Time is a precious commodity and there are dozens of productivity tools and to-do-list managers to help you save more of it, offering whatever level of detail or control you personally feel comfortable with. More time-saving tools include a "virtual assistant" who can take the pressure off your workload, but for now I have a few solid suggestions to help manage your team's task-list more effectively.
This site is a new comer to the field, but is linked to the "Getting Things Done (GTD)" brand, which has gained a lot of traction in productivity circles in recent years. As well as providing lots of apps, tools and storage for completing day-to-day office chores, it has all the "Getting Things Done productivity" features integrated with the dashboard, so you won't even noticed how organised you are until you're sitting at your desk wondering what to do next. There are mobile smartphone apps and the registration process steps you through, adding popular email providers, which is handy for managing your email through a single dashboard if you have more than one account.
There is a lot you can do with this package, so it's worth taking a look at the tutorials, which you'll find under "IQTELL Tours" when you click the little "gear" icon next to your login details in the top right-hand corner of the main dashboard. At the time of writing this service is still in private beta, which is an 'unfinished' version of the software distributed to a limited group of users for testing and feedback. The site will be live to the public by the time you read this, but you'll have to check the pricing structure and storage limits, as those details haven't been released yet. That said, the developers have told me that there is likely to be a free account with cut-down features and limited storage, with the upgrade to premium features and "no storage limitations" costing "a few dollars a month".
Wunderlist is another great option that lets you manage all your tasks through a central dashboard that supports most computer and mobile platforms. The layout is a little less formal than the other tools we've looked at and there are some neat social features that let you share a list publicly through the 'CloudApp' feature. This will tie in very nicely if you're looking forward to learning about how you can get extra funding for your business through the social web – otherwise known as crowd funding.
Tracky takes the social web and gives it another twist, providing a 'to-do' list platform where you can track conversations and build a network from your contacts to collaborate on specific projects. This is productivity tooled down to the bare minimum, so it should suit those who just want a quick and easy way to be more organised.
At the other end of the spectrum, Basecamp is very business-like and formal. One of the longest-standing and most popular team collaboration platforms, it's not free, although you do get a good 45-day trial so to decide if you want to start paying monthly. It contains everything you could need to run team projects from the cloud. Because it's been around so long there are also quite a few useful third-party applications that integrate with it seamlessly, which can be a big time-saver if you really take to the cloud. We may even come across one or two of these applications in the chapters to come, so keep your eyes peeled if you have to manage a team.
This is an extract from Kate Russell’s new book, “Working the Cloud: The Ultimate guide to making the internet work for you and your business”. The book is available from Amazon both as paperback and Kindle Edition. Ms Russell is a freelance technology reporter, better known for her Webscape segment on BBC’s technology show, Click.