Productivity is the “It” word in the office. With the workload of the average worker increasing in the past few years, there is a pressure to up the productivity of our work. On top of being focused and task oriented at work, you will realise that finding the right tools to complement your workflow does wonders to the amount of time that you can save.
Influenced by the techie that Terence is, we’ve grown to become willing guinea pigs for new apps. Over the years of playing with tools, testing and failing and try new ones again and again, here are 5 tools that our office swears by:
Basecamp is a project management app which includes to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. When our company first started to grow, we started to explore a variety of project management apps. When Terence first introduced Basecamp to us, we screamed, protested, pulled our hair out, even boycotted the app for a few weeks. After it looked like he wasn’t giving up on this app, we stopped complaining, and gradually resigned to using it. Fast forward a few months, people in the office started declaring that they loved Basecamp and couldn’t live without it. A marked change, yes, but it wasn’t an unfounded one. Basecamp is an amazingly user-friendly and foolproof app that allows you to assign to-dos to others and to manage these to-dos with a commenting and file sharing system. It has helped in reducing the amount of clutter in our email inbox by taking the load of management of tasks off the email and made organising and structuring different projects really easy. Our tech team carries out sprints every week (a list of to-dos) and we use Basecamp to conduct discussions on them during the week and check them off every meeting.
Google docs doesn’t need any introduction. Essentially a document collaboration app, it is useful for team assignments and projects, enabling teams to work on the same file without needing to keep track of different versions. Google hangouts allow for group video chats, coupled with file sharing, screen sharing and document sharing functions. This is a super essential tool for days that we don’t work in the office and need to discuss something. Having Google docs side by side hangouts allow us to note-take seamlessly and share our discussion points, bypassing that limitation of not being together in the same physical space.
Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to keep notes, web clips, files, audio, images in different “notebooks”. It is available cross-platform and device as well. Our office primarily used Google sites as a resource sharing and learning platform and decided to do a switch because of Evernote’s ease of use on mobile devices. It has only been a few days since implementing Evernote, and our frequency of use has spiked so much! I like it because it allows for easy upload of various mediums like images and audio on mobile devices. (We don’t sell mobile learning without being a mobile learning organisation ourselves.) We use Evernote to share resources that we collect during research all throughout the day (Yes, that includes when we lunch, when we travel, etc). More on this next week!
Todoist is my daily to-do list manager. While Basecamp manages team to-dos, I tend to like breaking down these to-dos into even smaller tasks, scheduling them every day. This helps me to plan my time daily and also helps me with to-dos in my personal life, like running errands and paying the bills. It also sends me reminders everyday on my mobile phone, and I get immense satisfaction from checking off these to-dos as the day goes by.
Being an enthusiast for news and constantly needing new information for business development, marketing and blogging purposes, our team uses Feedly as our RSS Feed Reader for news curation. It has helped us a lot in accessing new information throughout the day without having to go through the hassle of visiting websites. Though, it would really be useful if users get to share feeds or categories with other users instead of having to build up personal feeds from scratch.
The best part about having a tiny office (10 people) is the ease of introducing initiatives like new office tools into our workflows. There may be initial resistance against these tools (I’m personally guilty for some of them) but they are generally pretty easily to implement within a time frame of about 3-4 months. And when you find the right tool that blends so effortlessly into your workflow, you will find yourself loving it more and more each day. What tools have you found useful in managing your day-to-day tasks? Do share them with us in the comments below!