It pains me to admit it but I’m a self professed productivity junkie. Whether it’s the latest and greatest task management app, to-do list or note taking app, I’m regularly scouring the App Store looking for my next hit - the magic bullet that does everything to keep me productive (other than load Nespresso pods into my machine). Spoiler alert - it doesn’t exist.
Going from a large corporate environment to a growing and agile startup has forced me to rethink the tools that will help me and the team at StreamlineID meeting our OKR’s. If you’re thinking ‘what the hell are OKR’s’, check out a link to my blog post here.
I have come across some amazing web based tools and apps in my time to keep me focused and productive, and I have also kissed a lot of frogs along the way. There are apps that I have wanted to love because I liked the premise behind them or the UX was great, but they just didn’t add enough value to the management of my workflow.
I’ve probably deleted 5 times more apps than are currently on my phone...and I have a lot. In saying that, I have some tried and tested apps that just work. Here are 5 apps that our team currently use to kick goals and stay connected to the things that matter.
Asana: I have used Asana both in my personal life and as a collaboration tool in large and small organizations. As a project/task manager it’s a tough one to beat. Asana lets you visualize your work (Kanban) and move it through the required stages quickly and easily.
Pros: Visually pleasing, group friendly, file sharing capability, ability to assign tasks.
Cons: Can be overwhelming for new starters, dashboard is a bit blah, no chat function.
Slack: Slack has grown from its humble beginnings as an internal collaboration tool at Tiny Speck and has grown into a multi-billion dollar monster. It’s essentially a real-time messaging and file sharing service for teams. Conversations are organized by topic, project, team, or whatever makes sense for your company.
Pros: Reduces email trafic, great for remote teams, informal communication platform, file sharing capability, integration galore.
Cons: Can be distracting getting pinged all the time (hint adjust settings to avoid distractions when doing focus work),
Notability: I discovered this little gem while researching a solid note taking app to assist me with the large number of meetings I had to attend each week. I personally like to use my ipad and a stylus to assist in keeping discussions organic without tapping away at a keyboard and putting a screen between me and my client. The added bonus is Notability’s recent upgrade which allows me to convert handwriting to text. It even has voice recording functionality so I don’t miss a word, even the uncomfortable pauses. ...boom!!
Pros: Voice recording, great search function, fast note creation, handwriting to text.
Cons: Some features are trickier to use than others, and the audio files can get big, can’t convert all handwriting to text at once, need to use selection tool.
Zoom: Although StreamlineID is headquartered in Sydney, many of our key client relationships are spread across Australia and beyond. It’s important to be able to engage our clients on a regular basis without jumping on a plane every 5 minutes. That's where Zoom has proved indispensable. For the uninitiated (me 6 months ago) Zoom is a web video conferencing platform for high-definition audio and video conferencing and can enhance communication in numerous ways. Zoom has a plethora of features which can help with group collaboration, call clarity, and seamless integration with existing business applications. The Zoom video conferencing service allows you to share your screens, record conferences, annotate collaboratively, and integrate with software like Dropbox.
Pros: Affordable, reliable, easy, consistent quality connection, great for large groups, meeting recording.
Cons: Limited meeting time with free version, not much else. Pretty solid.
What I have come to realise over the years is that there is no single app that will provide a magic bullet for your productivity yet. They all have the ability to help or hinder depending on how you use them . And if all else fails, pen and paper may end up proving to be your most reliable friend……. Just never give one to your customer to fill in a form!