January is always a good moment to reflect on the past year, reminiscing about both the accomplishments and mishaps. It’s also an appropriate time to plan things for the upcoming year. Many of the New Year’s resolutions circle around topics like how to be well organized and productive. The people of Tooploox use a lot of convenient tools to plan tasks or arrange everyday work. These tools make the everyday abundance of duties more bearable. Here is a list of our top picks!
The year 2018 – here we come!

Łukasz, a Product Designer picked:

Tool: Be Focused

If problems with productivity sound familiar to you, you should check this app. Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? This is one of the popular ways to deal with different tasks. It’s very simple. Set a list of tasks to be accomplished and later perform them at specially designated time intervals including the time for breaks. The biggest advantage of this technique is that you can’t do anything else while performing the task. The Be Focused app is based on this technique. It has predefined intervals and informs us when there is time for the task and when for a break. More information about the Pomodoro Technique can be found here.

Favourite feature: There is also a free version of this app.

 

Tool: Inbox by Gmail

This is one of my favorite Google services. Email different than others. Since I started using this application, the email service has stopped frustrating me. The automatic grouping of similar emails, the creation of custom bundles, a special section with travels, reminders, with saved links to various websites, easily accessible actions from the email list (unsubscribe, accepting meeting invitations, attachments, tracking packages etc.). Thank you, Google! 🙂

Favourite feature: Custom bundles

Disadvantage: Lack of the official desktop app, but fortunately there is a solution on Macs – Boxy

Magda, a Marketing Specialist, chose:

Tool: The Great Suspender

There are people that have hundreds of open tabs in their browser. I’m one of them. I’ve tried to change but after the uneven battle with tabs “saved for later” I’ve decided to learn how to live with my flaws. The Great Suspender is a Chrome extension which hibernates tabs you are not using. This way you can keep your tabs and keep your browser performance at a decent level.

Favourite features: Hibernating tabs, preventing loading all tabs after restarting Chrome

 

Tool: Toby

Another Chrome extension for people with “Multi-tab disorder”. This one allows you to organize your tabs on one single tab. You can create your own categories to keep all necessary resources handy. The interface is pretty and intuitive. Combined with The Great Suspender it will be the end of problems with tabs!

The pick of Łukasz, an Android Developer, was:

Tool: Spectacle

Spectacle is a free and open source tool to control windows on macOS using only keyboard shortcuts – and what a tool it is! If you don’t like taking hands off your keyboard, Spectacle lets you resize windows, effortlessly put applications side by side, move things from one monitor to another, make any window to fullscreen, half-screen, quarter-screen, third-screen, center it, put it the corner, make it just slightly bigger – you name it! It’s not as powerful as some other tools out there, but its out-of-the-box configuration is more than enough for most. Because who’d want to be organized and not have 20+ windows opened at the same time?

Dominika, an HR Specialist chose:

Tool: Google Keep

Google Keep allows users to make different kinds of notes, including text, lists, images, and audio. Users can set reminders, which are integrated with Google Now, with options for time or location. Text from images can be extracted using optical character recognition technology. Voice recordings created through Keep are automatically transcribed. Keep can convert text notes into checklists. Users can choose between a single-column view and a multi-column view. Notes can be color-coded. Users can press a “Copy to Google Doc” button that automatically copies all text into a new Google Docs document. Users can create notes and lists by voice. Notes can be categorized using labels, with a list of labels in the app’s navigation bar. It is cool 🙂

Favourite feature: It is easy and totally free

Bartek, a Product Designer, picked:

Tool: Toggl

Insanely simple time tracking, Toggl kills timesheets. It’s the best time tracking system for small businesses and freelancers. A simple online timer with powerful reports and team management features. Syncs with iOS & Android app and integrates with close to 100 other tools.

