The AAF Board of Directors is a collection of creatives and media gurus in different industries and crafts across Buffalo. However, we all work in different ways. For some of us it is a meticulous and technologically advanced process. For others it is post-it notes stuck to their monitor, desk, wall, and even one on the lamp shade (You only get that type of detail if you live it).
So, as a service to you, the valued reader, we are unlocking the vault and letting the secrets to success out. Below are some of our favorite productivity tools. This will be a running series of shop talk. Sometimes on craft, sometimes on Buffalo, and always on point. Enjoy.
What productivity tools are you using?
I couldn’t live without Trello. I run my editorial calendar through it. It keeps everything organized and color coded and assigned and dated and no I do not have OCD!
I also use Pocket. With the Google Chrome and Twitter extension, I can always save articles that I want to read for later. I previously would DM or email myself links. Now it’s Pocket. It’s my virtual book case.
I live on Slack. As someone who gets an average of 90 emails a day I need a tool that cuts through the clutter for quick answers and feedback. We also have a remote work policy so Slack helps those not in the office communicate faster.
For the developers out there, Springloops (likewise, Beanstalk) is the other tool we couldn’t live without. Having a running repository of code commits with deployment is such a huge time saver.
I’m in the process of switching my team to Asana. It has both a list and calendar view for every project, which makes it easy to manage our multiple editorial calendars, events, and traditional marketing projects from a single tool. If you’re a list person, Wunderlist is where it’s at. The folder functionality makes it easy to group multiple lists together so you can easily keep track of to-dos, ideas, and links by topic or organization.
I’m obsessed with Asana. There’s even a gantt chart plugin for when I want to see visual timelines. I use a combination of Asana, Slack, dropbox and emails to keep things running smoothly for our in-house marketing team.
At FARM we use Workamajig to keep track of projects, schedules, timesheets and billing. It helps everyone stay on track–Account Service can input all of the information needed for every project, Project Managers can see all of the active jobs and their deadlines, and the Creative team can see what projects we’re responsible for, what’s needed for each project and when it’s due. We also use it to digitally route things which has become really convenient!
At Crowley Webb, we are big fans of TeamWork. It keeps all conversations, files, tasks, and timelines all wrapped up neatly in one place. No more digging through zillions of emails and old versions of documents!
Grace de Rosa
Trello is king. Being a part of a small team, having a program that can organize clients, projects, production and billing all in one is great. We use Trello in our weekly meetings to go through each client’s status, what’s hot and what’s coming down the pipeline. With a bunch of projects up in the air, adding Trello’s due dates and task lists helps me to prioritize and not go crazy. There is no better feeling that clicking that checkmark when you’ve made the deadline on a project.
Trello to plan ahead, Slack to stay in the moment, Pocket to come back to it later. Using these 3 as complementary parts to each other keeps things simple and straightforward. They each serve such a specific functionality that there is not much wasted effort by incorporating all 3 either.
In our office, we use Wrike for project management. It has all the bells and whistles! Time tracking, project assignment, file organizer, color coding, etc. The program is expansive. You can message within the platform, tag co-workers, copy emails to project folders. I know it’s not new or unique but I’m also a big fan of Google anything, the way I can sort my email, Google hangouts for quick office questions, calendar functionality. The integration and organization make my life so easy.
I’m a huge fan of Slack. I’m someone who needs to have my inbox as clean as possible, and Slack helps cut down on those one-off messages that add to the clutter. I also love the Momentum Chrome extension. When you open a new tab in Chrome, you can make a to-do list, and write yourself a short message outlining what your main focus for the day is. Momentum also has a new motivational quote and background image for you every day to keep things fresh.