Being productive consistently is tough. One day work is going smoothly and you feel like anything is possible, only for the next to be mediocre at best. Do you find yourself stuck in an endless loop of procrastination often? Skipping from one YouTube video to the next or scrolling endlessly through your Facebook timeline? Don’t worry it happens to everyone. Which is why we decided to share a few productivity tools we feel make things easier.
Our Top 5 Productivity Tools and Why we use them
Let’s start off with one that not many people may know about. PowerToys is an app available on the Microsoft Store. Made by Microsoft for Windows 10 and higher, it greatly expands your ability to customise your desktop. With PowerToys you can get access to powerful features that will save you a considerable amount of time when working on your PC.
We found it particularly useful when doing design work. It’s powerful colour picker feature allows you to get the Hex Codes or RGB/HSL values of any colour on your screen with just one click. We also use its layout editor to fully customise and arrange the multitude of active windows on our screens.
Not many bad things can be said about this tool other than some features being less intuitive to use for tech amateurs. It’s completely free so give it a try. Definitely a must have for any Windows desktop.
2. Google Data Studio
Having a clear goal is key. You have to know what you are working towards. Making an informed decision about how best to utilise your time and effort requires good data. Having lots of different data sources and different platforms to access each one can be tiresome and confusing. This is where Google Data Studio comes in.
Google Data Studio allows you to feed any data you want into it. You can then create custom reports and data sheets in any visual format you desire. We love using this tool as it helps to quickly visualise data which is much simpler than staring at a spreadsheet or a number of plain graphs. Using Data Studio you can analyse your data in an interactive way and share it with team members easily.
It’s easy to use and feels intuitive if you have used any Google products before. On top of that it’s free to use so you can try it out at no cost.
Data Studio does not store data, it only links to data sources you choose and pulls information from them. You will also see diminishing returns the larger and more complex your data requirements are or if you have a dedicated data analysis team. That being said you should absolutely give it a try, just make sure you don’t break any compliance requirements.
Microsoft SharePoint can be used to store, organise and share files and documents securely. You can access those from any device, wherever you are. All you need is a working internet connection. Ever since the pandemic, SharePoint has been an important tool for us. With many working remotely at various times, it has allowed us to continue working seamlessly. By being able to access much needed files or documents from anywhere we’ve been able to complete projects and tasks that otherwise would be delayed.
SharePoint is included in many Microsoft 365 plans or as a standalone product and can get quite pricey. It’s also quite complex to set up and maintain. Therefore you would likely need IT professionals to help you. Despite its cost and complexity it is really beneficial as a way of storing your files centrally within your organisation, enabling access at all times from anywhere to your team members.
Get in touch with our support team if you think this is something your business could benefit from and we can advise you.
4. Microsoft Teams
Teams is one of our key tools. Apart from being a great internal communication tool it also offers other workflow benefits. As part of the Microsoft 365 suite it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools which are commonly used in the workplace. Teams makes collaborating extremely easy as it brings together the ability to message, call, hold meetings, share files and many more with just a few clicks. We often use it to hold team meetings, get instant feedback from other team members or share screenshots and files directly. It also provides businesses with more flexibility as it enables remote working effectively.
One thing to note is that it does rely on a working internet connection. Resulting in a different or slightly worse experience for users who have poor connections. This being said, you are likely already using Teams or have it as part of your Microsoft Plan but are not utilising it, in which case you should definitely start.
Outlook is widely used in the workplace. Many companies choose Outlook for hosting their emails due to its robust features. With a professional look and feel Outlook allows you to manage your correspondence in an organised way. You can also navigate through your contacts easily and access features like the Outlook calendar. All of this is complemented by the fact that as a Microsoft app it integrates with the rest of the Microsoft tool set smoothly.
Naturally, we use it for our emails. However, there is a feature that we specifically find to be extra useful. Outlook calendar has been great for organising ourselves. By sharing it with other team members within the company we can tell when others are unavailable due to meetings or events. This allows us to schedule our own tasks around other member’s calendars and avoid disruptions. We can also use it to join and create Teams meetings directly from the calendar.
That’s 5 tools we use and the reasons for using them
The above 5 productivity tools are ones we use frequently and find that they have a great impact on our day to day work. Being productive is not just about how hard you can work but also how efficiently. For that, tools that enable you to do things faster, more accurately or just make things easier are a great help in boosting productivity. You likely have your own list of tools but you might find that one or two fill a gap in a problem area you may currently have.
We’d love to hear from you! What do you think of our list? Are there any tools that make your work day easier and more productive? You can also get in touch with our team if you would like to get IT advice for your business. Just give us a call or use the form below!