Over the last 20 years I’ve tried a lot of online and offline solutions to try to streamline my workload, but there have been a few tools and applications I’ve stuck with and that I find invaluable to my day-to-day.
Being the sharing type, here‘s a list of my top six.
Not everyone is totally au fait with the likes of DropBox and sometimes you just want to send a big file without having to educate a client in the nuances of cloud storage. ‘We Transfer’ is perfect, and looks professional enough that it’s great for agency to client stuff. No stress files transfer, free of charge, unlimited uploads and up to 2GB.
I run a podcast with four people in three time zones, and when it comes to scheduling it used to be a nightmare. Not so with Doodle. The same now applies to scheduling group outings, client meetings, whatever. This nifty free little scheduling tool works with Google Cal, Outlook and iCal, and lets a group of people avoid the shenanigans of conflicted bookings and time zones via a no-nonsense interface. Try it once. Love it forever.
Time tracking and project management are different from issue tracking – where I like Jira for the job – and need a more suitable toolset. There’s nothing more simple than Harvest. It does what it needs to do, well, without fuss or any unnecessary bells and whistles that you’d never use. Simple single-click entry for time, that can be accessed from mobile if necessary, and staff time management features and reminders are all you need, even though Harvest has a lot more to offer. The at-a-glance reporting and seamless invoicing based on billable hours (even incorporating payment features like WorldPay) rounds it out to be solid contender from small businesses to blue chip departments. When I’ve managed web projects, especially in the last three or four years, it’s been a god-send.
I do love me some Hootsuite. Without a doubt the best social media account management tool for the price. Simple reporting and scheduling, with a widget that works with Chrome to instantly tweet any article like the clipping services of old. Perfect for scheduling direct to social profiles (though don’t use it for Facebook, but that’s another story) and for custom searches. Give the free version a shot, and it’s well worth the half hour of watching the training videos to truly get under the hood.
From collaborative decentralised documents to Gmail. From Google Cal to slides and sheets (collaborative presentations). A full business productivity suite that’s rugged, easy to use, and outputs to all the formats you could possibly want. All your precious documents at your fingertips, almost anywhere, lets you work smarter, quicker, and in the 21st century. Ideal for teams who work remotely, it even has video chat and 30GB of mail and cloud storage, plus you can add your own domains to emails etc. At £33 per user per annum, what’s not to love? While we’re talking Google, don’t forget Google Analytics – business is about numbers – easy to use tracking that’s such a rich package it’s rare you’ll need anything else.
Another useful freebie. This time for designing and distributing emails and sending out newsletters. The free version has most things you need, including scheduling, and works on mobile, tablet, and desktop. MailChimp has tonnes of great tracking and reporting features, and it’s really simple to use (to the extent of turning newsletter distribution into something the intern can do). Five million users can’t be wrong.
I could go on, but Trevor has me practicing at writing to word count. If you’ve any other suggestions for tools you can’t live without, please let us know on Twitter, G+, Linkedin, or Facebook. Hope some of those are of use to you.