Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

On-the-spot easy appointments with Appoint.ly

In today’s busy world, it is very difficult to schedule/fix appointments as people are always on the move. Setting up a meeting may take ages as the person you want to meet may have little spare time. This is where the role of tools like Appoint.ly becomes important. Appoint.ly is a schedule management tool which helps people fix appointments at their own convenience. One can easily avoid the hassle of fixing and cancelling appointments many times over with this application. Appoint.ly is a must-have tool for individuals and companies dealing with dozens of appointments and allotting proper time for them all.

Appoint.ly

Scheduling an appointment is no joke. Both parties involved should be available at the given date and time and getting that right is always difficult. But, fret no more as Appoint.ly will do all the work for you. Once you have registered with Appoint.ly, it will consult the people you plan to meet and schedule appointments as per the availability of both parties. Thus, an association with Appoint.ly is a good idea as it reduces one’s workload to a large extent.

Appoint.ly – Change the way you book appointments

At Appoint.ly, all it takes is a click to fix appointments, which otherwise would have taken lot of time and effort. Taking a look at how the software works we see that it first incorporates with the top online calendar applications. Then your potential clients can get to view the days when you are available. Accordingly, the appointments are booked without any clash/confusion regarding the dates. Appoint.ly not only helps with setting up appointments, it also assists with assessing team performances and progress. One can make use of this software to get important figures as well as get to know pages with the highest conversion rates.

Some of the main features of Appoint.ly are as follows:

  • Appoint.ly automatically integrates with all the major calendars once you have fixed an appointment. The date will immediately be added to your Google, Office and ICal calendars.
  • The software offers prompt e-mail notifications to you as well as your clients. Custom e-mail reminders are also sent as per request.
  • Appoint.ly helps with time zone management so that your appointments from across countries do not clash with one another.
  • One can physically set their availability and decide when to schedule various appointments.
  • With the help of Appoint.ly, people can create their own personalized links, which can be circulated among customers.
  • Appoint.ly assists one in fixing appointments as per their requirements.
  • It also offers complete analytics for the entire team, which can be used for various purposes.
  • The software does not schedule back-to-back appointments. It offers enough time gap between meetings to give one some free time.
  • Appoint.ly offers adjustable time slots for both the parties involved. With the presence of adjustable time slots, people can set up appointments as per their convenience.

Appoint.ly screenshot

How it Works

Appoint.ly works in a very simple manner.

  1. First, one needs to open an account with Appoint.ly, which is absolutely free.
  2. Then when you open the page, you will find the different types of appointments, which are on offer. You need to set up your available time and date on the software.
  3. That will be conveyed to the prospective client and they will pick up a predefined slot. In this manner, the time and date for the event is set and invitations are sent to both parties.
  4. Once the appointment has been set, you can call on the client at the scheduled time.

All of this is done in such a simple manner that no extra time or effort is required.

Pros

  1. Makes Your Schedule Known: A major benefit of the Appoint.ly software is that it makes your schedule known to all your clients and vice-versa. This goes a long way in fixing appointments without much confusion.
  2. No Worry About Time Zones: As Appoint.ly works with clients across the world, there are bound to be doubts about time management. But, with the help of this software, one can easily fix appointments with clients across the world.
  3. Never Miss an Appointment: The biggest benefit of using Appoint.ly is that you and your client will never miss any scheduled appointment. The e-mail notifications from Appoint.ly will always ensure that you never miss any meeting with your clients.
  4. No ads: Another positive aspect about using the Appoint.ly software is that it is there are absolutely no ads. So while one is using the software, you or your clients will not be disturbed by any unnecessary advertisements.

Cons

  1. Appointment for Only Two: The biggest drawback of using Appoint.ly is that it can set up appointment only between two people. One person cannot fix appointment with three or more people.
  • Book appointments without worrying about Time-Zones with @Appoint_ly appoint.ly/ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

Appoint.ly is a winning software as it helps people sort out one of the most common problems of fixing appointments. It conveniently arranges appointments as per the availability of the parties involved. Add to this adjustable time-slots, e-mail notifications about meetings and personalized intro messages, and you’ll agree that Appoint.ly is a tool to treasure forever.

Unleash your creativity with MindMeister – online mind mapping tool

For customers always on the lookout for interactive and innovative online content, MindMeister will be an interesting tool. Launched in 2007, MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool, which allows customers to visualize, develop and share their ideas. With the help of this tool, customers can conduct interactive sessions with their co-workers and come up with new, exciting ideas.

