Our 5 Online Productivity Picks for 2011Posted by Nepal on January 13
How's the New Year's resolution thing going? I used to think they were a hopeless exercise because, really, what can possibly tip your reserves of will between December 31 and January 1st? But then a few years back I made the resolution to floss everyday and I literally haven't missed a day in two years.
Anyway...here at NYDesigns HQ, we've resolved to become a more productive team. That means better organization, synchronization and communication - making sure things get done efficiently and well. It's a broad and abstracted undertaking but we're approaching it from many perspectives, one of which is taking advantage of the exploding market in productivity applications. Here's a rundown of what we'll be trying out this year:
1. InDinero: InDinero was created to help business owners improve their abilities to manage their company’s financial health. The founders have described it as Quickbooks for the 21st century. What this means in our experience is an extremely intuitive and well-designed user platform that allows you to scan big picture conditions without being mired in individual lists of transactions. Best of all, it's free up to the first 50 transactions and less than $30/month up to 500 transactions. Free = great incentive to try it out to see if it works for you. Our accountant is impressed - but was frustrated by the difficulties in synching with our bank. Turns out it was the bank's fault for being so crushingly low-tech.
2. Prezi: Don't let the appalling logo deter you. The tech/venture blogs have been buzzing about this for a while and we just couldn't help trying it out. Prezi is a web-based presentation tool using a map layout and zooming to show contextual relationships, resulting in a more playful and dynamic exposition of ideas. Unlike Powerpoint or Keynote, it eschews the linear slide presentation model for a more flexible, free-form sequence of information. We all know how painful it is to sit through a Powerpoint presentation that's just slide after endless slide of text. This tool may help ease the pain: their innovative features are new narrative techniques that greatly enhance the presentation format. However, I can see how people lacking a visual sensibility can screw up just as badly in Prezi as they already do in Powerpoint.
3. Remember the Milk: We like lists, yes? There is nothing more satisfying than seeing items being struck off a list, whether they're for chores, work tasks, or unlike-ables on Facebook. With RTM, you can make lists galore, categorize them according to your social roles (work, home etc.), set personal reminders by email or SMS, postpone them, and just generally get your life in shape. When shopping around for comparable tools I was leaning towards Teux Deux [http://teuxdeux.com/] for its clean design and appealing strike-through motion for completed tasks but ultimately, I prefer the rich functionalities of RTM.
4. Gift a Follower: This app might be better for you readers out there who manufacture and sell products than it is for us. You can reward socially networked friends and followers by giving money to these guys, who'll then fix your audience up with a "grab bag" of goodies, which may include donations in your name, gadgets, gift cards, and potentially weird and wonderful online finds. It's also an effective marketing outlet, as you can also offer you wares to them as grab bag items. We like how they've streamlined the human gesture of gifting into social commerce.
5. Google Notebook: Google is not a mysterious entity, but we needed something that would make taking collective notes easier. Yes, one can do that in Google Docs...but if you're using Google Apps already, you might as well try everything they've got. This is an ideal brainstorming tool and a repository for early-stage ideas, which you can organize and hierarchize after the fact. You can browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that's accessible from any computer (and you can share it all). One last thing tipping us towards Google's version over other notebook-like apps is our oceanic hope to be awarded Google Chrome laptops for the entire office.