Once you’re off the clock, it’s your time. But if you’re like me, there’s never enough free time. I mean, how are you actually supposed to grocery shop, go to the gym (ha!), do laundry, make dinner, spend time with loved ones, and get caught up on life (plus tackle those last few, lingering emails) when you have only a few hours of “free time” each evening? Sadly, I can’t teach you to do all that; I haven’t figured that out for myself.

What I can do is help you make the most of the “free time” you do have. It’s not about cutting corners, it’s about cutting out the unnecessary and using tools to make your life more efficient.

Every day I have to get my news. That’s just a priority for me. Theoretically, I can watch the evening news each night at 7 as I elliptical until my heart’s content. Realistically, this happens maybe once a week – and that’s where these tools come into play.

Here are the tools that I use to get the news quickly, ranked from slightly-fluffy to professionally-specific:



Only 22 percent of adults think Facebook is a useful way get news, according to a study by Pew Research Center. And personally, I agree. Facebook is by no means the best way to get your news, as most news tends to be entertainment, community or sports related. However the same study shows that 78 percent of U.S. adult Facebook users do see news when on Facebook. Don’t go out of your way to use Facebook for news, but if you do use Facebook there are a few things you can do to get more out of your you time. Keep your eyes peeled: get your pop culture news; satisfy your celeb fix, read about your local Polar Bear Plunge, keep up with your local delegates, and maybe even catch up on national politics. Don’t use Facebook more, just use it better.

BBC News App


With the exception of Nightly News with Brian Williams (ahem, Lester Holt for now), I’m not a big fan of American news stations. It’s just a personal preference. So I turn to the BBC for seemingly better, less politicized news. And though I do enjoy scrolling through its homepage, clicking through often takes more time than I have. So I installed the BBC News app on my elderly iPhone 4s. Not only does this seem to make site navigation more efficient (stories are organized by section in neat, scrollable categories that I select), but there are push notifications. Push notifications! Now I don’t have to search for news. Instead, each day’s top stories are sent directly to me. Two minutes, and done. Thanks, BBC.



I don’t like scrolling through Twitter for news. It’s just not my style. But I love Hootsuite, since it lets me set up tabs containing specific streams of information. For those of you that don’t already know, streams are lists of tweets, organized… however you want them to be!

I organize mine by searches: news, marketing news, and world news; that’s my real news tab. My other tab is travel-centric; it displays the tweets of AFAR magazine, tweets that mention Thailand (my upcoming destination), tweets that mention New Zealand (because it’s beautiful), and those that mention adventure (because, well, why not?). In other words, I make HootSuite relevant to me, my needs, and my life. All I have to do is click quickly through my streams, and I can get a sense of what’s going on in all of my tab-organized worlds.

LinkedIn’s Pulse


Pulse is designed for those that have only a few free moments in their day – not quite “free time,” but some semblance of downtime. Pulse lets you use those moments productively, learning about what’s going on in your world. Because Pulse is integrated with LinkedIn, creating LinkedIn Today, it connects with the channels, influencers, and content that you may already follow.

Pulse may not know what you want to read, but it knows what you should read. Instead of reading blogs about spiralized zucchinis (awesome though they are), I can log into Pulse through LinkedIn Today, and quickly access information on The Buyer’s Experience, Steps to Customer Success, and How to Make Small Talk – all of which are more than relevant to my career. Essentially, Pulse and LinkedIn Today let me feel like I spend my down time responsibly.

Google Alerts


Simply put, Google Alerts are awesome. Because I manage a portfolio of clients in a range of industries – from insurance and healthcare to technology, trade associations and landscape architecture firms – Google Alerts have become integral parts of my day. At the click of my mouse, Google Alerts notifies me every day (or week, or month) of key stories surrounding the words or terms that matter the most.

All I have to do is check my email, and select the relevant alert. That’s it. It’s fast, simple, and painless. In my humble opinion, it’s the most proactive, efficient way to get a quick summary of what’s been going on in your industry, track your competitors, or receive an alert when someone mentions your company or brand online (or whatever else you like to stay in-the-know about).

Getting Your News Quickly

I still don’t have enough free time, and I probably never will. But these tools help me make the most of the time that I have. I can take a quick moment to check up on world news with Twitter. I can read quickly about specific industries with my Google Alerts. I can learn about current events when I happen to check my phone. I can further myself professionally with LinkedIn Today. And (debatably) equally important, I can prove that I don’t live in a cave with a quick check of my Facebook. And now, with these tools, you can do the same.