One might assume from our prodigious output, masterful schedules, and almost godlike focus that we’re a company of productivity savants.
We are not.
Left to our own devices, the office would explode into chaos within a week. Concepts like ‘time’ and ‘schedules’ would melt into a seething mass of wild, uncontrollable creativity. The very fabric of time and space would rupture throwing our deadlines, and existence itself, straight into the void.
But fear not cosmos. We have technology!
Today we’re talking about the productivity tools that help tame our penchant for temporal destruction and turn our team into the fertile dynamo you’ve come to love.
We are 100% unapologetic Slack converts. It replaced our previous siloed, disconnected world of company emails with a free-flowing digital conversation.
Instead of person-to-person emails, Slack stores messages in user-definable channels. We tend to create channels for each project we’re working on. Team members that need access to a project’s conversation need only check the channel. New participants can get caught up with ease by reading back through the accumulated messages.
Slack keeps our communications focused and reduces the need for frequent staff meetings, which helps everyone be more productive.
Did you hear what we said? Fewer staff meetings. Slack is the greatest piece of software ever designed.
No creative company can function for long without a project management platform, and our choice is Monday. It’s an amazingly agile system that was relatively painless to set up and scales easily as our needs evolve. This is due to the fact that every view, panel, and interface element can be customized, on-the-fly when necessary, to fit our workflow. Users can add new, custom tools as they add projects, departments, and processes into the software.
We use it to schedule projects, assign tasks, monitor our progress, and get quick status updates. Because we can modify, filter, and sort our boards at any time, it’s easy to get access to specific information quickly. It keeps our workflow focused and deadline-oriented, and keeps the universe safe from implosion.
No one likes to do it, save accountants and androids, but if your business centers around billable hours, you have to track them. It’s the only way to know what to bill, whether you’re staying within budget, and where you have underutilized resources.
We use Harvest for time tracking because it makes this excruciatingly dull task…palatable. We won’t say enjoyable, because no amount of software engineering can make time tracking fun. Still, Harvest makes it fast and intuitive so that we can get accurate, consistent information into our system with the least amount of hassle.
If you have to get waterboarded, at least let it be fast and convenient.
Ziflow is an online proofing application. We use it to get feedback from our clients at key development stages as their projects move toward completion. Whether we’re building a website, designing print collateral, or creating interactive content, Ziflow gives us a central location to share our work and collect comments.
Ziflow is good for internal feedback and revision requests as well. Creative feedback becomes a conversation instead of a monolithic document, which helps us quickly decipher even the most cryptic requests. Now when we get a comment like, ‘Make this text bigger,’ we can immediately ask, ‘How much bigger?’
We run our digital marketing campaigns with this service. It’s a single platform that lets us push messages out through email, landing pages, social media, and more. We find that level of interoperability critical because it helps us monitor the effectiveness of different campaign components in one place.
Plus, it’s easy to use. There’s simply no need to kill yourself trying to monitor a multiphased marketing campaign across several services. Mailchimp lets us design an entire campaign, sharing resources and content wherever possible.
If Mailchimp were a person, it would get the really nice corner office with the view of the park that everyone is fighting for because dammit, it earned it.
We generate a lot of files. And big files. DropBox lets us store these in the cloud and move them around as needed with an effortless interface that’s as simple as dragging them from one folder to another.
If one of our designers is working offsite and needs a quick bit of editing help from a team member, she can move the project to the cloud so that it’s instantly accessible for collaboration. It’s also extremely useful for sending large deliverables to clients at the conclusion of a project.
If DropBox were a person, it would get a small desk at the back of our storage warehouse because that is its happy place.
Grammarly be the differnce betwean sentinces that arr looking like thiis 1, and properly formatted text, with its spelling, grammar, usage, and style all duly checked and corrected.
Be honest. You might not say it out loud, but when you see a stupid spelling or grammatical error in a piece of professional material, you judge it. Maybe not harshly, but you do check a box in your mind that says, ‘Ha! Got you. I’m better than those people’. Grammarly helps us avoid that by making sure that every document, project, and communication that leaves our office makes us look as good as possible.
You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘You can’t get something fast, cheap, and good. You have to pick two. ‘There’s a related saying that we just made up for the purposes of this article that says, ‘You can’t be creative, work efficiently, and have any ability to remember passwords. You have to pick two.’
Well, nature made our choices for us, so we use LastPass to fill in for number three. It remembers all of our team member’s passwords for every website, app, or service they need to access, and it makes them available across all of their devices. We love the fact that you can optionally have the software create immensely strong random string passwords and then remember them for you. It takes one worry off of our IT department’s shoulders.
That’s it! Eight digital productivity tools that keep our team on target and the integrity of the universe in balance. If there are tools we didn’t mention that your organization can’t live without, we’d love to hear about them. There’s always room for improvement, and there’s always an app for that.