Back to school season is in full swing. As you pick up pencil cases and backpacks for your kids, consider investing in some technology products, tools and apps that you might need to boost your own productivity as you head into the busy fall season.
Whether you're running your own small business or an enterprise, managing a large team or have reduced staff, there's never been a better time to embrace new technology, like cloud-based solutions and apps, to maximize your work day, increase productivity and pull you out of your summer haze.
Top business sales and service teams are using mobile extensively to boost agility and efficiency, according to recent research by Salesforce. The report finds that small business use of mobile apps for salespeople will grow by 140 per cent in the next two years, so it's worth checking out mobile and productivity tools to help get you back on track and keep you ahead of that curve.
You may have noticed that your productivity has suffered over the summer months -- and you wouldn't be the only one. Research indicates that 25 per cent of workers feel less productive between June and August, with 63 per cent admit to leaving the office early. This, coupled with 28 per cent of the average office worker's day spent focused on unnecessary interruptions, finding new ways to help stay focused and reboot productivity with start of the new season makes sense. Here are six ways to get started:
- Google Keep. Create some order with Google Keep. This app, available on iOS, Android or can be used on your desktop, is designed to let users take notes, set reminders, compose to-do lists and record audio notes to yourself. It's easy to organize with multi-coloured labels, and all notes can be copied to Google Docs to help you keep everything in one place.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and tools. Make autumn the season of customers by investing in a CRM solution to help you grow accounts, find customers, provide great service, extend your marketing efforts and close deals faster from anywhere. CRM technology enables you to keep track of all customer activity in one central hub so you can make informed decisions quickly from wherever you might be. It keeps you organized and gives you a bird's eye view of everything you need to succeed with your customers -- a must have for any business with growth in mind.
- Skitch. Get your point across quickly with Skitch for Mac, iPad and iPhone. Instead of drafting lengthy emails describing the kind of image you want for a PowerPoint presentation or edits to an ad mockup, use Skitch to annotate and markup images. It's a fast way to provide feedback and provide your own ideas.
- SaneBox. Keep your inbox clutter-free. Used with any existing email program, SaneBox learns what email is critical and filters out what isn't, letting you focus on your business, distraction-free. Considering that it takes an average of 64 seconds to refocus after being interrupted by an email, this app could end up saving a significant amount of time.
- RescueTime. Stay focused. This app helps you figure out where you need to cut out distractions in your workday. Working in the background, this app tracks the sites and programs you spend the most time on, and then provides analytics to show you when you're most -- and least -- productive during the day, and how much time you spend on certain activities and websites. It can also block distracting websites for a certain amount of time if you need to focus, and can log highlights about what you accomplished during the day.
- AppExchange. If none of these apps seem right for your needs, check out the world's largest marketplace for business apps. From apps for finance, human resources and marketing to analytics, customer service and sales, you're bound to find something that will enhance your business operations regardless of industry -- it features industry-specific apps for everything from communications to manufacturing to government.
With the dog days of summer fading into the distance, you can also say goodbye to lost productivity and office distractions with the right technology tools and apps. Your employees and customers will thank you.
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