Productivity has been a buzzword for quite some time and many of us are on a never-ending quest of becoming more productive. There are many tools that can provenly improve productivity. These tools help to accomplish more in less time.
As all tools aren’t made equal, you might encounter some of them that will make your work even more complicated. It happens either because the tool is wrong or it doesn’t fit in your daily workflow.
Whatever is the case, you should find how and why a certain tool can work for you. These are some general methods to see if the tool will be beneficial to you or your organization. Make sure to check this list before making a choice of your productivity tool.
1. Think, in which areas of your work can certain productivity tools help you?
In order to do so, you would need to define your workflow.
- Find out what are the steps you need to fulfill to finish a task.
- Dissect the process in small chunks, so you can see which steps require the most of your time.
- Identify the “essential” from “non-essential” activities that make a task.
- Think of how can a productivity tool help you finish those activities faster or with less effort.
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2. Does investing in particular tool give enough value to cover your expenses?
Employers in a financial institution that are working with dozens of documents daily may benefit greatly from an expensive CRM or an enterprise document management solution. But, a small business with a few employees and less workload might not see much benefits for bigger costs.
Making a cost-benefit analysis will give you more insight if that is the right solution for you. But sometimes it is more cost-effective to make an extra effort to complete some tasks without an expensive tool to save money for a more reasonable investment. There is a golden rule if a free tool can help you then, most certainly, go with it.
3. Revise list of tools you are currently using
Which productivity tools do you currently use? Make sure that tools you already have can help you, otherwise change them for something that is more suitable for your needs. If you like using one tool, don’t change it just for another newer and cooler one.
Also, if one tool can do more than one task, avoid stacking up multiple apps that work the same thing. Having multiple calendars and to-do lists can cause confusion in your weekly schedule or tasks. Declutter your tools, keep the ones you use and replace the ones you don’t.
4. How easy is it to use and learn this tool?
If you have a knack for understanding new things, then learning to use a new tool is easy for you. But consider that not all your fellow coworkers share the same enthusiasm for learning new tools as you do. If you can’t explain how to use a new tool to the person sitting next to you, then you might go with something more simpler. In the end, you will be called for help every time someone isn’t sure how to use it. Make sure that there are available tutorials and resources for learning before you make a call.
In order to diminish the learning curve, you should always go with a simple and more intuitive tool. Having professional software that can calculate complex match functions when you only want to multiply two numbers might be a little too much. You are better off with a simple calculator. Choose wisely.
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5. Can you access your tool at any time?
In order to use your productivity tools whenever you need them, you first need to have access to them. What good is a to-do list at the meeting if you can access it only on your desktop computer? Think about the tools that can sync between multiple devices or that can be used from any place like cloud services. You would need a tool that can be used on both computer and mobile.
For example, it is easier to type meeting notes on a computer because of the larger keyboard, but mobile is more convenient to read from.
This article is written by Jessica Miller. She is a digital marketing manager at EasyPDF.com with over 10 years of experience. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, birdwatching and baking cakes. You can find her on Twitter.