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Five Apps That Will Increase Your Productivity

Five Apps That Will Increase Your Productivity

The success of smartphones and tablets over the last five years or so has been helped in no small part by the huge number of apps available to users. These handy little add-ons make life easier; there are apps for grocery shopping, banking, social networks and pretty much anything you can think of.

The thing is, how many of these apps are actually productive? Do they enable you to perform your job better? Does it give you the ability to work on the move in a way that hasn’t been possible since, well, ever?

Take advantage of modern technology to increase your effectiveness in, and outside, the office.  Here’s five apps which have been proven to increase the productiveness of people at all levels of business.

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

    Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

    Cost: Free

    More info: www.wunderlist.com

    Wunderlist is a fantastic app for every area of your life.  As the name suggests, its main function is making lists which may sound simple but it’s incredibly useful.

    So what’s so great about Wunderlist? Well first, it’s free (although they do have paid options) and it’s extremely easy to use. You can create as many separate lists as you want, and file them accordingly to ensure your life remains organized. The iPhone app is nicely designed and easy to use, whilst they also have apps for iPad, Mac, Windows, Android and the web.  However, there are perhaps two fundamental reasons why Wunderlist stands out from the crowd.

    Wunderlist allows you access your lists from anywhere and on any device. Once you are signed up, any lists you make are saved in the cloud. So you can make a list on your computer at lunchtime and access it on your iPhone screen when you get to the supermarket in the evening.

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    This leads me to second main reason why Wunderlist impresses me so much – the ability to share with multiple users, which I frequently use at work.  For example, you can create a list of to-dos for a certain project, then if you’re out of the office you can assign tasks to other members of the team from your phone. You can then set a due date for that task and request a reminder to be sent if the task has yet not been ticked off.

    “Wunderlist is a fantastic tool, as well as being a useful, but standard, list making tool, it can also function as a piece of project planning and management software – not bad for something that costs nothing!” – Mark Hughes, Electric Dialogue

    Keeper

    keeper

      Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

      Cost: Free

      More info: www.keepersecurity.com

      Ever had one of those days when you can’t remember your passwords? Have you had to wait until the IT department gets back to you with a replacement? Or do you just go straight for the reset button? Well this app takes that onus off your shoulders, so you can deal with the things that really matter.

      One of the great things about Keeper is its ability to synch across devices, which means you don’t have the frustration of repeatedly entering in the wrong password and locking your accounts or having to reset them. It keeps everything behind a single ‘master’ password that wipes your secrets if a hack is attempted.

      If your office has a number passwords for various tools, programs, accounts etc (as I’d expect) Keeper also has a group option. Group administrators manage the accounts and users to control what goes to whom. There’ll be no more asking around the office for the password or post it notes with passwords scrawled on stuck to computer screens.

      All in all this app enables you to work hard without having to take involuntary breaks you hunt down missing passwords.

      “When our office was broken into eighteen months ago and my desktop was stolen I panicked. Everything I owned was accessible from that note list on it. My mortgages, my shares, my savings accounts; someone could basically have accessed each and every part of my life and my business.

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      I decided something more secure was needed because I’d got too used to the simplicity of having everything in one place. Keeper was the answer to my prayers!” – Scott Seaman-Digby, Hawtrey Dene

      Speek

      Speek

        Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

        Cost: Free (data roaming fees may apply as an internet connection is required)

        More info: www.speek.com

        Conference calling is an important part of how most businesses operate. It enables teams, and individuals, working in different offices around the world to brainstorm, plan and discuss. But it’s such a fiddly process isn’t it?

        Fortunately, there is an app for that! Speek is a specialist conference calling app that cuts out the fuss and lets you get on with the work.

        All you have to do is pick a personal link which takes the place of the traditional PIN or phone numbers. Then send it to the other callers, when when want to join the call all they have to do is click that link from their tablet, smartphone, desktop etc to join in – it’s that simple.

