There are many things you can do to become more productive. You can take advice from others, read material on the subject, or look for tools that can automate certain day-to-day tasks. Also, you can perform other functions to speed up your design or business activities. Chances are you’ve tried some or all the above; and perhaps you’ve had some measure of success.
If, however, you feel a need for still more improvement, here are several practices you can follow, along with some tools you should consider. Choosing a productivity app that addresses an area you need for to improve in should get you off to a great start. You experience greater control over your project(s), an increase in the speed in which you can accomplish tasks, or both.
Here are six productivity apps addressing task management, rapid prototyping, time tracking, and sales management.
Also, in this article, you will find simple-to-follow practices that will return huge dividends for the time invested in them.
Many people who do design for a living are familiar with the same problem: when they could be designing, they find that they have to spend unnecessary time on things completely unrelated to actual designing. Active Collab solves that problem. Active Collab is a tool for project management which helps people keep track of all the things that they are working on, work together with their clients, and generate estimates and invoices in under 60 seconds.
Active Collab, which is a cloud-based tool, allows you separate various parts of your work into to-do lists, helps with team collaboration and makes sure that your workflow is well organized. You can sign up free of charge and be running in under 60 seconds without any additional setup. It also allows you to run the app using your server, although you would have to pay a 1-time fee for that.
Active Collab has more than 200,000 users, which includes: startups, design agencies, freelancers and large corporations. Sign up for a 30-day free trial to determine whether Active Collab has all you need.
“Wake gives us a chronological look into what everybody’s doing, and allows people to digest what’s going on.” – Charlie Waite, GoPro
Seamlessly share your design process with your team through Wake. Wake provides a private space to share and discuss design work with your team. Wake encrypts all its user connections via HTTPS. You also have access to Wake apps for Mac and iOS, so you can keep communication open with team members; plus, you can keep up to date with project happenings with Wake’s full-featured native iOS app while you’re on the go.
Wake has several plans, including a Starter Plan which costs $22 per month that includes the Mac and iOS apps. It also has a Pro Custom Plan if you are a large team and you want to have all features of the Pro Custom plan. Give it a try – sign up for a 30-day free trial to determine whether Wake is right for you.
Proto.io helps you take a major first step toward building an awesome website or mobile app. It does so by providing you with awesome prototypes. It makes it a walk in the park to build a prototype that is barely distinguishable from the real thing.
You can view your prototype and share it with others on your browser, or on any standard mobile device. Your prototype can even be user tested on mobile devices. You can design directly in Proto.io using its professionally crafted iOS and Android components, or choose to import static Sketch or Photoshop designs, and see them turned into animated, interactive items of beauty.
Popular gestures for mobile use are no problem to incorporate, but the best way to see how Proto.io will speed up your design process is to try it for free for 15 days.
If you’ve been looking for a task management tool to fit to your workflow, and one that places no limitation on the number of team members that can be covered, MeisterTask is an excellent choice. Each of MeisterTask’s flexible Kanban boards holds space for all the information needed to complete a task. And, the customizable dashboard displays your daily activities; what’s in the pipeline, what come’s next, and what’s in progress. Sign up, and get started for free.
Salesmate is a small business CRM tool that helps you close deals. This all in one sales automation, management and sales acceleration software product can be used by sales teams of any size.
It gives you a real-time view of your sales funnel, helps with managing your pipeline, and frees you from the busywork of attracting new customers. Each sales person in your staff will benefit from using this simple, personal, and productive tool; and you can get started for free.
Are you in need of a time tracking tool that automatically generates customized invoices, and makes your project estimating significantly more accurate? Minterapp does these, and more. You can use it to track both billable and non-billable time. This online app can generate detailed reports showing invoices that have been drafted, are pending, or have been paid, and your clients can submit payments by PayPal or Stripe. Try Minterapp for 30 days for free.
Productivity Tips and Tricks
Have a plan for the day
Working to a plan is discussed first for a reason. No matter how efficiently you work, if you don’t plan, you stand an excellent chance of failing. Some people brag about being able to being able to multitask, but multitasking is seldom efficient, and if you’re suddenly faced with a number of tasks, and precious little time to do them in, you’re likely to be overwhelmed.
Being overwhelmed isn’t fun. It’s not only stressful, but your tasks don’t get done well, or don’t get done at all. Plan your day’s work at the end of the preceding day, and see how much smoother things move along.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts
One of the secrets of becoming more productive is learning how seemingly small things can add up. A keyboard shortcut may only save you a few seconds, but it you use many different ones often, the time you save rapidly adds up over the course of a workday. Keyboard shortcuts allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard, as opposed to reaching for, and fiddling with, the mouse. Try it.
Standardize Naming Conventions and Assign Tags
The benefit of using standard naming conventions is so obvious, and doing so is so easy, that it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t use them. But many don’t. Sticking to a naming convention can save you time otherwise wasted in looking for “lost” files. Doing so can save your collaborators and developers a ton of time as well. And, don’t forget to assign tags to your files. It will save time searching for solutions online.
Use Time Tracking
The purpose of time tracking is not to place you under pressure. Its purpose is to provide useful information. What you learn from time tracking, particularly if you tend to procrastinate, or move away from the task you are doing, is how to become more productive; and do so relatively quickly. Businesses use time tracking information to provide more accurate estimates to their clients. You can too.
Optimize Your Office Space for Speed
Design and productivity apps sometimes feature presets, the purpose of which is to make work easier when you first start using the tool. Some of these presets can be adjusted to speed up a process, or you can design your own. The more you can do with a preset, and do faster, the better off you are.