This Old In-house: Productivity Priorities

As in-house managers (and individual staff too) we often function as Account Managers, Project Managers, Print Buyers and, oh yeah, Designers all rolled into one neat package. This means that we often have a lot of ever-changing information we have to keep straight to make sure our projects stay on track.

It’s a challenge for me to keep all this job related intel in my head so I now rely on what are commonly called “Productivity Tools” (at least that’s how they’re grouped in the App Store). I’m guessing, though you hopefully don’t have a brain as porous as mine, that you could use some productivity tools like I do so below is a list of a few I’ve found to be particularly helpful in in bridging my memory gaps. (Though I’ve noted specific apps here, there may be others with similar features that are more suited to your needs so I’d recommend exploring all the options before committing to a specific tool.)

Take note of Evernote

This tool allows you to create notes but there’s more to it than that. You can include links to other sites, attach files and insert images, audio and video for future reference. It is accessible from mobile devices as well as any computer with Internet access.

I keep meeting notes, important project spreadsheets, vendor and other job related contact lists and presentations in the tool so that I can access them all anywhere and at any time.

Say hello to Toodledoo

My to-do lists had started to spread like a fungus onto post-it notes, napkins, backs of business cards and even onto the palms of my hands. It was when I started using my body as a notebook that I knew I had hit bottom. Fortunately I found an Internet and mobile compatible app called Toodledo that has allowed me to consolidate and easily access my multiple and constantly evolving to-do lists.

With Toodledo you can group your tasks by category, assign priorities and dates and attach copious notes. Because it resides in the Cloud, it automatically updates regardless of the device you’re on at any one time.

Score Skype

When I can’t meet someone face to face but have visuals that will aid in the discussion I use Skype. It’s an inexpensive alternative to many of the online meeting solutions out there, is easy to use and is a perfect fit for smaller, less critical meetings.

A sync suggestion

I travel between multiple sites and in the past I often missed conference calls because I didn’t have my laptop with its Outlook Calendar to remind me to call in. As painful as it was in the beginning, the ROI to syncing my mobile phone to my company’s network made the initial frustration a small price to pay to avoid missing meetings. I can even access my corporate email account.

Contact karma

My last, and least technologically progressive, suggestion is to be disciplined about keeping your mobile phone contacts organized and up to date. The need for this rigor became quickly apparent when Hurricane Sandy decimated Internet accessibility and I began texting like my 16 year-old daughter in order to work out contingency plans on addressing client needs.