Work Smarter With These 6 Tools For Remote Productivity

Posted on May 12, 2021 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, For Candidates, Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

They say the most productive people don’t work harder, they work smarter. Maximizing your hours in the day and productivity is an ongoing challenge, but we live in a world where there are hundreds of tools at our disposal. We know how busy our clients and candidates can be, so we saved you the time and researched which tools are best for remote and hybrid work models.

When it comes to productivity, there are different avenues and approaches worth trying to find out what works best for you. For example, the Pomodoro method is a simple technique for timing 25-minute periods of focus, followed by short breaks that help enhance mental clarity and reduce exhaustion. This is a time-based approach, and in this post, we will discuss other ways to approach re-organization and productivity.

Picking A Productivity Style-- What Works For You?

Time management comes naturally to some, but even those that excel at scheduling and staying on task have tough days. You give yourself an inherent advantage when you take the time to identify your productivity style and what tools could actually contribute to your day-to-day efficiency. There are 3 distinct organization styles:

  1. Time Based
    • Time Based organizers think in terms of hours, saying, what can I accomplish in this number of hours? How long will this assignment or project take me? If you schedule your week according to how long things take, you could benefit from even more specific time-based approaches, like the Pomodoro method or time management tools like Time Doctor.

  2. Task Based
    • Tackling projects according to number of tasks is different from time-based organization because it focuses on how many tasks you can complete in a day, or a week. For example, one technique task-based organizers use is to make a list of things they have to do, and prioritize one “big”, 2 “medium,” and 2 “small” things that can be accomplished within a certain time frame. Cross task of the list, then rinse and repeat.

  3. Goal Based
    • Goal based organizers tend to think big picture, and focus on long-term goals. From identifying bigger goals, they then break down into steps, deadlines, or tasks that keep the overall goal moving toward the finish line. This perspective often helps individuals cut out the noise and focus on what really matters to accomplish that goal.

Tools & Apps That Make Remote Work Better

Now that we’ve covered a few types of productivity styles, let’s get into the tech tools that complement them. At this point, we know it is more than likely that many companies will never go back to being in the office full-time. The current trend is somewhere in between fully remote and five days in the office, dubbed the “hybrid” work model.

That being said, being used to remote work and thriving in it are two different things. The goal of analyzing your organization and productivity preferences is to find a balance that doesn’t lead to burnout. Leaning on tools that promote collaboration, visualization of ideas, document accessibility, and remote support is the direction we are all headed, so let’s get started.

  • Airtable
    • Airtable is a more accessible, straightforward version of Excel, making project management more efficient and fun. Build spreadsheets and workflows with your team that are actionable and interactive. Used by teams from Netflix to Expedia to Time Magazine, Airtable integrates with more external applications than any other collaboration tool.
    • Best Features:
      • Customizing applications for your business’ specific workflow, feel connected while working remotely with your entire team
      • Has varying degrees of sophistication; Airtable can be detailed or simple
      • Brings a level of agility to product tracking and more efficient delivery
  • Hive
    • By providing a high level of access to conversations and business assets, people can always get the information they need without egregious email chains and time-consuming meetings. Hive allows the user to access the team or company-wide view, so remote workers can be totally in tune with what needs to be accomplished.
    • Best Features:
      • Helps streamline decision making and process through real-time analytics
      • Collaborate like a unified workforce, helps keep everyone on the same page
      • Allows teams to choose what way they work best by having options including Kanban, Gantt, Calendar, and Table templates for project management
  • Zeplin
    • Though geared towards designers, Zeplin has the ability to bring together multidisciplinary teams in an open digital workspace. Bringing structure to native design files, Zeplin allows product managers, copywriters, and developers to work together to deliver on projects. Katherine Lee, a UX Designer at Autodesk said, “Zeplin provides an inclusive workspace where team members from varying disciplines like product managers, UX writers and more can come together to deliver on designs.

    • Best Features:
      • Brings organization and process to reviewing design work
      • Open platform features to get the most out of other applications and tools
      • Create custom workflows to support your team’s needs, plus give live feedback
  • Nozbe
    • Nozbe makes tracking tasks easy and automated. Made for task-based organizers, you can set a daily “Big Three” for yourself, identifying the most important items to complete that day. Built by a team that’s worked remotely for the last thirteen years, Nozbe’s platform works seamlessly across all of your devices, making keeping up easy and accessible no matter where you are.
    • Best Features:
      • Organizing personal tasks (with Nozbe Personal), or your team’s recurring tasks, and laying out steps towards big-picture goals.
      • Creates a central location for notes and attachments, cutting down on email
      • Intuitive to use, you can get started easily
  • Habit List
    • Want to start healthy habits but struggle with consistency? Habit List has built a platform that encourages habit forming, and helps you keep track of where you’re doing great and what areas need improvement. Track your progress and view your trends over time, to better understand why certain habits fall-off and how to bring them back around.

    • Best Features:
      • Setting personal habits that contribute to better work-life balance
      • Encourages self-improvement through keeping track of “streaks"
      • No task is too small for Habit Tracker; use it for staying organized at work and at home (or while working from home.)
  • Toggl
    • With three distinct products, Toggl Plan, Toggl Track, and Toggl Hire, you can maximize your team’s daily effort in an effective and effortless way. For Toggl, busy does not necessarily mean productive, the goal is to leave mundane tasks behind. They believe that “prescription is patronizing,” so instead of telling teams how to work, their tools are universal enough to add value to anyone's preferred working style.

    • Best Features:
      • Toggl Track can be used by Freelancers, small teams, and large teams to cut down on time-sucking practices, and find room for process improvements
      • With Toggl Plan, find clarity and stay up to date with their super easy-to-use calendar and project management tool.
      • Users say Toggl helped their day to day be less chaotic

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Find Your Remote Work Groove

Be patient with yourself and your team as you continue to grow into remote work. Most of us have found or hodge-podge together ways of managing our time, reminders, and to-do lists. Does it still feel overwhelming and relentless at times? If so, you should consider re-evaluating the way you organize your time, or the way your team prioritizes their time. Is there space for the entire team to look at what’s not working? Would having a comprehensive tool to track tasks and notes be useful to stay as connected as we can at the office?

If you’re into time management or project management applications, we hope this post provided a few options you may not have heard of before. Ranging from free to monthly subscriptions for larger teams, they all have a range of options and availability based on how you may use the program. We recommend trying out one or more than one of these tools to experiment with what works best for your personal productivity style.

Overall, now is an excellent time to start trying new tools and getting in on the ground floor of these growing platforms. In this way, you can even provide crucial feedback and requests that help these forward-thinking companies grow and make remote work easier for everyone.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!