Everyone’s talking about productivity. So I want to talk about some productivity apps I don’t think you can live without. We use all of these apps, so this isn’t just a list of things I saw and thought looked neat. We actually use this stuff.
Google Calendar is an awesome, free online tool. It may have features you haven’t heard of. You can manage multiple calendars on one program. You can separate your calendars by projects, deadlines, or any other categories that work for you and add different color coding to each.
Google Calendar allows you to have everything integrated into a single location. I know if I have everything in separate locations, I’ll forget that school registration is this day and schedule something over it. So, instead of doing that, I try to keep everything in one place on Google Calendar.
Another great feature is called “Find a time” which allows you to share your calendar with your team members to schedule a time to meet or have a conference call. Google Calendar will actually search each person’s schedule and give you a list of times when everyone is free. You can also set appointment slots that your team members can see and then schedule appointments with you during those selected times.
I’ve seen some amazing videos on organization with Google Calendar, and it’s just really an amazing tool. You can add attachments, access the world clock, and enable working hours which prevents others from scheduling without you outside of your work hours. I don’t think anybody really uses it to its full capacity.
This is one of the two on this list that isn’t free – it’s $6 a month. This scheduling allows you to sync all your calendars. So if you’re using your phone, then Google Calendar, then some other calendar, it allows you to pull all that into a single location. It will also integrate with your website so you can provide your available times and cut out a lot of back and forth. Customers can directly see when you’re available and, when it’s integrated with your website, create an appointment with you directly through Doodle. You can create time intervals depending on the appointment – if it’s a showing, an hour; a phone call, ten minutes, and so on.
Doodle also features group scheduling. So if you have a team and you’re trying to see when everyone’s available for a meeting – if you have more than three people, you know that’s a nightmare – everyone marks all the times they’re available. Doodle generates a matrix to find the common ground and finds everyone’s best available time. It’s a really neat tool that helps streamline things so you aren’t going back and forth.
This is the second app listed here with a cost – $7.99 a month. Evernote helps organize all your notes, receipts and papers. The coolest thing Evernote offers is the scan and search feature. It can pull text from scanned photos using optical character recognition. This is a really useful feature. Imagine you’re at a networking event and meeting lots of new people. You can actually just scan the front and back of their business cards instead of taking the time to type in their information. It will then take all the information and store it in your phone. Then, with the click of a button, you can email your contact information to the contact you just added in your phone. If you’re like me, when you meet multiple people at an event you can easily forget what you talked about with each person. This app allows you to jot down notes on the back of their business card and those are scanned in just like the information printed on the card.
Also, I take notes for everything, so, after meeting with a client, I would scan my notes into Evernote, and then it’s searchable documentation just like it with Google Drive. That’s amazing. It’s especially wonderful for those who are a bit scattered. You might have a paper notes in one place, paper receipts in another and then some documents online, and Evernote allows you to bring it all together into a central hub. I love it for receipts – I hate paper – so this app allows me to scan and keep it all so I can get rid of the paper.
This is a free time tracker that runs in the background on your computer – if you aren’t afraid to find out where all your time goes during the day, because it will tell you. You might think, “It’s OK, I’m only spending like 30 minutes a day on social media,” but this program will tell you how much time you’re actually spending on Facebook or on this contract or crafting emails.
One neat feature is that it allows you to track the time you spend both online and offline. So you’ll not only be able to tell how much time you’re spending on emails but also how much time you spent putting that presentation together as well. It’s super helpful if you’re trying to find out where all your time goes. Every team faces this problem: it’s impossible to charge if you don’t know how much time you’re really spending on a project. You have no idea if you’re making money, if you’re breaking even, or what your profit is if you don’t know where your time is going or how much time you’re allocating. If you think it’s taking you an hour and you charge for an hour, but it’s actually taking three hours, that’s brutal. Even if you don’t charge by the hour. If you don’t know your gross, it makes your life more difficult as a business owner.
RescueTime also allows you to block notifications from certain websites so you’re not interrupted and can continue to work on the project you need to be focused on. If you are easily distracted, this will work wonders for your productivity.
This is a newer tool that you may not have heard of and it’s a little bit more costly. Depending on the size of your team it’s going to cost around $400 but that’s annual. It allows project managers and their teams to turn project files and spreadsheets into beautiful graphics. This standardizes all your presentations and saves you a ton of time. If you have a presentation to make for your boss, team, or even a client, it takes all your information and efficiently creates attractive graphics that are consistent. If you do lots of presentations, you know that preparing your information in a way that can be easily processed by your client can be a huge time suck. So, even though this tool is a bit more costly, it may be worth it for you in the long run.
This is a free online checklist that I really love to use on my computer, but can also be used on your phone. I am the worst about sending my team a midnight or 6 a.m. text, because if I don’t send it immediately, it’s gone. And I don’t want to do that to them.
So by having it in one master to-do list on Todoist, I can tag certain people as project reminders, then they can check it off once they’ve covered it. I don’t have to ask whether this or that project got done, I can see that it’s checked off the master list and move on. It gets rid of a lot of back and forth.
This is a free grammar check, spell check and plagiarism detection program. For any blog writers, if you’re writing any kind of content for yourself or your website, you need Grammarly. If you think people aren’t reading your work, misspell a word or make a grammatical error. Yikes. It’s a mess.
We use Grammarly for our blog posts. it’s not just spell check. It tells you if it’s grammatically sound and correct. Maybe this or that sentence is a little questionable or awkward and you should rewrite it. I get a lot of that. Maybe this content from a client just doesn’t look or read right. Grammarly helps you get through that and kind of get a better idea of how it’s sounding, if it’s really correct and if it’s something you need to keep.
There is a paid version of Grammarly but the free version is actually pretty great. Definitely start with the free version first and see if you actually need to upgrade before opting for the paid version.
Give these apps a try and watch your productivity skyrocket.