As a small business owner, it’s easy to get bogged down and disorganized. Keeping up with everything from project deadlines to payday and all those passwords gets to be overwhelming — fast. Here are six tools to enhance your productivity and supercharge your workflow.
1. Evernote: Create to-do lists, create notes during a meeting, upload photos for use in presentations, and store all manner of data from Word docs to PDFs, .txt docs to screen shots, and much more. Evernote allows you to create new projects or “notes” and add almost any kind of file to them. You can then choose whom you’d like to share what with, allowing you to give access to the appropriate parties based on the content of individual notes. Create alarm notifications, integrate with Twitter to send data as tweets, add geolocation tags, and even send notes as emails without the use of an intermediary third-party app. Evernote is free and Evernote Premium costs just $5/month — so if it really works for you, it’s worth every cent. Great for small to medium-sized team content management.
2. LastPass: Probably the number one grievance of all business managers is dealing with an entire Rolodex of passwords that you’re supposed to never write down for the sake of safety, yet somehow remember each one distinctly… and for the sake of security you can’t use the same one for everything. LastPass is the answer you have been looking for. When you download this highly secure app, it tracks all your passwords so you don’t have to. LastPass offers password generation as well, to ensure that your passwords turn your accounts into a roster of Fort Knoxes. And finally, encrypted cloud storage that are only decrypted locally when you sign in from a recognized device make LastPass the go-to favorite for everyone from programmers to small business owners and everyone between.
3. Google Apps for Work: With this suite of cloud computing solutions, you can do everything from create a document to “hang out” with your team to discuss implementation. Google Drive allows you to store your docs, spreadsheets, images, and more. Use Google Calendar to color code tasks or assign a color to each worker so everyone knows who’s on deck for what and when items are due. Unlike traditional Google apps, Google for Work also offers Google Sheets, Slides, Sites, Forms, and cloud storage — Google’s foray into the world currently owned by Dropbox. And maybe coolest of all: Google Apps Vault, which allows users to archive items for discovery later, perfect for project completion and clearing out that to-do list and inbox. Great for teams of almost any size.
4. Asana: Asana is an easy to use app for mobile devices and desktops that integrates the communication of your whole team. As Asana’s makers note, what makes this tool so great is that it allows staff to understand not just what they need to be working on, but why. This is an important point: so often workers feel like cogs in a machine — when they know why they are working on a given task, it empowers them to take charge of that errand and execute. It’s so easy to use and creates an atmosphere of inclusivism for everyone on board — an exceptional tool to get things done.
5. Dropbox: Most people managing many files and documents they would like to share and keep secure are already using Dropbox, which is a free cloud storage solution. While some simply use it to back up what’s on the hard drives of their computers, others wisely use it as a tool to create folders containing all manner of collateral, which allows users to invite trusted parties to view folder contents, make changes to their contents, and more. It’s an exceptional tool for sharing data securely and works across all major platforms, including mobile devices. For those who need more than the allotted free storage, Dropbox storage plans, including one especially for teams with 350GB of storage.
6. Kanban: For those who fear burnout based on inability to prioritize well, or simply because the to-do list seems to suggest that all tasks have equal importance (they don’t!), Kanban is an exceptional tool. Visual learners/thinkers can use this pleasing-to-the-eye platform to see what’s in the works, what has yet to be touched, and set priorities in an arranged fashion so workflow is both dedicated and uninterrupted. Kanban is great for the scatterbrained individual, and works even better to help teams conquer goal sets in a timely and organized fashion.
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