Two thumbs up for productivity
If you’re anything like me, you’re in love with the idea of squeezing out as much of a day as possible. I absolutely adore any tool that gives me time back or streamlines my processes, and let’s face it, there are hundreds of thousands of options today.
So we went out hunting to find out which tools you are using today to keep yourself on track, boost your team’s results, and get s**t done. Below, in alphabetical order, are some of the tools that professionals can’t live without:
Abigail Summar, Sole Proprietor and Writer at Blonde Anarchy said, “I use an online app called 17 Hats to manage my marketing company. It allows me to organize notes, bookkeeping, call logs, contacts, projects, and even project workflows. The interface is gorgeous and I actually enjoy logging in every day.”
“I use Acuity Scheduling to schedule all of my appointments. Instead of having to go back and forth with clients on availability, I send them this link. It creates a calendar invite that drops directly into my calendar and theirs. It also sends a reminder the day of the meeting. Clients can go in and make changes as well and I am alerted. It saves me hours!” says Gretchen Hydo, Business Productivity and Life Coach at Any Lengths Life Coaching.
Popular pick: Asana
Collin Slattery, Founder at Taikun Inc. tells us, “As far as tools are concerned, I really only use one. I am a big Asana user, and I have it setup for my entire team as well. I use heavily modified GTD system with Asana, and it keeps track of all my work and personal tasks.”
Popular pick: Basecamp
“I use Basecamp to manage my projects and clients,” Michael Finney, Founder of Enlightenment Learning tells us. “It is easy to use, I can communicate with clients, manage tasks, and much more. I swear by it for project management. It keeps me organized and makes clients feel like they are a part of the process.”
“My current personal favorite is Boomerang, this awesome little tool is an app for gmail that allows me to answer emails anytime and send them at a later scheduled time. Plus I can keep my inbox empty and have an email that hasn’t been responded to “boomeranged” back to my inbox in a select number of days,” recommends Intuitive Marketing Genius’ CEO, Audrey Christie McLaughlin.
Popular pick: Buffer
Bob Bentz, President of PURPLEgator notes, “For social media, we use Buffer App. With Buffer App, you can work on your social media posts just once per week and set them up to go for the rest of the week. It sure beats posting all the time during the week and it allows your posts to go up during the evenings and weekends at times when you wouldn’t otherwise post them. For just $10 per month, you can set up to ten social media accounts so you can cover most of the major social media networks with this one tool.”
“CamScanner – works brilliantly, and means I just immediately deal with, scan, file to Google Drive (or other cloud service) any paperwork that comes in and clutter is gone!” says WeRehearse.com Co-Founder, Darren Darnborough.
Comedian and Actor, Dan Nainan weighs in, “My number one productivity tip is to use voice dictation – DragonNaturallySpeaking. It’s how I type everything (including this message). When I try to tell people how awesome it is, they always say the same thing ‘I tried to use years ago and it doesn’t work.’ That is not true. If you tweak it right, it does work, and amazingly so, and it has gotten much more accurate over the years.”
“As an entrepreneur, I need to be able to make sure things get done on time. The Due App allows me to quickly set reminders so I can move on to the next task. It helps make good habits stick. There are hundreds of reminder apps but none that get the fundamentals as right as Due,” Corvus Capital Management LLC President, Stephen Vogel tells us.
EchoSign (now Adobe eSign)
Eboni L. Truss, CEO of The Purpose Passion + Profit Group asserts, “I freaking love EchoSign by Adobe. It allows me to quickly send documents to my clients and they can electronically sign them from the convenience of any device they are using. This allows me to easily and instantly get what I need done instead of chasing people or depending on a fax machine.”
Popular pick: Evernote
“We use Evernote to improve our productivity and organize all of our shared files, receipts, articles, blog posts and more. Evernote is a tool that allows you to scan or save a “note” into the program, tag it with specific key words, and organize them in different “notebooks” or categories. The best feature of Evernote is that you can access the program from any device (laptop, tablet, or smartphone) by logging in to your account or by syncing your iCloud. You will never be without your important notes and documents again!” proclaims Strategia Design Founder and CEO, Deborah Ginsburg.
“One of my favorite apps that helps me get more done is called Expensify,” reports Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco CEO. “Expensify is an app that helps manage all of my business expenses through a simple dashboard in the app. The hassle of keeping all of my receipts are gone and when tax season comes around it saves me a tremendous amount of time and headaches.”
