Some people sit around, waiting for their idea “lightbulb” to turn on instead of taking aggressive action on creating ideas. Others find it difficult to get their brilliant ideas to work once they begin acting on it. As Tim Ferris said, “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” It’s easy to caught up spending too much time on things that hinder productivity, but with the right tools, productivity can be improved by extreme measures. Technology and automation have greatly advanced over the recent years, providing all of us with tools that help improve our productivity and allow us to use our time more efficiently.
In this article, I am going to provide 8 tools that have been a game changer for me in the past few years. Although each tool takes its own approach on productivity, collectively, they have enabled me to be more productive and have a more efficient work life.
Asana is an all-in-one tool that helps teams organize and plan workflows, projects, and more. This web and mobile application improves collaboration and team management. It has multiple 3rd party integrations, as well as very useful native ones. With Asana, team members are able to create “tasks” and assign them to anyone within their team. There are also options to set descriptions, tags, and due dates. As for projects, Asana allows you to create different boards, as Trello does, but with more flexibility and functionality. Asana also comes with the ability to implement a timeline functionality that is represented into a Gantt chart with the different tasks created for a project.
Hourstack is a great productivity tool and complement to using Asana. This time tracker app helps you track tasks, organize them by tags and projects, check other’s team member’s tasks, and best of all, allows you to get tasks from other management tools, including Asana!
Aside from helping me track how many hours I spend on each task, Hourstack helps me better organize my day and week, making sure I keep my top priorities upfront.
Evernote is one of the best note taker apps I have “ever” used. This tool is super flexible and helps its users take very good notes – including audios, photos, videos, and even web articles. It also has helpful features such as reminders and the ability to see the notes across multiple devices. If you tend to be someone who is a bit unorganized, the folders and tags feature will be your new tag-along in getting things organized, prioritized, and checked off your list.
Google Drive is an amazing tool. Not only does it have a cloud service, allowing you to pull up items on different devices at any moment, but is comprised of different features such as docs, sheets, and slide. All of these features enable you to access, view, and edit all of your work without downloading or buying any software. It is also super easy to share documents and collaborate between multiple people. What about not being able to recover old versions of documents? A version history feature is available, which allows you to recover past work or view edits that have been made. And the best part of all – it’s FREE!
This was my lifesaver when I was in school. Fast-forward to today, Grammarly is still my right-hand man when it comes to checking grammar. Grammarly helps me write quickly, as I rarely have to worry about small grammatical errors. This app helps fix grammatical errors within a bulk of text. Grammarly checks can be done directly on its site, or by adding the Grammarly Chrome extension, which lets you fix mistakes almost anywhere within Google Chrome. I must admit that Grammarly has made me a bit lazy about correcting errors myself, but the time I have saved with this tool makes it completely worth it.
If you are someone who uses one password for everything or find yourself resetting your passwords a few times a month because you forget them, this app is made for you. LastPass is a centralized hub with all of your passwords, protected by one master password. The feature that I like the most about this tool is that with its Chrome extension, it automatically fills your credentials on the specific site you are trying to log into. Since this app is in the cloud, you are able to access your passwords wherever you are — even from the mobile app — so you will never be without them.
Zapier has the ability to integrate with more than 1,000 apps that are surrounding the web right now. With its integration, you are able to automate your work and increase productivity on a high level. Automation with Zapier takes only a couple of minutes, due to its easy process of making a “Zap.” The possibilities of what you can do with this app are endless. A basic example of something Zapier automates is the following: “When I post a new article, Zapier posts it on my social media accounts.” Although this is a very basic task within Zapier, it is a simple example of the automation process. If you are interested in learning more about this process, I recommend researching the various automation possibilities and opportunities that Zapier offers.
Slack is a great communication tool when work among teams. It facilitates real-time conversation within big or small teams. The app lets you create different channels, where you can include an unnumbered amount of people, while still being able to get the attention of all (or specific) users. There is also the ability to create a small group or to have single one-on-one conversations. Slack is great for sharing images, files, or even external links. If sharing a video, it will playable from the same direct window. Slack has a powerful API, or application programming interface, which is already implemented in multiple management software, which could help you integrate Slack into your current workflow process.