        There are no third parties involved, hold music or dodgy lines. So next time you’re turning your desk upside looking for the dial-in PIN or struggling to interpret the crackling voices on the other lines, remember it doesn’t have to be that way.

        It’s an app that every modern business needs; and to top it all off, did I mention it was free?

        “Being able to share information with our team, often when we are out on the road, is a crucial part of our business.  So Speek allows us to do that with minimum fuss” – Lorraine Barker, Workfish

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        Highrise

        tour-contact-redesign

          Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

          Cost: Free

          More info: www.highrisehq.com

          Highrise is a CRM app that helps you to manage your tasks and objectives as well as those of your team. It integrates with all of your email accounts and calendars as well as tracking all of your leads and proposals. This means with you can pull in a whole wealth of information and updates wherever you are and on any device.

          A simple feature we like is the ability to link photos to our clients’ profiles as well as any LinkedIn or twitter accounts they may have – it builds up a personality of each person, rather than just a load of statistics.

          You can also custom tag companies and individuals within the system for quick and easy grouping of contacts. As we can work remotely from one another the app allows us a very quick and simple way of staying connected.

          Although the basic plan is free there are paid plans which enable you to add more users to your account, increased storage and thousands of extra contacts.

          “The Highrise app is indispensable for us as a business – it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing at night.  It allows us to get a near instant snapshot of our company activity and helps ensure that we do not fall behind with our client management.  

          It’s a vital finger-on-the-pulse of the organisation that we rely on in order to best serve our staff and customers alike.” – Michael Miller, Edison Red

          Shoeboxed

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          Organize-Receipts-Shoeboxed-Scan-Email-or-Mail-Receipts-1

            Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

            Cost: Free

            More info: www.shoeboxed.com

            Claiming expenses can be a time consuming process, all those forms to fill out and keeping track of those receipts. Let’s just say it’s not a task for the faint-hearted.

            That’s where Shoeboxed proves its worth. This free app (a running theme I know) is great for people who frequently find themselves out and about in the name of business. It enables you to scan your receipts into your phone as you go, it then collates and organises these receipts for you.

            That’s pretty great in its self but when the time comes to generate an expenses report Shoeboxed comes into its own. It does all the work for you; all you have to do is send it – which you can, of course, do straight from the app.

            There’s also a handy feature on the app if you find yourself with countless business cards after that out of town conference. Much like the receipt function, you just scan the business card with your phone and voila, the information is pulled from the image and then stored in a personal contact list. Impressive, is probably the word you’re looking for.

            “Shoeboxed is an app that businesses of any size should be using. I don’t have to hold on to endless amounts of receipts when I’m away on business anymore or spend time putting an expenses report together when I’m back – Shoeboxed does it all for me.” Andrew Strain, No.1 Traveller

            Round-Up

            The apps on this list are generally fairly simple. Nothing extravagant or overwhelmingly complicated, they just make time consuming or inefficient tasks quicker.

            It is their usability as well as functionality that set these five apps apart from the rest of the market.

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            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

            Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

            Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

            In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

            1. ScheduleOnce

              ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

              ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

              ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

              Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

              Available on Web

              2. Calendly

                Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                3. Assistant.to

                  For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                  From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                  Available on Web

                  4. Acuityscheduling

                    Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                    It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    5. Pick

                      Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                      At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                      Available on Web

                      6. X.ai

                        For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                        This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                        Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                        Available on Web

                        7. YouCanBook.me

                          is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                          They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                          Available on Web

                          8. Doodle

                            Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                            It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                            You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                            While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                            Available on Web | iOS | Android

                            9. WhenAvailable

                              WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                              Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                              Available on Web

                              10. Rally

                                Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                Available on Web

                                11. NeedtoMeet

                                  Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                  NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                  While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                  Available on Web

                                  Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                  In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                  To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                  Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                  A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                  Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                  If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                  Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                  With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                  Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                  Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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