As you’ve probably noticed throughout my blog, I’m a bit crazy about time management and productivity. As Creative Director in a large international company I was responsible for every direct mail, advert, telemarketing campaign, product brochure and whatever else the marketing plan had in store for my team. And believe me, you have to be pretty organised to pull all that off on schedule and on budget.
This experience is something that has helped me a lot since starting my own company. As small business owner who is wearing many proverbial hats, a sound time management is vital for keeping sane and achieving your business goals. So, let’s have a look at my favourite productivity tools and apps.
Get your freedom back
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for better productivity, time, team or project management — what you’re really after is taking charge of your life and work and stop feeling like you’re being controlled by your business. After all, we have started our own company to enjoy the freedom and flexibility it brings, not to find us just another job.
To do lists
This is one of my most important tools: Plan your work for the day or week and make sure you stay on top of things (if you need a little help with that, I’ve also written about how to best plan your tasks). I’ve been trying out several apps for this over the past years and here are my top 3:
Any.do: This free app is available on Android, iPhone, Chrome and Web and it is beautifully designed. It is the perfect app for everyone who mainly plans tasks for the next 48 hours and it helps you focus on the right things and to get them done. They also throw a bit of gamification in to keep you going. Try it out!
Reminders: If you’re using iOS and Mac OS devices, you should have a look at Reminders. It synchronises over all your devices and you can create different folders for your to dos. It is more complex than Any.do and not as pretty but certainly a good app for people with a lot of different tasks to take care of.
Do It Tomorrow: This again is a more simple version of a to do list: It helps you plan things for today and prioritise by pushing not so important tasks to your Do It Tomorrow list. It’s available for Android, iPhone/iPad and web and it synchronises over all your devices.
When waiting for my bus or in between meetings I really love to get some work done. To access my files everywhere, I am using a file sharing app. Here are two I can highly recommend:
Dropbox: This free file sharing option is probably the best known: You can upload files into their cloud, it synchronises to all your devices (it’s available on iPhone, iPad, Android, web and for your desktop computer) and you can share files, folders, use it to create backups and work remotely. What’s not to like?
Google Drive: This is basically Google’s version of Dropbox: You can upload your files, access them from all your devices (again this is available for web, iOS, Android and Mac OS) and share them with your co-workers. It’s free and because it’s Google it integrates nicely with their other services.
Project and team management
If your team is working remotely, it is helpful to have a project management system. It helps you coordinate tasks, communication and share files. Here are a few apps and tools that I found indispensable in the past:
Trello: It’s the ideal project management tool for Android, iOS, Mac OS, web and Windows. It’s free, you can have as many team members and as many projects as you like. It helps with task and project management and is great for sharing ideas, files and collating content.
Slack: This is kind of filling a gap that Trello has (it is not awfully good when it comes to communications within the team). With Slack you can chat, have team meetings, share files and have private conversations on a separate channel. It’s free and you can use it on all available devices as well as desktop computers.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Tools for Your Small Business Success Part 2
Tools for Your Marketing Success Part 1
Tools for Your Marketing Success Part 2
Be Less Busy – 5 To Do Apps for Small Businesses