Whether you web design, operate a business, lead a team, or head up a project, you’re always trying to figure out ways to do things faster and/or more efficiently.
There are various techniques you can apply to increase your own or your team’s productivity. You will, in fact, find several useful tips and techniques at the end of this article.
The tools you use can play important roles as well. Some tools make it difficult to generate any noticeable changes in productivity; some are more helpful in that regard. And others, like the apps featured here, can significantly boost productivity.
Whether you’re looking for a rapid prototyping tool to speed up web design, or an app that will automate task management, or perform several project management functions from a single platform, you’ll find something here.
There are times when using separate tools for task management, time tracking, and invoicing might make sense; but it’s usually better when all three activities can be done from a single platform – like Active Collab. Active Collab provides a one-stop solution to these pressing business needs.
This productivity app’s features include project tracking, time tracking, an advanced to-do list capability that helps to keep everything organized, invoicing, and team collaboration. Since Active Collab runs on the cloud, there are no installation or setup requirements on you part. All you need to do is subscribe, and you can be up and running within 2 minutes.
If you would prefer to self-host the app on your own server, you can do by paying a one-time fee.
Active Collab is currently being used on a regular basis by 200,000+ project managers and designers. Signing up for the free 30-day trial will give you ample time to test this powerful app, and see if it’s the right solution for you and your business.
Always stay connected with your design team through Wake. With this single platform app, you can see what your team is working on, and keep feedback close at hand. Designers can upload sketches, screenshots, etc., without ever having to interrupt their Sketch, Illustrator, or Photoshop sessions.
This ability to share your work with selected teammates, or your entire company, makes the whole design process smoother and more efficient. You can even use Wake’s spaces to share work with particular colleagues and organize work by category.
It’s easy to stay connected when on the go with Wake’s iOS app. You can take photos of notebook sketches or drawings on a whiteboard, and instantly share them with team members. The iOS app also allows you to give design feedback while on the go.
Wake has a Starter Plan, and a Pro Custom plan for more active design teams; but you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to see if this Wake’s design collaboration tool will be a good fit for you before you decide to purchase.
A good way to build an awesome product, is to start by building an awesome prototype. Proto.io will make that happen. You can construct a prototype that’s difficult to tell from the real deal; and do so in no time without writing a single line of code.
You can design your prototype directly in Proto.io by using the beautifully-crafted Android and iOS components that come with the package. Or, you can import your Sketch or Photoshop designs, and build your prototype from either. The popular Interaction Design Patterns will help your design to proceed rapidly.
Proto.io will take your static designs, and turn them into interactive prototypes that feature clever animations, and commonly-used gestures.
Once your prototype is complete, you can either view it on your browser, or view and test it on real devices.
Try Proto.io for 15 days, at no cost to you.
MeisterTask gives you a smart, agile, and visual way to assign tasks, and enable team members to follow one another’s progress throughout a project.
The secret to this app’s success lies in its flexible project boards, which you can adapt to fit your workflow. MeisterTask’s customizable dashboard also provides you with a quick overview of your notifications, tracked time, and the tasks you need to focus on that day.
Minterapp makes project time tracking the simplest of tasks. It’s ideal for small businesses, since the time tracking data it collects can easily be converted to invoices.
The invoices can then be delivered to clients online. Minterapp also is a great tool for making estimates based on projected times and past history data. This excellent productivity app integrates perfectly with Basecamp, MailChimp, and PayPal.
Productivity Tips and Tricks
Plan Your Day
There’s more than one way for a project to either end in failure, or yield results far below expectations, and that way is to fail to plan. A plan does not have to be a complicated affair (it should be quite the opposite), and it does not have to cover the life of the project (and outline will do).
Planning your next day’s activities is usually good enough. You can review your plan bright and early the next morning, and if it still makes sense – go for it.
By doing so, you can avoid having to work in a hurry-up mode caused by an unexpected time crunch. Working in such a mode leaves you open to making mistakes and doing less than quality work. This can usually be avoided if you’re working to a plan.
Learn Some Keyboard Shortcuts
Using keyboard shortcuts is like putting pennies in a jar. Eventually, the jar is filled with $$ worth of pennies. When you use a keyboard shortcut, you don’t have to take your fingers off the keyboard, plus using such a shortcut is generally much quicker than searching for a series of icons to perform a task.
Standardize Naming Conventions and Tag Assignments
Setting up a naming and color conventions early on can save you time that you might otherwise spend searching for “lost” files or elements. These conventions will save collaborators and developers time as well. You’ll be more productive, and you’ll look more professional in the eyes of your peers.
Track Your Time
Time tracking is a good way to get a better understanding of how you go about your work. It can offer insights as to how you can work more efficiently and effectively. Time tracking will make you want to improve.
Customize Your Workplace
Even if your new app works great just as it comes out of the box, you can often make improvements to your personal workspace that will speed up your design activity.
App builders often include presets that make it easier to use the app effectively, but these presets are not always designed with speed in mind. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with how a preset works, look for ways to customize it to speed up the process.
Just like using keyboard shortcuts, small increments of time saved by customizing your workplace, can add up to hours saved over the course of a project.