To succeed in today’s strenuously fast digital world, all workers—from entrepreneurs to executives to bottom-feeding grunts and the self-employed—need to be as productive as possible.
Which is usually easier said than done, particularly as work responsibilities continue to pile up and you haven’t even begun to crack the hundreds of emails that flood your inbox every day.
Luckily, we live in an age of an ever-increasing amount of digital productivity tools that when leveraged correctly empower users to simplify their workflows.
Every worker is different, which means certain tools that will be game changers for some folks might cause nothing but agony for others. Still, it’s worth keeping tabs on the tools that are out there because you never know when you might find the ones that transform your approach to work.
Whether you’re looking to simplify your communications, manage projects and collaborate more effectively or better tackle your day, chances are someone out there has ran into the same problems as you, and they’ve created the digital toolsets to solve them.
Here are five productivity tools that may very well enable you to noticeably increase your output:
Toggling between two devices—like a smartphone and a laptop—can be difficult enough. Add in a tablet and a desktop, and things get exponentially messier.
Pushbullet was created to bridge the gap between your devices, allowing you to send files from your computer to your mobile device—and vice versa—with one simple click of a button or tap of a finger. The tool gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll never have to email yourself a link again; instead, you just “push” it out in one click. Same thing goes for text, files, pictures and more.
The tool also extends beyond your own digital ecosystem, allowing you to push files and messages to your friends’ and coworkers’ devices as well.
Pushbullet also allows you to send and receive text messages from your computer, letting you focus on one screen as you crank out your work. If you’re curious to learn more, check out this great in-depth synopsis of the tool on Lifehacker.
You won’t be able to reach your full potential if your thoughts are cluttered. Instead, you need to be able to approach work with a clear mind and a relaxed demeanor.
Taking the maxims of meditation to the digital world, former monk Andy Puddicombe created Headspace, an app designed to help users lead more fulfilling lives by focusing on treating their minds right. By emphasizing the importance of meditation and mindfulness, the app helps users improve their health, performance and relationships, which in turn allows them to attain healthier, happier, more enjoyable lives.
“I’d really encourage all of you to prioritize the health of your mind,” Puddicombe told an audience last year as he unveiled the second iteration of Headspace. “This is something so valuable for you and those around you.”
The app boasts more than 2 million users, including people like Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James.
In today’s collaborative business world, workers need to leverage the right tools that enable them to keep a watchful eye on all relevant project-related assets.
When Basecamp launched in 2004, it quickly became one of the web’s most popular project management tools for exactly that reason. But Basecamp is not without its shortcomings, which is why many other project management tools have come and gone in the ensuing decade.
One such tool—ProofHub—is doing what it can to prove itself the superior project management tool available today. Unlike Basecamp, ProofHub includes time-tracking features, Google integration and in-browser chat functionality, among other benefits.
Many knowledge workers spend their days shifting from platform to platform. While it might not take that long to jump out of your inbox to check out a file someone dropped in a collaboration folder, for example, these minor disruptions add up over the course of the day, impeding productivity.
Yanado was created to help workers reclaim time spent navigating across platforms. The tool transforms your inbox into an organizer, allowing Google users to manage the entirety of their projects right from their Gmail interface.
The recently launched Yanado, which integrates with your calendar and other Google Apps, allows you to create specific project folders to store all pertinent communications—email messages, meeting reminders, deadlines, tasks, etc. Does a message apply to more than one project? Not a problem—you can add it to as many folders as you’d like.
You need to be in your inbox to be productive. Yanado makes it easier to stay there.
How much time do you spend doing mindless, repetitive tasks?
Zapier—a tool that integrates third-party apps—was created to liberate its users from having to perform the same kind of tasks day in and day out, like moving a message from one platform to another continually. Once properly configured, the tool detects a trigger in App #1 (e.g. uploading a picture to Facebook) and then automatically performs an action in App #2 (e.g. storing that picture in Dropbox).
The service’s free plan gives you five “Zaps”—what they call integrations—that sync every five hours. You can pay $15/month for a “basic plan” that allows for 10 Zaps, syncing every 15 minutes. Zapier—whose customers include BuzzFeed, Groupon and Spotify—also offers a “business plan” that syncs every five minutes at $30/month.
When you stop and think, it’s hard to imagine someone not being able to benefit from Zapier.
So tell us… what productivity tools do you use?