8 apps to boost your productivity and finish work early
With December, the party month, right around the corner, are you looking for ways to finish work earlier than usual? Do you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines? Are you having trouble keeping track of the day’s tasks? Or are you working longer hours to clear that pile of work so that you can head out on that year-end vacation? Here are a few apps to help you get organized and finish your work faster.
Are you constantly on the phone, giving instructions to your team? Manage them with Asana, a business app that lets you assign tasks to team members and track if these have been done. You can set up tasks, to-do lists and reminders, and comment on items or send images to the team. In addition, you can integrate the app with Dropbox, Slack, Okta.Github, Google Drive and Chrome.
Freemium plans from $9.99 (around Rs643) per person per month. Web, iOS, Android. Asana.com
Streamline multiple calendars with Calendly, which aggregates calendars from most business platforms, including Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook and iCloud. Once you’ve downloaded the app and set it up, Calendly allows you to send multiple invites for multiple slots for a group meeting, handling multiple time zones. Once a meeting is fixed, all the calendars on the different platforms get updated, so you are unlikely to mix up time slots.
In addition, the app integrates with business apps like Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Join.me, Zapier, Slack and MailChimp. You can embed it on your website, and customers can use it to schedule meetings. You can also sneak in breathers into your schedule by adding buffer times before and after meetings, and customize your availability. The app incorporates a minimum schedule notice, ensuring there are no last-minute meetings.
Freemium plans start at $8. Web, iOS, Android. Calendly.com
Identify and automate mundane tasks to set yourself free. Zapier helps your apps work together by automating your tasks. For example, if you get an email in Gmail with an attachment, it is automatically saved to your Dropbox. Or, if you get an email from a particular contact, it’s automatically updated in your notes app, or you can get an SMS about it. Need to send tweets every time you achieve a number in your customer base? Or an automatic reminder to sales on a possible customer? Customize the connections according to your work and sit back.
Since over 750 apps can be connected, any function is possible. Zapier supports, for instance, popular apps like Slack, Trello, Google apps, social apps like Facebook and Twitter, Mailchimp, Wunderlist and Wordpress.
Freemium plans from $20/month. Web, iOS, Android. Zapier.com
A lot of us have trouble trying to recall the passwords of our accounts on multiple platforms, especially the good ones that have symbols, capital letters, small letters and numbers. Try LastPass, an app that generates secure passwords for your business IDs, and organizes and stores them. All you need to remember is one master password. It also helps you fill in forms and login details automatically without having to go through a separate service.
Freemium plans from $2/month. Web, Android and iOS. Lastpass.com
Festive seasons can be notoriously overwhelming in terms of balancing personal chores with work. Organize your to-do lists with Things. Once you install it, it works seamlessly between your desktop, iPad and iPhone, syncing your personal and work calendars. What you get is a workday’s tasks, including separate tasks for the evening—the ones related to family and personal time. You can also make task lists for a particular event like an upcoming party and divide the lists by deadline. You can also divide your work into projects, with their own pages and checklists. You can type, click or speak to Siri to add in a task. The Upcoming section in the app shows all the scheduled to-dos, repeat tasks, deadlines and events.
Android users can also try Wunderlist or Evernote.
$9.99 for iPhone, $49.99 for Mac and $19.99 for iPad. Culturedcode.com/things
Boomrang puts a layer on top of your Gmail account and lets you control when to send and receive emails. You can write emails and schedule them to be sent automatically at a later time, by using a specific date and time or just adding something like next Monday. Boomrang understands this and schedules accordingly. You can choose reminders about an email in case no one marked in it replies so that you can follow up and finish a task. The plugin’s Respondable feature uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help you write perfect emails while Inbox Pause temporarily stops new emails so that you don’t have to deal with an overloaded inbox.
Freemium plans for Outlook and Gmail begin at $4.99/month. Boomranggmail.com, Boomrangoutlook.com
ClearFocus is one of several apps available online to help you utilize the Pomodoro technique, a popular time management strategy that alternates 25-minute working sessions with 5-minute breaks to help you complete your work without distractions. The interface is clean and easy to use. At the end of the day, it also tells you how much time you spent focusing on work.
Pro version available for Rs128 and Rs150 on iOS and Android, respectively
Prezi is a presentation-making tool that lets you jot down all your thoughts through images, videos or quotes in different bubbles on a virtual whiteboard. Once you have all your content on the whiteboard, you need to create a chronology of the slides and define paths. That’s it, really. Prezi automatically makes an animated cloud-based presentation using Adobe’s Flash technology. The app lets you practise and present without using a desktop. You can also collaborate with your team to add content, create charts and zoom in to your data while you make the presentation. Prezi will also tell you how much time viewers spent on each part of your web presentation in real time and how many shares you garnered.
Freemium plans begin at $5/month. Web, Chrome, Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone. Prezi.com
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