I’m exhausting my deeper thoughts for the book I am working on and my cared-of writing project for the things I am writing for work. This is why, for this week’s read I am indulging in the x-items-list format again. The topic, web apps for work/productivity, is a recurring one, but I hope you find my insights interesting and forgive my lack of creativity!
I have sometimes said that I live in my inbox – and it is true.
I use email to stay in touch with clients, colleagues and friends using it regularly; read news through newsletter subscriptions; and track my thoughts on the move sending emails to myself.
For years, at Regus, I used Outlook, and I must admit I was a happy user! Email, when systematized, is your ally. Setting up folders and tags and email rules saved me a lot of time, and I loved the sorting style, in which emails were grouped by days, senders, conversations… in a nice way.
When I left Regus and started working at Cobot, I simply added my new email account to the Gmail I was using privately, and created a folder and some tags. I do this every time I am given a new email address for a new project, and it has always worked nicely. Spending some time in the gmail settings let me tune my signatures, establish rules, add tags with categories and colors, and much more.
To make it better for work my gmail is tuned up with Rapportive, Streak, and Boomerang – I will write about them in a future blog post, you’re welcome to subscribe to my newsletter to stay tuned.
I love Buffer. Period.
I use Buffer to schedule and analyze all my social media posting. Whenever I want to tweet something or post something on facebook, g+ or linkedin – either for myself or for one of my clients – I go to buffer and do so.
Buffer generates and tracks shortlinks. You can schedule your publications to go out at a certain time and date, and afterwards see its performance in terms of clicks, favs, shares…
I wrote a full post about buffer a while ago.
WordPress is home to my website and blog, and I love how easy it makes to manage websites. There is a very interesting team behind it (I recently read ‘The year without pants’ and fell in love with their culture) and a lot of people working on functions and templates, so it is a great CMS for you and creates beautiful sites for the eyes of your readers.
Besides, wordpress has a good analytics section that saves me a lot of Google Analytics time and gives me very valuable insights about my traffic.
Asana is my project management app of choice whenever my clients are not already using another system. I love it because it has a very clear interface and a lot of features: tags, due dates, shared calendars, a direct connection to drive…
When we moved all the management from email to asana at feelgut we noticed an improvement in communications and performance. The learning curve can be a bit steady for non-technical people or nee adopters of project management processes, whereas apps like Basecamp are easier to adopt; but the effort to learn Asana pays back.
In the summer of 2013 I worked for Quaderno for some months. This is around when I stopped using Freshbooks to raise my invoices and track my expenses and started using Quaderno instead. A bit later I imported all my old invoices and closed my Freshbooks account.
Quaderno has a beautiful interface and generates beautiful invoices; but is also very reliable and in constant improvement. They have integrations for PayPal and Stripe (I also love Stripe!), and financial reports. And it has saved me days in billing and taxes preparation over the past year. It is a paid app, but you will get a nice discount if you use this link to sign up.
I use Harvest to track the time I work for Asquera and stay over project budgets and billable hours when needed. You can use it to measure the time you work with a chronometer or add activities to the time tracker afterwards; as well as add comments to each time entry explaining what you did.
If you want to have your billing tied to your time tracker you can use Harvest, and they also have a function for time allocation and prevision that may be interesting for project managers.
Drive is my brain – I keep tons of documents, ideas, and drafts in my Google Drive. Confidential information is kept apart in a hard drive, but everything else is accessible to me from anywhere at my Drive.
Drive is also great because you can create and edit documents from it. You can also use it collaboratively and it has great support for team editing (with changes tracking, comments…). At Kunstrial we redact all our project proposals using Drive, and it’s been ages since the last time I used Word, Excel or any kind of office suit. Drive is complete and growing (with awesome new extensions for bibliography management, text editing and so on being created by external developers) so be sure to check it again if it’s a while since the last time you took a look. If you know ift as Google Docs, now that’s a while.
I hope you enjoyed the list; I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about how I use these apps and as always I’d love to read what your favorite tools are or your experiences with them!