When we think about the world as it is today, how we have taken our social lives, hobbies, communication, writing and so much more online, I think it only makes sense to do the same with our work and desks. In our previous blog post, How to enhance your career from a real-world perspective, we spoke about tips to get ahead in the highly competitive business world we’re in today and promised a list of all our favourite apps and plugins which have made our desks digital and (mostly) paperless. We hope that the insight into the great tools below will help you to create a more efficient work environment leaving you with more time to do important tasks. So, let’s dive right into our top 10 list of free productivity apps that we use in our office.
We’ve placed Asana at the top of this list because it is truly the heart of where our tasks and projects get started.
First things first, Asana is a tool for teams to track their work in one place. Asana is packed full of features such as an inbox where your team can communicate which leaves your email inbox for clients and external emails, to-do lists, sections to organise your work, attachment functionality and loads more.
Asana’s project management features include tasks which you can create for yourself or assign to team members, projects which your tasks can be organised into and due dates and times. You are also able to customise your view in Asana into sections such as “Due Today”, “Coming Up” or “Overdue. Team members can also give praise to each other with hearts.
#2 IFTTT – If This Then That
IFTTT is a fantastic application that gives you control over your favourite apps and devices by allowing them to communicate with each other as per your predefined “recipes”. If This Then That allows you to automate certain tasks to simplify your life and save time.
Recipes are your predefined tasks for IFTTT and there are two types of recipes; IF recipes and DO recipes. IF recipes run in the background and are executed once your criteria are met, or “if this, then that”. DO recipes are tasks that you trigger with the push of a button. IFTTT runs in the background and organises your life without you even knowing it.
You can choose to send yourself an email with the location of your parked car so you never forget where you parked, automatically add new subscribers to your MailChimp subscriber list, notify someone when you leave work, all automated.
Here are some of my recipes as an example:
To enjoy the full benefits of IFTTT, you will need to download their mobile app which is available on both Android and iOS.
Managing more than one Twitter account or need more flexibility for your own account? TweetDeck is a Twitter browser that lets you view multiple timelines in one single view in an easy to use interface. With TweetDeck, you can add custom columns so you never have to navigate to a different or window. All your notifications, updates, messages and lists can all appear in one window for more than one Twitter account.
TweetDeck is also ideal for tweeting from more than one account at the same time, simply tick which accounts you want to tweet from and off you go. TweetDeck also allows you to schedule your tweets for all your different account so you can remain active on your social media even in your down time.
See below my TweetDeck interface as an example:
Canva is an absolute time saver and an amazing addition to my digital desk. Digital and content marketers will surely understand the value behind this app. Canva is a user-friendly online graphic design software that allows anyone to become a designer. As a digital marketer, I find Canva incredibly useful as I don’t always have the time to fire up Photoshop and design a new graphic from scratch for every post I publish and this is an application I use every day.
Here is an example of only some of Canva’s design tools:
Not only does Canva have image dimension templates so your image is always the right size for the social media platform you are posting on, it has pre-made templates that you can use for your design inspiration.
Apart from Canva’s predefined social media templates, they also have the sizes for Google ads, Facebook Ads, A4 documents, blog titles and much more.
For content marketing, Canva is a great tool to make each and every one of your posts stand out.
As an added bonus, Canva also has a separate Photo Editor.
If you are not familiar with Buffer as a digital or social media marketer, I would suggest you do so right away and make your life exponentially easier. Buffer is a one stop app where you manage all of your social media in one place. Not only can you post from all your accounts in one place, you can navigate the web and as you stumble upon interesting articles or content that you would like to share, you simply click your Buffer plugin to publish right away or add to your queue.
With Buffer you can also choose to publish on all your social media at the same time, or you can make use of the Power Scheduler to post at a different time on each social media platform.
Below is an example of the Buffer interface:
Buffer is also available for download on Android and iOS so you can manage your social media on the fly.
Need to keep articles for later? Need to plan out your blog posts? Need to gather resources? Evernote is the best notebook and sidekick you’ve ever had.
In our office, I’m the largest Evernote enthusiast as I use it to write and plan my blog posts. I gather all my research articles in Evernote where I am able to edit and comment on them as needed. Evernote is also especially handy for when I’m on the go to make my own notes and comments on the world around me or as I come up with ideas. If you have a smartphone with writing capabilities such as a Galaxy Note or a tablet, Evernote also recognises handwriting which means you can still make notes the “old school” way.
You can also create your own lists, tasks, reminders and more within Evernote and organise it all with various notebooks and tags.
Evernote integrates beautifully with your life because of all the choices they offer with the web app, desktop app, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.
#7 Google Tag Assistant
This one is actually a Chrome plugin and has proved to be extremely useful in the SEO and digital marketing industry. Google Tag Assistant allows you to easily see which Google tags are running on a website and correct them instantly if there are any errors.
You are able to view Google tags such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords Conversion Tracking, Google Tag Manager and more.
Never find yourself in a position again where you may have multiple conflicting tags running on the same website.
Below you can see an example of what the Google Tag Assistant detected on the iMod Education website.
#8 Google Suite
Obviously, your digital desk won’t be complete without an office suite. Google has made it easier than ever for us to access our documents anywhere and do all our work online. Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Drawings, Google My Maps and Google Calendar are all wonderfully integrated so you can manage all you need right in your browser, and guess what? You don’t even need to remember to save, Google does that for you. Share your work with your colleagues with a link, see your team’s calendars to schedule meetings seamlessly, and so much more.
One of the other beautiful features of the Google Suite is that it integrates with IFTTT (mentioned above) and allows you to automatically create and automate documents based on the criteria you specify.
Email marketing is such a powerful tool in business or even if you are just promoting a blog. MailChimp is the perfect tool for crafting beautiful emails and campaigns without needing to have any coding knowledge. With its simple drag-and-drop interface, you can create custom templates for your emails, customise your emails with your subscribers’ names for a more personal touch and create interactive emails with eye-catching calls to action.
MailChimp’s interface is also highly user-friendly when managing your lists of subscribers. You can create groups and segments for more specific targeting and to create more engaging emails.
Droplr is a screenshot and file sharing tool that allows you to transfer files easily with links and take the exact screenshot you want with the added functionality of adding drawings, shapes and text to it.
Sometimes visual communication in the office streamlines things a bit and with Droplr you can easily share your screenshots with your colleagues with the use of a link.
Droplr is also perfect for sharing your screenshots on social media.
Once you have copied your selected area, Droplr saves your screenshot’s link to your clipboard and you can easily share your URL wherever you need to.
Although in an office such as ours, we use a large number of tools and apps, these top our list for productivity. Since we all need to play so many roles in our jobs today, it’s important to keep your head above water. Luckily we live in an innovative period where all of these wonderful tools are at our disposal and will only get better as time goes on.
Let us know on our social media what your favourite apps and tools are!
Until next week!