Tools for Getting Things Done

Team Collaboration: Slack

I don’t know why anyone would still be using email for team communication. Email was built decades ago and really hasn’t evolved since that time. Ever since Google Wave was

shuttered many years ago, I’ve been searching for something similar. Slack essentially creates chat rooms where certain members of your team can talk to each other. You can create new chat rooms for certain topics, create private rooms, upload files, and much more. Their search feature rivals Google, and they just started supporting threaded conversations. Oh, and the smartphone app is the best in its class.

Email: Gmail with multiple inboxes

We all know and love Gmail. I have my work email forwarded to my personal inbox so that I don’t have to keep several Gmail windows open, but I also use a Gmail labs feature called “multiple inboxes” for sorting my mail using the Getting Things Done methodology developed by David Allen. On my home screen, I can clear out my inbox and get to zero each day by moving emails into “action,” “next action,” “someday/maybe,” and other categories. Then it is easy to know what is a priority.

Online Meetings: Zoom

Marco found Zoom after trying out Skype and Hangouts. When team members have meetings in cars and airplanes, you quickly find out which one can handle it all. Zoom seems to have better overall connections than the others in the space. Easy links to join meetings, screen sharing options, and every other necessary feature are included for free. Check it out if you are becoming frustrated with your current online meeting client.

Spell/Grammar Checking: Grammarly

I started using this one this week, and I love it. Grammarly integrates into your browser and then shows up when you type something. So far, all the suggestions have been accurate.

Document Sharing: Google Docs + Dropbox

Our team uses Google Drive for any kind of “live” or “living” document, which is similar to spreadsheets being updated often or documents of technical specifications that we are often changing. If more than one person will open and edit the document, we use Google Drive so that many team members can edit simultaneously. Dropbox, on the other hand, is great for saving and sharing documents that only one person will edit. Also, Google does not do a good job with PowerPoint-style decks/presentations (very long load times), so we make all our decks with PowerPoint and then save versions in Dropbox. Dropbox is the best at creating local files on all computers, so if you need to email a document or just access large files quickly, Dropbox is the best for that purpose.

Task Management: Remember The Milk

The most underrated task management app is Remember the Milk or RTM for short. It has enough features to keep you happy without being overwhelming or messy. You also have shared lists for your team. I use the Getting Things Done system. My lists include “action” and “next action” sections, so I know what is important.

Quick Notes: Hi-Q MP3 Rec (Android)

Sometimes, you want to take a note or remember something, but you don’t want to take the time to write it into your phone. Maybe you are in the car or talking to a friend and don’t want to pause the conversation. This app lets you create a widget on your home screen that will start recording with one click, and you click the same button to stop recording. The cool thing about this app is that it has settings to upload directly to your Dropbox account. Every morning I go through my voice notes (one of my GTD inboxes) and send those tasks into Remember the Milk if they are important.

Podcast Player: Podcast Addict (Android – Free)

I really like this player. I used to use Stitcher, but Podcast Player has all the features I use: ability to download several episodes; ability to stream radio stations, including CNN, PBS, and iTunes; and a search engine if the regular search isn’t finding something.

Best Water Bottle: Blender Bottle

I know this one doesn’t fit into a technology service, but it’s my favorite water bottle. It comes in many solid colors, so I can find it easily. The mouth is wide enough for smoothies, so pieces don’t get stuck in your mouth. Just hook to clip onto your bag when you don’t have a big enough pocket. It also has measurement indicators, so you can use it in a pinch for making recipes that call for ounces, cups, or milliliters.