Getting work done outside of the office can become easier with these productivity tools
The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 168,000 people across the globe, with more than 6,600 deaths recorded worldwide (World Health Organization). As part of the efforts to curb the spread of this global pandemic, thousands of employees have been advised to work from home. Earlier this week, companies like JP Morgan, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon asked their employees to work remotely.
Although COVID-19 has accelerated the process, remote work has been trending upward for the last few years. Some people may find the flexibility of remote work convenient for meeting the demands of their domestic schedules; others may simple prefer to work in pajamas.
But working from home can often prove to be daunting. Listed below are 10 applications that can help achieve work-life balance and maximize productivity for both regular remote workers, and those newly introduced to it.
All applications listed below are either free, or have a free version with reasonably-priced in-app upgrades.
Serene is an application that helps people achieve maximum productivity by focusing only on their most important goal of the day.
The app allows users to set a single goal each day, and break the day down into sessions to achieve that goal. This reduces the time spent on smaller tasks, and allows users to work proactively towards their most important goals.
Serene allows users to tackle distractions by blocking time-wasting applications and websites, and even silencing their phones. The application also has a variety of concentration music to help users achieve optimum productivity.
Todoist is a task management app that can be used for free on Mac, iOS, Android and Windows. It allows users to manage their time effectively by organizing tasks according to priority. Through a subsidiary solution, Todoist Karma, users can also set and record productivity targets, which are then visualized in sleek graphs as an additional motivational tool.
Slack is a messaging solution that can integrate all business communications, including email, into one platform. Members of a Slack workspace can communicate through instant messages that are organized into groups called ‘channels’ according to projects, teams, clients, or other business functions. Members can join or leave as required to avoid irrelevant notifications.
Slack offers collaboration not only within a company but also with vendors, partners and clients with regular working relationships. It also offers file sharing, voice and video calls, and screen sharing options. It is free to use for small teams, but the free version has a limit on searchable storage: message history will only be saved up to the most recent 10,000 messages, and files will be retained only up to 5GB.
As the name suggests, Calendar is a digital calendar that allows users to integrate all their calendars, including Google and Outlook, into a single interface. It offers hassle-free meeting scheduling without the need to send multiple emails, provides analytic reports to help track productivity, and even offers automatic transcripts of meetings. The platform is still in beta, but can be downloaded for free on the company’s website.
Zapier is an online service that integrates all business applications and helps users save time by automating routine tasks like uploading documents on Google Drive. Dropbox, Google Sheets, DocuSign, WordPress and Office 365 are some of the applications that can be integrated through Zapier.
Notion offers greater clarity in team work by replacing a host of productivity apps with a single platform. Users do not have to toggle between different applications–thereby saving time. It is useful for project management and real time collaboration between team members.
Calling itself the ‘missing half of Slack,’ Notion provides all necessary business functions on one interface–barring a chat function. However, it’s possible to integrate Notion and Slack to get the best of both worlds, although the integration is at this point still fairly one-dimensional, only allowing for Notion notifications through the Slack app.
Trello is a project management application meant for collaboration among teams which helps track the productivity of all members. It allows users to create to-do lists, add deadlines, and view each member’s progress in completing their assigned tasks. It also offers instant messaging between team members.
Spark is an intelligent email organizer that prioritizes emails and helps users focus on work by silencing email notifications from unknown sources. It also offers other features like a built-in calendar, quick replies, and follow-up reminders.
Taskade is a project management application meant for small teams. It offers visualization of to-do lists and tasks, and helps track each member’s progress. Unlike Trello, Taskade offers multiple visualization options for viewing the exact status of tasks and projects.
Noisli offers peaceful background sounds to help users focus on their work and avoid distractions. Users can choose from sounds like rainfall or waves, and even combine different sounds to create their ideal work environment. The application also offers a timer to help users work in sessions, with regular breaks to optimize productivity.