When people ask me what the biggest challenge is that I face, be it in my work or home life, the answer is always the same - time - there never seems to be enough of it!
Therefore I’m always on the lookout for solutions to help me be more efficient with my time, whether that’s a device, an app, or an entire productivity suite.
As a result, I’ve identified several tools that have become critical to my own workflow and might help you save time too.
Here’s a closer look at what the tools are, how I use them, and the kind of problems they might help you to solve.
Task management software is essential for communication, especially when you work on a project with a large team, or you work in an environment whereby you have to keep several people informed at different stages. For example a large estate agency firm might use Trello as a central file exchange to record number of listings and completions, making it easy to see who is on target and what requires follow-up.
For me Trello is just as important when it comes to managing my own workflow. I use it as my personal “To Do” list to stay on top of my day to day tasks, meaning I can do several things at once and keep track of where I’m at with each of them.
Dropbox is a cloud hard drive software, which means that you can store files online, synch them across different devices, and share them with colleagues or friends. It also allows you to back-up your files and access them remotely from anywhere, so if you leave the office you can continue to work from your smartphone or tablet.
For me Dropbox is particularly useful for sending larger files that are too big for email, before cloud software I would either have to send several smaller files or download the files on to an external hard drive, neither of which was very time efficient. I also love that it’s incredibly easy to use, I can just share a URL or send an invitation and voila!
Google Docs is a series of tools integrated with Gmail enabling users to create, store, and share documents online.
The standard toolset is a word processing application, spreadsheet, databases, presentations, and more. It’s more or less the same functionality of the Microsoft Word suite, with the added bonus of online storage.
My favorite feature of Google Docs is its ability to enable real-time collaboration. If you and a colleague are in different parts of the world and making changes to a document, you can make them in real-time and watch every change as it’s made.
For me the ability to check the edit logs and see comment threads between multiple users really speeds up collaborative work.
If you’re like me and you have the memory of a goldfish you’ll love this tool!
There’s little in life that’s more frustrating than forgetting a password. But it’s not safe to use the same one for everything, and different systems use different parameters, meaning it’s totally impractical to try to remember them all!
Passwords keep your data safe, so keeping a spreadsheet file that contains your passwords on your computer could endanger your entire digital identity if you were to lose your laptop, it gets stolen, or your system gets hacked.
That’s where Roboform helps; it’s a password manager meaning you only have to keep track of one password in order to access the others.
As a writer Evernote is my all-time favorite tool. It allows me to organize my notes, attach images, and make everything searchable by keyword.
You might be thinking why is that important? Because it’s a huge time saver! For example you might be in a meeting whereby many things have drawn up on the whiteboard?
This may have happened to you before and so you might recall the feeling of sheer dread as you realise that someone needs to transcribe and recreate the whole thing, and then email it out to everyone! Well that doesn’t happen with Evernote because it allows you to snap a picture and add it to your database of notes in a way that’s totally searchable by keywords.
Personally I use Evernote to keep track of ideas, as the best ideas tend to come to me when I least expect it, I just add a note to a work document using my smartphone wherever I am.
I also find it’s also great for photographing and storing lists, or important documents. In a nutshell it makes it easy to keep track of conversations, insights, meetings, and more, and makes accessing those files at a later date super simple.
Productivity and efficiency have now become a central part of our culture not only in our demanding work lives but also at home. Time is precious but good time management isn’t always easy, so why not try some of these tools and see if they help you save time.
Do you have any other productivity and efficiency tips? Let me know in the comments!