5 Tools to Boost Productivity
“If only I could get my team to be more efficient and productive!” Sound familiar? It’s the constant complaint of many business owners across the Caribbean who want to maximize their human resources to achieve better results. Mind you, there’s good reason to complain. One study from the Inter-American Development Bank suggests that over the last 40 years, Latin America and the Caribbean have been lagging behind the rest of the world in productivity, hindering growth and wealth creation throughout the region.
Common productivity killers at work are excessive internet and social media usage, lengthy meetings, procrastination, poor organization and management, outdated work tools, and time-consuming report preparation, to name a few. While getting a handle on inefficiency may depend on the industry you are in, almost any company can benefit from employing new technology. Many options are widely available and low-cost. And even slight gains in productivity can make a huge difference in output, profitability, and company growth. Here are five leading tools that can help improve organization, project execution, team communication and email management.
Asana: Asana is an application geared toward improving task and project management. It allows teams to keep track of goals, projects, and associated deliverables. Companies and organizations have used it to successfully develop and launch new products using local and cross-border teams. Some great features are the ability to create tasks for yourself and others, assign tasks to team members, organize meetings, and transform ideas and suggestions into actionable next steps. What’s more, you can track due dates and times so the work gets done when it should.
Basecamp: Like Asana, Basecamp is also a team management application that brings greater ease and efficiency to how your employees work together to achieve results. It allows you to outline milestones and deadlines, keep discussions on topic and productive as well as organize files and documents to get tasks done quickly and efficiently.
Rescue Time: Rescue time is a time-management app that helps you monitor internet usage, distractions and helps you measure how much of your time was spent on productive activity. You can set alerts to warn you when you’re spending too much time surfing on a particular activity, provides highlights of what you accomplished for the day and allows you to block distracting websites so you can have dedicated focus time on your tasks.
Evernote: Evernote is one of the most popular and highly-rated applications available today for organizing and streamlining information. It is especially helpful with note taking and document archiving. It allows you to capture research in one place, clip and save web articles and links, images, charts and photos, while organizing them into files which are available on or offline. One major advantage with Evernote is that it can be easily integrated with your emails as well as various task and time management applications. Additional features allow you to connect, communicate and collaborate with others on the same platform in real time.
SaneBox: Managing the overwhelming volume and flow of emails is made easier with Sanebox. It’s like spring cleaning for your emails, but better. The app starts by analyzing your mailbox and email history and will then automatically organize important ones in your inbox and place unimportant emails into a new folder called “sanelater.” It will also filter and manage the flow of future emails to help you prioritize and better focus on messages that are important.
These are just a few of the hundreds of tools easily available to help you improve productivity. Even better is that in most cases the cost and risks to you are minimal. Most of these apps have free basic versions, or at the very least, complimentary trials so you can test the features and functionality to see what will deliver the best results and return on investment for your business.