It’s crunch time at work. You have five projects all due within the next few days, your big holiday campaign is only a few weeks away, you’re monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on the go and you have two co-workers out with the flu. You need to be at your best, and can use all the help you can get.
In situations like these, technology is your best friend. There are a multitude of apps and tools that will help you save valuable seconds and minutes at work and at home. Since you’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep every day, here are 16 free productivity apps for the hours you’re actually awake.
A day in apps: The social media manager’s edition
You wake up in the morning and you check your phone. It’s instinct. You know you have a few minutes to kill before you actually have to get up, so you might as well be productive. The first thing you open? Mailbox.
Email is one of the biggest time sucks for almost every human being with a computer. That might be an exaggeration, but only just. The Mailbox app helps you save time on email and be more productive by streamlining all the interactions you undertake with every message. You can quickly swipe emails to archive or trash them. You can also “put off emails” to a later time. You might not want to deal with that 5 paragraph email regarding Facebook cover photos while you’re laying in bed, so in a few taps you put it off until later this afternoon. Mailbox also learns from you, so if every message from a determined PR person (This is the next big thing, I swear!) has gone into your archives, it will prompt you to automatically archive all future emails from that sender. Time saved, productivity increased, all in your first 5 minutes of the day.
Traffic is brutal this morning so you decide to take public transit into work. Unfortunately this adds an extra 30 minutes to your commute and you’re supposed to be on an 8:30 call. Not to worry, this is the exact reason you have the UberConference app on your phone.
UberConference lets you start conference calls instantly on your phone. Once the call has started, you can see everyone in the meeting and get additional information about them through their social profiles. You can be sure you’re referring to that new client by his actual job title of “Part-Time Happiness Director,” since you can see his LinkedIn summary from within the app during your call. You can also record the call, saving valuable information you might be able to use in future calls or campaigns with this client.
By the time you get to work, you’ve already sat in on an important call and have a recording you can use for notes when you’re not so busy.
You’re a social media manager, so the first thing you do when you get to work should probably involve social media. Where do you start? On Twitter? Or Facebook? Maybe LinkedIn?
Why choose? Hootsuite gathers all of your social media profiles into a single dashboard so you can easily monitor and update all of them quickly and easily. Yes, we’re biased, but Hootsuite was built for social media managers, and it was built for productivity.
When you get into work, you open Hootsuite and check your streams to see who has mentioned you on social media and start responding. If there are any customer service issues, you assign those messages to your support team if you can’t address them yourself. Then, you pop into your analytics reports to see how your pre-scheduled social media messaging from last night and this morning are performing. Now you know which posts you should focus on for tomorrow’s social messaging.
Take your social media to the next level with Hootsuite Pro
With almost an entire day ahead of you, it’s time to map out your to-do-list. Knowing what tasks you have to accomplish and for when is essential to staying productive. For this purpose, you turn to Trello.
Trello helps you keep tabs on both individual and team projects. You can use it to manage projects on several levels, by dividing the work into boards (projects), lists (lists of tasks), and cards (individual tasks). With Trello, you can assign tasks and organize projects in various stages of completion with simple drag-and-drop actions. You can also create brainstorm sessions in order to get that creativity ball rolling.
Check off your “make today’s to-do-list” task and move onto bigger projects.
Your boss asks you how blog traffic is doing today. Your Google Analytics takes 24 hours to record that information and checking click-through on Tweets doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. You want to answer her question quickly, so you open up Chartbeat.
Chartbeat provides real-time site data that’s easy to consume and digest. The app provides you with the information you need to act quickly and promote the content that’s already striking a chord on social media: How many people are on your blog, which post is leading the way, what social networks are driving the most views to these posts and more. Since the Chartbeat App in Hootsuite sits right alongside your social networks, you can react and respond to traffic insight within seconds.
You let your boss know that traffic is slightly higher than usual thanks to your particularly insightful piece on social advertising, which is performing really well on Facebook. You schedule a few more Posts about that blog for the next few hours and keep that buzz going.
Stay on top of your traffic in real-time
You head out for a quick lunch at Starbucks with a friend who works at a partnering agency. He mentions that the agency has rebranded, and all of the employees have new email addresses and Twitter handles as a result. Dang… that means an hour of updating your contact list. Except the updates have already been done automatically, thanks to a little app called Brewster.
Brewster is the contact management app you don’t just need, you deserve. It gathers people’s phone numbers, email addresses and all of their social media profiles into one place. Then, when someone updates their information on brewster, it will automatically updates it for all of their contacts. No more slowly typing in phone numbers or misspelling Twitter handles. Brewster saves you from wasted time and mistakes, and is a huge boost for productivity.
As you push away the remnants of your lunch, you want to make sure you didn’t miss any news while you were working this morning. You consider opening up your favorites list of a dozen news websites. Too long. You open up Twitter but everyone is live-tweeting some Kardashian scandal. Too tedious. Then, like Goldilocks finding the right bed, you realize that Hootsuite’s Suggestions app is perfect for this.
Suggestions offers a reading list of up to twenty latest articles and blog posts, customized to the topics you’ve tweeted or posted about the most. It allows you to share the content to your social media channels, thus saving time on engagement and content discovery. Suggestions also sends you notifications throughout the day whenever new content becomes available.
Get recommendations for high-quality personalized content.
There are five google docs open in your browser right now, and none of them have names. You’re in the midst of a note-taking flood, but you’re having trouble keeping things organized. Pages are flooded with links and screenshots of Tweets, but the actual content is barely readable. Time to bring things into the Evernote app.
Evernote collects all your notes, including items you write within the app or any number of things you can export from outside it. Then it organizes them in a way that’s very searchable and easy to use, so that your note-taking experience is more efficient from start to finish.
