20 Apps to Improve ProductivityIsrael Machovec
ATLANTA — When it comes to being productive, entrepreneurs are always looking for better ways to manage their time. In order to achieve the goals they have set for themselves, entrepreneurs need to successfully manage their time and continue to search for better ways to improve their performance.
In the last few months, time management has been an issue for me. We’ve had congruent projects using an array of technologies, had our hand in multiple industries and marketplaces, and on top of that, we’ve had to project manage, test and troubleshoot, play the role of customer success, sell, and don’t get me started on accounts receivable.
With all the information overload, I’m not short of advice about how to be more effective in your day to day operations. There are a lot of technology out there that can make it easier for you to achieve the so called “work-life balance.” I’ve found a few of them and wanted to share my top 20 apps and services that can help even out the chaos. Of course, everyone has their own preference and if you have advice or suggest other technologies that aren’t listed please share.
#1 Snappi app
One of the newest additions to my paid services is the Snappi App. I only upgraded to premium a month ago but have been using the free version for over seven months. It’s a brilliant and simple app that allows you to take and share screenshots in a matter of seconds. Just take a screenshot, which gets automatically uploaded in the cloud and within 2 seconds you get short URL on your clipboard. You can share it as you wish and with a premium account (at $3.99/m) you can also upload any file type of up to 250MB and I can use my own snazzy domain name ‘b-w.es’.
The messaging service offered by slack is great for remote team working and beats email and a lot of the other services that you might use. It’s transparent so every team member can access all communication, but the fact that you can create channels for different topics, makes it less cluttered than many others.
Another way to look at “To Do” lists, rather than starting with a long and overwhelming list of things to do, the app lets you capture the ‘dones’ so you can really track your progress. It’s also great for following team progress.
This is a great (and quite affordable – starting at just $14.99 per month for small teams of up to 50 people) alternative to all the standard web based video conferencing services. I found it to be very reliable, easy to setup and use across many devices and the ‘record & share’ option is a useful feature for reviewing your meetings afterwards.
If you want an agile project management tool that is lightweight and easy to use, then I definitely recommend Pivotal Tracker. It really focuses on the ‘stories’ which is basically a description of a change request, or a new feature or functionality, a bug etc. The key here is that the story is considered from the user’s perspective which helps with prioritization. So you always stay focused on your end user.
Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting service which is great for small businesses who send invoices to their clients. It has the necessary team collaboration tools and it’s intuitive and easy to set up.
Music is very important for me not only at the times when I want to unwind from the stresses of the daily grind, but also when I exercise or even as a background when I work. There are a few fantastic apps that help me select, stream and mix music.
No need to introduce the music streaming service as it is so popular. One of the best features for me apart from being able to create my own playlists from the huge selection of music is the ability to see what my friends are listening to and follow their top tracks and playlists.
With Sonos you can control your entire music experience and it’s great for streaming different music in each room through any of your devices. One of the perks I like most is that the tracks stream via WiFi so you don’t experience the usual interruptions associated with bluetooth. And anyone with the app can create playlists in an instant.
Working out is one of the things that are very important for maintaining work-life balance and I find that with the right music beat it can be a really invigorating experience. Fitradio does just that, it’s a streaming app that lets you explore new music to match the rhythm of your workout.
Organizing all your online information, whether it’s business or personal or just the news and stories you read and like, and having easy access to it is very important to everyone especially if you’re running a startup and have a million things to do on a daily basis. These apps are an invaluable ally when it comes to organization.
Evernote is unbeatable when it comes to organizing notes and being able to access them from any location, device or platform. But to fully use its potential you have to take advantage of all the features, so make it your default note take, bookmark app, repository for any references and even your recipe book. Then you’ll really appreciate why it’s so great to have all the info you need in an indexed and searchable format on every platform or device you use.
#11 Dragon Dictation
This is a great tool when you’re on the move or just don’t have the time to sit down and write your thoughts. So all you need to do is record your voice then you get your thoughts and ideas back as transcribed notes.
Tracking leads, conversions and sales can be a mind-boggling process but Pipedrive is a great visual tool that will let you follow what’s going on with your deals and where to focus your immediate attention.
Venmo lets you make quick and easy payments to people in your social networks just by using the app on your smartphone. All you need to do is link your card or checking account to the service, then you can complete transactions in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes scheduling a meeting takes longer than the actual meeting itself. That’s why I found that using Calendly overcomes the hassle of exchanging messages and emails to coordinate schedules, especially if you are trying to do this between numerous people. It is a freemium model, so you can always try it before you start paying.
Who doesn’t like a good story? With Medium I found that I can be very selective about what I read and enjoy content that’s tailored to my tastes and delivered right to me. It’s not just the news told with a different perspective, but also the personal stories from people who share the same values or goals, that really grab my attention.
Technology is part of every entrepreneur’s life nowadays, regardless of whether you consider yourself to be in the ‘tech’ world. We just can’t avoid it and it’s awesome when there are apps and services that can help us deal quicker and more efficiently with all the technological challenges facing us.
This is such a great tool for quickly discovering what’s the technology behind a website or a CMS or any other platform. And when you need information quickly you can also do it in real time.
This tried and tested service is still invaluable for analytics when you need estimated traffic data for your site or for your competitors in any industry and location.
The jury is still out on this one, however it’s an intriguing concept. We all use messaging services extensively nowadays, and Vodi promises to reward you for doing it not just with free texts and video calls, but also with eGift cards (for Mexico & US only, but launching to other countries soon).
If you want to create instant mockups of your apps or web platforms, place it is a great service that gives you access to thousands of templates which you can use to create still images or videos with your own branding.
One for the developer community, Heroku is a cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) that many developers use to deploy their apps. It has great support and documentation, built-in tools and architecture. So if you just want to use a service where you want to push code and only have basic configuration to get a running app, then Heroku is for you.
These are the apps and services that help me with being more productive and feeling more in control of my daily tasks. We all pick and choose our favourites so if you have some more great services to add to the list feel free to leave a comment and give a tip – it’s always good to find a new way to make things work better and be more efficient in our everyday tasks. And also to have some fun in the process.
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