If there’s one thing I think many of us have in common, especially those in growing businesses, it’s that there are never enough hours in the day. Unsurprisingly, I often recommend outsourcing certain tasks – not only to free up your time, but also to access the expertise of a specialist in their field. That only goes so far though. Here are some online and app-based productivity tools to help you streamline your workday and get some extra time to spend on more important tasks.
1. To Do Lists
There are plenty of to do list apps available, and sometimes it’s a matter of trying out a variety to see which ones work best for you. Carrot, Clear, Wunderlist, Any.do, and Todo are all worth looking into. Research to see which of these productivity tools might be the best fit.
2. Collaboration Software
If you work with a team of people, sometimes collaboration tools can shave hours off arduous tasks that everyone needs to be involved with. At a simple level, Google Drive, and the associated Google Docs and Google Sheets, is a great way to ensure everyone not only has access to the same data, but that it’s also continually kept up to date, making version control far simpler.
Other options include Quip, for collaborating on documents in real time and saving endless emails flying back and forth, and project management tools like Asana, Teamwork or Trello. Again, it’s all about trying a few to see which of these productivity tools fits you and your business.
3. Time Tracking
Useful for teams or individuals, time tracking applications allow you to effectively allocate time to specific projects or tasks. Even if you’re not billing by time, knowing exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks can give you a real insight into where your day can be streamlined. Yast is a particularly good tool for this, but you can find anything from very basic stop clocks, to full time management software.
If you’re managing employees’ time, productivity tools like Nimble Schedule keep track of time and attendance, and can collect and calculate for payroll. Don’t spend your time chasing through emails or spreadsheets when software can take that headache away.
4. Avoiding Procrastination
Procrastination and distraction can be a real productivity-killer, but our brains do start to wander after concentrating for a while. Finding balance is a much more effective solution than trying to overcome every distraction that comes our way.
Pomodoro is a technique that believes productivity increases when we work within an available slot of time, with short, scheduled breaks built in. Rather than trying to push on, or having a tea break mid-way through a task, Pomodoro helps you manage your time, and your own expectations of how you’ll use it.
5. Multi-Device Productivity Tools
If you use multiple devices for your business – desktop, laptop, tablet, and/or phone – you definitely need productivity tools to help you keep your files aligned so that you can access up to date information wherever you are. We don’t all work in an office on one computer these days, so keeping your files synced is particularly important.
Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft Office, allows you to upload your files to the cloud and access them from any device. There are apps for different platforms to make this even easier. Another option is Evernote, a very versatile app that saves notes, photos, attachments and audio files, and syncs them across all of your devices.
Which tools do you use? Love to hear from you in the comments box below.
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