Productivity Boosting Apps and Software

Running or being a part of a small and growing business is a balancing act. It’s important to keep overhead low, yet still providing and using resources that help keep productivity high. Here at Get Online NOLA, we’ve tried many apps to help with our productivity, abandoned some, modified others to suit our needs, and have found some that we can’t live without. We are always on the hunt for new apps and software that makes our jobs easier, but doesn’t break the bank.

Here are some apps/programs that we use to keep everything running smoothly:

  • Freshbooks

    Free for a basic account and plans from $20/month after.
    Bookkeeping on the cloud makes life so much easier. Freshbooks has a great mobile app that allows you to create and send invoices on the go. It also has a simple expense tracking system that allows users to take photos of their receipts, which means I no longer have drawers full of receipts to sort at tax time. Win!
    Free for basic plan (which has everything that I need) and $5/month for full features.
    I had the hardest time tracking my hours before I discovered Toggl. I would start the timer on my phone, start a project, finish the project, go out to lunch, get stuck in traffic, go home only to realize I forgot to turn the timer off hours ago! There is something about having Toggl open on my screen that motivates me to work and track my time more efficiently, plus being able to see detailed reports (and even pie charts) of my days, really helps me assess my time management. You can share your “Toggl Workspace” with other members of your team, or you can send detailed .pdfs of your tracked time. (note: Freshbooks also has time tracking software but it’s a bit pricy to add users just for that service.
    Free for a company/group with less than 15 members and $50/months for teams of 15 or more (prices increase with more members).
    Asana is a great project management tool. It serves as a great digital to-do list that all members can see, comment on, and mark as complete. Every member can see what needs to be done and who is doing what. We started using Asana in this way, but it slowly became a sort of digital notebook for us, where we put notes, and other important information about a task that other members can access at any time.
  • Google Drive
    Free for the first 15GB and $5/month for another 100GB.
    I’m writing this blog post on a Google document that I shared with the rest of the team. They can see what I wrote and write comments about it in the margins. I can see their comments and edits in real time, and the documents save automatically to the cloud. Which means I can access these documents anywhere with an internet connection. You can also do this with spreadsheets, forms, and presentations. And all you need is a google account.
    Free for the first 2GB and $10/month for another 100GB.
    I access my Dropbox at least 10 times a day. All of the work I do for Get Online NOLA, I put in the Dropbox, and share it with the team. Regardless of location and time, they can see what I’ve done, download the files, make edits, and share it with other members and clients. Since it’s in the cloud, I can access everything, even when I’m not at my computer, and it also frees up a ton of space on my local hard drive.
    Free member to member calling and mobile/landline calling starting at $3/month.
    I’m currently working 1500 miles away from the rest of the GON team :(. While there’s no substitute for face-to-face collaboration, being able to video call is essential to stay in the loop, brainstorm, and manage projects. We skype twice a week, and when the internet is behaving, it works perfectly. Facetime is another alternative that works for us, and because we all have Iphones, we can do it anywhere. Skype has a mobile app that works very well. I use it when I have wifi, but little to no cell phone coverage. We’ve had little success with Skype’s screen share feature. Does anyone use a screen sharing app that has worked well for them?

We’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, please let us know what apps/programs help you stay on task? Are there some tricks or tips you’ve learned that help you stay focused and organized?