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14 Online Tools That Help Your Team Stay Connected, Productive, and Happy

14 Online Tools That Help Your Team Stay Connected, Productive, and Happy

Being able to work remotely, or even build a company that’s remote, is not easy, but it’s possible today. Some of today’s most notable companies, including Basecamp, Buffer, Virgin, and WordPress are building companies with over 100+ employees all around the world. How did they do it?

They found the right ‘tools’When your team members are living on opposite sides of the continent and in different time-zones, effective tools are vital to your team culture, productivity, and success. We’ve tested hundreds of online tools to maximize how we stay connected, productive, and happy.  Here is a list of top 14 online tools that you will find useful for yourself and your team. The first four deal with connectivity while the last four help to make your team happier. The remaining six tolls help to increase your team’s productivity.

1. Slack – Keeping Everyone Connected

Slack is a powerful and free way to coordinate with your team and keep everyone on the same page.

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    2. Help Scout – Customer Support Inbox Managed In One Place

    When we first started, we coordinated all of our customer support through Gmail. That got messy — fast. With Help Scout, we can now invite our support team to the application, and coordinate all of our support tickets in one place. They also have a knowledge base feature that allows you to systematize your customer service.

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      3. Intercom – Live Customer Support

      Intercom is a live chat support tool that allows you to send manual and automated notifications to visitors and customers inside the app based on their behaviors. It helps our customers get direct, immediate support, and helps us keep everyone happy.

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        4. Basecamp – Creating company milestones, goals, and organizing files

        Basecamp has been around for over 17 years. Which is far longer than most team management tools out there. And their product shows it. It’s a great tool to organize everything in your company, or even for yourself to keep everything organized. They have a free plan for one project (also known as Basecamp), and you can input as many users as you want.

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          5. Stunning– Helping Customers Update Billing Information In One Click

          Stunning is a new tool we’ve recently adopted in order to recover lost revenue in our business. A common issue that every business runs into is failed charges. This could be due to fraud, card expiry, or just the customer’s bank rejecting the charge for security reasons.

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            What Stunning allows us to do is help update, remind, and empower customers to update their information with one-click.

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              6. Trello – Coordinating Future Blog Posts, To-Do Lists, And More

              Content marketing has been the biggest driver of our website growth thus far, and it’s growing faster by the month. People often ask how we’re able to brainstorm, organize, and publish so many articles at a time. Before, we were using a Google Spreadsheet, which got pretty chaotic.

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                Now we use Trello to organize everything into various sections: Ideas, To-do’s, To be published, and Published.

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                  7. WordPress – Content Management Platform

                  I have yet to hear a better platform for content management, which is why companies like Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and 20% of the internet is powered by WordPress.

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                    8. Pomodoro – Workcycle To Maximize Productivity Without Burnout

                    I would often find myself working for two to three hour periods at a time, without taking a break. When you’re working on something you’re passionate about, it’s easy to put your head down without resting.

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                    The issue was, I was feeling less productive and losing my creativity after about 60-minutes or so. I’ve recently been adopting the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in 25 minute chunks, then take small breaks (~5 minutes). It’s forced me to focus on completing one important task without distraction. Taking small breaks throughout the day prevents your team to from burning out.

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                      9. Invision – Design And Development Collaboration In One Place

                      Invision allows our team to collaborate and share comments on design layouts, feature builds, and even prototype new ideas inside the app. It’s saved us a lot of time and keeps our entire team aligned to one vision of the product.

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                        10. Zapier – Automation Of Recurring Tasks (IFTTT For Business)

                        If you’ve used IFTTT for your personal automation, you’ll love Zapier for your business. It allows us to automate important functions of our business, without needing to develop it on the back-end.

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                          11. Five Minute Journal – Daily Reminders To Express Gratitude and Appreciation

                          The five minute journal was originally recommended by Tim Ferriss, who uses it in his daily routine. It’s easy to be caught up with the current events of your day, and lose appreciation of what you have in your life. The five minute journal gives you the template and framework to record down your thoughts, and what you’re most appreciative for before you start your day, and before you hit the sheets.

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                            12. Calm

                            Meditation And Peace Of Mind On-Demand

                            Whenever we feel stressed out, Calm is a go-to tool to get grounded again. It provides soothing background noises for you to enjoy, including a guided meditation practice that lasts 5 to 10 minutes.

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                              13. Strides – Powerful Habit Tracker With Visual Data Analytics Of Your Habits

                              We are what we do repeatedly. As boring as it sounds, having daily routines is what gives us the freedom to do what we want in our lives. I’ve tried multiple habit tracking online tools, but Strides is one of the best based on visual appearances and usability.

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                                14. 8tracks – Curated Music Selected Based On What Mood You Are In

                                8tracks gives you music collections depending on what mood you are in.

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                                  Featured photo credit: businessfitnessblog.files.wordpress.com via businessfitnessblog.files.wordpress.com

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                                  Sean Kim

                                  Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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                                  Last Updated on January 24, 2021

                                  How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                                  How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                                  Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

                                  For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                                  But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                                  It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

                                  And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                                  The Importance of Saying No

                                  When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                                  In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                                  Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

                                  Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                                  Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

                                  “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                                  When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                                  How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                                  It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

                                  From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                                  We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

                                  And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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                                  At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                                  The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                                  How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

                                  Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

                                  But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

                                  3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                                  1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                                  Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

                                  If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

                                  2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                                  When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

                                  Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                                  3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

                                  When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                                  6 Ways to Start Saying No

                                  Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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                                  1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                                  One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

                                  Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                                  2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                                  Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                                  Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

                                  3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

                                  Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                                  Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

                                  You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

                                  4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

                                  Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                                  Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                                  5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

                                  When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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                                  How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                                    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                                    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                                    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

                                    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                                    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                                    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

                                    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                                    More Tips on How to Say No

                                    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

                                    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
                                    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
                                    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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