I mentioned to a friend that this is the year I stick to one set of apps. While trying different apps out is fun, I know I'm slowing momentum. I need structure, processes and consistency. So, in a bid to increase productivity in 2018, I've designed my set up in advance. Last year I wasted a lot of time jumping between systems. I had CRM work on multiple platforms etc, different project's tasks in different apps. Some were available on different devices, some weren't. So I'm going to trial something new in 2018. These may or not be the best apps out there for the job, but I'm committing to the following set of tools and will not start interfering with the foundations mid way through projects.
Trello: Over the last few years I've learned that change is inevitable. Projects come and go, ideas change and time matters. To be able to see and monitor all of the spinning plates is crucial, and for this I use Trello. How to get the best from it I think is really down to the individual's way of working, but I think it is an excellent tool for breaking things down visually.
Evernote. Everything remotely long form is stored there. I keep template communications, lists of links, drafts of things I'm working on. Literally everything. Evernote has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and having used it since the beginning I see no reason to change. Free.
Wunderlist: I'm back on Wunderlist. I've used it a few times over the years but in my curiosity to try other apps I've let it slip out of use and as we all know, a task manager is only as good as the frequency in which it is updated. On reflection though, both the desktop and mobile apps are fantastic. It has all the functionality I need. One of the things I like most about it, apart from the stuff you'd expect like collaborative list sharing, is the ability to quickly add tasks without making it difficult to sort and organise later. If you're in a rush, it's easy to add them in the 'today' section and then drag them into the relevant folders later on. This year I'm sticking with it.
Writing and publishing
Ghost: This site is written and maintained in Ghost's hosted service. It's expensive (and the price has gone up quickly) but I love writing and publishing in it. On reflection it seems a small price to pay for the peace of mind that Ghost are managing security in the background, as well as delivering improvements every now and then. It's open source so if you have some tech skills you might look at hosting it yourself, but for now I',m happy to pay for a system that allows me to focus on writing and publishing.
iA: So this one might be a bit of an unnecessary splurge. It's basically just a word processor but built in a way that looks great on the screen. It costs 19.99 from the apple store and there's also a charge to put in on a mobile device. The sync is great to either iCloud or dropbox and so far (I don't have many files) it's very fast. $19.99
Quickfile: I was using the paid Zoho service, but find it to be far too expensive for what you get back. I'm going to use Quickfile instead. It's free up until a certain turnover. It seems fairly easy to use and fairly intuitive, with the flexibility to invoice clients by email.
Focus Booster. Focus Buster provides a clean and simple layout for allocating my time. Using the pomodoro approach to time management it provides the option to allocate 25 minute sessions to a variety of clients. My hope is that by committing to it, I can become more accountable to myself but also provide clients with a clearer understanding of where energies are directed. $5 per month.
Pipedrive I haven't been using Pipedrive for very long but my early thoughts are positive. So much so, I've signed up to and will commit to it for six months. It costs more than I really wanted to spend, but if I can stay consistent and efficient with it, it's a small price to pay. Like other pipeline tools it allows you to create deals and move them through a series of stages. It's flexible. Tasks, notes and attachments can be added to deals as you'd expect, but more importantly, it looks the part visually. We'll see. 12 euros + vat