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This article has been written to provide you with some general tips about how to boost productivity with processes, as well as through the use of some pretty-darn-handy apps. From online sharing, analytics tools, notes apps, social media automation, time tracking, visual organisation, or just a simple way to keep articles or stories that you want to read later – there really is a tool for everything these days.
Invest in technology that makes knowledge accessible
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more disruptive to your productivity than not being able to access information when you need it. It’s time to throw away the idea that versioning your documents is the way to get ahead, and it’s time to invest in work management software like SharePoint, or document management software like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Better technology will help your team to complete work faster, and with less hassle.
Stock the office with healthy snacks
It may seem like the easy option, but keeping fizzy drinks and chocolate-y goodness in your office as snack ideas can cause crashes and ruin productivity. Spend the extra dollars on healthier snacks like vegetables, nuts and fruit, and your team won’t be on a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows.
End meetings on the right note
Ever get out of a meeting and think to yourself “what was the point in that?”
By asking a simple question at the end of each meeting: “Who will do what by when?” it ensures that everyone leaves the meeting knowing exactly what to do next – no need to repeat what has already been discussed.
Regular review of lessons learned
So that you are consistently improving your processes and efficiencies, it is a good idea to make sure your team are reviewing lessons learned on projects. Share what worked, what didn’t, and decide how you will use that information to improve future work.
Always break big goals into bite-sized tasks
It is a known fact that people are more motivated by several small accomplishments than one big (scary) accomplishment. Whenever you start a big project, it is a much better idea to break each task into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Google Drive (& Docs)
Google Drive, along with Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, make it so much easier to share and edit an assortment of documents. You can make comments, share notes and even chat between team members within the document. Pretty cool huh? Next coolest thing about Google Drive & Docs – it’s free.
Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools
You may have already heard of Google Analytics, you may already be using Google Analytics, but if you haven’t and are not using this amazing analytical tool you need to start. NOW. Together, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools provide ultra-valuable insight about your website’s performance, traffic, referrals, and conversions (if you have actually set these up); ensuring your website is optimised and Google-friendly (which are basically the same thing these days).
This handy app can save notes (both audio and text), organise photos, set reminders, and upload attachments, as well as syncing across all of your devices. Evernote also has a very handy “bookmarklet” which makes it easy to clip web articles and store them for later reading.
Got social media accounts? You need Buffer. Buffer makes it easy to share web articles via social media without the headache. All you need to do is log into Buffer, connect your social media accounts, and schedule specific content sharing times. So next time you are searching the web and you see an article that you know your followers will enjoy, you can hit the Buffer bookmarklet button and it will put the article into your queue, which will then share it at one of your designated share times.
Buffer helps to promote great content across the web and helps you to store and share content, making sure you are not overwhelming your followers with information.
Hootsuite is a great tool which helps businesses of all sizes to manage their social media accounts. It allows you to monitor all social activity across networks on one platform. The dashboard setup lets you schedule posts, delegate social assignments to team members, organise followers, measure performance, plus more.
Did you know that we (Focus) develop our own software, right here in Invercargill? Maybe, maybe not. Our time tracking and management software can be used on any device, from anywhere in the world. Using the mobile app your team can enter time, record materials used on a job, view their calendars, plus much more.
If you are chief organiser in the office, this software allows you to track the time, jobs and projects of your on-the-go staff, as well as those in a fixed location. Split your staff into workgroups, mix and match team members, assign jobs or tasks to individual users or a whole workgroup, monitor and manage your entire team without having to leave your desk. It also has the added bonus of dramatically reducing paperwork and time spent on administrative tasks.
Keep articles, images or videos for later with Pocket. If you are surfing the web and come across an article that you want to read later, all you need to do is hit the Pocket button in your bookmark toolbar and it will go straight to your Pocket.
With this great app you can save great content to check out later across any of your devices.
Stay organised with Trello. This simple tool looks a lot like a Pinterest board, but instead of being photo-centric it lets you add lists, labels, and tasks that you can easily drag and drop. This is a great application for visual organisers and serves as a nice alternative to covering your monitor in post-it notes (we’ve all been there!).
Open a card and you can add comments, upload attachments, create checklists, and add labels, due dates plus more. You can even invite as many people to your board as you need, and drag and drop people to cards to divide up tasks.
Here are some general productivity tips to get you going.
Learn Keyboard Shortcuts.
Shortcuts can save you lots of time, so if you spend a lot of time in Word or Photoshop, take the time to learn major shortcuts. Soon they’ll become part of your muscle memory and you’ll wonder how you ever got on without them! Read our article on keyboard shortcuts here.
Clean Up That Computer.
Are you a total tab monster? Is your desktop is covered in screenshots, and your computer rarely shuts down completely? All these semi-small issues amount to one big problem for your poor tired computer. Tidy things up, empty the trash once in a while, and let the tuckered little thing sleep at night. A faster computer means a faster you, so don’t neglect the simple fixes.
Old School Lists.
Despite all the awesome tools we covered here today, there is something unique about writing down a good ol’ fashioned list. The physical aspect of handwriting a task list and checking off those to-dos can be quite liberating. Not everything needs to be digitised.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out.
Contrary to what corporate may think, you just can’t be a productive machine 9-5 all day, every day. Our brains don’t work that way, and trying to activate robot mode will only hamper you in the long run. Humans actually achieve their maximum productivity when they’re happy and getting plenty of down time throughout the day.
Be Realistic About Time Management.
Structuring your day into time blocks is a great way to go into a new day feeling confident. However, being unrealistic about how long it will take you to finish that tasks won’t do you any favours. Give yourself plenty of time to get tasks done (and make sure you include breaks!)
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