Productivity and project management are vital when you’re starting and growing a business. Big corporations have a ready-made infrastructure to enforce time management and productivity.
That’s not the case when you’re just getting your business off the ground. Luckily, the digital revolution has made things a lot easier! There are plenty of useful apps and tools out there to help you organise your team, your life and the external freelancers you work with. Plus, many of them are free to use, at least initially. Here are a few of the best:
- Evernote: In theory, note-taking should be as simple as scribbling key points down in a notebook, but we all know that this old-school approach doesn’t always cut it in the modern world. Evernote is a lovely cross-platform app which will sync with pretty much any device. It makes taking complex notes easy, and you can make ‘notes’ in any format you like. A voice recording, a web doc, a photograph - whatever is needed at the time! You can also attach files to your notes, which is very handy. Plus, it’s a nicely-designed app which makes your notes look much prettier than the usual notepad scribbles!
- Trello: Trello is a project-management app which makes collaboration simple. It’s a super versatile tool, which can help with anything from presentation planning to orchestrating a product launch, or planning your content calendar. You can invite numerous people to collaborate on a board and assign activity cards to different team members, so you all stay up to speed on what’s going on. It also links up nicely with third party tools like Slack (more on which in a mo!) Its flexibility means that you can use it pretty creatively, so it’s great for start-ups and freelancers whose work doesn’t always fit into a more conventional format.
- Slack: Slack is an instant messaging platform, designed to give teams a central place where they can discuss projects, send updates, share jokes and gifs, or generally have a chinwag. It’s particularly handy when you’re working in remote teams, making collaboration quick and efficient. Unlike some other project management tools, Slack is pretty intuitive and easy to use. It’s also got tonnes of regular users, meaning that the chances are higher that someone you want to collaborate with will be familiar with Slack. That’s definitely a big plus!
- 1 Password: Passwords are one of the banes of modern life, with countless websites and social media accounts to access on a daily basis, all with different logins. Resetting your password several times a month isn’t a good look, while writing them all down could end up compromising your security. So instead, use the 1 Password app! It stores all your logins, meaning that you can get into all your accounts with a single tap. Which not only spares your poor overworked memory – it also saves time! Highly recommended.
- Asana: Asana is another project management app that’s a little bit like Trello, but with a more traditional, ‘businessy’ layout and design. The main difference we’ve found is that as a start-up you can manage all your projects on one ‘team’ dashboard, which makes it easy to hop from one to the other. It’s also great for time management and staying on track with projects, as you can set deadlines with reminders when tasks are due. As with Trello you can also assign tasks to other individuals to coordinate who needs to do what, by when, ensuring everybody stays on track.
- Headspace: Sometimes, your productivity problems might be due to depleted mental and emotional resources, which is when you need Headspace. It’s a fantastic mental health app, which gently teaches mindfulness and meditation techniques. A subscription service – but well worth the fee – it has an impressive library of guided meditations, many of which are designed to help you focus and be more productive. But even the non-work-based meditations are helpful in the long run. The start-up life can be stressful, which means self-care is vital to avoid burnout. And this is one of the best self-care methods available.