Internet Distractions Are No Match For You With These Tools
The internet: it can either be a wasteland of distraction and lost time, or an important source for work, business growth, and connectivity.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of productivity tools that can help us keep to the latter version of the internet, instead of falling prey to the former.
These our the tools and apps that we plan to use to be efficient and productive (‘cause we’re going to #win in 2016, of course).
Tools for Communication and Teams
Need to communicate to team members from anywhere? Slack’s got your back.
This app takes group messaging to a whole other level with options to create channels based on discussion topic, or people who are included. You can even integrate your social media channels so that posts that go live are included in Slack, and mentions are shared with team members as well.
Zoom is a fantastic app for remote teams, as it makes it incredibly easy to have multi-person conferences with video chat and screen sharing.
Easily include team members from all over, and be able to see each other even while looking at a document, website, or other app. With contracted employees, individual contributors, and at-home workers, Zoom keeps it easy to stay in touch and on the same page.
This tried and true cloud storage solution is still our favorite for keeping content within our reach at all times.
Dropbox makes it incredibly easy for teams, or just yourself, to access files, documents, or pictures from any device. Smartphone integration even allows you to grab e-mail attachments and send them straight to Dropbox, or have Dropbox picture folders included in your phone’s image library for easy upload to Instagram or Facebook.
LP is a great tool for efficient task planning for teams.
Project managers can assign tasks with due dates and time allotment for each project. See tasks that are dependent on those assigned to you, and a timer function lets you easily track just how long a project actually takes you. Add comments, links, or documents to assignments, to share with others the creative processes or research needed for completion. Once you track and submit your time, and mark a project as complete, LP sends invoices for you, so you can get paid for the work you’ve done.
Tools for and Social Media
Don’t have time to constantly be tweeting or posting to Facebook?
Get your posts in order and queue them up! Buffer is a great tool for social media scheduling and automation, so that you can set it - and forget it. Buffer even has analytics tools to track clicks and shares, so you can see the impact your promotional content is having. Schedule posts days in advance. Buffer even connects to Feedly, so you can add items to your queue from your favorite blogs with the click of a button.
Ever thought it would be nice to have your content calendar and all your writing tools in one place?
CoSchedule thought that would be nice too. Not only does this app allow you to create a comprehensive and collaborative content calendar, but it has several other features for creating the best content possible. Use its Headline Analyzer to score your Headlines and create the best one before posting. It even has social media and Evernote integration, amongst others, so your content distribution gets as efficient as possible.
SumAll is a very simple and basic metric analyst tool, and it’s great for giving you a quick summary of your content metrics.
See day-by-day, week-by-week or month-by-month comparisons of followers, post reach, mentions, retweets, likes, favorites, and other interactions. Connect easily to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook of course, but SumAll even connects to Tumblr, Shopify, Facebook Ads, Foursquare, Youtube, and Bitly (among others).
Need a graphic done in snap? Canva should be your go-to.
Easily create free graphics to accompany website content, social media posts, images for email, or infographics for sharing. Canva has a plethora of options, with customizable fonts, pictures, colors, sizes - you name it. This is great for small teams who don’t have a large production budget, or for those who don’t have a lot of graphic design skills. Canva can help you accomplish your basic graphical needs easily and quickly.
Tools for Time Saving and Efficiency
Need help with to-do lists and deadline tracking? Never fear!
Wunderlist is a great app for your phone or desktop that keeps track of everything you need to get accomplished for you.
You can set recurring tasks, one-offs, and even collaborate with others to add tasks to your list. Check off items when you’re finished, and hear a delightful and rewarding *ding* sound. You can also set reminders for upcoming deadlines, and include notes on specific to-dos for help with your projects. We’ll never miss a deadline again.
Feedly is a fantastic RSS feed combinator that puts all of your favorite blogs in one place.
It’s great for skimming the headlines in any area of knowledge you may need for your industry and business.
Feedly will categorize blogs based on topics like Tech, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, or Business. You can read an introduction or abstract to posts, and then have the option to read it in its entirety. Feedly will keep track of the articles you haven’t read so that you don’t waste time looking at the same content. For those looking to stay up to date on industry trends and news, but can’t seem to find time to go looking at every blog everyday, Feedly is your solution.
11. Scannable for Evernote
Evernote has long been one of our productivity faves, but have you heard about Scannable?
It literally turns your smartphone into a document scanner. Upload images and files to your Evernote app from virtually anywhere. Have a contract you need to sign and send out ASAP but you’re on the subway? Don’t worry, Scannable’s image quality is crazy good, and even converts word documents to original quality PDFs
12. If This Then That (IFTTT)
If This Then That shaves off so much time for doing redundant tasks across your email, social media, and various other apps and functions.
With customizable ‘recipes,’ you can tailor IFTTT to do exactly what you need to. Say for example you want to store Instagram photos in one place for your marketing team. You can make a setting on IFTTT: If I post in Instagram, then save the image into Dropbox.
Remember we talked about the internet being a potential wasteland for distraction? Yeah, there’s an app for that.
Freedom lets you block certain websites - or all web browsing - so that you can be more productive and get things done. Is cruising Facebook your crutch that prevents you from doing your work? Set Freedom for a specified timeline - up to 8 hours - so that even if you are tempted to visit the old FB, Freedom won’t let you.
There’s no override either, so you’ll just have to wait it out. Unfortunately there’s no mobile version yet, so until then you may just have to leave your phone at home.
With all the available tools and browser plugins out there, there’s really no excuse for not being productive at work. From team communication to social media automation, we’re ready to use apps for everything we do so we can get things done in 2016.