Lots of people think that working for the church is a piece of cake; that you spend all day chatting, praying and being creative. But as I’m sure you’re aware, this is not the case! For most of us, we have the daily struggle of being productive, managing our time well, working effectively with other staff members and publishing content for the world to see.
Here’s some of the top tools you can be using right now to help you with these day to day tasks:
If you’ve not heard of Slack yet, we’re assuming that you must be working in a cave somewhere!
Slack is the fabulous team communication app that eliminates the need for emails. You can join the rest of your team and have one on one conversations, private group chats and public chats open to the whole team, all categorised in to ‘channels’ (basically whatever topic you decide). You can share files with one another and all of your chat history is searchable. You’ve got to try it out to see what the hype is about!
This is a great project management tool that can be used for just about anything. Users can create ‘boards’, a bit like a notice board. Within your board, you create different columns with headings, and then you can put ‘cards’ in to the columns. The idea is that you move the cards from one column to the next, to show how the card is progressing through a process. For example, you could have a ‘To Do’ column, an ‘In Progress’ column and a ‘Complete’ column. All of your tasks can be added as cards in the To Do column, and then as you’re working on things, you can move them along.
You can use Trello to collaborate with other team members, with the ability to mention people in card discussions, upload files and assign due dates and members to complete the work.
We hope that you’re keeping your files and folders backed up; one way you can do this is using Dropbox. There are loads of cloud storage subscription services out there now, but we think Dropbox is a simple, easy to use and secure way of doing it. You can backup your work, share links to files for others to download and use their clever ‘Selective Sync’ feature to sync folders to your computer. Dropbox works across multiple devices too, so you can take your work with you.
Price: Free and paid
Google Apps is a great tool to use with the rest of your office staff. You can use it for your email, calendars and shared documents in Google Drive. It’s really easy to set up and makes working in a team a lot simpler. You can share calendar invitations with each other, work on documents together, and the emails work really well on loads of platforms and devices. And let’s face it – it’s Google, it’s going to be simple!
Price: £3.30 per user per month
We think that Evernote is the best note-taking app out there. It’s simple in the way that it works, allowing you to organise your notes in to notebooks, attach images and links to your notes, and even lets you share your notes with other people. But Evernote also gives you some great formatting options, transforming your notes from plain text to fully formatted documents, including the ability to create todo lists and lists. Evernote also works great on your mobile phone.
If you’re working in church media, you’re probably spending lots of time making sure your content is being published to social media each week. Enter Buffer: a web platform that lets you create posts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and schedule them to be posted automatically throughout the week. Buffer also gives you valuable insights and helps you understand your audience, and the best times of the day/week to post on your social media platforms.
Price: $10 per month
In a similar way to Buffer, Hootsuite lets you schedule your social media posts across all your platforms. However, Hootsuite also lets you manage the conversations you’re having with your followers. You can create ‘streams’ that show you your followers, direct messages, mentions, likes etc. Use Hootsuite to develop a personal connection with your followers.
Price: £12 per month
You might not have heard of Beanstalk before, but it’s a great web development tool that will keep your websites organised. Beanstalk works with ‘version control’ (maybe you’ve heard of Github?), which means you can make updates to your website code, and use Beanstalk to publish those updates whilst keeping a full version of your website before those updates were made. You can then go back through the different versions of the website and restore them if needed.
This is the smart way to manage your websites and deploy updates, all in a safe and controlled environment.
Price: From free
We use icons all the time in our graphic design and web work. Noun Project is a massive library of vector icons available to download online. You can use them for free if you attribute the creators, or you can subscribe each month for $10 and use them as you like. They’ve also made a great Mac app that lets you drag icons in to Photoshop, Illustrator and even Keynote without needing to download any files.
Price: From free
We’ve thrown this one in as a bonus tool that keeps us sane throughout the week! We’re certain you will know all about Spotify by now, but we think it’s great. Their daily mixes are a great way to discover new music, and the Spotify playlists are awesome. We think it’s well worth paying for a premium account so that you can download music for offline listening and removing those annoying adverts.
We hope this list helps you! What are some of your favourite productivity tools?