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10 Brilliant Tools For Managing And Boosting Your Professional Network

10 Brilliant Tools For Managing And Boosting Your Professional Network

Remember the phrase that goes something along the lines of “It’s not what you know, but who you know”?

Networking is still a great way to achieve success in the professional world. Creating a community of people around you can provide needed support and even opportunities to collaborate on some pretty exciting projects with fellow professionals.

Thank goodness we live in a time where the Internet exists. There are so many brilliant tools out there that can not only help you boost your professional network, but also help you manage your network after you meet all these awesome people.

Save time and focus on fostering professional relationships with the help of these 10 tools:

1. Evernote Hello

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Evernote Hello

    Rather than organizing your network, Evernote Hello is all about meeting new people. Evernote Hello gathers location and time data, known as an “encounter,” which means that you can record multiple meetings with the same person. You can even introduce contacts to other people.

    What’s so great about Evernote Hello is its visual interface. All users are encouraged to submit photos, so you get to see who they are and what they look like, which is great if you’re a visual thinker. It’s similar to attending a professional networking event and getting to look at everyone’s name tags.

    You approach people you want to meet, without seeming like you’re ignoring everyone else. Everyone is organized into a gorgeous mosaic with the idea that you remember people by their face.

    2. Business Card Reader

    Business Card Reader

      This awesome software uses optical character recognition to convert business cards into contacts in your smartphone. It also integrates with Salesforce and Evernote. It is compatible with Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian, Java, and Windows.

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      3. Rapportive

        This is a really awesome add-on for Gmail because it’s so darn efficient without slowing Gmail down. Rapportive shows in your inbox everything you need to know about your contacts. If you email someone or they email you, you can head over to their social media links or even join their various groups. You can even add notes about your contact all while reading and replying to emails.

        Rapportive is free on Chrome, Mailplane, Firefox and Safari.

        4. Meet the Boss

        Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.22.02 PM

          This is a great service that allows you to reach out to C-level executives to help you figure out challenges in your business. You have the opportunity to meet other like-minded executives where you can participate in industry conversation. Not only do you have a place to learn from each other, but it provides a platform for you to meet and strengthen professional contacts, as well. You meet with others in real time all in the comfort of your own office.

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          5. Highrise

            Highrise might remind you of Facebook’s news feed. You can see what’s happening with your contacts, search for individuals, or even view their history. You can forward emails from your account and link messages to the right contact.

            6. Contactually

            Contactually

              This web-based and iPhone app service syncs with your Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter account. It scrapes your contact information and compiles it all on one online address book. With a click of a button on your dashboard, you can follow your contacts on Facebook or Twitter.

              Another great feature about Contactually is that it keeps track on your top contacts, depending on how often you interact with them. You can categorize them into groups, called “buckets,” so that you can follow up with contacts based on frequency. This service will set reminders for you, as well.

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              7. Yesware

                This app helps you figure out if your emails are actually reaching your prospective and current clients. It will notify you when your messages are opened, and will tell you what links are getting interaction. You can also check what devices they’re reading your emails on so you can better format your emails in the future to maintain your contacts.

                8. CardCloud

                  This free Android app creates a “stack” of digital business cards that you can exchange between smartphones. You can even email them using their CardCloud service. CardCloud will also remind you if you’ve “met” before you share cards.

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                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                  How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                  How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                  We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                  So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                  While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                  Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                  What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                  How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                  But what does being productive actually entail?

                  Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                  Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                  It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                  Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                  9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                  1. Avoid Multitasking

                  Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                  Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                  If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                  2. Turn off Notifications

                  According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                  Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                  The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                  Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                  3. Manage Interruptions

                  There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                  Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                  If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                  By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                  4. Eat the Frog

                  Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                  “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                  What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                  We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                  Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                  5. Cut Down on Meetings

                  Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                  You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                  The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                  But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                  If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                  6. Utilize Tools

                  Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                  If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                  And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                  Some examples of tools that could be used:

                  Communication
                  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                  • Samepage for video conference software.
                  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                  Task Management
                  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                  • Wekan for an open source option.
                  Database Management
                  Time Tracking
                  • Clockify for a free tracker.
                  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                  You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                  7. Declutter and Organize

                  Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                  Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                  Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                  Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                  8. Take Breaks

                  Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                  As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                  Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                  Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                  9. Drink Water

                  Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                  Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                  Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                  A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                  If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                  You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                  The Bottom Line

                  The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                  After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                  In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                  A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                  Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                  More About Boosting Productivity

                  Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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