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.

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