When I was young, I looked at time management books and thought – in my childish way – that it must be an easy way for writers to make money. I could see the books flying off the shelves but couldn’t understand why someone would need them to organize their life.
Years later, I have now realized just how important productivity really is when so much is needed to be done in only 24 hours.
Most people today are involved in multiple jobs, projects and businesses. Life is a lot more stressful now than it used to be for our parents and grandparents. Keeping the work-life balance intact is increasingly difficult, while most people just go without it and risk burnout.
As the old adage goes, work smarter not harder. Today, there are literally hundreds of software and apps available to help streamline our work to make it more efficient, quick and hassle-free so we can devote precious hours to becoming more productive, pursue personal interests, or better still spend quality time with family.
With the increasing relevance of DIY tools to suit our work routines, productivity software have become an entire classification on their own.
So, here in no particular order, I’ve presented a list of interesting tools and apps that are guaranteed to help you work smarter, no matter your field.
Evernote is probably the most loved and recommended app. It provides a simple way to keep track of your notes, research, files and to-do lists across multiple platforms including tablets, mobile phones and personal computers.
From finding, collecting, writing, researching to sharing, Evernote allows you to keep track of everything you do, connecting you with colleagues and friends from all over the world to share your work.
The Basic version is free and if you want premium features, its starts with $24.99/month.
Internally, at SEtalks.com, we all love basecamp. I don’t remember the last time I sent a work-related email to any of my colleague.
Basecamp has provided start-ups and small companies with an easy and efficient solution to manage work and collaborate with clients, colleagues and employees.
It is perfect for companies that are in the process of acquiring more work and bigger projects and allows many people to share and collaborate on several projects simultaneously, while also enabling teams to keep track of the progress of each project.
Trello allows people to be creative with their work and helps them streamline projects all the way from visualization to completion.
Trello is designed to be used as a visualization tool rather than a workflow tool. It’s like a virtual board that comes equipped with various colors, card stickers and several other interesting features that allow several people and teams (who could be living across the world) to ideate, pin cards, come up with imaginative details and track the progress of each project with remarkable efficiency and ease.
If you are a website owner, you will need data, and lots of it. Google Analytics provides just that. How can you make your website more profitable in less time?
How can you hit the mark faster and create content that is captivating to your audience? For this, you will have to understand the needs, likes and dislikes of your target audience. Google Analytics is the best tool that organizes and simplifies vast amounts of data that’s reliable.
Which blogs are hooking the most eyes? Which of your services is getting the highest numbers of clicks? Which topics get the most hits? These are questions that start-ups need to know the answers to. Google Analytics provides dependable insights into your website performance, thus enabling you to plan the future accordingly.
Grasshopper solves a business problem of the new millennium. It gives your small business the image it needs to thrive in the market. Several thousand start-ups today are doing business from their very homes to cut costs, instead of buying chic offices in high-rise buildings.
Grasshopper provides a simple phone solution that makes your business look professional. It eradicates the need for expensive telephone devices that occupy a lot of space. It can be set up from your computer with a local phone line.
In fact, you can also create different departments by getting multiple extension numbers, and can integrate mobile phones into the system. Your business partners and various departments can be run from any part of the world via Grasshopper.
It’s that simple.
No person can complete all the work, all the time, on his own, especially if he is running a company, albeit a small one. There will be times when a start-up will require external help that is cheap and reliable.
Upwork provides a network of qualified freelance professionals across the board and helps companies choose the right kind of talent for each project.
Formerly Elance, Upwork provides anyone from web-designers, SEO consultants, writers, editors, social media managers to PR consultants. So, no matter how complicated, hurried or weird your request, you will be able to get the right talent for your work through Upwork.
With this software, you can take your digital marketing to the next level. It intelligently automates your emails, sets up messages to be sent later, helps businesses produce click-based emails and simplifies a number of other email and marketing related tasks.
Infusionsoft is a sales and marketing CRM, but if you are looking for automating your emails only, GetResponse Email Automation is another great solution to look for.
It needs no introduction so I will keep it short.
Dropbox provides a cost-effective and efficient way to share files, collaborate, edit and write documents when several individuals are involved in a project.
Buffer is that one app that is indispensable to growing your business and fan following. Social media has become an essential part of brand image, but if we are not careful, we can easily drain several precious hours every day by just posting links and information across the various social media platforms.
Buffer helps us automate the entire process. All you have to do is simply schedule your social posts in advance and then forget all about them. It will happen automatically, saving you a lot of time (and energy) in the process while at the same time gaining you new fans and connecting you to new visitors and users every single day.
An easy to use contacts management tool that helps you stay connected with existing and potential clients – in a smart way.
We all know that networking is the key to your business success. This is what Insightly does. It lets you organize all your contacts in one place, and it’s free!
A simple productivity tool, Rescue Time allows you to understand where you are spending unnecessary time and how to allocate the same to other more important and beneficial activities.
Just as the name suggests, the app allows you to literally pocket everything away for later ‘when you have time’. It could be a blog, a voice memo, a note, an article or even a song.
No matter where your team is, Slack allows people to connect with each other. It is a messaging platform with over two million active users. It provides a seamless chat interface. Slack aims to eliminate the need for Skype, Google Hangout, even SMS and iMessage – building a communication network that brings people in one place. Slack also allows individuals to share documents on the go.
It is important to understand that growing a business or working more efficiently requires some amount of smart work. At least one or more of the tools provided above will help you increase the efficiency and productivity of your work, save you time and also, let you be more creative with the time that you have.
Above tools can be used by professionals across the board, whether you are a start-up, an e-commerce marketer, a team leader or a PR executive.
Are there any other tools that you find useful?