Today you see a handful of Tweets that you could use for a case study being presented later this month. Using the the Hootsuite Evernote app, you save these conversations into an Evernote notebook. You also share your weekly email newsletter to social media through the app, a trick you learned from Steve Dotto.
Become a more efficient note-taker with the Evernote App
You’re jumping from meeting to meeting, planning social strategies for project after project, and simply don’t have time to do some social media housekeeping. These are basic things, formulaic almost, but they still take time which you don’t have. It’s days like this that you look towards the sky and thank the heavens for IFTTT.
The beauty of IFTTT (which stands for If This Then That) is in its simplicity. You create a recipe where “this” is the trigger word that leads to a “that” action. It cannot be understated how many possible work hours IFTTT can save you. The app can take care of actions like:
- Automatically upload UberConference call summaries to your Dropbox
- Archive emails to Evernote
- Add Siri notes to Evernote
- Add Instagram photographers to a Twitter list
- Save links that you Favourite on Twitter to your Pocket account
- And so much more
What you can accomplish with this app is unbelievable. A picture of IFTTT sits alongside “productivity” in the dictionary.
Scanning Hootsuite you see 10 customer service questions in the span of five minutes. You email your support guy and… no! You get his out of office message. It’s up to you to keep the clients happy, so you double tap the Zendesk icon.
Zendesk is software to help you provide better customer service, on traditional channels and social media. Using the app you can create, edit and share tickets for issues originating on social media. You can also tag and search for tickets, set priority levels, and even create Twickets—turning Tweets into tickets in one click.
You hammer out responses to 5 tickets which need to be addressed immediately, and set the others to medium priority before assigning them to the support guy for tomorrow morning.
Get better at social customer service, with the Zendesk app
It’s the end of your day and you need to complete your routine before heading home. That routine includes about 12 tasks, each comprising a handful of steps. The last few nights you’ve forgotten to do at least one thing. That’s why tonight you’re using the 30/30 app.
30/30 is another task management app, but one very different from the likes of Trello. The app is based on the concept that you are at your most productive when you work on something without distractions for 30 minutes and then spend the next 30 minutes on something completely different. Except with the app, you can assign any length of time to individual tasks; it’s all about efficiency and getting things done.
The 30/30 app shows you two main pieces of information: what your should be doing and how much time you have to do it. Once your time is out, the screen will change to a different color —the color associated with your next task. This quick transition from task to task is why the app is great for routines. Gone is the desire to procrastinate. Now you have a clear cut tool to help you get things done.
You load up a 30 minutes worth of end-of-day tasks and stick to your 30/30 timeline. Welcome to the rest of your evening.
You’ve just gotten home but wanted to look over and edit the social media marketing plan you’re going to be presenting your director in the morning. You left your laptop at work, but you can still access your files thanks to DropBox.
This cloud storage app lets users can upload text, photo, and video files to folders stores in the cloud, and later access them from anywhere, even on mobile. Even if you don’t have an internet connection Dropbox allows you to mark files as favorites and still work with them offline.
Access your Dropbox files within Hootsuite using the Social Files app
It’s time to relax, but you still have work on the brain. After a busy day, you can’t help feeling that you might have missed some news tidbit that could be worth addressing on social media or your blog. So, you grab your phone and open up the Flipboard app.
Flipboard grabs all the online content from sources you follow, and curates the best of it into an online magazine, beautifully designed and optimized for mobile devices. It’s a great way to quickly skim through a day’s worth of content and identify standout posts.
As you sit on the sofa in your living room with the Walking Dead on in the background, you flip through your Flipboard magazine and stumble on a story about a Twitter acquisition that your readers would be interested in. You make a note in Trello to write a blog post (What this latest Twitter acquisition means for regular users) when you get into work tomorrow.
Flipboard is one of the most popular referral sources on the web. Create your own Flipboard magazine within your Hootsuite dashboard today.
Now that you’ve seen the news you were worried you missed, now you can deal with the news you know you missed. A quick glance at Twitter during the day brought up no less than six… SIX articles that you knew you had to read. The chances of you finishing even one of those during the day was slim to none. Still, to stay on top of industry trends you need to commit to reading the news. That’s where Pocket comes in.
Pocket is a leading “save-for-later” tool that helps you avoid missing out on important content. The app lets you save content at any time from any device, gathering the important things into one place for a time when it’s more convenient to read or view them.
Those six articles you were worried about losing, now you easily flip through each of them and take a few Evernote notes and the two that actually might prove valuable to your social media followers. No more article FOMO.
Never miss another important article with the Hootsuite Pocket app
Even though you work in social media and technology, you tend to spend your time reading up on the social media a lot more than the technology (still rocking that iPhone 4). That’s not going to change, but you’d still like to be aware of major tech trends that could benefit your campaigns without having to read a dozen dry blogs about it. That’s why you signed up for SmartBrief.
SmartBrief provides email briefs on a variety of subjects, to catch up the lazy or the overworked among us. They sift through thousand of sources and choosing on the best and most important, before sending it to you as a brief.
Like the “Tech News and Insights and why they matter to business” brief, which you check out for the first time tonight. Impressive.
Bedtime. It’s only 11, but you understand the importance of getting a solid 8 hours of sleep. A good night’s sleep makes you more engaged at work, better at problem solving and more creative, among other productivity benefits. Still, you’ve been having issues sleeping lately, which is why you recently downloaded Sleepbot.
The SleepBot app is designed to track your sleep patterns. You enter the app right before you go to sleep, and it automatically silences your phone and turns on airplane mode so you’re not distracted. It can also track how much you move in the night and how much external noise you were exposed to (time to fix that leaky faucet). When your alarm goes off in the morning, the app will record your wakeup time. Then it provides you with statistics about your sleep to promote healthier sleep habits over time.