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Are you a smaller company trying to make it on a lean staffing budget, or an independent consultant with a home office and a hectic schedule? In this post, we’ll tell you about the top five personal assistant tools on the market, so you can hand off the busywork and focus on building your business and meeting your deadlines.

Things

Task management is a quotidian concern for start-ups and self-employed professionals, and it’s easy to lose track of routine chores and time-sensitive deadlines. A smaller team operating in a collaborative setting can also have trouble divvying up large-scale projects, especially with new clients. Keep things simple with Things! This efficient application divides projects into bite-size segments so you can knock items off your to-do list hour by hour. Create entries for weekly, monthly, and daily responsibilities as well as one-time tasks. Things is designed to ensure that no obligation is left out of a centralized list, so it will also ssync lists across home and portable devices.

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RescueTime

Technology has streamlined a lot of routine business tasks – correspondence is much easier now that you can deliver mail to hundreds of people simply by pressing a button – but some technology makes it much easier to waste time. RescueTime makes you accountable to your own priorities by tracking the amount of time you spend on any given task. With RescueTime, easy-to-read graphs and charts will tell you exactly how much time you spend checking email, chatting over messenger, or scrolling through social media feeds. You can also use this app to block sites that you’ve identified as time-wasters, so you can go cold turkey on the kitten videos and focus on your work.

Trouble staying on-task?  Read our tips on maintaining your focus in a busy office!

Operator

Personal assistants do more than manage your files and keep track of your calendar – they often take care of planning events, purchasing gifts, and maintaining relationships with vendors. Operator is designed to fill this specialized role.  The easy-to-use app connects you with an expansive network of shoppers, event planners, vendors, and merchants so that you can ask questions and compare options. You won’t just be linked up with a network of merchants – Operator allows you to chat one-on-one with professionals with expertise in an area related to your query, so that you have informed advice on the products and services you purchase.

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Quip

With the rise of telecommuting, freelancing, and digital communications, remote team and collaboration software is becoming increasingly popular. Quip is a comprehensive app that allows users to collaborate on documents, checklists, and spreadsheets. Users can also create, import, and share documents easily – Quip also includes a “sidebar” that makes it easy for users to see and attribute edits and comments. If you’re looking for an online “HQ,” Quip might be a perfect fit.

Looking to increase efficiency on your team? Read our tips on running effective meetings!

Mindnode

If you work remotely, you may feel like you’re missing out on opportunities to brainstorm and refine your ideas in a live collaborative setting. Mindnode allows you to create a visual map of concerns and details associated with any project, using a “mindmap” format developed to add versatility as well as clarity to your planning process. Whether you’re planning something as elaborate as an annual conference or as simple as a newsletter, Mindnode gives you a central clearinghouse for your ideas.

Comparing notes on note-taking techniques?  Read our post about the differences between keyboard and pen!

If you’re looking for a digital assistant, try one of these all-star organization apps, and see if any of them are the right fit for your business!

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