Favourite feature: Mac os extension

Asia, an HR Specialist, recommends:

Tool: Asana

Asana is an online collaboration tool that you can use to keep track of all your tasks and your team’s tasks. In my opinion, it works best when you have a lot of different kinds of task that are usually not recurring and do not go through any workflow (like backlog, in development, testing, evaluation, done). My tasks are usually either done within 20 minutes or not done and tend to appear all the time. Asana allows me to order them, assign a due date and a due hour, label them, link a file that I’d need for this task. Oh, and it comes with a neat app to help me add new tasks when I’m on the go.

Aga, a Graphic Designer chose:

Tool:  Any.do

I’m a huge “to-do-list” fan. It helps to stay on track with my personal and work-related tasks. Even if I still do the analog versions almost every day when I have a few tasks to do, I was still searching for an app that will help me keep track of things on every platform that I use.
I’ve tried some in the past, but still haven’t found THE ONE. Until the colleague of mine (thanks, Paweł!) recommended me Any.do. It’s has a free version, and I think it is not necessary to buy a premium one for most of the users.
It has some features that actually help, not add work and confusion (which some of the others did for me, unfortunately):

  • it has really minimalistic design and feel
  • it works great on the phone, as a desktop version and as a plug-in to Chrome. It synchronizes almost immediately
  • it’s so intuitive! I almost never search help for any feature
  • you can categorize your lists or add labels
  • you can connect it to your calendar / it also has a calendar view option
  • it’s possible to set notifications reminders
  • you have Location-Based Reminders
  • and what’s really cool, you can connect it to the Gmail – there’s a plugin which asks you “do you want to add something from this mail to Any.do?”
  • additionally, there are also options to collaborate with other users and using attachments, but I’ve never used it

I’ve bought premium version almost immediately! Mostly because I could pick a color for the theme, but you can also add recurring events/tasks. It’s very helpful with paying your bills on time!

Adrian, an Android Developer, picked:

Tool: Slack

When it comes to team communication, there’s no better solution than Slack. Direct messages, script handling, multi-team communication, channels – it’s all here. Constantly improved, recently received screen sharing.


Tool: Object Desktop

(Windows only, paid license with a trial)

When it comes to handling your Windows computer, sooner or later you will need a bunch of tools. This is where Object Desktop comes in handy. Includes:

Fences ever got tired by thousands of icons on your screen? Do you have problems finding important documents that you dropped on your desktop? Or do you simply want to see that fancy new wallpaper you’ve recently got? Fences is a tool for organizing icons – and it’s really easy to use. With a few mouse clicks, you create a custom named space to hide every file.
Multiplicity – Have you ever needed to set up 20 computers at the same time? Don’t waste your time – installing this tool will let you handle every computer with one mouse and a keyboard.
Object Dock – Getting envious watching iOS users using Dock too, well… dock their favorite programs? This one’s solving your problem!
Start8/Start10 – If you have that strong nostalgia for the Start button, you can easily bring it back.
And many, many more (literally unlimited tweaks to your Windows system)!

Basia, a Scrum Master chose:

Tools: Jira & Confluence

Jira (like Asana or Trello) is a collaboration platform. It’s a great tool for project management, planning releases, generating reports and basically any issue tracking. Our team can easily plan their Sprint, check what is in the Backlog or display it on daily scrum. It’s very helpful with managing bigger projects, but on the other hand, it can be too ‘heavy’ for the smaller ones.

Jira plays well with Confluence which is our wiki. We store our documentation there, create meeting notes, even conduct our retrospectives. It’s easy to publish new content, collaborate on one document with your team (up to 12 people) and share the knowledge.

Favourite features: The way both of those tools work together.

  • You can open new issue in Jira from Confluence
  • If you mention any Jira issue in Confluence this information will be automatically added to Jira
  • You can create reports in Confluence based on information taken from Jira/li>

Disadvantages: There are 2 options for Jira: Cloud and Server. Jira cloud is cheaper but it’s slower and many add-ons are available only for Jira Server.

Additional comments: It’s a fantastic tool but quite expensive, before you decide to use it check if your projects/products need it.

We hope that the recommended tools will make you feel organized and well prepared for the upcoming year.

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