I and 8 other entrepreneurs and managers will be sharing 3 of our best tools each that help us stay focused and at the top of our game.
I’ll go first.
1. Google Keep: Google keep does a lot for me. Besides being my note where I put down most of my thoughts, I can also create to-do lists right on the app, and I can access it on all my devices, mobile and desktop.
It also has a Chrome extension that allows me to save links straight from my PC to read or visit later on-the-go.
2. Woop: As a digital marketer, I want to be able to save time on posting by scheduling, and also get quick insights from social analytics. Woopsocial helps me achieve this, as it's easy to use.
3. Airdroid: Airdroid helps me access and synchronise my phone data on my PC. I can access all the files I’ve stored on my mobile device on my desktop, this includes my messaging apps. So I do not need to spend a lot of time on my mobile device throughout the day.
Oyekunle Damola, Digital Consultant - Oyekunledamola.com
1. Pomodoro App: Pomodoro helps me schedule blocks of time to work. My favourite feature on the app allows me to schedule a 25-minute block and then I rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Because of my health issues, it also helps me keep track of time and prompt me to move around, reducing the stress on my back and preventing excessive pain.
2. Trello: I use Trello to keep track of my to-dos and manage client tasks. For example, if I'm doing Facebook ads for a new client, the first thing is going to be onboard the client. Then I send some documents to the clients to fill so that it helps me understand the target audience along with other relevant details. With Trello, it is easy for me to easily mark each task as complete and keep tabs of what's left to be done.
3. Brain.fm: This is an amazing tool for productivity. When I need to set out a specific block of time to work and I don't want any distractions, I put on my headphones and get to work. It basically helps you focus and keeps your concentration on the task you set to achieve. I definitely recommend it to anybody who wants to get a sizable amount of work done and doesn't want to be distracted.
Kulwant Nagi, Founder - Blogging Cage
1. Airmail: The first thing I do after opening my laptop is to check my emails. I have used this app for the past 5 years and it has helped me to be more productive. With an amazing feature that allows you to add multiple email accounts on one dashboard, I added 7 of my email accounts easily. The “To-Do” option on the app makes it easy for me to schedule tasks straight from my email.
Snooze, Reminders, Send Later, Email Templates, and many awesome features in this email app help make you more productive.
2. Evernote: This is another app I have been using for the last 5-6 years. Evernote is my one-stop destination to jot down all my ideas, my plannings, executions, tracking, notes and almost everything related to my business.
3. Flock: I've been using this app for the last 2 years and it has helped me manage my team more effectively. All my teams interact with each other with this tool and each team also has their own group.
I also use it to manage clients and monitor daily activities.
Lindsay Anvik, Business Coach - See Endless, Inc.
1. Asana/Basecamp: I use platforms like Asana or Basecamp to organise projects and keep track of changes and updates. Instead of going back and forth on email, I can quickly assign tasks and follow up on the status. People can also comment on documents and share files without having to go back and forth using email. Both come with an app, so managers can get a bird's eye view of tasks on-the-go.
2. Slack/Skype: Chat applications like Slack or Skype are an easy way to cut down on inbox clutter and get feedback and answers quickly. Instead of waiting on an email reply, teams can communicate or share files without having to wait on an email reply.
3. Evernote: Use Evernote to share articles you want to read on the go. Instead of stopping every time something interesting comes across your feed or you see while reading the news, save it to Evernote. Then when you're waiting on line at the store or for someone to join a call you can use that time to read something. This helps keep managers focused and more productive.
Caroline Wabara, Digital Marketing Consultant - CarolineWabara.com
1. WhatsApp: As a copywriter and blogger, my blogging starts from my WhatsApp, particularly my WhatsApp Status. As soon as I see how people respond to it, I repurpose it for all my online channels to boost sales, traffic and leads. This has saved me time thinking about what to write.
2. Asana: It helps me document my tasks as a checklist for future projects. It saves me a lot of time thinking of what to do first.
3. Canva: It helps me create graphics within a few minutes.
Nooria Khan, Content Marketing Executive - GigWorker
1. Focus Booster: You might have heard of the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps me avoid the issue of taking frequent breaks by breaking my day up into 25-minute focus sessions followed by five-minute breaks. Focus booster app helps me to:
- Minimize distractions
- Maximize focus
- Boost my productivity
2. Boomerang For Emails: This tool has changed the way I work. This tool has solved the obstacles I have faced in the digital workplace like long email chains and boring subject lines. Boomerang comes in handy when I want my emails to be read and wish to improve my email structure.
