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It is April and most businesses are starting the second quarter of the year. One of the most important goals for a business is to become more productive. Achieving goals starts with productivity and that requires time management strategies. There are several tools we use to assist us in being productive. Because I am a fan of processes and procedures, I started with reading books on increasing my productivity. My two favorites so far are “Getting Things Done” (GTD) by David Allen and “12 Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. GTD was very helpful for me in developing methods to organize myself and my business. 12 week year by Brian Moran is a recent read that was recommended as a way to jumpstart productivity. Both of the books offer a processes to follow, but the software is used to implement the ideas I have learned with not only my clients but with my teams.

My top picks for productivity and/or time management are: Asana, Google calendar, Toggl, Evernote, and my paper planner, Productivity Planner.  Asana is one of the first tools I started using. There are so many uses for it; you can store notes, articles as well as any other research all in one place. Asana has been one of my favorites. I use it individually as well as for collaboration with my team. It is a simple way to set up projects and assign tasks.

The google products are well known and very helpful in getting organized and staying on task. We use google calendar with clients and the team. As a team we use the Google Docs and Sheets to create and edit documents in real time. As a virtual assistant I manage calendars. Google makes it a simple process to share and create calendars. You can organize appointments and activities using simple methods such as color coding. You can also share permissions, update appointments and a host of other tasks.

Toggle is an online time tracking tool we use for our team. The tool is simple and you can create projects and tasks even add clients. I can track time for my team as well as monitor how long activity and tasks take me to complete.  If you are a freelancer or work by the hour with clients it can be a very helpful time tracking tool.

Evernote is another tool that can be used in both personal and business. I have used Evernote as an electronic “post-it-note” system for myself. Because we do a lot of internet research, we keep the articles, websites and other reference materials in Evernote and share them in a team folder. We store research for clients and other documents here and it works well our team. All of these tools are user friendly and simple to use.

Last but not least is my paper planner. I am pretty old school about planning and journaling. I have always loved using paper planners and writing in paper journals and I suppose I always will. This year I chose the Productivity Planner because it incorporates many of the time management principles I am using. There are tips and space for lists and incorporates one of my favorite tools the “Pomodoro” technique.

Choosing time management and productivity tools can be an individual choice. Whether electronic or paper, what matters the most is that the tools are used consistently.