Before we dive into our list of productivity tools, I want to spend a few minutes talking to you about the importance of keeping up with the latest technology. Firstly it makes us more productive – can you imagine still using a typewriter for your minutes, carbon copy paper for anything that needs to be replicated or a ledger for your expenses. You would get some funny looks, so why do we still use outdated methods for other tasks?
Our managers are getting younger, and they are tech-savvy and much more independent now that they have smartphones and tablets. They want to know what is the next big piece of tech that will change their working methods, and they are going to want you to know about it too.
Lastly, if you have a company or a manager that is a little more old fashioned, that perhaps still uses a paper diary or a company that doesn’t let you download Skype or Dropbox – this is becoming less and less common.
More organisations are embracing apps, new technology and products that make working life more manageable. Make sure you don’t get left behind.
Pick and choose the ones that work for you. If you can’t use them at work, download them onto your phone. If your manager doesn’t want to use them that is fine, they will still help you with your tasks. Here are five productivity tools for Assistants.
5 free tools to help with your productivity
Boomerang makes a whole load of productivity products that are all excellent and that work for both Gmail and Outlook, but I am going to focus on one feature, and that is Respondable software.
You can install the software for your email account – that is Gmail or Outlook – and then using their technology change the email so that it is written in a way to maximise the chance of a response.
Using something like this will help your productivity because how often do we send emails starting ‘as per my last email..’ I think I can see a few heads nodding! Boomerang has a lot of features that are worth checking out. I use the software and have found it useful for email management and just remembering to do stuff!
2. Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator shows you everything about your contacts (social links, contact info, etc.) inside your inbox. This is a fantastic tool when communicating with someone that you do not know or when you need to do some research for your Executive on a client or who your Executive is sitting next to at a gala dinner.
This Chrome extension is available in two flavours, “Lite” for free LinkedIn members and “Premium” for LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscribers.
Sales Navigator Lite for Gmail, which is free, will let you
- See rich LinkedIn profile data for your contacts directly in your Gmail, and use that knowledge when you reach out next
- Mention icebreakers, including shared connections, experiences, and interests, to build rapport with your contacts
- Hover over any email address anywhere in your message to quickly view their profile to stay informed on who’s who
This well worth checking out if you spend a lot of time researching potential clients or contacts for your Executive.
3. Timezone Ninja
I was talking to an Assistant the other day who told we she often had to schedule meetings between Dubai, London, Sydney and San Francisco which was a total nightmare and to work out the next time she would use Google to search for the different time zones and then work out who was less likely to be annoyed with a crazy time for the meeting.
This is a total time suck for most Assistants and TimeZone Ninja is my favourite platform that helps work out the right time for a meeting. You add your location, the date and time and then add the additional attendee’s locations, then a fancy algorithm works out the best time to arrange the call. Time Zone Ninja is such an easy platform to use and will save you a ton of time. I recommend it.
Now I’m going to spend a little bit more time on Trello because it is fast becoming the go-to product for task management and I think that a lot of Assistants will start to see (if they haven’t already) the use of Trello in the office. If your organisation isn’t using collaboration tools at the moment, trust me, in the next few years you will be. Assistants have got to understand how collaboration tools work, and I would start with Trello. Also, it is brilliant. I use Trello, and I have never been more organised.
Here is a little video to explain more.
Pocket is a website, extension and an app that lets you save stuff online in one place for you to view at a later date. You can collect the information for a later time from anywhere, including articles and videos you see on social media and over email.
According to the Pocket website, the software is there to help people save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch, during commutes or travel — even offline. Everything is saved to your Pocket page on the Pocket website.
There is a lot of information out there for PAs, and it goes without saying that time is precious to us. So, it is handy to have a piece of technology that saves the stuff you see online (quickly) for you to view later.
50 Chrome Extensions for Business
These 50 Google Chrome Extensions are designed for Personal and Executive Assistants who use Google Chrome in the office. There are 50 great examples of Chrome extensions that will help with productivity, emails, scheduling and social media.