Tools for better productivity  

  productivity   Jan 5, 2014

It's been a while since my last post. For my defense, I've started a new job since September, I'm now a project manager on a Digital Cinema project (see the official press release).

For the first post of the year, I want to give some feedback on tools to increase productivity on projects.

Email : the worst thing ever

When you receive at least 100 emails per day... it just becomes really complicated to keep track of everything without missing a conversation or just forget to follow/reply to one.

Sure, Outlook (I'm using it at work...) has a task manager, but I don't find it really useful. For example, you can't use it with your team; someone else can create a task for you, but you can't share one you've created... so its use is limited.

It's really easy to lose an email, maybe one you've read on your mobile, and then forgot to answer...

So the question is "How to keep track of important conversations" ? My answer is with Evernote.

Evernote : keep track of everything

For those who don't know what Evernote is:

Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.

In my case, I'm using it to take notes during meetings and to save important mails (questions / remarks from clients). It's easier to search for information through mails when they are well organized and synced between all your devices. You can create reminders if you want to be sure not to forget something.

If during a meeting someone draw a diagram, just take a picture and annotate it with Skitch. You can do the same on a web page, by using the web clipper (from your web browser). And of course when you are working on PDF documents, you can also annotate them.

Another useful functionality: you can use Evernote to save contact cards (with Evernote Hello).

But the part I don't like in Evernote is the collaborative part.

For your information, this functionality is part of the premium package.

If you start using Evernote with shared notes, you will have a lot of conflicts into your notes, and that's really frustrating. Actually, there is a web-based app which takes care of that: LiveMinutes.

But to share notes, all the members of your team must have a premium account, which is not always the case...

Trello : collaborate with your team

According to the website

Trello is the fastest, easiest way to organize anything, from your day-to-day work, to a favorite side project, to your greatest life plans.

To clarify what this tool is, you have boards divided into lists, divided into cards. It's in those cards where you add your tasks, ideas, ...

What a Trello board looks like :

trelloboard

This tool is really useful when used with a team. You can assign people to tasks, add comments on specific cards, add a deadline...

You can use it as a scrum board or simply as a personal todo list.

Just create cards, drag & drop each one of them into the right list and use labels to distinguish cards. Simple, efficient and intuitive.

The best thing is that this tool is free and completely free. Of course, give a fee if it helps your journey, but if you can't, you can always use it. There is a premium package, but with gadget options (from my point of view).

Mural.ly : order your brain

Mural.ly is an online whiteboard designed to visually organize ideas and collaborate in a playful way.

If you are already using Evernote, just use your notes on murral.ly boards to organize ideas, and brainstorm with your team.

03-SampleMural

If you want to add a link, just drag and drop it on the wall to display a capture of the web page. Create connections between ideas, and create layers to demonstrate your ideas (via the presentation mode) to your team and let them participate. Add stickers with annotations, comment ideas...

Everything is available to help you organize your brain for your projects.

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