By Simon Varney on 31 Mar 2014
We’ve all had those mornings.
You know, the ones where you walk into the office and sit down to start but then…you just don’t know where to begin.
Or the days when you get so caught up with the small tasks like finding a hotel, or compiling a list, or making a reservation… that you don’t actually get down to what’s important.
Let’s be honest – there are so many productivity killers, it would be impossible to list them all.
Instead, in this blog post I’m going to reveal the three apps that have boosted my productivity, and that I recommend to help boost yours, too.
Image from the Asana website.
Asana helps me stay on top of what I have to work on and when my deadlines are.
First off, let me begin by saying that I love my moleskine daily planner. I couldn’t live without it and it’s hands-down the love of my life when it comes to stationery.
Having said that, there are just some things that a moleskine can’t do.
Asana has been a productivity lifesaver.
Whenever I get a new project, I put it into Asana with an assigned deadline.
From there, I add ‘tasks’ which essentially outline the baby steps I have to take to complete the project. I then set deadlines for each task so that I know what I need to do and by when in order to meet each project deadline.
Once that’s all set up, I log in every morning and am able to view my tasks for the day. It clarifies exactly what I need to be working on, and what I need to complete to meet all of my deadlines.
In addition to helping me stay on track, Asana lets me assign or tag tasks and projects to people I work with. So, for example, if I’m going to need to work with our in-house designer on something, I can tag him on a task so that he knows what we have to do and when we have to do it.
I’ve used tools like Asana before (most notably Basecamp), but Asana has been working extremely well for me and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to get clarity from their to-do list.
2. Fancy Hands
Image from the Fancy Hands website.
Fancy Hands provides virtual personal assistants to help me with the menial tasks that don’t require me personally to complete them.
Originally, I was skeptical about Fancy Hands.
What could I possibly need a virtual personal assistant for?
The truth is, these guys are great. For $45 (around £27) a month, I get to make 15 requests.
These requests can be anything that takes up to 15 minutes, and that can be done from a computer.
Not sure if it’s worth it? I wasn’t either.
A great example of how they’ve helped me, though, was when my headphones broke.
Normally, I’d spend 10-15 minutes researching the best headphones on Amazon, thus taking my attention away from more important activities. Instead, I wrote to Fancy Hands asking them to search Amazon UK for the highest rated headphones in my price range.
Within half an hour, they’d gotten back to me with a link. It was great – instead of wasting 10-15 minutes, I was able to keep focused on what was important and productive and delegate my short, low priority task to someone else.
Fancy Hands are based in the US so I haven’t tried using them for anything that involves a phone, although their FAQ says that they can call most countries. Also, it’s worth mentioning that they’re compatible with a lot of apps like Asana (mentioned above), Evernote, and Basecamp.
Fancy Hands may not be for everyone but I’d recommend giving them a go. Here are some examples of requests they take (which include making reservations, confirming appointments, research tasks, etc.).
According to my dashboard, I’ve saved 66 minutes from my last two requests.
BufferApp helps me pre-schedule EveryCity’s social media posts. It’s a massive time saver when it comes to social media posting.
It lets me choose when I want to post to social media, and on which days. Then, it lets me fill in the allocated slots with content.
This means that instead of having to think about what’s being shared on Twitter every hour, I can login in the morning, fill the allocated slots, and then focus on other things.
If you handle social media at all, I highly recommend you try out BufferApp.
All in all these apps have saved me hours of time and have kept me extremely organised – two things I think we all could do with more of!
So…will you be trying any of these apps out? Which apps would you recommend to boost productivity?