Harsh economic times and general demands have many businesses working in overdrive. With meetings to organize, staff to accommodate, and customers to please, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get it all done. It can make for a frustrating environment, but thanks to technology, there are solutions.
The internet has brought us an abundance of tools that offer the ability to keep production moving. These five tools have the potential to come in handy in both the office and home setting.
1. Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk has a lot to offer business pros and homebodies alike. This app comes with several interesting perks, including the ability to:
- Share tasks
- Manage tasks offline
- Integrate with Google Calendar
- Receive notifications via email, IM, or text
At the basic level, Remember the Milk is great at creating lists that you can easily manage in a variety of unique ways. It’s all cloud-based, so you can pretty much access it at any time, on any device.
2. Google Drive
Although DropBox has been on top of the online file storage game for a while, Google Drive has proven to be a worthy alternative. Available for web use, Android, and even iOS, the service that started out as a glorified version of Google Docs has matured into a nice little tool all its own. In addition to storage, it serves up real-time updates, the ability to download documents, and full-on editing capabilities. Google Drive is also cloud driven, so you can access your data any time on a multitude of devices.
Objectiveli is another utility that comes in handy for task management. This web-based tool provides you with a streamlined interface that allows you to track tasks, goals, and objectives in real-time. It helps teams and organizations stay focused by providing a centralized view of everything that has been assigned, thus minimizing the need for handwritten notes, spreadsheets, and internal email communications. Objectiveli is highly recommended for team orientated businesses, and individuals who want to see what’s ahead of them in big picture form.
What we have here is a tool that enhances the power of your Gmail account. Rapportive delivers rich data about your contacts directly to your inbox. It pulls data about these contacts from a number of different sources, including Facebok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora. So if it’s someone from LinkedIn, you would be able to see updates and other activity without actually visiting the site. Hence the name, this tool is all about getting to better know your contacts so you can form a “rapport”.
Rapportive is a free tool available as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Mailplane, and Safari. This one can be extremely handy for marketers scouting the web for leads, or the consumer who simply wants to know more about a company before doing business with them.
Sales people, managers, programmers, and people all over the world are practicing the Pomodoro Technique, the time management method developed by Francisco Cirillo many years ago. Some say its overblown hogwash. Others swear by it. Lost? This five-step overview sums it up:
- Outline a specific task
- Set your timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task for 25 minutes straight through
- Break briefly for about three to five minutes
- Take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes between each set (every four 25-minute periods)
The concept is simple enough, but getting the most from it has proven challenging. That’s where tools like Pomio come in. Pomio is an iOS app that acts as a Pomodoro timer, but it does so much more. It fully supports task management by allowing you to enter specific objectives and properly time them to make sure you are doing the method correctly. With access to detailed analytics, you can find out where you’re excelling, and where you need improvements. This is a fun little tool that can actually help you get more done if you play fair.
Steady productivity is one of those intangible assets with value that simply can’t be measured. But as you know, keeping it a high level is a task in and of itself. With everything from social networks to reality shows in the mix, the potential for distraction is greater than ever. On the bright side, there are plenty of good productivity tools at your disposal. All you gotta do is find the right ones and use them.
Chiko Noguchi is a best practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of event marketing services.