Call us crazy, but we think productivity is important.
With dozens of clients to manage—each with their own tasks and subtasks—leaning on old school pen and paper planners just doesn’t cut it.
While many business organization tools have come in and out of our office lives, there are three that we aren’t letting go of any time soon. They work for us both on an individual and team level, and love them so much that we think your business should use them, too:
With 15 GB of free cloud storage to use across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, Google Drive is an awesome way to collaborate—and if you’re files aren’t huge, it’ll likely be awhile before you run out of space. If you do need more space, you get a bang for your buck.
Here are some more reasons why we love it:
Hard work is always safe and sound.
Ever have a terrifying moment where everything you worked on for the past five hours is just…gone? Yeah, that happened to us once. Since Google Drive has nothing to do with your server—and since whatever you’re working on is continuously and automatically saved—you don’t have to worry about your computer freezing up and losing everything. It gives us incredible peace of mind. Oh, and before you ask, the answer is yes. The final version of everything we do is also backed up in a Word Doc on our server. (And if you use Google Drive, you should do the same thing.)
Collaborating is easy-peasy.
The Google Drive feature we use the very most are Google Docs. Whether we’re working on a blog post or keeping track of tasks in a spreadsheet, we can all be in there at once, making comments and responding to comments live. It’s especially useful for work-from-home days and sharing living documents with clients.
It’s user-friendly and makes organization simple.
Create a new folder, name it, then create a new document or sheet or slide, name it. It’s pretty much as basic as that. Want your Google Drive to be not-just-for-work-stuff so your life isn’t scattered in a million places? That’s simple, too. The only people who can access items in your Google Drive are people with whom you share the link.
Used by the offices of Uber, Salesforce, and The New Yorker, Asana is a project management tool that doesn’t mess around. We use the version that’s absolutely freakin’ free and it does everything we need. If you have more than 15 people in any one of your teams, upgrading to premium is $9.99 per member per month, but you get a whole bunch of extra features, too.
Here’s why we dig it:
It’s great for both list and calendar people.
Some people just like it real cut-and-dry: show me everything I have to do, period. With Asana’s list view, users can break down their task list by due date, project, complete, and incomplete tasks. For those who prefer to see their tasks broken down by day and within the context of the whole calendar, Asana caters to them, too.
Subtasks are a thing.
The geniuses at Asana recognized that big projects are made up of many smaller, equally-actionable pieces, and that breaking them down makes completing the master task seem more manageable. That means not being intimidated by the entire “June Report” looming over you. It’s now 10 easily-digestible pieces.
Anyone can assign a task to anyone.
Tired of bugging your boss to review your report? Asana allows you to create a task to assign to him or her. They’ll see it, it’ll be clear and color-coded by project on their Asana, and you (hopefully) won’t have to nag them again. Also, if there’s a task that applies to more than one person, Asana enables you to clone it.
It’s funny: ever since we started using Harvest for time-tracking, many of us have admitted to getting the instinct to track out time for tasks outside of work. While knowing the clock is ticking can be a little stressful at first, we’ve found that it eventually has made us much more efficient. Harvest offers a free 30-day trial and a team plan for unlimited people and unlimited projects at $12 per-user per-month.
Here’s why Harvest rocks our world:
It works in conjunction with our project management tool.
There’s no point in logging projects if you have to go elsewhere to actually track the time it takes to complete them. Harvest can be integrated with Asana so time-tracking is as easy as clicking a button on the task-in-question. From there, you can go straight to your Harvest time sheet and see tracked time for everything you’ve worked on.
It ensures your time is well-spent—and that you aren’t giving your time away for free.
This one is pretty self explanatory. As any business owner knows, time is money. Having a user-friendly, organized space to track your time means that you don’t have to guess how each employee’s time—and your business’s as a whole—has been allocated. If you notice that a given project is eating up way more hours than anticipated or quoted, it’s time to reevaluate whether it’s worth it or what went wrong. Tracking time (and not just on piece of paper) makes everyone think about every little minute differently.
Projects can be divided by department for easier billing.
Deciphering what time was spent where and how whoever needs to be billed should be billed is not something anyone at your company should have to spend their precious time on. (See what we did there?) Without any extra effort, Harvest allows you to get as micro or as macro as you want—and if you forget to track your time or track it in the wrong category, it can be easily edited.
We geek out over our business organization and collaboration tools and we aren’t afraid to say it. They help us see the big picture and the small details all at once and ultimately enable us to execute bigger results for our clients more efficiently. Want your business to “efficiencyitize” like us? Start by making creating a task for it. 😉