Widgets, those small applications that display information and provide functionality online, aren’t new. So now that the wrapping is off and they’ve matured beyond their experimental phase, here’s a look at 10 must-have productivity widgets/gadgets for your business.
This widget integrates project and time tracking and also keeps track of billing by automatically creating invoices for projects. It is currently only available for Macs, but its Web site promises to have a version ready for PC users in the very near future.
This is a feel-good widget that translates your business’s paper-recycling habits into the amounts of CO2, energy, wastewater, solid waste, and trees that you are saving. The widget’s creator is Green Printer, a recycled paper retailer; it gathers the mathematical data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This free software widget, designed for business-to-business companies, is a news ticker displaying information across your desktop, identifying which businesses are visiting your Web site. When you click on a name, you see contact details, revenue, and more. Customized Watch Lists can also be made to flag existing customers, prospects, partners, and competitors. Salesforce.com users can automatically update their Watch Lists through their CRM systems.
Not a lover of tiny keyboards but accepting of the fact that texting communications will not go away? This is the perfect widget for you. The CallWave texting widget allows you to send and receive texts from anyone with your computer at no cost to you. CallWave also has a cell phone voice mail widget for those who want to completely separate themselves from a phone while on the computer.
If you’re not sure whether you need to focus on some new time-management techniques, this widget will help. The Time Vault tracks the amount of time you spend on tasks and then organizes the tasks into projects so you can see how much total time you are spending on various activities throughout the day.
If you’re one of the many Google AdSense users obsessively checking your earning stats, this widget will dramatically decrease the negative effects of your time-wasting addiction. With one F12 keyboard click on your Mac (sorry PC users), this widget gives you the day’s earnings. It also allows you to see earnings of “yesterday,” “last week,” “this month,” and “last month.” Just make sure you don’t start telling yourself you need to see stats every five minutes.
This Windows Vista gadget instantly compiles recent transactions from whatever combination of accounts you would like to see at a moment’s notice: customers’ PayPal payments or items paid for with the business’s American Express card, Bank of America debit card, or whatever else you can think of. The widget safely gives you a bigger picture of how you are spending money at any given moment. You just have to register with Wesabe’s free personal financial software Web site.
If there’s a reason to shred physical papers with a physical shredder, there’s a reason to digitally shred digital documents. But this widget isn’t just a cuter way of putting things in the trash. The “shredder” is really software that encrypts document codes with a U.S. Department of Defense–compliant seven-pass procedure on its medium setting. On high, a process that can be a little slow at times, documents are put through a 35-pass Gutmann algorithm that ensures absolutely no data can ever be recovered from the document. This widget is for Macs only.
You might roll your eyes at this one initially. Of course, you’ve already got dashboard widgets that tell you the time in different parts of the world, offer Post-it notes, show your calendar, and list upcoming events, but each of those is a separate component. This widget coordinates everything into a single widget, in what the developer calls a digital Swiss Army knife. What’s more, this widget is synced with Mac OS X’s built-in database, which allows Organized to always reflect what’s shown in Mail, your to-do’s, and other apps. This widget is for Macs only.
This simple widget gives you a relevant history of everything you have recently searched for with your Google search toolbar. It also lists the time, so if you are trying to regain a lost train of thought, the history recorded by the widget can set you back on track. You must have a Google login for this widget to work.