If I made a list of things I love to do, writing to-do lists would be on it. Because of my penchant for planning, I take notice of tools people use to keep themselves organized (and often try to find a reason to use them: what project can I start that would benefit from a Trello board?). If you’re a fellow organization enthusiast — or if you’re just on the lookout for a new way to keep your job, personal projects, brainstorm notes, or grocery lists in order — here are ten of Taproot’s favorite tools.
Sheets, the Google Drive equivalent of Excel, is the ultimate multipurpose organizational tool. It’s safe to say that everyone at Taproot uses this one. From keeping track of the status of projects to planning the menu for our next staff social, there is nothing you can’t do with these spreadsheets.*
*There are some things you can’t do with Google Sheets. That’s why we have this list.
Another essential tool used internally, Google Calendar is handy because it’s easily accessible and allows us to view everyone’s schedule. Stacey makes particularly good use of her calendar: She sees it as a time management tool and schedules the tasks on her to-do list, not just meetings and appointments.
Teamweek is, according to its website, “a time-saving online project planner and team calendar.” The Taproot production team uses it to keep track of who’s doing what, when. Its timeline display lets you see at a glance what staff members have on their plate on any given day; blocking off time for projects prevents you from accidentally planning to work on something when you’re on paternity leave.
Slack, our preferred method of internal communication at Taproot, is a messaging app organized into channels (there’s a “general” channel, a “random” channel, and ones for various projects). Some of its features include file-sharing, reminders, integration with other apps (such as Teamweek), and emoji customization (which we have definitely enjoyed). Possibly one of our greatest Slack achievements is the quoteboard channel, where we post snippets of the witty/wacky/weird conversations we overhear (or participate in) at work. It includes gems like “Just because I’m not pregnant anymore doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat.”
Tait swears by EasilyDo, a virtual assistant that can check traffic so you know when to leave for meetings, identify emails you may have forgotten to respond to, auto-dial in to conference calls, notify you of TSA security wait times, and more. It streamlines everything from work to travel to everyday to-do lists.
Trello (one of Maggie’s favorites) uses a system of boards, lists, and cards to organize your project and facilitate collaboration. Add checklists, assign tasks, comment on items, attach files, tag and label, drag and drop — organize and re-organize to your heart’s content.
Google Keep (Taylor’s pick, as well as mine) is simple but powerful. Making to-do lists. Setting reminders. Transcribing text from images or audio. Color-coding. Categorizing. Collaborating. It’s what you’d get if you had an army of intelligent sticky notes as personal assistants.
WorkFlowy is what I use for my at-work to-do list. It lets you create lists with bullet points that are infinitely zoomable, like a fractal — in other words, you can make lists nested inside other lists. With tagging and filtering options, the ability to cross off completed items, and a simple, clean interface, WorkFlowy is an intuitive way to take notes/journal/brainstorm/etc. (Fun fact: According to the WorkFlowy website, the team behind Slack used WorkFlowy to manage their entire team and product development process.)
Wunderlist lets you organize your to-do lists into folders, tag them, add due dates and reminders, and even add collaborators. Jon uses the app to organize tasks for each day; if he needs to shuffle around his schedule, items can easily be moved from one day to another.
Sean uses the Notes app on his iPhone to record stream-of-consciousness brainstorms. Blair is partial to old-fashioned, handwritten to-do lists. The act of writing helps Stacey remember things better — and she takes comfort in the fact that, if her notebook were lost, nobody would be able to read her handwriting. Sometimes a pen and paper (or their virtual equivalent) are all you need.