Digital Marketing Strategist, Brad Hines states, “As far as following up with clients, volunteers, staff, anyone, I use FollowUpThen.com. A free service where I can simply CC or BCC them on any e-mail, for any amount of time to have the email bounce back to me.”
Popular pick: Google Apps
“As we created more and more shared spreadsheets, templates, checklists, and links, it made sense to develop a system to serve as an integrated internal directory for our small business, which assists entrepreneurs with legal matters. After some research, we realized that a Wiki/intranet would be a flexible solution. We were already using Google Apps for Work, so Google Sites provided a seamless integration that helps us to stay organized and be productive,” declares Erika Yost Kumar, EPW Small Business Law PC.
Ryan Lockhart, Partner at Group46 notes, “If you have ever got to the end of your day and wondered what you invested your time on that’s where I was last year while starting my company group46. This year I have implemented the company-wide use of Harvest which has increased companywide productivity and mostly my own productivity. I find it a great accountability tool and have started utilizing it in the quoting and proposal process for new business coming into my agency.”
“Our whole team is absolutely hooked on Trello [mentioned later] although it provides many useful project management and organizational features by itself, when paired with an outside tool such as If This Then That [IFTTT], the sky is the limit in terms of productivity,” affirms Sekoul Krastev, Co-Founder and Managing Director at concept9. “For example, we can create an IFTT “recipe” that automates task assignment within Trello, so that any tasks that are not finished on a given day are automatically assigned to team members in a new Daily Task checklist. Pretty neat right?”
“We are very focused on social media right now, especially Instagram. In order to work more efficiently we are using sites, such as, Latergramme to set up future posts and grow our following more effectively,” says Kehko Co-Founder, Chris Holman.
Gabriel Institute CEO, Dr. Janice Presser proclaims, “I love Nutshell CRM! Organization is my biggest failing and sales focus is my most important action item. Nutshell integrates our CRM, my tasks, my calendar, Mailchimp, and social insights, all for a tiny fraction of the cost of other solutions. (To me, bigger is not always better…)”
Popular pick: Pocket
“Subway productivity and workday focus thanks to Pocket App. By saving interesting articles that pop up from twitter or emails throughout the day into the app, you can stay focused and more productive on your tasks. Plus, it’s a great system for closing all those browser tabs!” says Veronika Harbick, Co-Founder of Thursday Finest.
Go Fish Digital Partner, Brian Patterson notes, “I love RescueTime, as it keeps me honest on how much time I spent (and wasted) during the week. It runs in the background of my computer, and on Sunday sends me an email with how much time I spent in different apps and also categorizes time into things like ‘communication’, ‘software development’, ‘design’, etc. This is a great way to determine where time was well spent, where it wasn’t, and how to focus better for the week ahead.”
“Scheduling meetings with potential partners and clients can be completely time-consuming. Literally 5-10 emails back and forth, text messages, etc. just to set up a call. Schedule Once has done the work of an executive assistant and has allowed me to simply send one link to the individual or company and 1) Schedule and add the meeting to my calendar 2) Confirm meetings. After setting it up once it’s completely automated for me now,” raves Sharon Herzog, Founder of Luxe Media, Inc.
Timeful (acquired by Google)
Cheekd.com Founder, Lori Cheek tells us, “My all time new favorite productivity app is Timeful. It’s basically like a calendar with a personal assistant attached to it. Timeful allows you to schedule events (import your calendar) yet has an algorithm that monitors your behaviors and reschedules events based on your productivity. It’s almost like the app knows better than you do when you should be scheduling things throughout your day. As a completely overwhelmed small business owner, It’s completely changed the way I think about organizing my days.”
MOST popular pick: Trello
“We use Trello to collaborate,” notes Punters.com.au Director, Heath Kilgour. “It’s an incredible flexible tool that allows people to collaborate about anything. We started using it for project management, but now use it for recruiting, systems, to-do lists, logging ideas and pretty much everything. I even used it with my wife to manage our renovations. The emails give you a summary of what has happened across all your activity – you miss nothing in your business (which is critical for an entrepreneur).”
Note from the Editor: Trello was not only the most common response from entrepreneurial leaders, but is a tool that we’ve used here at AG for several years to keep our international staff organized, and is the tool we simply cannot live without.
Sujan Patel, Co-Founder at ContentMarketer.io said, “As a marketer, I’m constantly signing up for email newsletters to stay on top of my game and get a feel for what other brands and businesses are doing to connect with people. To boost productivity and keep things under control, I manage my subscriptions using a tool called Unroll.Me. It lists all my email subscriptions in one place and lets me unsubscribe in one click.”