MindMeister

MindMeister is the first tool from MeisterLabs, founded by Michael Hollauf and Till Vollmer in 2006. According to the company, at present more than 7 million people are using this mind mapping tool worldwide. Clients make use of this tool for brainstorming, note taking, project planning and many other tasks. Till now, MindMeister has helped in the creation of more than 25 million maps with around 1 billion ideas finding roots.

MindMeister – envisioning thoughts for better business

The MindMeister mind map editor is an easy tool to work with. One works directly on the web browser so there is no need for one to download the software. It also does not require manual updation. It is readily accessible from Mac, Windows PC, Linux computer, or any other device as well as browser.

MindMeister works with all types of clients – start-ups, freelancers and million dollar companies to help them communicate better and achieve their goals. The tool betters communication by bringing all the parties – various departments, different branches and suppliers to one location. It also allows for collaborations on the maps and the changes made can be immediately. This works out well for companies as sharing and comparing information becomes a lot more convenient.

Some of the best features of MindMeister include:

  • It utilizes an online mind map editor to create and work on mind maps inside a web browser.
  • Users are given a variety of map layouts to choose from. Additionally they can also customize their maps with colors and styles as per their choice.
  • The mind mapping tool has a sharing system so you can easily connect with others working on the same platform.
  • People using MindMeister can delegate assignments, set priorities, add due dates and show display progress as well.
  • MindMeister works well with TaskMeister online project management software.
  • Clients can also use MindMeister for making presentations. These can be easily exported, embedded or displayed online. In this manner, MindMeister helps people showcase their work online without the need to download or update anything.

MindMeister - screenshot 1

How It Works

MindMeister works on a freemium model, where the user opens a basic account, which is free. There are limited options with this account. If one wants to use further then they have to sign up for monthly or yearly subscriptions. Based on the different prices, MindMeister tool is categorized into Basic, Personal, Pro and Business packages. To get a better understanding as to how MindMeister works, scroll down:

  1. When one signs on a MindMeister tool, you first see a dashboard. This is where you store all the created MindMaps.
  2. To create a new Map, click on the option “My New MindMap”. Then you will reach the MindMap editor.
  3. In the middle of the page, you will find the root topic, where you have to fill the topic of the MindMap.
  4. After the main topic is created, we create child topics by pressing the “tab” key. When all the child topics are done, finish it by pressing the “enter” button.
  5. If we press the enter button again, then we create another topic. These topics together are known as “sibling topics”.
  6. With the help of these two keys, you can create the main topic and sibling topics.
  7. You can add or remove sibling topics by using the “connect” and “disconnect” buttons.
  8. You can add labels, change colors of connection as per your wish.
  9. When the MindMap is ready, you can share it with your family/friends and they can share/exchange ideas real time.

MindMeister is not only great for exchanging ideas, it is a good way to spot creativity, organize our thoughts, learn and memorize new things. Last but not the least, it is the best way to visualize and understand difficult issues.

MindMeister - screenshot 2

Pros

  1. The biggest advantage of using MindMeister is that you are the master of your content. You can create the content map as per your likes. Everything like content, format, font is as per your choice.
  2. Another advantage of using this tool is that one can work real time on it. If the creator or the people it has been shared with want to make any changes, they can do it in real time on the web.
  3. With MindMeister, you can export your MindMap in different formats like PDF, MS Word, MS PowerPoint). You can also mail or print it from the app.
  4. As one can work on the web on MindMeister there is no need to download matter. This is one of the biggest advantages of using MindMeister.

Cons

  1. The biggest disadvantage of using MindMeister is that it does not work well on phones due to the text size. However, it works well on computers and tablets.
  2. Another con of the MindMeister tool is that it may confuse non visual viewers.
  • Unleash your creativity with @mindmeister mindmeister.com – online mind-mapping tool via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

What really works for MindMeister is the flexibility and freedom the tool gives while making a concept map. As it has various formats and allows one to add links, pictures and notes, it makes the task much easier. Whether planning a trip with family or a work assignment with co-workers, MindMeister is the perfect tool to create and share new concepts. Double thumbs-up!

Track work and get results with Asana

The market for team and work management tools is ever expanding and with the competition getting cutthroat by the day, users are expecting almost everything regarding collaboration from such tools. As more and more players jump into the field with claims of success with large famous organizations, users are bound to get confused as to which tool to go for. However, the answer to that question is simple really – a tool that accomplishes all current needs, adds some value, and fits the budget. Rather than picking a “popular” tool that internal teams find not-so-useful and not-so-easy to work with, opting for one that ensures everyone understands it, is comfortable with it, and can actually use it to work better would be the way to go.

asana

And when it comes to user-friendliness, the guys behind Asana are pros. With the fame of Facebook behind their backs, who would better understand what users want and how to get their attention? Presenting Asana, the brainchild of Dustin Moskovitz (ex-co-founder and key technical leader at Facebook) and Justin Rosenstein (co-inventor of the Like Button and Facebook Pages at Facebook and Gmail Chat and Google Drive at Google).

