The widespread availability of information technology can be a gift and a curse. It is, of course, incredible to have so much information at our fingerprints at any given time. However, this vast world of knowledge also breeds a vast world of procrastination, distraction, and efficiency leakage. Luckily, information technology has also given way to combat these inefficiencies. There are many business productivity apps on the market. As such, their functions range from blocking access to distracting websites to sorting through your email inbox. These apps can be prove to be extremely effective at increasing productivity – whether you’re a sole proprietor, small, or large business.
The sheer quantity of productivity apps available can be quite overwhelming. So, in this article we’ve chosen a few apps in several different categories that we think are worth checking out.
An added bonus is that the basic version for many of these apps is free, giving you a chance to see how well the app works for your business before fully committing.
Business Productivity Apps for Collaboration
Asana is one of the leaders in the project management app sector. There are many apps similar to Asana out there, but Asana is, without doubt, one of the most popular.
It lets you set up different “boards” for different projects. Within those boards you can assign tasks to certain people, check in on progress, set up sub-projects and more.
Something that sets Asana apart is that it allows you to set up visual project plans, which really help with getting a full view of progress on your various projects. As a bonus, the basic version of Asana is available for free, and they offer various higher-level premium platforms as well.
Trello is another popular and effective project management app. Like Asana, Trello sets up boards (complete with task-assigning tools, due dates, etc.) for various projects that your business is working on.
Project management for businesses that have many different projects going on at once can lead to immense confusion, disorganization, and wasted time. Project management tools like Trello and Asana have the potential to significantly increase your productivity by putting all of your project information in one place (and color-coding it!).
Another benefit of Trello is that it integrates with other tools such as Slack, Dropbox, and more. The basic version of Trello is available for free, with premium versions available as well.
Slack is probably the leading productivity app for office chats and communication. It offers an extremely effective way of streamlining office conversations.
It eliminates the confusion of wondering whether:
- you should reach out via text or email
- you should start a new thread or spend 20 minutes searching for the old one
- or how many team members to include in an email
Slack lets your business develop different channels for different projects, create private chats, share documents and more – all on one simple, user-friendly platform. It is also able to integrate with other web platforms, which can be very helpful. Slack is available in both free and premium services.
Though very popular, it is still worth mentioning because it truly is so easy to use and efficient. It boats a host of platforms, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Forms, Google Slides, and many more.
Google has developed an extremely streamlined, user-friendly way to share and collaborate on documents. It eliminates the need to constantly save, send, edit, and re-save documents. Rather, a team has one document accessible and editable by anyone who needs it.
Of course, everyone using Google Suite platforms needs to have a Google email address. Google Suite is available in free and premium versions.
It is very likely that you have already filled out a Doodle poll and/or sent out a Doodle poll to schedule a meeting. Doodle gives users the ability to send out mini scheduling calendars in order to set up meeting times.
Although this is a seemingly simple task, eliminating the back-and-forth email threads of when various people are available is a huge time saver. Instead, Doodle gives you the ability to simply select the time slots that work for you.
Doodle also has several helpful complementary features, such as enabling users to set specific hours of availability, designate events as private, set reminders and more. Doodle has both free and premium versions.
For those of you who work – or have employees who work – remotely, Teleport Sundial could be very useful. Teleport is a whole suite of apps designed for remote workers to find good places to work around the world.
Sundial is part of the Teleport suite, and it gathers timezone data from all your remote workers. So instead of wondering why an employee hasn’t replied to your email yet, just check Teleport Sundial – maybe it’s 2:00 AM where they live. Teleport Sundial is available for free.
Business Productivity Apps for Automation
Zapier essentially allows you to connect and automate functions of various productivity apps. It lets you set up triggers, so that when something happens on one app, something else will automatically happen on a different app.
This, of course, can result in a huge amount of time save. Getting the most out of apps like Zapier can require putting in a little work up front in order to think through what the most helpful and efficient triggers would be. But after the initial thought process, having an automated system to do tasks you used to have to do manually ends up greatly increasing productivity. Zapier is available in free and premium services.
If This Then That (IFTTT)
This one is similar to Zapier in that it allows you to automate functional sequences of various apps.
Instead of calling them triggers, IFTTT calls them applets. IFTTT has fewer trigger, or applet, options than Zapier. However, it stands out because it can help you automate your home life as well as your work life. You can set up applets with smart devices in your home to automate certain tasks like turning on lights, setting the oven timer, etc. IFTTT is a free platform.
