As the year comes to a close, we’re getting organized for projects and clients in the new year. There are so many apps and services available that it’s often overwhelming figuring out which ones will help you the most. We wanted to share some of our favorite apps for being productive to help you start the new year, and new projects, off right!
We’ve tried many project management tools and the key item for us is to have something we can use via our smart phones. Asana is easy to use and super sexy! It is free for up to 30 people and allows you to create multiple workspaces. We have an overall Reinventing Events workspace, as well as separate workspaces for each client to track all items needed. I’ve even created a personal workspace for tasks I need to do outside of work.
I’ve had great customer service from the Asana team when I’ve had problems, which is hardly ever. And they are constantly improving the product based on feedback from users. I always get excited when I see the notification at the top of our page that there’s a new blog post highlighting a new feature. It’s like Christmas all year round! I really wish they had a desktop app, but have created my own in the meantime using Fluid App, another great tool you should check out.
Boomerang is the best app you’ve probably never heard of but need to know about. If you use Gmail or Outlook for email, it’s a lifesaver to stay on top of email conversations that tend to fall off your radar thanks to follow up reminders. With the plugin, you can set an email to return to your inbox if no one replies within 2 hours, 2 days, 1 week or a custom time. This is a great way to get emails OUT of your inbox, but have them return if the conversation goes cold. I also use this when I get emails about subscriptions or services that will expire in the future and Boomerang them back to my inbox a few days before the expiration date as a reminder.
It’s other primary function allows you to schedule emails, which is vital when trying to protect your ‘off work hour’ time. If you’re catching up on work late at night or just getting a head start on things on Sunday, you can compose the email and schedule to send it later. You decide if you want to send the next morning, in 3 days or even a month later.
We have only used it for Gmail so we can’t speak to how it works in Outlook but it’s definitely an app we tell just about everyone about. There is a free service option, but we pay for the service as the free option limits you to how many times a month you can use it. It’s WELL worth the money we pay for the year!
We’ve used GroupMe for behind-the-scenes conversations during events. For one event in Las Vegas, we had numerous points of contacts between our stage team, the hotel contact, head of security, and club manager for the after party. We added each person to GroupMe allowing us to easily communicate across teams for things like last minute VIPs that were showing up for the event that needed security escorts or to easily ask questions without having to physically track people down. Their iPhone app is great, but some of our contacts did not have smart phones. Because it is an SMS based service, everyone was able to participate with no problem. It was an easy and great way to have everyone on the same page.
We’ve also used it internally for our team to get quick info out instead of sending emails. We’re a team that prefers text messages, when possible, so it’s easy for us to use for group messages. We can also send photos or add a location to our message, allowing us to see where the team is.
I’ve also used GroupMe on a personal basis for weekend getaways in Las Vegas. This keeps those conversations that DON’T need to be on social networks in a private location, keeping true to the old saying, “what happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas!”
I love having a car in San Francisco, allowing me to get around easily within the city. The biggest pain point is parking thanks to meters being overpriced in certain areas ($2-$3.50/hour) and never having enough coins for the length of time I need to park! But thanks to PayByPhone, I never have to look for change again. Every meter in the city has a special code that you enter into the app and pay using your credit card. There is a small convenience fee each time you pay to park, but it’s worth it to ensure you don’t get a parking ticket for an unpaid meter. The beauty of the app is that it’s not for SF only and they have a full list of cities they’re in throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I had a total ‘fan girl’ moment when I met one of their employees at an event we produced. I asked him which company he was with and when he told me PayByPhone, I said “No way! I LOVE PayByPhone!” He thought I was kidding and I may have scared him by how excited I was.
I’ve listed the apps alphabetically, but if I hadn’t, Rapportive would be #1 on my list of apps you MUST have! I’ve used it for almost 2 years and it’s one of the most valuable add-ons for Gmail that you can have. It essentially replaces your right sidebar in Gmail with the most valuable info on the interwebz about the person you’re emailing. As long as the email address of your contact is associated with online networks, you’ll see things like their profile pic, title and company, and location. You can also see their last few tweets, friend them on Facebook, and add them as a new contact in LinkedIn.
While I was with Mashable, our offices were on the same floor as Rapportive and I popped in one day and introduced myself, going on and on and on about how much I loved Rapportive. It was great to meet the team behind a product I use on a daily basis. It is a great tool that allows you to easily see information to make a personal connection with those you’re doing business with…and it’s FREE! They were acquired by LinkedIn early 2012 and I hoped that they would be allowed to continue with their amazing product without LinkedIn stepping in to destroy it. They’re still going at this point and I hope it continues!
These are just a few of our favorite productivity apps we use on a regular basis that work for our team. We’d love to hear what apps you use to see if they would work for us!
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