There’s no better feeling than that of having a productive day at work.
You feel on fire, motivated and like you are totally crushing it!
Productivity is one of the key ingredients in making time for the business goals that move you forward and so it’s incredibly important to do all you can to be more productive in your working day.
Today I want to share some tools I use for better productivity and I just know you are going to love them!
I’m also including a special bonus: Better Working Day Hacks that are going to increase the positive mind-set that helps you get things done. READ TO THE END!
5 Awesome Productivity Tools!
Let’s get started with those tools;
Asana is an online productivity planner, deigned to help business teams create workflow and task lists for larger projects. You can do anything from create tasks for yourself, to manage and delegate work for colleagues.
There’s also an in-app communication system which allows you to follow up with team mates to get up to date information about what they are working on. You don’t need to be in the same office either, so it’s great if you work with Virtual Assistants (VAs).
I’ve been using the free plan since early March, as a sole trader and already I can safely say I feel like I’m getting more done.
It could be that I’m getting that feeling because I’m seeing progress happen, which is more than I get with my usual physical planner… pretty as it is.
I can use Asana on my PC, my tablet and my phone, so at any point during the day I can see what needs to be done and stay on point.
Their interface is simple to use and very clean in design, so no fluff! Well except for the unicorns and yetis of success, but like Mailchimp’s ‘campaign sending high five’ I’ve come to love that little quirk!
On Asana I can set up big projects like; my S.M.A.R.T. Goals for this 1st quarter of 2017 and then break that down into smaller stepped tasks in exactly the way I teach it in my SMASH Your Goals course.
I can switch views too, so that I can look at the bigger projects on my dashboard and check progress. I can also create updates and highlight projects with red, amber, or green borders indicating urgency.
Its great motivation to help push me forward and I feel I can actually see what goals I’m working on week by week.
There’s also an option to view your tasks in a calendar style:
This has been incredibly useful to see all of my major projects stripped down to a task by task nature and how they fit with my current workload.
There’s no sense of overwhelm!
Instead I’ve closed up my planner, which often looks like a scribbled mess of drivel intermingled with crossings outs where I have moved tasks around (on Asana I just lift a task and drop it onto a new day… oh the revelation!)
So if you haven’t tried it then, do.
The only problem I have had with the phone and tablet versions of the site is that they lack the same options of view, but I’m sure it’s a matter of time before Asana change that.
For now I’d recommend setting up your planner on the desktop version and the using your mobile devices purely for checking things and ticking off tasks when you are away from your desk.
I guess the acid test is would I pay for it if pushed and my answer is yes I would.
Hootsuite is my favourite tool for social media management and I have been using it for about 3, or 4 years now (in my old business and now this one).
It’s designed as a management tool that allows you to schedule, monitor and socially listen to your following and market.
There are a number of price plans, for now as a sole trader I use the free option.
On the free option I can connect to 3 social accounts and so I made sure to choose Twitter, my Facebook Page and LinkedIn, as these are the three I am more active on each day.
I can set up screens to view each social account separately, looking at my posted content, schedule, mentions, or messages. Or set up screens to view several social accounts at once.
This is great just for saving the time and effort of logging in to each account!
I can also monitor hashtags, keywords, or competitors. This is a great little tool for looking at market research and ‘socially listening’, which is the process of assessing what, is being said about a company, product or service online. This is one of the things that I always say should be part of your businesses goal plan.
I get very basic analytics (data) from the free account, so I do have to log into my social accounts to monitor those in the finer detail I need.
I can also create campaigns such as email sign ups, or simple contests… which I haven’t yet used (but I will).
I must admit I don’t yet utilise the whole service, but what I do use gives me all of the information I need in one place to make decisions on my marketing strategy.
Would I pay for it is I had to? Yes, definitely. This is probably the second thing I will be looking at paying for in my new business.
Mailchimp is my current newsletter email service. I use it for free and have done for nearly 6 years.
I personally find it a clean and easy service to use, allowing me to create different lists of subscribers and segment them in ways that make sense as part of my marketing campaigns.
There are lots of great data points that they collect on your behalf too and that’s scratching the surface with a free account.
I don’t currently use all aspects of the free service, but there are certainly reasons to in the future.
The service will remain free until I choose to upgrade, or my subscriber list rises above 2,000 people.
What does save me a lot of time though is being able to build templates for certain types of email. This means that when it comes to writing a new newsletter I don’t start from scratch each time, instead I concentrate on trying to add as much value to my message as possible. Utilising the data I collected on previous campaigns I can easily see what I need to improve upon.
This is great for creating more connection with your audience and I highly recommend it as part of your business’ goal plan if you haven’t got it down already.
Would I pay for it is I had to? Yes, this will be the first thing I pay for.
Buffer is a bit like Hootsuite in that it is a social scheduling tool.
I currently use it to schedule my Instagram feed, but I could extend that to Facebook and Twitter (in that you get three social accounts accessibility) to save time in multi posting. The drawback is that as most social sites use differing size images it’s not always beneficial to do that. So currently I create different images for each media channel. I’d love a resize option Buffer!
Buffer has a clean and simple design, making it much more user friendly than Hootsuite, but it does lack some of the complexity of Hootsuite’s free service and I can’t schedule posts as far in advance.
What I do like is being able to reschedule a post after it has posted (or if I missed it) and reshuffling my schedule time line. These are both really useful tools if I need to re-emphasise something, or add in a new project.
They do have a new app which is called Pablo, which will be an interesting tool to use to help you create content graphics.
Would I pay for it if I had to? Probably not at this stage, but I do hear great things about their full service and so it would be something I thought about for the future.
I use BlogLovin’ as my RSS feeder. It’s my way of staying on top of all of the blogs I love to follow.
For work this means colleagues, competitors and businesses I admire.
From the app I have the ability to save, favourite, comment on, tweet, or email blog posts from those favourite blogs. I can’t say I do that a lot, but if something is worth sharing with my following then I’m keen to be able to share things.
Having everything in one place saves me a lot of time searching for my followed blogs’ new content.
I can also use the search facility to see what else I might like to start reading related to my saved blogs… which is a nice tool for research.
Would I pay for it is I had to? Probably not, but I would accept on site ads popping up in my feed in a limited way.