Work smarter, not harder – that’s one of my resolutions for 2015. Here then are some of my favourite tools for working smarter.
IFTTT (web, iOS, Android)
IFTTT (If This Then That) streamlines productivity by automating online tasks. It uses “recipes” that you either create yourself or choose from a collection it provides. Users have to define what will trigger the tasks, then what the details of a task will be. This can range from posting on social media, sending an email or automatically adding a note on a different app.
For example, one recipe that a lot of businesses are using is automatically creating a post whenever a blog gets published.
Slack (web, iOS, Android)
Founded by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, Slack is billed as “team communication for the 21st century.” Essentially, you can share all team communication in one place that can be searched at any time from anywhere.
Slack allows users to create “channels” such as messages, files, comments, inline images and more. Aside from the chat and collaboration aspect of the app, Slack really shines when you combine it with Asana (see below). Integrating it with Asana can help organizations communicate faster, discuss projects and quickly assign tasks. It also makes file sharing much easier when integrated with Google Drive or Dropbox by eliminating the need to send edited documents.
Asana (web, iOS, Android)
Asana is a project and task management app that reduces internal emails. It allows teams to share, plan, organize and track the progress of each task and project.
Once a project has been launched, Asana users can also create sub-tasks and assign them to the appropriate team members or departments.
Businesses that rely heavily on Microsoft products can benefit greatly from the MS Office app. With MS Office, you get the complete package, in a mobile-friendly format. Businesses can also use the OneDrive app to sync files automatically, eliminating the need to constantly send over the right versions of documents.
Todoist (web, iOS, Android)todoist.com
A highly effective task and light project management tool for desktop and mobile, with further integration into mail clients such as Outlook and Gmail. Tasks can be categorized, tagged and given due dates, and a karma system helps reward completing tasks on time.
Any.do (iOS, Android)
A strictly mobile app, Any.do is a to-do list manager that’s similar to most of the top to-do list managers. However, one of its greatest features is its “Any.do Moment”– a message that pops up during the morning to remind users about appointments on their calendar.
Wunderlist (web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
Another to-do list manager, Wunderlist lets users quickly sort and organize important upcoming events, tasks and appointments. Wunderlist shines over its competitors because of its no-frills interface.
Google Keep (web, iOS, Android)
Allows users to compile to-do lists and take notes wherever they have access to Google. Simple note-taking with good integration into Google’s ecosystem of apps.
Evernote (iOS, Android)
Evernote’s success can be attributed to its simplicity. Being able to quickly take notes, store information you find online and create task lists makes it one of the best apps around.
Sunrise (web, iOS, Android)
Sunrise is a powerful calendar app and incorporates a variety of information to provide more value to users. It can sync with Facebook and LinkedIn to create entries on upcoming birthdays, events and meetings, and will tell you the weather, provide directions to your next appointment and even send an email to people invited to a meeting.
News and information
Yahoo News Digest (iOS, Android)
For business owners and professionals who don’t have a lot of time to read the news or catch up on global events, Yahoo News Digest is the perfect app. It displays six headlines when you open the app and makes reading the news easier.
Pocket (iOS, Android)
Pocket has been around for some time and is one of the best apps for business owners and professionals who are always busy but want to read interesting articles. With Pocket, users can quickly save copies of important articles on a “read later” list. •
Cybele Negris (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president, CEO and co-founder of Webnames.ca, Canada’s original .CA registrar.