It’s getting cold out there! Who knows when it might snow, but we’ll be sure to wrap up warm when it does. We have to change our clothes to suit the weather, so why don’t we change the tools we use at work to suit the different projects we’re involved in? So how do you find the best tools for the job? We first wrote about this way back in May 2018 and lots has changed, including an additional team member! So we thought now would be a good time to review what we use, and why.
We try to be a productive bunch here at Lucidity. Driven by bold ideas and creative solutions, both Jo and I are pretty ambitious people and always have notes about new ideas and projects scribbled everywhere. So, as a small team of two, how do make sure we’re making the most of our time while allowing ourselves creative freedom? Here’s our shopping list of the tools that help us:
The first step is figuring out what you need to achieve. You wouldn’t put a swimsuit on when it’s snowing outside, unless you really want to feel the cold! So ask yourself, what is it I want to improve? Whether you need to streamline your communications with colleagues or keep your meeting participants engaged after lunch, setting out your end point is a great way to start to think about the what you need your new tools to address. Start jotting down ideas as you go about your day-to-day tasks.
2. Different styles
If you’ve ever taken part in a Belbin work personality test, you’ll know we all bring different things to the team. So whatever tools you choose need to work for all members of the team. As Belbin says, we all fit into multiple role behaviours, which means we don’t all fit into one box, we work differently in different situations! Here at Lucidity, we usually look for a technology solution to help us, but at the same time we both carry notebooks around and create materials on flip charts, and we regularly use both our MacBooks and notebooks to keep ourselves organised. Push yourself to try new things and challenge the way you work.
Once you’ve jotted down your ideas and thought creatively about the solutions, it’s time to test out some different tools. This calls for some trial and error, so make the most of the free trials almost always on offer and don’t lunge straight into the premium package. What you may think is the perfect project manager for your latest assignment may not be suitable when you get to use it. And you may not make use of those premium features!
4. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
It’s easy to be roped into the ‘latest technology’ or a brand-new system that promises to do all of your thinking for you. But if you already have a programme that does what you need and you know how to use it, why change it? Like your old wellies at the back of the cupboard, somethings will last you a lifetime. So, if you prefer a pen and paper to a tablet, stick with it.
Our trusty tools
As well as our notebooks, we make use of a handful of great tools that really help us communicate with each other, keep track of our work, keep in touch with our clients, and make creative ideas come to life. Here’s what we use:
Mailchimp – a great mailing client with easy to use template builders.
Trello – we create boards to track each project we work on. It has many different templates and power-ups as not each project is the same. Sometimes we use the classic card style and other times we like to set things out in a calendar.
Slack – when one became two in the team, we started using Slack to keep in touch with each other. As we both work at home, keeping in touch over instant messaging was a lot easier than emailing each other throughout the day.
Zoom – when it doesn’t call for a face-to-face, we use Zoom to hold conference meetings. We even use this in the week for the team!
Coggle – there’s nothing like getting your brainstorm down like a mind map. Coggle is a great mind mapping tool we use when we start with our raw ideas.
Dropbox – cloud files are essential when your teamwork in different locations and that’s why we use Dropbox to work with real-time files.
Doodlepoll – the easiest way to get multiple people down to a time and date.
Survey Monkey – instead of digging through handwritten feedback forms to process data, we use this online surveying tool. Great for running multiple surveys at once and analyzing data fast.
Hootsuite – worry no more about setting time out to post regularly across multiple social media platforms. Hootsuite is a great scheduling tool that we use for our own social media plan, and our clients!
Taking a bit of time to figure out what you need, pushing yourselves to think about new solutions, and trialing different options will help you bring your team together, stay in touch with your customers and be creative. And when you get them right, your tools will feel as good as your old woolly jumper! If you need help thinking through the options, get in touch today! We’d be delighted to talk.