By: Rebecca Teaff
When writing my 7 lessons in 7 years blog post, I realized there are many apps and softwares that help me be more productive on a day-to-day basis. Here are my current top 7 tools:
Things is an amazingly powerful To-Do List app. I have been using Things for seven years and its methodology is still effective. I plan my schedule on Friday afternoons for the next week and sit down each day to review the list.
- It works on both your phone and desktop (for Macs) and syncs wirelessly between devices.
- It gives you options to schedule tasks, create projects etc.
- Each day you review your tasks and can easily move to another day if priorities have shifted.
There are many jokes circulating around about my color coded calendar but I stand firm on it because it works! iCal is much more than a simple calendar.
- You can color code the type of events. At a glance, you can tell if you are over scheduled in one area like networking.
- You can schedule recurring meetings with a number of various settings: every Monday, once a month on the 1st Monday, etc.
- You can easily invite collaborators to one-time meetings (or recurring) and include location or call-in information.
- Alerts are a great way to remind yourself of a scheduled call.
- I love using iCal to just block off non-meeting items that have to get done. For example, giving myself ½ hour for lunch most days is essential or I will overschedule.
Almost everyone uses Waze (including my baby-boomer parents) but it’s still worth mentioning!
- You can link Waze to your iCal on your iPhone and Waze will automatically update if you would like to start driving to your destination based upon your calendar.
- Saving Favorites is essential. Baltimore is known for it’s traffic and I use Waze even if I know where I’m going. Many times it has alerted me to construction or traffic and re-routed me so I can make it on time.
- I have even started using Waze for quick local trips around Towson, MD. Redstart’s office is close to Towson University and traffic patterns can change based upon when classes get out!
Redstart is an in-person and virtual team. The next four tools are for our team collaboration:
Freshbooks is cloud based software that focuses on accounting for small businesses. By far, the best feature of Freshbooks is time tracking! It has the most options to customize time tracking and review time. You can track time not just by project but by specific tasks and in any time increment. When you review your time reports you can review by client, by task, by team member etc. It is essential for monitoring time and keeping projects within budget.
Dropbox is a cloud storage system. I love it for many reasons, but first and foremost, it is very easy to use. There are so many benefits:
- Files are backed up if anything happens to my computer.
- It is easy to share across different platforms.
- We can easily share files among our team and with clients – we use Dropbox for Business (link).
- Among family and friends, I can easily share photos and videos from events, instead of emailing giant file attachments.
- I can access via my desktop, the web or my iPhone.
Basecamp has been an integral tool for us since the start of Redstart.
- We can easily share communications on a project in one place.
- Email alerts let you know when to check updates.
- Client direction and files can be uploaded here.
- When a proof is ready, all necessary team members can review it and comment before it goes to a client.
Zoom is a video conferencing system and the newest tool we are using at Redstart. Being able to see faces during client calls makes it so much more interactive! www.zoom.us
- Zoom allows us to have a video call with unlimited participants, with audio only options.
- We can screen share from the leader’s computer but also allow screen sharing from any call participant.
- We can share job timelines, creative work, and even sketch ideas.
- Calls can be recorded so we are able to go back and check our notes.
I hope this has been helpful and that you’re taking away some new tools to help boost your productivity! What are some of your favorite productivity tools?