Are you starting a social enterprise or project? Or managing the next stages of growth, spinning plates with loads to organise? It can be pretty overwhelming. Having the right productivity tools and software in place can make all the difference in the quality of your work, your organization level and communication with your stakeholders and teams.
While you don’t want to use too many tools that will leave you even more disoriented, having the essentials in place can help you handling and growing your social enterprise.
Taking a leaf out of the startup ecosystem here are some of our favourites productivity tools and what each of them does to aid your journey, and your success.
Time Management & Productivity
1. Rescue Time
This is a time tracking app that is installed on computers to analyze the amount of time spent on particular tasks. It tracks not just the length of time spent, but the way it was spent. This is helpful if you always catch yourself switching between your project and Facebook during the day.
At the end of the week, you can see a report of how many hours you spent on your Facebook feed. Hours which could have been perhaps better used elsewhere, if you focused on the things that needed to get done.
The Pomodoro technique has helped many startups and entrepreneurs achieve great results and increase productivity. You can help to reinforce its benefits when you use the right tools. Focus booster helps get daily tasks done at the right time and helps save time wasted.
The Pomodoro Technique relies on using 25 minutes for intense work, which is then followed by 5 minutes of rest. It works as an online timer that helps you outline your tasks and complete them one at a time. Give it a try, it’s a simple technique that with the help of this tool can really boost your productivity.
3. Teux Deux
Recommended as a tool used by business gurus like Seth Godin, Teux Deux, a productivity app, has gained traction among entrepreneurs as a vital time management tool. It is used to create to-do lists, and the developers claim that their aim is to rival the paper to-do lists. The software comes with a minimal but compelling design. It is also loaded with helpful features making it a recommended time management app.
As a busy changemaker who always has a long list of tasks to complete, Teux Deux might be a helpful addition to your management toolbox.
Productivity Tools for Organisation
Many start up tech entrepreneurs used Dropbox long before the raft of other cloud-based solutions came onto the market, and many still prefer its features over the competition. The first best thing about Dropbox is that it allows you to sync all your files, on all your devices. All you need to do is a one-step drag and drop.
If you’ve ever been stuck somewhere and had to complete a task before its deadline, only to realize that you don’t have the needed files, then you know how useful Dropbox could be. Dropbox recently launched Dropbox paper, like a shared workspace where everyone can collaborate, take meeting notes, brainstorm and more.
Considering that we use our computers every day for work, it is also not possible to predict when they might choose to give up the ghost. Changemakers aren’t immune from the fallibility of our technology and must be ready for that eventuality. You will no longer have to worry about emailing files to yourself when you can access everything from one place.
5. Google Apps
You’re probably already familiar with Google apps if you’ve explored the free apps on your Google account. The G Suite offers email services, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and so much more. Google Drive is bundled in the package for file storage and operated in a very similar to Dropbox.
Even if you choose to work with another management software, it is almost impossible to avoid using one of Google’s apps. G Suite makes for an excellent collaboration tool, with one of the most popular features enabling people to be able to write together and share edits in a single document. A bit like Dropbox paper both offer real-time collaboration. Best of all, most of their features can be accessed with a free Google account.
Every social entrepreneur needs a convenient writing space where they can jot down ideas, plan tasks, and outline any content creation projects they might have. For writers and marketers, a suite of software for your everyday documents, writing, presentations and planning is an everyday necessity. Instead of paying for the robust but well-priced Microsoft Office, you can simply use OpenOffice, its free alternative.
It offers the full suite of apps that Microsoft Office does and can be used to convert file formats from office to the other so you won’t be stuck with compatibility issues.
7. Now Do This
Now Do This is designed for just one thing; getting the job done. It comes with the simplest features and interfaces you could possibly find. The developers clearly understand the number of time people spend fiddling with tools, trying to get ‘just the right’ settings before they start working.
Using this software, all you need to do is make a list of all your tasks. When you complete one, click “done”, and that’s it.
Nothing about the design or functions could possibly distract you, and you can go right ahead to your tasks. No more wasting time! (In theory).
FreedCamp is an alternative to paid for project and task management software like basecamp. It’s not a sub-standard alternative either. It comes with very impressive features enabling you to focus on your most important tasks. They also take feedback from users seriously, and constantly upgrade their features.
If you’ve been thinking of using a project management tool, try out FreedCamp before paying for any other software.
WriteRoom is only available for Mac computers but is very valuable to social entrepreneurs who may need to focus on the task at hand. It offers a full-screen interface that removes all widgets that could be a distraction from your writing/thinking process. It also removes your menu and toolbar, so all you’re left with is a blank sheet, distraction free. Just make sure your smartphone is out of sight and reach.
This equally awesome tool is only available for Windows users. It is a suitable replacement for WriteRoom, for users who need the PC option. Apart from being able to remove every on-screen distraction, this tool can also be used to disable the internet. Once you apply that feature, you don’t have to worry about the ping of an email or social media notification distracting your work process.
Notes and Thinking
This list couldn’t possibly be complete without Evernote. It is a highly recommended software for organising your digital world because it can be used for a wide range of things. From notetaking to setting reminders, Evernote supports all your management needs. You can also add content in any format e.g voice notes, images, drawings, web clips and more.
Whenever inspiration hits, you can easily put down your ideas using either the phone app or PC. All content is saved in cloud storage, so you and your team members can access them from anywhere.
If you prefer to plan your work using mind-maps, then you’re going to love this tool. With more workspace and even more storage capacity than your notepads, you can create very detailed mind-maps before starting on any project. It also offers a premium plan for users who have tons of mind-maps to create.
Productivity Tools That Work For You
While making your selection of tools to improve your organisation, management or productivity stick to what works great for you. Even if your colleagues or peers swears by a software solution, quickly dump it if it isn’t helping your process in any way.
It might take a while, but you will eventually gather your own toolbox with all the essentials that will make it easier to maintain and grow your social enterprise.
Did we miss anything? What are your favourites? Leave a comment below..