Juggling a busy schedule means that you need to be able to do your work quickly, with minimal stress and maximum impact. Which is where useful tools that help you achieve exactly this can become things you hold very close to your heart. Here are some of my most loved tech tools; hopefully they can bring you the same joy they bring me!
Trello: For organising projects & teams
From simple to complex projects, Trello helps you streamline your work flow, stay on top of things and be more efficient. How you use it is very flexible, but typically you break projects up into tasks displayed as drag and drop cards on a project board, which can be assigned to your team members, and moved around the board depending on what stage they’re at.
You can attach all kinds of information to the cards, so that the whole team has access to the information they need. But you can also make private project boards and cards that only you can see.
Other useful features include the option to automate certain tasks, and access to a number of pre-designed project board templates that you can use – in categories as diverse as business, design, marketing, HR & operations, project management, sales, and more.
Why I love it: Executing projects well hinges on clear communication. Trello ensures the whole team stays on the same page about a project – with up-to-date access about progress, project details and who is responsible for what.
Cost: Free for the basic profile, $9.99 per user per month for the business class plan, and $20.83 per user per month for the enterprise plan.
Doodle: For coordinating calendars
If you’ve ever been asked to set up a meeting with lots of people, you’ll be acutely familiar with how frustrating it can be to find a suitable date and time for everyone. But now you can eliminate the back and forth emails and phone calls and use Doodle instead. This tool allows you to sync your email calendar with Doodle, and from there set up appointments, avoid double booking and publish your availability. (However your calendar will still remain private.)
The people you invite to meetings via Doodle do not need to have a Doodle account, freeing you up to use this tool with anyone and everyone.
Why I love it: People are busy, and coordinating calendars with multiple person can be incredibly tricky. I love that Doodle saves me the time normally needed to do this, so I can focus on my core responsibilities instead.
Cost: $4 per user (a user is a person who needs to create meetings or surveys) per month for the starter plan, $6 per user per month for the pro plan, and $30 for 5 users per month for the team plan.
Canva: For designing graphics
If, like me, you need to quickly put together graphic designs but are not a skilled designer, don’t have design software and don’t always have access to a designer… then this beauty is for you!
Canva gives you access to tonnes of pre-designed templates for a range of platforms – including social media, newsletters, brochures and more. You can then edit and update them quickly and easily, simply clicking on the feature you want to change (whether an image, text, colour or visual element). You can also upload your own images and logos to add to the designs. Once you’re happy, you can download the image in a variety of formats, many of which are great for digital use, but a print PDF means you can also print the design.
If you’d like to design something from scratch, you can also select custom dimensions and go wild…
Why I love it: Canva has helped me put together countless designs that I am pretty proud of – despite my lack of design ability.
Cost: The basic plan is free, while Canva Pro has more templates, fonts, photos and features, and is $9.95 a month when paid annually or $12.95 a month when paid monthly.
Braindate: For networking
Okay, I’m cheating here and sharing a tool that I haven’t used. But I’ve read about it and reviews of it, and I love what I am hearing! Why? Because networking is one of the most commonly cited reasons that people attend events, and yet it can be one of the hardest things to do well – either as an event planner or as a delegate.
However, Braindate seems to be getting it right. It’s a networking tool that helps event attendees find others to have a ‘braindate’ with – an “intentional knowledge sharing conversation… face-to-face”, so that common interests and challenges can help identify a match. These meet-ups can be one-on-one or group meetings.
One of the reasons Braindate seems to do so well is that it doesn’t only use professional compatibility to find a match; personal compatibility is also factored in, which results in better interactions when the matches get together.
Braindate isn’t just an app. E180, the company behind it, offers a full event solution – tailoring the whole Braindate experience for your event, including an onsite experience and event hosts.
Why I love it: By matching people who have more in common than just professional interests, chances are that when you meet up the conversation will flow more easily. This means no more stilted and forced networking, which I think we can all agree is a win.
Cost: You will need to request a quote.
Is there another tool you think we should have included? Write to us and tell us about it.