As the name implies, HelloSign is a signature app. Its purpose is to let you apply your signature (and/or your employees’ signatures) to any document without having to print it out.
After you generate a custom signature (either by virtually signing your name or by letting the app generate one for you), HelloSign saves your signature and lets you put it onto any form that needs it. It is also integrated with Google Drive, making it easy to apply your signature to any forms via Google.
Although HelloSign has a fairly narrow focus, when you think about the time (and resources) it takes to print off a 50 page document just so that you can sign it (and then scan the whole thing again), this app certainly does increase productivity. HelloSign is available in free and premium versions.
Business Productivity Apps for Organization
Another name that gives away the function. Todoist is, unsurprisingly, an app for creating to-do lists. Businesses, and individuals, sometimes steer away from automated to-do lists, since the concept seems so simple to do “the old fashioned way.”
However, apps like Todoist fall into the category of something that you didn’t know you needed until you had it. Not only does Todoist set up lists, it also reminds you of tasks, lets you prioritize certain tasks, and – maybe best of all – creates graphs and charts so that you can keep track of your progress on certain tasks.
Needless to say, this provides much more accountability than a simple, handwritten to-do list. Ever get 70% done with a project and aren’t sure how to note that on your to-do list? Todolist takes care of that by tracking your progress graphically. Apps like these can be very beneficial for developing long term efficient and organized systems. Todoist is available in a free and premium version.
Lastpass functions as a password manager. As the internet gets more and more complex, longer, more unique, and more complicated passwords are required to ensure security. Lastpass generates secure and individualized passwords on any site you need them for, and gives you a way to store them safely.
Not only is it difficult to come up with (not to mention remember) secure passwords on your own, it can also be very challenging for businesses to develop secure ways of keeping track of their various passwords. If you’re experiencing issues like these, Lastpass can be a great solution. It is available in free and premium versions.
Business Productivity Apps for Managing Information
SaneBox is useful for helping you improve your email efficiency. Even the most organized of us periodically experience an inbox full of emails they have no idea what to do with. SaneBox is able to access the back-end of your email platform and organize your emails.
Through an algorithm that identifies which emails are from actual contacts, and which are either spam or form emails, SaneBox sorts through your emails, takes your less important emails out of your inbox, and puts them into other folders.
Sorting through emails can be a major time loss, so being able to automate that process can definitely increase productivity. SaneBox starts at $7 per month.
Business Productivity Apps for Managing Social Media
Almost every business has some sort of social media platform(s) these days. Even if your business has absolutely nothing to do with social media or interacting with the public, it is common knowledge that having some sort of social presence is very beneficial.
Managing these sites can be difficult, though. Sites like Twitter necessitate posting many times a day to ensure that your content is relevant. And when you add onto that keeping track of three other platforms, it can be challenging to stay on top of, to say the least.
This is where Buffer comes in. Buffer essentially provides a dashboard that you can use to keep track of all your social media platforms in one place. Instead of jumping back and forth from Facebook to Instagram, you can schedule posts on various platforms, reply to comments, and even track the performance of your posts all in one place. Buffer is available in free and premium versions.
Business Productivity Apps for Time Tracking
Keeping track of how you spend your time is perhaps the most obvious way to measure your productivity. Luckily, there’s an app for that. There are actually many apps for that, but Rescue Time is one of the best.
Rescue Time provides software that is able to track the time that you and/or your employees spend on various projects.
This of course has many implications in terms of productivity and efficiency:
- helping you to understand which projects turn out to be incredibly time-consuming
- measuring job performance
- knowing how best to bill clients, etc.
In addition to tracking time, Rescue Time has several other very beneficial features. You can set it to notify you when you reach certain milestones. Plus. it has a feature that enables you to block certain websites for designated periods of time, so that you can fully focus on what needs to be done. Rescue Time is available in free and premium formats.
As you can see, there are a plethora of options available in the world of business productivity apps. There is definitely a balance to be struck in terms of these apps; spending too much time researching and trying out different productivity apps can end up being an inefficient use of time itself.
However, we believe that there are some very useful and efficient apps out there, and businesses have a lot to gain by choosing several apps that best suit their needs.
We Can Help
Running a business is no easy feat. And the new apps and technology available are meant to take some of the brunt of the work. But we are also here to answer more business financial questions.
The Saddock Advisory team invites you to get in touch with us so you can learn more about our history, our services, and how we can help you! Fill out our contact form here and we’ll be in touch shortly.