Asana – helping humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly

Asana works with some simple visions:

  • Building a place where everything from the most immediate details to the big picture are organized
  • Each person knows what they’re doing and why
  • Introducing clarity, transparency, and focus to allow teams to collaborate with less friction and produce great results
  • Fostering an environment where coordination is effortless and people love what they do and are appreciated

Such strong values have paved the way for making Asana one of the fastest growing SaaS companies ever.

Asana as a project management tool is different at many levels. It makes sure teams move their work from start to finish in a better manner with tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards. Everyone within the project is able to track progress without the need for scheduling a status meeting or sending emails. Features to turn conversions into actionable tasks makes taking the next steps easy. Plus, with Asana, you can ensure you get only the updates you need instead of a flood of unwanted messages.

We’re sure you get the drift by now but still, here’s a brief overview of Asana’s impressive features:

  • Lets you create and assign tasks, organize tasks into shared projects
  • Sections allow you to match workflows and structure projects
  • Due date reminders ensure all tasks get completed on time
  • Better communication is brought about through task and project conversations and team pages
  • Customized views for your tasks, inbox, dashboards, calendars, files and even search helps prioritize things
  • Team management is enhanced by giving tasks a clear owner, allows interested people to follow tasks and projects, and enabling teams to collaborate with vendors, contractors and Asana partners
  • Seamless integration with Dropbox, Chrome, Slack, GitHub, Okta, Google Drive and more

asana1

How it rolls

To start using Asana, sign up for free through any of the links given on the home page. Once completed, you’re asked to complete your profile. Fill in basic details and upload your picture if you wish to. Fill in other details like any teammate’s particulars and proceed to the main interface.
The layout and feel of the tool is very soothing and easy-going with pointers directing the way for first time users. The interface is divided into 5 sections:

  1. Sidebar to the left that lets you access:
    1. Dashboards – high-level view of the status and progress of your projects. Clicking on “My Dashboard” opens a pop-up where you can add/remove projects.
    2. Team Pages – central location to access all your team’s work. There are 2 main views in this area:
      1. Conversations – allows you to share team-wide announcements, discuss projects or celebrate accomplishments. Starting a conversation is similar to publishing a Facebook post.
      2. Calendar – enables senior managers to stay informed on your team’s planned work through team check-ins. You can also book events here and sync the team’s calendar.
    3. Projects – lists of tasks. Clicking on a project’s name loads it in the main window. The three dots icon adjacent to a project lists options on clicking (highlight, use as template, delete, archive etc.)
    4. Favorites – bookmarked projects, people, tags or custom views for easier access. Favorites are indicated by a star icon
    5. Recents – quick navigation to the items viewed recently. Recents are indicated by a clock icon.
  2. Top Bar that lets you access:
    1. Tasks – work assigned to you
    2. Inbox – notification center in Asana
    3. Quick Add – to create a task, project, conversation or invite people
    4. Search – for tasks, people, conversations, tags or projects
    5. Help – tips for help
    6. Profile settings & option to switch between workspaces
  3. Header that lets you:
    1. Favorite – a project, task or view currently being viewed
    2. Access Options – for print, archive, delete, export etc. Options can be accessed by clicking on a drop down arrow
    3. Change View – between list, conversations, calendar, progress, files
    4. View list of Project Members
  4. Main Pane is the large section of the interface at the center that contains details of the items you click on from the sidebar. This is also where you see search results, inbox notifications, conversation posts and dashboard project cards. The main pane allows you to:
    1. Add tasks
    2. Sort and filter the list
    3. Mark task complete/incomplete
    4. Identify task’s due date and assignee etc.
  5. Right Pane to the right that lets you see the details for a task you’ve selected in the main pane. From the right pane you can:
    1. Assign task
    2. Identify what project the task belongs to
    3. Follow/Unfollow task
    4. Attach files etc.

Asana is relatively very easy to understand and use compared to many other project management tools and that’s where its power lies. Plus, it comes with a complete and extremely useful “Help” documentation that serves as an extensive guide through its operations and terminology.

asana2

Product Strengths VS Product Weaknesses

Do we really need to revisit the strengths? Have a look at the features and usage description of Asana above to get an idea of the tool’s awesomeness.
As far as weakness is concerned, it all comes down to the pricing. Although for small teams of up to 15 people, a basic account with Asana can be used for free, users can choose to upgrade their membership for approximately $8.5 per user per month (that’s roughly $100 for 1 user annually) for more features. There are offers for discounted pricing as well, so pricing shouldn’t really be a concern for large corporations willing to make their life easier.

