Most of us make New Year’s resolutions, and when you think about it, the ones cited most frequently, such as launching or building your business, adopting better work/life balance or getting more exercise, all have one common denominator at their core: Productivity. After all, the more you get done, the more time you have in your day to achieve all your goals. We turned to some small business owners like yourself to find out what apps they use. Steal their secrets to to help improve your productivity in 2019.
This mobile email app boosts productivity by making emailing as easy and quick as text messaging. You can also add, remove or switch participants to “cc” or “bcc” status with an easy swipe, rather than using laborious cut and paste commands. And it looks good, too—as Julie Liao from MailTime explains, “It reformats ugly email threads into clean bubble chats and strips out redundant metadata to make important information stand out.” And she adds, it also reminds her to keep emails concise when they are too wordy.
Raise your hand if you wish you had less email to read. The Courier app encapsulates the full text of emails into short summaries that you can see from the home page, no clicking required. The app incorporates Natural Language Processing to help you know which ones need your immediate attention and even assigns emojis that show the missives’ relative importance. Dane Baker of Codeq, LLC, finds it saves him a ton of time; he relies on the quick summaries of emails when he’s otherwise too busy to answer any but the most urgent messages.
Nope, this app doesn’t give you the freedom to surf the internet as much as you want; instead the app give you the freedom to WORK so that you then have the freedom to enjoy the rest of the day. In other words, it lets you block certain apps, websites or the entire internet, based on a schedule you set or a timeframe you impose. “It provides a distraction-free environment to get stuff done,” says Jamie Cunningham, the owner and founder of SalesUp! Business Coaching.
Are you killing trees? We’re not talking real trees (although do think twice before you print, please) but the trees that grow on this app, another one designed to help you focus by discouraging you from picking up your phone while you’re supposed to be working. Each time you sit down to a task, you plant a seed which will grow into a tree. But if you get distracted and leave the Forest app, your tree dies. “It’s helped me eliminate distraction and hunker down to do work,” says Chris Ching, founder of CodeWithChris.
Are you free Tuesday at 10? No. How about 11? No, I’m booked. And on and on it goes…the email trail to find a time that works. That all ends with Calendly, which syncs with your Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendar, and shows your meeting attendees what times work for you. “Using Calendly makes me look professional with potential clients because I’m demonstrating that I value their time as much as my own by eliminating even more email for them to have to deal with,” says Judy Dang of Avid At Work.
Jotting down amazing ideas on a napkin at the coffee shop? You know you’re just going to lose it. That’s where the app CamScanner comes in, allowing you to scan any document and send it right from your phone. “I use this app all the time; it lets me take a picture of a document or something I’ve drawn freehand, and then acts like a scanner where you can send it as an email to someone for free,” says Heidi Lynne Kurter, founder and CEO of Heidi Lynne Consulting.
The todoist app boasts a clean and intuitive interface that syncs seamlessly across all your devices, letting you jot down items you need to remember wherever you are. It also helps you stay up on recurring tasks, like making new business calls every Tuesday morning at 10.30am or hitting that 17.30pm power yoga class. “I like it because it allows me to track, prioritize and schedule every task I have to get done, whether it’s work I need to do on my thesis, posts that I have to upload to my site or stuff I need to get at the store,” says Joey Daoud, CEO of New Territory Fitness.
A to-do list, as in one? How quaint. Most small business owners find that they are overseeing multiple checklists each day. That’s where Listables comes in with the ability to create and share multiples checklists with your team. It offers a real-time window into who’s doing what and syncs across all your devices. “Well-built checklists can help companies easily implement, share and track tasks and ensure they are done properly. Listables takes it a step further by giving users the ability to assign different items to different people, then track when the assignments were completed and if not, what the issue was,” says Vivek Chugh, founder and CEO of Listables.
Sick of “shifting” between all the different email and social media accounts you use? Enter Shift, which allows you to access everything in one…and much more. That’s because it opens up all your other productivity tools too…Dropbox, Evernote, Flipboard, Pocket…and a whole bunch of apps you probably already use that we didn’t mention above. Entrepreneur Summit Bansal is a big fan. “Since I have multiple sites, I need to access different emails and social media accounts, and this takes up a lot of my time. Shift solves this problem as I now just have to open one app, and everything I need is there.”
They preach it until it falls on deaf ears: Have a strong password. Yes, we know; we know. It IS important. But, let’s face it, we get lazy and oftentimes use the same lame password for lots of sites. That stops now with 1Password, which handles all those pesky logins. And, even better, the latest version of 1Password can auto-open and auto-fill webpage with a single keystroke, reports Mike Morton with Morton Financial Advice. “Instead of the login page slowing me down, I now breeze right past,” he says. The app can also share passwords with collaborators on projects.
Every business owner has to do a fair amount of writing, and that’s where QuillBot comes in; it’s a paraphrasing tool that will rewrite and restructure sentences and also offers a drop-down thesaurus when you click on any word, explains COO Rohan Gupta. “It really expedites the writing process for anyone who writes a lot. For business people, it can refresh your writing and make your sentence structures more diverse.”
QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) Time Tracking
Say goodbye to handwritten timesheets and save time when your employees track their time with QuickBooks Time. Your team can use any mobile, computer or tablet to track time and you can see who’s working and where using the QuickBooks Time map. QuickBooks Time works with your accounting software for streamlined payroll and billing. And speaking of QuickBooks, we would be remiss not to mention one last app (we’ll call this a baker’s dozen) that will streamline every part of your accounting…and get you paid faster and easier. Check out QuickBooks and find out how you can eliminate pesky accounting tasks once and for all.