Many entrepreneurs and business professionals live on erratic schedules, attending client meetings, employee briefings, keeping an eye on expenditure and revenue of the company. They end up sleeping late or waking up early or, sometimes, both. It is, therefore, important that they manage their waking hours and efforts wisely to ensure optimum productivity.
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While early-stage entrepreneurs can afford to obsess over minor details of their business, it becomes more difficult as the company scales up and expands its operations. The founders are then forced to keep their eye on a few key metrics and ascertain whether their ‘ship’ is sailing smoothly, on the right course, or venturing into uncharted territory with dangers at every corner. As smartphones are now our 'eyes' and 'ears' to the outside world, here are a few apps(in no particular order) that we found were quite helpful in boosting individual productivity and also productivity for the whole team:
Once titled the 'email killer', Slack helps small and large-scale organisations effectively manage their internal communications, preventing these conversations from spilling over to emails, which can be reserved for just incoming mails from clients and others.
We at YourStory have been using Slack for many months now. While it did take some getting used to at first, it has now made workflow smoother. All major internal communications are now conveyed over relevant channels on Slack. This unclogs our inboxes for story requests and other emails from clients. While Slack is mainly used by professional organisations, there are also multiple niche Slack groups for varied interests and even different geographies that are worth exploring.
With the volume of content generated everyday, it may be difficult for entrepreneurs to go back and search for an article they came across earlier in the day. Pocket lets users save articles, videos and other web content through their desktop or mobile app for reading later. The saved content is also available offline.
I use Pocket(Android, iOS) extensively and it helps me catch up on my reading during my daily commutes on the metro, bus or while waiting in a queue at a bank. The app also has a feature to recommend content based on the user’s reading list, which is useful. Another interesting app in this segment is Lynxthat, which serves as a platform for easier link sharing and saving.
We are more inclined to read stories that people in our network share, but, again, as many of us probably have over thousand friends across different platforms, discovering good quality content is not easy. Nuzzel provides a daily list of content that has been most shared among the user’s circles. It makes it easier for users to keep a tab on what’s hot in their network and also interact with their friends or family on those topics. Other interesting platform that aggregate content based on users’ interests and is worth checking out is Zite, and popular apps such as News Republic, Feedly and LinkedIn Pulse.
Short form news aggregators
InShorts, Way2News and Hike provide aggregated news in bite-sized nuggets to help users get an overview of trending stories, without delving too deep into the details and technicalities, unless they are interested to do so. These are useful apps for entrepreneurs who may find reading news from other sources overwhelming because of the sheer volume of content and their lack of time. With these apps, users can get a bird’s eye view of the day’s happenings and read through 30-40 stories in a span of 10-15 minutes, depending on their reading speed.
7 Minute Workout
Developed on the base on HICT (high intensity circuit training), 7 Minute Workout helps users perform a series of exercises in a seven-minute time frame to help them stay fitter and more active. The training regimen consists of 12 exercises, which are to be done for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds breaks between each exercise. The app lets users set reminders whenever they wish to workout everyday and encourages them to go on ‘streaks’ to use the app on a regular basis. The app is ideal for employees or entrepreneurs who can’t find time to visit gyms on weekdays but still want to stay active or those who want a quick break from hunching over their keyboards and typing code or completing their presentations.
Scheduling appointments and meetings while keeping tabs on your employees’ or colleagues’ schedules is a difficult task. Sunrise Calendar is an easy-to-use app that gives users an overview of how their schedules and their colleagues’ schedules look, for the coming days. It also has a feature titled ‘meet keyboard’ to help users schedule one-on-one meetings faster, using multi window features. Another interesting app in this segment is Relatas that provides intelligence along with organising schedules.
If your boss is giving you a hard time on a Monday morning, it may be because he or she didn’t complete their full sleep cycle and had to wake up abruptly to reach office. There are a few apps such as Sleep As from Urbandroid and Sleep Cycle by Northcube AB that solve this problem. They analyse the user’s sleep patterns and wake them up at the ideal time so that they get the optimum REM sleep and are woken up gently at the optimal moment.
Are there any other productivity apps that have helped you get the most of your time and effort? Do share your productivity hacks in the comments below.