  • Let your teams work and collaborate effortlessly with @asana asana.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

All in all, it’s difficult to find a fault with Asana. It’s a great tool that promises to simplify things at an affordable price. If you haven’t already, you should check it out!

Work better with Podio

There’s a new trend hitting the markets – Project Management Software. Though some of them have been around since quite some time, the last couple of years has seen a sudden growth in the launch of online software that are aimed at helping organizations better connect and structure their work. And since the competition in the field is growing, each new day we come across a new Project Management tool that has something different and additional as compared to its competitors.

podio

Take the example of Podio. On first look, Podio seems to be just another project management tool offering creation of projects, managing timesheets, sharing work details etc. However, as you begin exploring the tool and go through its features in detail, you discover, that it in fact has many layers packed inside it that give it albeit only a slight, yet noticeable edge over its competition. So let’s check out this online project management software today and see how much water it holds.

Podio – A fresh way to collaborate and organize

Podio works on a very simple methodology – everyone should know what they’re doing and should have the means to take responsibility for their job. So basically, its all about transparency, minimal hierarchy and peer recognition. Podio promises to promotes these beliefs to improve work, everyday. They follow the practice of collaboration and empowerment over command and control. With Podio, every member of the team has complete freedom to work they way he/she wants to. So if you’re a team leader or manager, you don’t have to bother with assigning tasks and letting people know what they’re supposed to do. Instead discuss the larger picture with them and allow them to work the way they want to. All the stuff you wish to put up somewhere for your team to see, you can put on Podio. That way, your team has more room for creativity and productivity to flow in. Well, the thought is nice actually!

podio1

Let’s take a brief overview of Podio’s features:

  • Everything related to one project on one page (called an Item); this includes all the work right from completing a design for the project to closing a sales lead. This makes collaboration easier and transparent.
  • All information on the project page is updated in real time; attaching files, viewing statuses and leaving feedback and suggestions through comments is as easy as clicking.
  • Variety of views supported for each project from simple tables to dynamic cardboards. You can choose the view that best visualizes your work.
  • Create reports that keep you updated on your progress as well as the project’s so you can focus on just your responsibilities or see the overall progress of your team.
  • Track your customers and organize your team with Podio as your customizable CRM.
  • Podio can integrate seamlessly with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and more to be the one platform that ties all your team’s work together.
  • Podio helps foster a more friendly team environment by making communication more streamlined and reducing internal emailing.
  • You can use Podio in your web browser or an Android or iOS device.
  • It offers a full, open API to allow you to extend Podio yourself.
  • It’s simple drag-and-drop interface gives users complete flexibility without the need of coding.

The best part about Podio is its collaboration with Citrix. Being a trusted name in project management and collaboration circles, joining hands with Citrix gives Podio a trusty feel.

How it works

To start working on Podio just sign up for free through the link given on the homepage. Once you’ve confirmed your email address, you’ll be taken straight to the Welcome page where you need to fill in details about your company and your team members (email addresses only). After this, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can create Workspaces according to different teams or departments or different locations in your company. The concept of Workspace is somewhat similar in scope to Java Eclipse IDE.

Podio creates 3 default workspaces for you to start with; these include “Project Management”, “Intranet” and “Sales Management”. Each workspace includes some Apps that Podio sets up for you. These Apps are nothing but templates for creating and structuring any work activity like meeting, deliverables etc. All such activities are called Items in Podio. Items are basically super-smart documents that organize your work and get things done.

Once you’re through with the introductions to everything, you can get straight to work. You’ll be taken to the Project Management page of the tool where you can start Creating Projects and associated Items. Create Reports and Views for the project or break up the workload into Deliverables. Setup meetings and create Activities – in short, just get straight to business.

podio2

Pros VS Cons

Podio seems to be a fairly competent tool with quite a lot of features. So naturally, it has a lot of plus points associated with it:

  • Better project management
  • Collaboration and sharing work is easier
  • The concept of Workspaces is unique to a project management tool
  • Simple interface
  • Impressive feature set
  • Available online so omnipresent
  • Benefit of trust (the Citrix factor)

However, there are some areas where there could be improvements:

  • It seems like a lot to take in at first
  • The pricing could be a little steep for small organizations so it’s basically suited for large businesses.
  • Work, collaborate and manage projects better with @podio podio.com/ via @supermonitoring

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To sum it up

With room for Project Management, CRM, Social Intranet, Workflow Management, Event Management, Team and Email Management and lots more, Podio sure is one tool that’s worth checking out. So if you have the pocket for it, don’t think too much. Signup and you won’t be disappointed.

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