Make it Happen: Productivity Tools Can Help You Work Smarter
Productivity tools can make it easier to get your work done and achieve work/life balance, but identifying your needs and navigating your options is the real challenge.
One of the most common challenges for busy b-school professionals is lack of time. With demanding travel schedules, heavy recruiting seasons, and other tasks, balancing priorities can be tough.
Here are some go-to tools to consider:
- Project management: Try Asana, JIRA, Trello, or Feedcamp.
- Asana is a free project-management system that organizes to-do lists. Use it to track deadlines, check off completed items, see upcoming tasks, and communicate with your team about the status of projects. The mobile app version makes it easier to capture ideas on the go.
- JIRA project management software can help you keep your projects moving. It will help link multiple departments onto one platform via dashboards and calendars. JIRA will help keep roles and responsibilities transparent.
- Trello is a project management tool that lets you work collaboratively by using boards, lists, and cards that let you organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, graphical manner.
- Feedcamp features a dashboard with access to all of your projects. Task lists, online sticky notes, and a calendar let you stay on top of your workload and collaborate with your team. It's free with upgrades available for a fee.
- Scheduling and Calendaring: Consider Acuity Scheduling, TimeTrade, vCita, Whoozin.
- Acuity Scheduling is an online calendar that offers a free version or paid version. It allows everyone to see your availability real-time and self-book appointments. It also automatically sends branded and customized confirmations, reminders and follow-ups—via email or text message.
- TimeTrade® solutions is a free enterprise appointment scheduler that syncs to your personal calendar. If you don’t need bells and whistles, then consider this option.
- vCita LiveSite® experience is another option, which allows you to add your Facebook page and also syncs to your personal calendar.
- Whoozin is especially helpful if you’re in a position to manage volunteers or events. If you have a small staff where you are many things to many people, then Whoozin takes care of your meeting invitations, reminders, communications, document sharing, and meeting polls.
- Work/life balance. Work/life balance means many things to many people, from time management to stress management. For a variety of solutions, check out Instapaper, Calm, or Cozi.
- Instapaper is a great way to get the most out of all of the interesting articles that friends and colleagues share over the course of a day or a week. It helps you save these great pieces of information for a time when you can read them uninterrupted, like during a commute, a flight, or even a lunch break. When you save an article to Instapaper, it extracts the article text and leaves all other noise behind so that you’re left with an optimized online reading experience.
- Calm may not be for everyone, but if you’re into mindfulness or meditation as a way to achieve work/life balance, then Calm is something you may want to consider. The app features different guided meditations to help you step away, slow down, and bring some peace of mind to your day.
- Cozi lets you manage your life outside the office—which may go a long way toward helping you focus in the office—by putting all of your personal information in one place. It includes a calendar, a to-do list, shopping list, journal, and recipe manager, allowing your entire family to stay organized.
These products represent just a small sample of the software and apps that are available on the market. To find the best tool for you, start by identifying your own pain points. Are you getting lost in email and having trouble managing communications? Are you struggling to manage multiple projects? Are you getting buried in social media? Are you stressed out? Once you figure out what type of tool you need, talk to your IT department or talk to your peers for further recommendations and how best to implement.