My recent conversation with Fabricio Teixeira (Ep 3, The Informed Life podcast) focused on how Fabricio and his partner Caio Braga manage UX Collective, one of the most popular UX design publications in the world. Fabricio and Caio leveraging a chain of tools that allows just the two of them to produce work that would’ve required a larger team in the past.

Much has been written about how social media and other information environments impair our cognitive abilities. (I touched on this myself in Living in Information.) But information environments can also augment our abilities. There are ​myriad easy-to-use information systems that allow us to get stuff done more efficiently.

As a small business owner, there’s much I can do online that would’ve required outsourcing or hiring other people in the past. There are online systems available to automate everything from bookkeeping to marketing. It’s not that they do it all for you; automation isn’t quite that advanced yet. That said, these systems allow you to better leverage your time.

Take Buffer, one of the systems that came up in the conversation with Fabricio. Buffer allows you to pre-schedule social media posts; you can determine when you’d like specific messages to be published through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. In essence, it allows you to create a personal marketing system. This means you can allocate your time more wisely: rather than having to post messages in real-time (with the potential distractions that entails), you can set time aside to plan out your messages in a batch.

APIs make the system work. Buffer wouldn’t be of much use if it couldn’t leverage social networks. It’s not a free-standing tool, but rather a way to bring together several other systems that provide particular functionality. Centralizing posting to several social networks creates great efficiencies. I’ve been using Buffer for years, and have found it useful. It allows my messages to have greater reach than they would’ve if I had to post individually to each social platform in real-time.

Buffer is one of many such systems. I’m sure there are many others I’m not aware of that could automate or augment my other workflows, or help me do things that I simply wouldn’t have been able to before. One of the reasons why I started The Informed Life is that I want to learn about such systems — and share what I learn with you. What’s working for folks? What isn’t? How might we configure our personal information ecosystems so we can thrive?