Favourite books, apps, gadgets: Here’s how entrepreneurs work from home and stay productive

As employees work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, many of them have discovered the best ways of getting the most work done with the right apps, gadgets and books. Here are some of their recommendations...

23rd Apr 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed work-from-home on companies and now, that the country is three weeks into the lockdown, employees are getting accustomed to working remotely. They are also discovering numerous ways to work efficiently with the best apps, gadgets, calendars, reminders and books to keep them going. They have updated their workstations, marked out spaces in their homes for uninterrupted work and found ways to balance household chores and their office deadlines.


Most employees are aiming at super-productivity during these times and fighting procrastination and delays in getting work done. As they do so, they have found the best ways to achieve their maximum potential each day.


Many startup founders and employees have created their own repertoire of favourite apps, books, gadgets and ideas to stay productive as they work from home. Here’s a look at what some of these productivity tools are…


Roma Priya, Founder, Burgeon Law

Burgeon Law is a new-age boutique law firm that provides a one-stop legal shop to emerging companies, incubators, accelerators, angel investors, family offices and venture capital/ private equity funds


Roma Priya

Roma Priya

App recommendation

Two apps that I could swear by are Calm and cure.fit. For me physical and mental wellness are of utmost importance, no matter what the scenario is. These apps have reduced my stress levels and increased my sense of gratitude by helping me meditate. I also like using Google Play Books to read some interesting content before going to bed.

Tips on work-from-home productivity

  • Get organised and be mindful of creating boundaries between your work and personal life.
  • Identify when to work and where to work without getting pulled into domestic chores or personal matters.
  • Start your day early and stick to your regular working schedules every day.
Lay out clear guidelines for employees. Scheduling all deliverables will help employees meet deadlines.
  • Schedule your breaks as you would if you were working within the office premises and not take leeway and stretch these breaks.
  • Utilise the time spent on ordinary days commuting to and fro from work in favour of family time and self-care.

Books to read during the lockdown

For me it has always been The Entrepreneur's Survival Guide by Mark Paul. I personally find the message of this book to be very pervasive. I would also suggest reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell as it is a must-read book for anyone who has an entrepreneurial spirit.

Most preferred gadget

I love Airpods, and I think it's a completely life-changing invention. Being on calls throughout the day can be quite exhausting. It gives me the convenience of not having to lift my phone to take calls every single time.


Bharath Sastry, CEO, Vistaprint India

Vistaprint India is an online personalised printing platform for individuals and small businesses


Bharath Sastry

Bharath Sastry

App recommendation

Apart from the usual business-related apps like Zoom and G-suite, a new app that we are using is Slack. It's quite easy to use to chat individually or with a group.

Tips on work-from-home productivity

  • Be Prepared – have the proper infrastructure for yourself and your team, namely laptops, wifi, video/ audio, a suitable chair and table at home.
Work during the day exactly as you would do otherwise at office. Start off at the same time, go through your meetings and actions and end the day as you would do at the office.
  • Trust (that your team is also working) and trust me they will be.


Books to read during the lockdown

I feel it is the right time to read all the books you wanted to read but couldn’t. I love to read the old classics and I am catching up on some old RK Narayan novels.

Most preferred gadget

My Kindle is my favourite gadget as I can always carry my books with me on it, wherever I am.


Aarti Gill, Co-founder, OZiva

OZiva is a plant-based nutrition brand.


Aarti Gill

Aarti Gill

App recommendation

Since we have workout videos and challenges on our OZiva TV on YouTube and IGTV, I tend to spend some time there whenever I am looking for quick workouts. Otherwise, most of my time goes on WhatsApp and for leisure and entertainment, it’s the usual like Netflix.


Tips on work-from-home productivity

  • Treat your work like your everyday routine, so and freshen up, dress up and sit down at your workstation.
Declutter your work space and turn it into an organised workstation.
  • Be in touch with your colleagues online.


