Some of the tools we use to enhance efficiency and productivity, while keeping things fun!
A day within the walls of Anchour never follows any sort of pattern. We meet with clients, manage accounts, and collaborate on projects while making things as efficient and fun as possible. Being part of this fast-paced work environment can leave me wondering where the time has gone. I’ll typically arrive at the office for 8am and after what only seems like a fews hours, the work day is drawing to a close.
The best way to stay ahead is to plan out every single day. Time management is imperative for your workflow. Critical, even. Gathered below are six tools that we use daily and recommend to boost personal productivity or get your team on the same page.
Here at Anchour, workflow tools are an essential part of our process. They keep us focused so we can do better work in a shorter amount of time. Our biggest time-saver is OmniFocus. There are plenty of task management solutions, but OmniFocus really stands out. It allows us to sort out our to-dos not only by project, but by context.
So what are contexts exactly? Contexts are simply a better way to organize your projects and to-dos into a greater group—they can be whatever you need them to be.
You can create a “work” context and categorize your work projects under it. You can also have a “personal” context for your personal to-dos. We use these contexts to categorize our to-dos by priorities and the payoff has been extraordinary.
For tracking our time, ensuring we stay within our budgets and not letting our projects get out of hand, we use Harvest. At first glance, Harvest may seem like a simple time tracking app, but it has useful tools for managing invoices and estimates for our clients. It also takes away the stress of managing these documents manually, so we can focus on the bigger task: getting things done.
To make sure that our project timelines don't overlap, we rely on Forecast. It's a powerful app that integrates nicely with Harvest and lets you set timelines and milestones for projects. In addition, it also lets you budget a certain amount of hours per day that you should be working on a specific project.
Our storage solution is Dropbox. This makes it easy for our teams to collaborate with each other on the same project, as a lot of our projects tend to overlap into different departments.
Our Dropbox houses a lot of files; a lot of which are being modified every day. To avoid the added stress on our computers needing to sync all these updated files, we regularly modify our selective sync to only sync folders belonging to our active projects.
While this one seems like a no-brainer, a deep integration with Google Apps is a must for everybody here. We use the ever-reliable Gmail service, calendars, hangouts, and more.
Running our email through Google means that we have the functionality and power of Gmail with our own branding. Calendars are a heavily used aspect of our workflow; with a good integration into the native OS X Calendar app, the ability to schedule meetings and invite clients and other team members is just a few clicks away.
Like thousands upon thousands of other companies, Anchour uses Basecamp to help our team collaborate both with each other and with clients. It's a great project management tool that we use on a daily basis to share documents, assign tasks, and collect meeting notes. Without much effort, we're able to keep team members and clients alike in the loop.