By Valerie Sprague, Client Technology Manager
As a staff member in the Client Technology Support Department of an association management company (AMC), my day-to-day responsibilities are dynamic and vary in nature. With a number of concurrent projects and tasks on my calendar, I’m always looking for ways that technology can add benefit to my work day. And because it’s imperative that our department stay focused and productive throughout the week, these are a few tools that help us stay on track!
1) Tune out distractions… One of my favorite tools to do this is Noisli. It’s essentially a sound machine for your computer. Use one of their preset ambient sounds or create your own mix of background noise. These sounds help to minimize distraction and keep you focused; and the random color generator provides a relaxing backdrop. They’ve even got an integrated timer function to better assist you with your daily time management.
2) Organize your day… Given that there are a number of task management options available, I believe the key is to pick one that works best for your needs and stick with it. A couple of my personal favorites are KanbanFlow and Todoist. KanbanFlow also offers an integrated timer as another option for time management of your tasks. By organizing your “to do” list in one central location, you’ll find yourself focused for the day and see an increase in your productivity.
3) Prioritize… Our department recently implemented a new customer support software, which has allowed us to better support all of the clients here at IMI. After reviewing a number of products, we ultimately decided on Freshdesk and their free version has been able to meet all of our business needs. At a glance we can manage all of our department’s projects and tasks and, by knowing the priority of each, it can assist us in planning our work day.
4) Internal messaging… IMI also utilizes Slack to communicate internally in a quick and efficient manner. This collaboration tool provides an online chat feature with coworkers. You can also setup various “channels” for personalized communications. Have an upcoming deadline that requires your full attention? Not a problem; just set an away status to stay on task or pause your notifications to minimize interruptions.
5) Mute your Email… Ever notice how you’re working on a task and then you stop and switch gears because “you’ve got mail.” Sometimes it’s helpful to turn off the visual desktop alert temporarily and only check email at selected intervals throughout the day. While this may not always be practical given your responsibilities, it can be helpful if you’re in the middle of a project that requires your full attention. If you do need to ensure full coverage, you can always set a temporary out of office message during this time.
There can be numerous distractions faced during the course of your work week but finding tool(s) to help you stay focused and productive can be of great benefit. What tools have you found help you in your day-to-day? Please share in the comments below.