken in Evernote of my Evernote User Window.

    evernoteclip

    TOOL #10-

    TA-DA LISTS– http://www.tadalist.com/

    For those To Do List Junkies out there… here is an easy online to do list that helps you keep track of your List or create multiple lists. When you check something off your list, you can still see it in a lighter color, so you can track your progress.

    FABULOUS BONUS  TOOL-
    (this one is more about enjoyment than productivity)

    PANDORA FREE INTERNET RADIO
    http://pandora.com

    Create a Radio Station based off of any favorite song, artist or album! It will introduce you to similar music and is a great way to get exposed to new artists. Great for people addicted to discovering new music. I play my pandora radio stations lately more than my own Itunes!

    pandora

  • July17th

    Both of these tools from Google compliment one another and greatly inform any process of branding research, marketing copy creation, and SEO, among other things.

    FIND YOUR KEYWORDS-

    This free tool is really great for choosing what keywords you will seek to emphasize and optimize for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ for your web site.  Also deciding on article titles, Ad copy, Brand Positioning, and endless other uses. For example, with Catalyst Arts and our spotlight artist section, I have been using the wording of ‘conscious hip hop’ to explain the sort of hip hop we promote. When I type that in and click ‘get keyword ideas’ I learn that my phrase only gets 1,900 searches on average a month, whereas ‘underground hip hop’ gets 8,100 searches per month. So if I make that slight adjustment, there are over 6,000 people more who may stumble upon our site.
    https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

    CUSTOM GOOGLE ALERTS-

    This tool is great for efficiently and easily Keeping Up on Areas of Strongest Interest. Also great for keeping  an Eye on your Competition. Once you have chosen the juiciest keywords or key phrases from the keywords tool, you can keep easy tabs on them via this free alert tool.

    HOW IT WORKS:
    You can set up a once a week email alerting you to any online action related to your key phrase (such as your name, biz name, or your topic of expertise) Just type in your search term, how comprehensive of a report you want, your email, and how often you want the report delivered. Very easy and very cool.

    For example, a few of my alerts: ‘Catalyst Arts’ and  ‘creative entrepreneur’ and ‘creative career consultant’. This collection arriving in my inbox every week saves me the effort of going out and researching what sites, blogs, etc… are using similar keywords, and keeps me updated on the collective radar screen related to these phrases.

    http://www.google.com/alerts

  • July8th

    Continuing in this series of highlighting cool free online tools that I use…

    #2- ONLINE STOPWATCH

    This is a great time management technique for those of us who tend to jump around a lot with activities and not buckle down and focus on just one project at a time. It is very simple and has helped me to feel (and probably be) more productive.

    HOW IT WORKS:

    http://www.online-stopwatch.com/
    Click the above URL. I use “Count Down” but you can use Stop Watch too. Set a time on the watch that you intend to stay focused one one particular intention. Click the countdown and focus until it rings at you. I recommend doing 40-55 minute chunks and then rewarding yourself with a short break before launching into another focused time “chunk”.

    #3- CHOOSE IT- DECISION MAKING SOFTWARE

    Yes, that is right. There does exist such a thing as decision making software. And it is free. Have a hard decision to make? Need clarity about something? Give this a whirl and see if it helps you to get that clarity so you can move on into action.

    It is a little bit of a scientific way to go about the decision process, but sometimes weighing pros and cons in our heads gets us nowhere, and sometimes pulling a tarot card doesn’t quite satisfy the rational part of us.

    http://chooseit.sitesell.com/

    #4- FREE ONLINE DICTIONARY & THESAURUS

    Sure, this tool may be more relevant to writers than other kinds of artists, but really we all could use some help to decipher official meanings of words for various reasons. Use this tool to expand your vocabulary, or to help choose the right words for your marketing copy.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/  Get the actual definition of a word can give insights very useful to deciding to use it or another. I often start my word deciding process here and then take it to the thesaurus to explore related word options

    http://thesaurus.reference.com/ Great for helping you find just the right word by typing in a word that is close and seeing a cluster of its meaning relatives.

    RECENT REAL LIFE EXAMPLE– I went onto the decision making site to help me decide between two variations on my new tagline for catalyst arts. The decision:
    Either “branding, expanding & promoting creative works” or
    “branding, expanding, & promoting creative projects”.
    The decision software pointed towards works with a small lead. I then looked it up on the dictionary site and didn’t really like the connotations. I did like the project definitions better, and so started leaning towards that choice. Putting project into the thesaurus gave me a couple new options such as “enterprise” and “venture”, and I also got a peek into my word visually clustered with relatives- known as the Visual Thesaurus.
    Definitely Cool enough to be…

    #5- VISUAL THESAURUS

    Is an ” interactive tool that allows you to discover the connections between words in a visually captivating display.” Really great for those of us who like to see things visually. (In case you are one of those people, I used tool #1 (imagespark) to grab a snapshot of this tool in action, and here it is:

    visualthesaurus


    http://www.visualthesaurus.com
    It appears that this tool may not be free, (a disclaimer in case any technicality police visit my blog :)) but it is at least free as a trial and worth exploring.

  • July6th

    ImageSpark-
    This is a really fabulous tool that you download for free that helps you to capture and collect into one place all the great inspiring images you come across in your wanderings through cyberspace. It is especially good for visual artists and designers, as you can grab images that are a “mood” you are going for with a project and use them for your own or a clients reference.

    How it works:
    After you sign up and download it, a little star like icon hangs out in the top right corner of your computer. You see an amazing image you love and just click the icon, easily capture the image and file it in your library for future reference. You can create “mood boards” and easily view and capture images from other users, and you can choose if you want an image to be private or public. A great part is that you give credit to the source of the image (which is good both for honoring its creator and in case you want to use it on something you can check with them and give them proper credit) Here is a clip I took using image spark of my own image spark library.

    imagesparklibrary

    Go to the Site and get it yourself: – http://www.imgspark.com

    And another snapshot of my library

    imspklibrary2

  • July3rd

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FZcAzZOyOg]

    This music video is poignant, potent, emotional, and an important message about destruction and creation and cherishing our planet.

    From a man of such talent, brilliance, and sensitivity. Though the ugly underbelly of the music/entertainment industry really got to him and distorted him- his heart does shine through…and his care- so apparent and passionate.

    This video represents an important message he left behind. A piece of his legacy worth holding up to the light.