We’ve all had those days where you’re just not feeling it. In fact, one of the biggest challenges when starting up as a remote employee is learning that it’s only natural to have a slight ebb and flow of productivity. You’re only human after all, and the temptation of distraction (especially if you’re working with social media) is great.
However, when your entire marketing team is working remotely there needs to be some sort of guarantee that productivity will be reasonably consistent. Unfortunately, whether you automate your social media to free up time or research how to improve productivity, everything takes the time to process and set up.
That’s why our team back at Process Street put in the time to trawl through too many productivity methods to count; to save god knows how many of you out there the trouble!
Whilst there are slight differences for each team member, these are the top four apps which help to ensure that our marketing team is running at the highest level of productivity possible.
Let’s start off with something a little out of the left field; Focus@Will. This app allows you to select from 22 different “channels” of music, all of which are designed to help you focus whenever you need to.
From classical to ambient, several members of our marketing team plug in their headphones and listen to whatever fits their mood best. Since each track is specifically selected with a focus in mind, no tune is distracting enough to take you out of your work; it’s almost akin to a musical state of meditation.
To top it all off, there’s even the option to record your productivity during the previous session when you hit the stop button, along with the ability to set a timer if your task happens to be a little more pressing.
I’d highly advise giving it a shot – there’s even a free trial in case you’re a little hesitant to put down the $12 monthly fee straight up.
Alternatively, others in our team use Spotify to do much the same thing; provide enough background noise that they can settle into a productive flow without being taken out of it by the very same music.
The team members who use this are by and large already paying for Spotify for personal use, so all they need to do is search for some “focus music” playlists, or make their own. Now, admittedly, there is a slight danger with using Spotify if you already have a lot of music saved; the temptation to listen to your favorite tunes can be great, but they will almost inevitably result in a drop in productivity as you jam out, rather than complete your keyword research process.
Nevertheless, for music to help our team stay in the zone and keep a consistent level of productivity, Spotify is a pretty darn solid option (and is a lesson in designing high converting apps).
Our use of Pomello has undergone a bit of a revision lately. When we first discovered this little app (the better part of a year ago), we thought it was the bee’s knees and could do no wrong. Whilst it’s still fantastic, learning to use it in moderation has helped our marketing team’s productivity to remain even more consistent than before.
Essentially, Pomello serves as a little egg timer which runs on the same theory as the Pomodoro Technique; that is, 25 minutes of work, 5-minute break, do that three times over and then have a 15-minute break. Rinse and repeat. The real power, though, is its integration with Trello.
We use Trello for managing pretty much all of our projects, so the ability to select a task directly from our Trello board and record the time we spend on it in real time with a cute virtual egg timer sold us instantly. It even puts a little tomato on your Trello card!
However, a word of warning. Our team eventually realized that using Pomello to track every little task is a bad move. If you’re working on a large task which will take about an hour or so to complete then brilliant, but every time you change the task you’re working on, you have to fiddle about with the timer, which interrupts your flow.
Use Pomello by all means, but don’t try and track all of your 5-minute tasks with it; your productivity will end up taking a hit, rather than a boost.
Grammarly is God’s gift to fast writers. It’s a spellchecker which is completely free, has a Chrome plugin, automatically suggests corrections to your spelling and grammar and tracks your word count in a weekly email. In a world where content marketing tools can take an age to get to grips with, what’s not to love about that simplicity?
The downside to Grammarly is that it doesn’t quite work with everything; a noticeable omission so far is Google Docs. Nevertheless, having an automatic spell checker is insanely useful; our team can write away without worrying too much about spelling or grammar, but instead purely on maintaining their writing flow for as long as possible.
Then, at the end of every week, each of our team can see a rough estimation of how many words they have written, as a kind of informal (and personal) performance review. Admittedly, this isn’t foolproof; if someone writes in an app that Grammarly can’t track (eg, GDocs) or takes on tasks which don’t require a huge amount of writing (such as keyword research) then the weekly summary email sent by Grammarly is hardly accurately measuring productivity.
Nevertheless, there’s something innately motivating about seeing a number assigned to the words you’ve written that week, along with a note telling you that you’ve been more active than 98% of the user base.
What about your own favorite productivity apps? Mention them in the comments below and who knows? You may find a few more handy suggestions from the discussion.
See also: 10 Facebook Tools For Serious Marketers