— February 17, 2019
Are you feeling like you should be crushing 2019 but you just can’t seem to get it down?
A lot of people feel this way, especially after the holidays when things just don’t look like they’re going as quickly as you’d like. Maybe it’s just that it seems slow after the holiday rush – or it’s the actual lull that happens this time of year.
Whatever it is, you actually can do better – no matter what time of year it is – if you have the right tools.
Here are 5 of the best tools you can start using right now to be more productive and make 2019 a fruitful year:
Image Source: https://calendly.com/
Calendly is a scheduling tool that you can use to set up appointments with others quickly and easily. When you sign up – and it’s free to do so – you get a personalized link that you can share with people. All they need to do is click on that link at it takes them to your calendar. They can then choose a date and a time and fill in a few details to save that slot with you. Calendly will then send out a notification to all the participants, including you.
The best thing about Calendly (other than paying nothing to use it of course) is that you can set it up to block off particular times and days when you’re not available. You can also use one of three pre-set time blocks for meetings: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or one hour. It integrates seamlessly with Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook and iCloud and there’s no limit to the number of events you can schedule.
If you want to get a Premium or Pro account, you can unlock even more features:
Premium – $ 10 per month or $ 8 if you pay annually
On top of all the Basic features, you get unlimited event types plus metrics, reporting and email support. There’s also pooled availability options and you can schedule group events, customize your email notifications and reminders, and add links to event confirmation pages.
Pro – $ 15 per month or $ 12 if you pay annually
In addition to all the Premium features, you gain access to integrations with Salesfoce, Stripe, and PayPal.
Image Source: https://trello.com/
Trello was originally designed to serve the developer crowd, but has become a popular productivity app for people in many other fields. It presents with a straightforward design with a flowchart structure.
You start with boards, the main level which are like your main categories. Within each board, you can add what are called lists, the second level. You can then add cards to these lists, the third and final level where all the details can go.
At the board level, you can set the visibility to restrict it to teams or only people who you add as members. At the list level, you can set alerts for activity on the list and bulk move or archive cards. The card level is where all the details of a task go, like a due date, members assigned to the task, and a description. You can also label and color code cards and add attachments. One great thing about cards is the posting feature where members can add comments and tag other people so they can get notified on Trello when they log in, and via email if they so choose.
On the Trello home page, you get a list of your boards as well as notifications on cards where you are mentioned.
With the paid Business Class and Enterprise accounts, more features are unlocked:
Business Class – $ 9.99 per month paid annually
On top of the Free account features, you can customize the backgrounds of your boards, set up app integrations(called Power-Ups) to aps like Jira, Evernote, Google Hangouts, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Slack, Google Drive, and Dropbox. You also get a larger allowance for attachments, team overviews, as well as enjoy more security, priority support, and more.
Enterprise – $ 20.83 per month billed annually
The Enterprise account has expanded capabilities that becomes useful for large organizations that need to manage multiple teams. It also includes 2-Factor authentication, personalized assistance in migrating and getting everything set up on the new account, file encryption and more.
Note: If someone signs up to Trello on your recommendation, you get awarded one month of Business Class membership for free.
Image Source: https://www.pipedrive.com/en/gettingstarted
Pipedrive is sales software for customer relationship management. It’s cloud-based and can be used on web and mobile, so it’s great for busy people on the go all the time. It’s really easy to use with an interactive interface that uses visuals so you can easily see (literally) what you need to do to bring you closer to a sale.
The tool automates tracking for emails, calls, and task progress so you don’t have to keep an eye on them at all times. When something is due, you’ll see it up at the top of the “pipeline” so you can attend to it promptly.
Pipedrive costs $ 12.50 per month, but you get these powerful features plus support. If you’re not ready to buy, you can get a free trial.
Image Source: https://zapier.com/
Zapier is an automation tool that uses application program interfaces (APIs) to allow integrations for many different kinds of apps that don’t usually work together. Put simply, Zapier acts like a sort of translator so that different pieces of software can communicate with each other and understand each other.
With this tool, you can create 5 Zaps with the free account to trigger an action that you want to happen between two apps, like getting files that are sent to your Gmail to upload automatically to Dropbox, for instance.
It’s very useful for streamlining workflows with updated information every 15 minutes. Best of all, you can set up a customized solution for the way you personally work. And you don’t need to have any technical knowledge to use it, although it can take some getting used to. Once it’s set up, however, you’ll quickly get addicted to how efficient everything becomes.
If you want more, you can purchase the Starter, Professional, or Professional Plus account:
Starter – $ 25 per month, or $ 20 billed annually
Build up to 20 Zaps with more than one action per trigger and access to more app integrations.
Professional – $ 62.50 per month, or $ 50 billed annually
Build up to 20 Zaps using if-then logic to set conditions for the actions each Zap, and enjoy updated information every 5 minutes.
Professional Plus – $ 156.25 per month or $ 125 billed annually
Build up to 125 Zaps instead of 50.
Image Source: https://www.skype.com/en/
Skype is mainstream for a lot of people who need to stay in constant contact with a lot of different people. Known primarily as a chat and call app, Skype has become much more than that. Of course, the basic chat and call features (Skype to Skype and Skype to phone with credits) are incredibly useful, but there’s more.
You can send attachments via chat, set up voice messaging (voicemail), use video screen sharing, and quote messages in long conversations so everyone knows what you’re responding to. For some countries, you can even call emergency numbers and most toll-free numbers for free.
Skype Premium is even better:
When you purchase a Skype number, you can set up Skype so that someone can use this number from anywhere in the world and appear to be calling from that number. You can also use it with another service to route calls through another line, even a mobile device. This is great, especially if you have an assistant who lives halfway across the world.
With the right tools and a bit of time invested in getting them set up, you can set yourself up to conquer your productivity hurdles and crush 2019.
Start by freeing up your schedule and getting all your ducks in a row. Then get your tasks and communication organized so you can automate your systems and processes and get more done – and faster – with better results.