Weekly Editorial

Tools for Productivity

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, OI Publications • May 15, 2023

Cogwheel business productivity symbol held by hands

This week, we are taking a look at tools for productivity. And boy, do I need them. I’m not lazy, but I’m definitely not as productive as I can be, so I’ll take all the tools I can get. When I say “productivity tools,” we’re going to keep it loosely defined.

Let’s start with the most important tools. My No. 1 productivity tool is strong, black coffee. Even though I’m a morning person, I start everyday with a strong cup of joe. I might follow that up with a cup of tea at 11 a.m. (but if I have caffeine any later in the day, I can’t sleep).

I’m also a big believer in using whiteboards to keep track of projects, though I am beginning to warm up to digital “whiteboard” collaboration tools like Trello and Basecamp. I have two small whiteboards by my desk. One, a small glass board that sits on my desk that was a NeoCon 2022 gift from Ghent that I use as a daily “to-do” list. It is one of the best NeoCon giveaways I’ve ever received.

The other is a desktop whiteboard from Fluidstance that I use for longer projects that is often covered in a rainbow of Post-It Notes (Post-It Notes are definitely a productivity tool as well).

Though those are analog productivity tools, I use a number of digital tools as well. I’m a long-time Apple Computer supporter (my first real computer was an Apple IIe in 1983 and I’ve had all Apple since) and recently picked up a new Apple Watch. I had the first version Apple Watch and wasn’t impressed, but the product has come a long way in the last few years. I also have two MacBook Pros, several iPads and an iPhone 13. Since all of them “speak” to each other, I have all my files at my fingertips, no matter where I am.

I have a unique job that requires a lot of interviewing, so making sure I’m as accurate as possible is important. If you have a lot of meetings and find yourself forgetting what was said, I highly recommend the Rev app. Rev is a smartphone app that simply acts as a recorder. But its transcription feature is what I use most. The AI-based transcription service is highly accurate and affordable if you need a meeting recorded and would like a transcript of it.

Another app I use regularly is Slack, which we use at officeinsight to communicate as a team. It is a great tool for staying connected without texting. It is easy to create small groups on the app for teams to communicate without bothering everyone.

LinkedIn is an important tool as well. In addition to the hundreds of connections I have on the business-first social media platform, I also use LinkedIn as a research tool. You might never have used it this way, but I’d suggest you give it a try. You can search for people by the company they work for, which is a great way to find people that you might like to connect with. In the search bar, simply type in the name of a company. Along the left side of the page, click the “people” tab and there is a list of everyone on LinkedIn associated with that company.

Staying productive isn’t just about work tools either. I love music and listen to Spotify and the WFMU app throughout the day.

So what productivity tools do you use? Are any of them game changers? We’d love to hear about your productivity tools and might share them with readers in a future issue. Email your favorite productivity tools to rob@officeinsight.com.

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