While many may know this tool by features such as “READ RECEIPTS” (helps with knowing how effective your subject line is) and “REMINDERS” (used for follow-ups), I love its “RESPONDABLE” feature as it helps me to ensure that my email pitches are short but concise. Boomerang has built this feature after reviewing trillions of emails and so it shows us what to write (and how much) in order to get better open rates.
3. Ahref/Google Search Console: We use these SEO tools to measure, analyze and interpret results and then take necessary actions to make changes in our business approach. There are many tools in the market for this purpose. These are the tools we are investing heavily in 2019.
These tools were key in increasing the organic traffic of our sister blog from 253K to 650K within 7 months.
Balazs Hajde, Content Manager - Authority Hacker
As we are a fully remote team, many of the tools we use relate in some way to making this special setup efficient. My Top 3 productivity tools would be Asana, Dynalist, and Slack.
1. Asana: Ideal for project management and tracking with an easy-to-understand layout and custom field functionality. It's systems are adaptable to anything from product launches and content production to basic customer support.
2. Dynalist: A glorified notepad, but the intuitive and minimalist interface allows you to quickly create templates, podcast show notes, or an entire sitemap. You can easily customize and drag list items around, and collaborate with other team members in real time. Dynalist saves our team a few hours of work every month by helping us focus and stay efficient with our notes.
3. Slack: It’s the communication hub of our company. It's like a forum, with multiple rooms, private channels and features for calls, file sharing, and more. It also integrates well with various apps, including our customer support platform. If there is anything happening to anyone or any of our sites, we're always on Slack to receive instant notification about it.
Finally, all three of these tools have advanced search features, which means every meeting, message, note, and file is recorded and can be referenced later on. These apps automatically create documentation, an often neglected, but crucial aspect of running a business.
Jenna Erickson, Marketing Manager - Codal
1. Standuply Slack App: The company that I work for uses Slack for day-to-day communication, and we use the app Standuply for quick stand-up meetings every morning. This keeps myself, and my team on track, and aware of what everyone is working on.
It's nice also because you're able to see if any of your team members need additional help in order to complete their work that day. This has really helped myself, and my team stay productive!
2. JIRA: While JIRA is meant for more technical teams, we use JIRA to track our marketing tasks and work that needs to be done. This is where I assign work to my team, and can see the progress of their tasks/work. We put one week's worth of work into JIRA and have a meeting twice a week to go through the new tasks in JIRA, as well as discuss the status of these tasks.
3. Evernote: Using a MacBook, I always used Apple notes, but recently switched over to Evernote. Evernote is great because you can keep yourself a lot more organized with all of your notes. I also love it because you can easily 'publish' and share your notes with your team instead of having to copy and paste them over into an email or into Slack.
Productivity can be a big challenge when you are in charge of a number of projects on top of managing your team. These 3 tools have helped me and my team work more efficiently and improve our output tremendously.
Hamna Amjad, Community Manager - Ridester
1. HubStaff: Being a manager, the greatest enemy of productivity is being pulled in multiple directions and not having time to focus on important tasks. This time-tracking app helps in improving my focus and managing my time more efficiently. It keeps track of time spent on projects and tasks and lets me analyze how I divided my time and how that impacts my ROI. It also helps measure my productivity levels, so that's pretty useful in reducing distractions.
2. Trello: This is the app I use to manage all my projects and to collaborate with my team on them. It helps me in organizing and prioritizing all the projects we are working on by creating lists and moving cards across the Trello board. I can easily give feedback to others and track their progress which helps in getting rid of a lot of back-and-forth emails. This helps me also stay on top of things and being more productive.
3. Todoist: This is a must-have app for all managers. With so many responsibilities and tasks to be completed, you sometimes lose track of your priorities. This app helps me in maintaining my schedule and reminding me of tasks that are more important and cannot be postponed. Having all my tasks and activities in order help me in being productive throughout the day.
There you have it, great tools used by great minds to stay on top of their game. There are thousands of tools that help keep you productive and get the best from your team as a manager or entrepreneur. I hope you get some tips from the experiences above. You can also share some great tools you use to keep yourself productive in work or business.
Uchenna Innocent is a strategy and tech contributor for Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa.