7 Productivity Apps That Could Save You an Hour a Day!
With 2017 just around the corner, I’m guessing it may be safe to assume that one of your goals/intentions/resolution for the New Year is to be more organized and productive.
To help you achieve this goal, I want to share with you my favorite apps that allow me to be as productive as possible every day.
In alphabetical order…
Asana. A collaborative Project Management tool that is free for up to fifteen users. In our office, we manage large projects with multiple team members to track each of their tasks so everyone has visibility to due dates, etc... Earlier this year, a small CPA and Tax firm was wasting an enormous amount of time tracking the status of client tax returns in a spreadsheet. There was one keeper of the spreadsheet. Within a couple of hours we had accounts created for each team member and client data was starting to be tracked. Such a simple solution to what had been a very labor intensive process – not to mention that they had no easy way to share the spreadsheet.
Calendar. While this may not seem like an obvious choice for a productivity app, I can assure you it is the one I use most every day. I use this for more than just scheduling client meetings and appointments. I use it to add an important/high-priority “task” as an “all-day-event” so I can see it on my office calendar after it syncs automatically. I have each employee’s work calendar on my iPhone so I can access their schedule when I am away from the office to add a client meeting or modify an existing appointment – without being at my computer. There is a say in our office: “What gets scheduled, gets done” and this is why this app is so useful every day.
If you are still using a paper calendar/planner – what happens when you lose it or it’s stolen? A paper calendar has no backup! If you must have your paper calendar, use a digital one (that gets backed up) and then print the calendar in a week or month view.
Genius Scan. Need to scan something to a PDF, but you aren’t near a scanner? Use this app to snap pictures of documents and then merge them together to form a PDF. This app is especially hand if you do not own or have access to a scanner.
A couple of months ago I was at Office Depot standing at the counter waiting to shred some paperwork for a client. A man approached the counter with a few pages he needed scanned and then put on a thumb drive so he could e-mail a job application. I think about the time and cost involved here. He had to drive to Office Depot to wait in line, wait to have his documents scanned, pay for the scan and go home and e-mail them. I really wanted to tell him the more productive way to do this; but wasn’t sure he’d be happy with my unsolicited recommendation. And I’m guessing Office Depot wouldn’t have been too thrilled with me either.
LastPass. Simply the “last” password you will ever have to remember. But it is so much more than just a password manager. I love this app so much I wrote an entire newsletter about it earlier this year that you can read HERE.
OneNote. Imagine having endless amounts of data stored in digital notebooks that you can search on key words to find the info you need, or collaborate with others. I don’t know what I would do without this app.
I have used OneNote with so many clients to transform how they track and share information. One of the current clients we are working with is a landscaping and maintenance company. We created a solution for their field personnel to be able to have project info and pictures at their fingertips when they are in the field on their mobile devices including iPhones, laptops and Surfaces – as well as from their offices. Over 20 employees now have access to the same information in one location, divided into just four digital notebooks. In case you are wondering, there are also security measures in place to keep this information confidential, should a device be lost or stolen.
One of our most popular newsletters this year was the one we published about OneNote called: Data at Your Fingertips-Anytime, Anywhere & From Any Device.
Remember the Milk. This app is essentially a digital “to-do” list. If you like a paper list, you can print your lists – complete with check boxes! You need to have one location where can get everything out of your head and captured somewhere, even if you never get to it! You can create multiple lists – I organize mine by category. Taking it one step further, I use the app to track other things I want to do, such as “Books to Read,” “Fun Things to Do Around Town,” “Restaurants to Try,” “Wine to Try” and “Videos” I want to watch. While some of these are not really “to-dos”, it gives me one place to store all of this information. The app is free, however I pay $25/year in order to have the version that continuously syncs to my computer so I can have it open in my browser when at my desk. I can opt for it to e-mail me reminders, set priorities on tasks and even set recurring tasks. Today when I logged in, it told me I had complete 1333 tasks for 2016! Wow, that’s a lot of tasks! Remember; this app is best to manage individual tasks, not projects. Projects are comprised of multiple tasks and they are better managed by the Asana app.
Waze. If you’ve not heard of this app, then you are likely wasting a lot of time in traffic every day. Waze is a community based traffic and navigation map and much more than just a GPS. Even though I know how to get to my client’s offices or back home at the end of the day, I use the app because it routes me around the crazy traffic in the Seattle area every day. Some days it takes me down streets I’ve never driven, but I trust that it finds the quickest way for me to get from Point A to Point B. I used to listen to the traffic reports or worse, guess how long it would take me to get somewhere. Now, I just enter the address where I need to be, the time I need to be there and it will tell me what time I need to leave. The app does much more than this – once you download it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I am quite certain that between the use of all of these apps, I likely save almost an hour every day because of what I am able to accomplish even when I am not in my office or near a computer.
What you could do with one extra hour every day? That is over 10 DAYS a year you can reclaim! Now that is something to celebrate in the New Year – and a great way to start your year by being more productive and organized.
~ Making You More Productive - so you have More Time for Life®
Laura Leist, CPO, MOS
CPO = Certified Professional Organizer
MOS = Microsoft Office Specialist