I have almost always been able to predict the time my mother will be back home after a work day. As it goes with banks, her job is of a steady nature and they have a set number of hours that customers can come in. This has been the case for traditional offices worldwide.
Illustration by Scale
Fast forward to the modern way of working, it’s evident that today’s workforce, the millennials, does not like to waste time (except on social media, that is). Everyone is out there to get the most out of every second of their day. But is this really happening? How much time are you losing at various instances during the day?
Consider virtual meetings, for instance. There is time spent preparing for the meeting (scheduling, checking your calendar, etc.), time you spend during the meeting, and a bit of time to process and restart from where you were at, after the meeting. And inevitably, you are losing a lot if time in this process.
Luckily, though, there are also tools that will make all of this easier. And there are places that give you a collection of tools you could use. fyi, for example, gives a collection of 171 tools you can use as a freelancer. Along the lines of keeping everything in one place, try Rambox Pro to manage multiple apps from one place. I am going to target these tools in 3 main areas today: scheduling, tracking time and the meeting itself.
How cool is it to just have your meetings ready for you without any manual intervention? There are actually quite a few apps to do that. Although there will still be a need of some amount of input from you, it does get simpler.
An app like Simplish claims to be the master productivity tool with all features that you would want from to-dos to scheduling. I use Calendly excessively and find it really time saving to let the app take care of my meetings. Just that isn't enough for me, and I use Worldtimebuddy to help me find the best time. Similarly, apps like Doodle Bot help you in using the time at hand in a very useful manner by alerting you about every meeting that is on your schedule. We will talk about more meeting tools below. When your meetings are high-end, though, you can try an app like Instagantt to keep track of everything through charts.
Right from taking notes about important things throughout your day to brainstorming, you are using time. And in loading a page, waiting for a reply, etc. you are losing time. Even when switching apps, you are doing that. Luckily, there are tools that tell you exactly where you are spending your time. The input from these can help in making those areas more efficient.
Some time tracking apps that are recommended are TouchTime and Wakatime, the latter specifically designed for developers. One thing I’ve noticed, and you are definitely doing is referring to places where you have saved pointers on the things you do during the day. Apps like Google Keep and Zoho Notebook make it a lot simpler. They have highly intuitive search functionalities and you can find what you want without too many clicks. Similarly, Timeblocks allows you to create a structured agenda for your meetings, and stick to the schedule.
You want the best experience from the meeting. And as they say, well planned is half done. This blog gives some amazing pointers on how to make your meetings more effective by thorough planning and execution. Some of these are pretty obvious but we often tend to skip these. There are a good number of tools you can use, too, to make your meetings better.
A tool like NextCall makes joining meetings way simpler. Similarly, urLive also lets you connect with anyone at just the click of a link. But what then? You want to get the most out of your meetings without boring your audience. Teamviewer lets you meet someone virtually just so you can assist them with something, rather than having an entire meeting. Apps like Team.Video promise to make your meetings more fun and lively with a multitude of features. Some notable ones are agendas, collaborative notes, and emoji responses. Alternatively, for a more end-to-end structured meeting, try Cisco’s WebEx. Although a little on the costlier side, it is a great addition to your workflow. Some great alternatives you can check out are listed here. Another meeting app with slightly limited functions, but granting you a smooth meeting experience, is GoToMeeting (find alternatives here). It does not have a chat function like most other meeting apps, but is comparatively lighter in weight and easy to use.
Also, try Retrium to enable your team to continuously improve through agile retrospectives and Apteo to share important data with your team in an easy to understand way. Apps like Poll Everywhere also let you get feedback from your team regarding the effectiveness of the meetings whereas tools like Tendii let you document outcomes in a smooth manner.
Do you also feel these are areas where you spend a lot of time? Do share your thoughts and suggestion on the above as well as any other area where you feel a lot of time gets spent.