It’s that time of year again—the time when we all vow to stop eating carbs, to make our beds every morning, to re-haul our organizational efforts, to call our moms more often. Let’s be honest: a lot of those resolutions aren’t going to stick all the way 'til 2016. But, with the right tools, sticking to your goals can get a lot easier.
We polled our team to find out the top productivity tools for staying on top of things, getting organized, and working efficiently. We hope these will help ease you into your goals for 2015 and make those resolutions stick (if only there were a tool to help us say no to cake).
Lots of folks on our team use Sunrise as their calendar app, and our CEO Steven is one of their biggest evangelists. “Most of the other calendar apps have small things that annoy me,” he says. “Sunrise is one of the apps solving the scheduling of meetings and it ‘just works’. It connects to Google Maps for places, it integrates with your contact list to auto-complete, it pulls in social profiles for context about the person you're meeting. There's still a bunch of improvements I'd like in Sunrise, but I'm pretty sure they're listening.” You can grab the Sunrise app on mobile or desktop, or use their web interface to get up and running super quickly.
You might have heard us sing Slack’s praises before, but we just love this team communication app to pieces. It’s pretty much replaced internal emails here at our office and allows us to have real-time communication with everyone on our team. Since we have team members in three different countries, you can imagine how helpful that is. VP of Marketing, Amanda, loves Slack most of all for its sleek mobile apps. “It sends me alerts straight to my phone, so I instantly know if I'm needed even when away from office,” she says. Steven says he loves that Slack is killing email. “Whenever on the team someone emails me, I try to pull that conversation into Slack.” It’s become second-nature for most of us at Karma, to the point that we use Slack as a verb (so no one takes offense when we yell, “Hey, slack me!”).
Slack powers our internal communication
“I have to-do lists for EVERYTHING. If I don't write it down, it doesn't happen,” says our office manager, Katya. Wunderlist is her to-do list of choice, along with several others on our team. It allows for real-time syncing, so you can share a list for collaboration with a co-worker, plus it works on a whole slew of platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire, Windows 7 & 8, Mac, and on good old web. Our back-end developer Menno says he loves Wunderlist because he thinks it “strikes the right balance between simplicity and features.” Knowing everything on your docket is one of the pillars of getting organized, so we definitely recommend starting with some kind of list app, like Wunderlist or office favorite runner-up Clear.
So you probably have a work email account, and a personal email account, and an online banking account, and a Dropbox account, and an iTunes account, and a Facebook account, and—ok, you get the idea. We have a lot of online accounts these days. 1Password allows you to set (surprise!) one password phrase for all of your account logins, which simultaneously makes your logins more secure and much easier to remember. Ops Engineer Marcel says, “I cannot recommend this app enough. If you're going to spend money on one single app this year, let it be 1Password. My 1Password contains over 600 logins that each have a unique password, making my online presence a lot more secure.” Really, just go get it. This app is a lifesaver and a game-changer.
Almost everyone on the team has rave reviews about Evernote, both for work and personal organization. Director of Brand Experience Peter says, “I use it to organize my life in terms of digitizing paperwork, collecting references, trip itineraries, recipes, work notes. Getting a handle on all this stuff makes me more productive.” Evernote allows you to write both long-form and short-form lists and allows the flexibility to customize your organization experience. You can clip and save articles and photos and filter them into projects, and even use the app to create easy presentations. Marcel uses Evernote in conjunction with a HP LaserJet 400 MFP printer. “Put a stack of papers in the feeder, scan to an Evernote address, and enjoy your new paperless home.” Boom. Digital file cabinet.
We would love to hear more about the tools that make you more productive, so let us know with a comment or Tweet @yourkarma.