The need for productivity tools
Working smart means realizing your potential, acknowledging your skillset and using productivity tools accordingly to enhance performance, and thus save precious time. There is an overwhelming amount of productivity tools available in the world. This doesn’t mean you need all of them. You just have to know how to choose the right ones for your situation.
And we’re here to guide you with 5 simple, but important steps for choosing the right tools for you.
1. Identify your business’s key processes and which of them need improvement
Start by creating a list of your core and non-core processes. After investigating the elements of these processes you will be in a position to know which of these can benefit from the implementation of a new solution. At this point, you’ll have an idea which exact features to look out for in the available tools. Always put emphasis on essential features rather than the ones that are nice to have, but not really important. Compare each potential tool to your list of required features, scrutinizing them carefully to come up with a shortlist.
2. What productivity tools you currently have and how much of a help they are
The next step is to carry out an audit of the tools you’re presently using to determine if they need to be replaced and why. This will help you understand if there actually is a need for a new tool. Sometimes these evaluations bring to a conclusion that you already have most resources to help your productivity available. It is best to avoid having two or more tools doing more or less the same task; you will end up paying for features and storage capacity that you don’t need.
3. Determine if the potential new tool will integrate with your existing system (online and offline)
This is a really important consideration. There are many online and software solutions out there, and you must explore if they will integrate with the systems you and your company already use. It would be foolhardy to invest heavily in, say a tool that helps with your email and sharing of documents if it is not compatible with your existing computer systems. Same applies to offline hardware. It might be smart to double check if that new USB storage solution is compatible with your MacBook Pro computer without USB ports.
4. How much will it cost in total
While weighing up similar solutions that perform the same function, one of the tie-breakers will, of course, be what they cost. And in looking at how much a tool will set you back, consider the costs of setting and keeping it up, and user training. Always take advantage of the free trial offered by most tools. And don’t be afraid to ask for an extension if you need it. Another very important consideration is scalability. Find a solution that can serve your needs now in your business, but also as you grow. Avoid having to go through the headache of changing over tools in the future which will drain all your resources.
5. Is training and support available (if applicable)
It is always good to do your research on the training that the new productivity tool implementation will require. It is better to choose tools that have support for training and questions rather than paying for the tool and then paying a third-party to instruct you on the usage. Online video tutorials are a similarly great consideration and will speed up your learning. Tutorials also make it easier to share with your team to get everyone up to speed.
Main questions to ask yourself during the process:
- What is the result you want? Understanding your business’s key processes and which of them can be improved with tools
- What tools you currently have and do they actually help you or not
- Will the new tool integrate with your existing system (online and offline)?
- How much will it cost?
- What training and support are available?
If you evaluate the existing situation critically and follow these steps carefully, you will definitely find the right productivity tools for your business. Remember, it’s not about choosing a good tool; it’s about finding the right tool to suit your business’s needs.
Now that you know how to choose the right productivity tools for you, it’s time to begin!