Books to read during the lockdown

A few books which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and would suggest are the Bhagavad Gita, Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari and Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Most preferred gadget

I am not much of a gadget or app person but I love to listen to some light music on Amazon Alexa in the background while working.


Narayan Mahadevan, Founder, BridgeLabz

BridgeLabz is an AWS recognized Incubator, focused on solving the tech employability challenge.


Narayan Mahadevan

Narayan Mahadevan

App recommendation

A few apps that help me stay connected with society and my contacts for day to day happenings are Blinkist, which helps me with new thoughts and ideas, Linkedin for business connects, Instagram to connect with friends and gain insights into our audience and Inshorts, which helps me with quick updates and information globally.


Tips on work-from-home productivity

  • Have a defined start to the day, and plan all your tasks according to a timesheet, as this will make achieving targets easier.
  • Take short breaks, while staying connected to your colleagues, always helps in remote working culture.
Set reasonable daily goals and do not to multitask to get the maximum output.
  • Map your progress, and create and update a to-do list regularly.
  • Lastly, as the popular quote by Zig Zigler implies “A goal properly set is halfway reached”. So, set your goals for next day the night before.

Books to read during the lockdown

I like to read a lot of business-related books. My suggestion from those will have to be Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder and The Worst Business Model in the World by Dannie Schuman, which is both funny and thought provoking.

Most preferred gadget

My phone is the most preferred gadget as it is most used for work and leisure.


Neha Bagaria, Founder & CEO, Jobsforher

Jobsforher is an online portal that enables women to accelerate their careers by connecting them to jobs.


Neha Bagaria

Neha Bagaria

App recommendation

In my leisure time, I enjoy watching short videos that feature thought-leaders on the TED App as it’s a great way to discover talks on a range of subjects from a broad group of presenters. Also, there are some brilliant platforms that have been made available online such as museum tours from New York, Shakespearean theatre from London, live game safaris in Africa, and Augmented Reality on the NatGeo app!

Tips on work-from-home productivity

  • Make sure you have the required infrastructure at home to be able to work remotely. Use sharing tools such as G Suite (Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides) to collaborate live on documents when working in teams,
The absence of face-to-face communication can be frustrating. So last but not the lease - trust your teams while providing them guard rails with the flexibility to deliver clearly defined targets.

Books to read during the lockdown

This is the time when we are relatively less stressed due to non - commuting and spending more time at home, I prefer reading books like The Hard Things about Hard Things and Zero to One. For the startup founder, I specifically suggest reading The Lean Startup, which has offers great insights into entrepreneurship. 

Most preferred gadget

I am a fitness enthusiast and cannot do without putting my Fitbit on, as I can keep checking on it, apart from this, I prefer my iPad to keep the things connected.


Sudhanshu Kejriwal, Managing Partner, EverVantage

EverVantage is a real estate consultancy firm that caters to the needs of developers, commercial players and investors across the country.


Sudanshu

Sudanshu Kejriwal

App recommendation

I am mostly using Outlook and Calendar to manage my communications and work. Google calendar helps me plan and organise my work better and I use hangouts for virtual meetings and video calls.

Books to read during the lockdown

One of my favourite books is ‘Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence’ by Stephen A. Schwarzman. It’s an interesting read as the book covers the business cycles and recoveries from recessions.

Most preferred gadget

My iPhone is the most used gadget.


Vishal Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, Momspresso

Momspresso, India's largest user generated content sharing platform for women


Vishal Gupta

Vishal Gupta

App recommendation

While working from home, it is useful to get into some kind of a routine. Some apps that can help you enhance productivity and stay connected with the team include Google Calendar, WhatsApp and Zoom. 

Books to read during the lockdown

Finally, now that you are home, it’s a great opportunity to catch up on your reading. Some books that I would recommend include The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Hooked by Nir Eyal, How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen, Measure What Matters by John Doerr and Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

Most preferred gadget

At this time, a smartphone, a good set of headphones, and a laptop are my key go-to gadgets. From managing daily tasks to unwinding with fitness or entertainment content online, these three gadgets help me out with everything.

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