Tools of the Trade
No matter the brand of phone, computer or tablet you have, there are a variety of productivity tools at your immediate disposal. Choosing the best for your business and your needs is imperative for your sanity and your success. See below for the top five tools that work best for increasing your productivity from a digital perspective.
My most loved app is Trello. Trello is an online option for your ideas, goals, and notes in a place easily accessible to you and your team. You can access this platform from a computer or a mobile device. A HUGE perk for the platform is that the free option has most if not all of the features you might need to build a successful hub for your information and content. I do subscribe to the ‘Trello Gold’ option which gives me a few more perks, but I would definitely consider using and getting comfortable with the free option to start. I’ve created a mini-example board for business building that may give you an idea of how Trello can be used for business development. (You can find that board here.) The option of adding business team members is priceless. I use Trello for my content creation, sharing and approval processes with clients. This allows us to have centralized conversations while I work remotely from a home office. I have the option of customizing notifications, tagging team members and make edits to content in real time. Personally, I use Trello within our home life for things such as home projects, dinner plans, and multi-step endeavors. I’m able to add my husband as a contributor and team member to ensure that we are quite literally on the same page. I’ve also used Asana in the past, but I’ve found the platform for Trello to be a bit more user-friendly.
2: Google Calendar
I live in constant fear that I will miss a meeting or a phone call- so I write everything down. One of the apps that helps with keeping all of those ducks in a row is my calendar app. I use the Google Calendar app on my phone and my computer. I can customize the notification timing, time zone, coloring and more all within the platform. The additions sync to both my phone and my computer no matter which tool I use to input the appointment. If I have a call, I can invite others to my calendar appointment and include time, phone number or link as well as information we’re to discuss all in the same place. This removes the extra step of constantly checking email to get to calls and appointments. I’m all for fewer steps and more productivity! I would also recommend that you check out Amy Landino’s Calendar Blocking video for more information about making your google calendar work for you.
3: Headphones (with a microphone)
As we are all consistently on the go within our businesses it is important that we make the most of our time. This may mean that the important call you’re supposed to take comes when you’re inconveniently in the car. Enter the headphone with a microphone tool. I have an Android phone. I rarely put my actual phone up to my hear anymore- and no, I’m not holding important calls on speakerphone. For me, the headphones that came with the device give me great audio quality and clarity while reducing noise from the background while I’m on a call. This happens to be true to the point that I have several of the same set around the office and in my car. I’m rarely without a set of headphones and would highly recommend that you invest in noise canceling- in earbuds that offer great quaily and clarity for those times you’re on the go.
It makes no difference if your team is in-house or works states, or countries, away. Having the ability to discuss projects, needs, and general information with them quickly is a productive way to utilize your time. Enter Slack, a collaboration hub that helps teams to get things done. This online tool allows teams to discuss projects within specialized channels, upload projects and link other apps such as a Google drive to help share resources. As the Slack team is constantly introducing new additions to increase productivity and make workflows easier, the possibilities of productivity are endless.
I read recently that you can’t “hack” pen and paper, which is true. You can, however, make keeping all of those notes a little bit easier. I utilize the notes app on my phone as well as the sticky notes option on the desktop of my computer. This allows me to keep a running to-do list, as well as noting reminders in a place I know I will see, constantly. There should be no excuse for ‘forgetting’ something when it is plastered all over the place.
In conclusion, utilize apps, take notes and help your processes work toward your success, not against you!
If you have other productivity tools or hacks, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to add to my productivity tool belt!