Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the moving parts within your business, especially if you’re a running a startup. At the end of last year I noticed how difficult it was to stay on top of all our projects, prospects, and other general business to-dos. Even though Laura and I work together and spend a good portion of our day together, it doesn’t always mean we communicate as well as we should. I have noticed that there is an inverse relationship between workload and communication: as the workload increases the communication decreases. This happens because both of us are usually working on separate projects. Even though we are both working on different things I still need to be kept up to speed on how projects are moving along. After noticing how we were managing the chaos I made it a goal this year to be more efficient and create a better line of communication.
With my new sense of purpose I decided to do some research on productivity apps that could help us be more efficient and create a better line of communication. I have used Omni Focus for iPad in the past and liked it but I didn’t want to spend an extra $79.99 for the computer version, and another $19.99 for the iPhone version. I have noticed in the past that if I don’t have a multi-platform solution, I won’t use the software, hence having OmniFocus for iPad and not using it. This narrowed down my choices to apps that I could use on all my platforms and that would automatically sync with one another.
When I started out I was looking for a way to organize all our projects and files associated with them, as well as create task lists to stay on top of everything. Not only would it have to work on my computer, iPhone and iPad, it would have to allow for Laura and I to share an account and be able to assign each other tasks. After much research and not finding one single app that works exactly the way I need, I decided to give Evernote for Business and Asana a try.
After using both now for over a month, I have to say that I am a big fan. Both work in completely different ways but we have figured out how to make them work for our business. Evernote has become our way of organizing and documenting all business related projects, clients, and ideas. I rely on Evernote on a daily basis; it has become something that I can’t live without. Being an entrepreneur can be exhausting because you usually wear many hats within your company. For me I have to do the business development, marketing, sales, create content, client relations, and if that’s not enough actually do the work when we close on a new project. This can get overwhelming sometimes because there are a lot of moving parts and you have to constantly flip back and forth between being analytic and creative. What I can’t always anticipate is when inspiration will strike, it could happen at any moment. With Evernote I can quickly jot my idea down, file it away in my inbox notebook and worry about it later. Also, since Laura and I are linked through the business account, we are able to brainstorm ideas without having to in the same room, it’s fantastic. This has proved to be the most useful when I’m out of the office because if I am at a meeting or a board/committee meeting and I have an idea about something, I can quickly make a note and then refer back to it later. This has helped me stay on top of things and more organized, a real efficiency winner!
Another great use for Evernote is using it for blog post ideas, In fact, this post started out in Evernote. I have a notebook titled Blog Posts, and I can quickly jot down an idea and maybe a few notes if I don’t have time to write the full post at that time. Often I will us Evernote Web Clipper to save something I have found online to use as a reference in a blog post.
Asana has become our goto app for task management. Like Evernote, I have had an Asana account since it was still in beta, but I didn’t use it because at that time it was only an online platform. Now Asana can be using on the iPhone and iPad as well. I can’t begin to explain how much more efficient we have become since we started using Asana for every task that needs to be completed. The beauty of Asana is that it’s free up to 15 team members.
The way we use Asana is to assign tasks to ourselves or each other. We can also include a due date and note within the individual tasks. We have folders set up for each project and a general ToDo list for everything else. By allowing others to see your tasks and due dates, it holds you accountable for everything you said you were going to do. I love this feature and we are so much more efficient this year because of it.
The purpose of this post was to share my thoughts on some apps that we really enjoy using, and hopefully it will help others out there to be more productive and efficient in their work. We would love to hear from you about apps that help you be more productive and efficient in your business.