The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

8 Favorite Productivity Tools banner

These amazing products/services are ones I use every day to streamline my professional processes. I figured I’d share them with you in case you are in search of some neat tools that can help with your day-to-day:

1. Polymail

This is the platform I use for email. It is pretty awesome. It has all of the standard features of Gmail (or whatever email service you use), but also allows you to track individual sent emails, set reminders to follow up on an email, set a time to send a message later, unsend emails (within a few seconds), and unsubscribe from annoying senders.

Along with the above features, Polymail’s layout is super intuitive. The contact you are corresponding with pops up on the right column of the screen with information about them (social media accounts, LinkedIn bio., place of work, location, etc.). It makes it SO easy to locate attachments and view all of your past correspondence with your contacts.

Anyway, it’s free, beautiful, and amazing. I highly recommend it.

2. Wunderlist 

Man, details are NOT my thing. I am a big-picture kind of gal. The small tasks in between are super difficult for me to care about. This is not to say that they are not necessary, of course, they are, but my brain automatically ignores them.

Enter Wunderlist. Every little task that I need to accomplish goes into my to-do list. I can give myself deadlines, and recurring tasks, and flag the tasks that are most pressing. Within each to-do, I can add all of my notes associated with that task (super helpful when I look back and have forgotten all about the item). When I complete my task Wunderlist checks it off my list and adds it to the tally of my completed to-dos – seeing that number grow is one of my simple pleasures. The app makes me kind of enjoy the little things – mostly because it brings me satisfaction to check them off the list.

This 21st-century to-do list is pretty neat and incredibly helpful.

Highly recommended and free.

3. Trello  

I wish I knew about Trello when I was in school. It is the best way to keep track of multiple projects and their progress. It’s an awesome tool for solo projects, but even better for team projects. Thinking back to the amount of time I wasted texting multiple team members, using stupid Facebook groups, and trying to collaborate over Google Docs makes me want to cry.

Trello works by allowing you to set up your own progress board. You can then assign yourself and your teammates tasks and deadlines. The assignee can move their task through the board, make notes, and attach documents to the task. The layout is crazy intuitive and visually appealing. It makes organization and project management a much better time.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stick at CMM (we have a few other project management tools that work very well), but I highly recommend it to people who have lots on the go. It’s free, too!

*Note, Trello and Slack can even sync up :).

4. Slack 

The point of the app is to eliminate the need for little meetings that disrupt productivity and time within the workplace. Slack definitely does that, and more. It has become a place for like-minded community members to communicate with one another, share job postings, and current community events, and promote their own services.

Recently my boyfriend messaged someone on the Kelowna Slack channel and boom, got an interview for a graphic design position. I mean… that’s pretty awesome.

A Note of Caution: If there’s one thing I am, it is easily distracted. For those of you who share the same trait, proceed with caution when using Slack. Though I love the app, it can definitely interrupt productivity.

Slack is priced from free to $12.50/month depending on the size of the team and the number of features required.

5. Medium  

I suppose this seems like an anti-productivity tool, but I don’t use it as a distraction. I use Medium as a creativity sparker. Much of my job entails writing, brainstorming, idea generation, and on-the-fly decisions. Without some sort of inspiration, I would not be all that great at my job.

I have found that by reading a couple of posts on Medium in the morning, my brain resets into creativity mode. It is the little zing I need to do my job well. For those who are in creative positions, I highly recommend this tactic. Here’s my favorite recent post. It is a satirical, hilarious, and fresh of breath air. Most importantly it got me into a more productive mindset :).

6. Bitly 

I’m in charge of the social media for Cheeky Monkey. That entails posting a lot of articles that I believe will be interesting to our target market on our different social platforms. These come from our own blog and other articles that I find on the web.

The other part of my social media job is to track these posts. Did people click the link? When was it most popular? How did it compare to other posts? Bitly not only shortens the link (super important for Twitter, obviously) but tracks them as well. The tool makes social media tracking and analyzing SO easy for me.

It’s free and wonderful, so check ‘er out.

7. Sprout Social  

This is a new one for me. On one hand, I LOVE how easy it makes social media marketing. On the other hand, I’m finding that social media platforms may not love it as much as I do.

Sprout Social allows me to queue social posts throughout the week and beyond, on all platforms. This means I save tons of time bouncing between articles and social platforms posting throughout the day. This is huge for productivity, as social media typically interrupts my workflow.

The downside is that social platforms do not like automated updates. Their algorithms will decrease the number of impressions the post will receive simply because it was not posted directly by you at that time. So, I have reverted to an 80-20 method, where I utilize Sprout Social 20% of the time (mostly for Tweets) and continue to manually update the social media the other 80% of the time.

8. SoundCloud 

Have you ever worked in an open office? It’s fun, but it is not the most productive environment ever – especially when you’re very prone to small distractions.

To counter the open office effects, I have two tactics.

  1. Avoid eye contact at all costs. As soon as you make eye contact with someone around the office your productivity will cease. Seriously. Every. Damn. Time. So, if you have to look in the general direction of a coworker make an obvious attempt to avoid looking them in the eye.
  2. Listen to music. Even if you can hear ambient noise pretend you can’t. If you aren’t great at listening to lyrical music (some people can’t), pick a soundtrack with no lyrics. SoundCloud is my favorite because I can discover new music, tune out office banter, AND get sh*t done. BOOM.


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