Remaining productive is extremely difficult. At any given time, there are tons of distractions in front of us, trying to take our attention from work. Sometimes the tools and applications we use make our work more tedious. In the case of software, that can mean using multiple applications at once, waiting for load or timeout periods, and even backing up work — which is definitely something you should always do.
There are ways to keep focused and productive, however.
One of the first things you should do each day is to plan your work schedule. This way you have a roadmap of what you need to complete, and if you get off task you can get right back to work.
This also provides you a visual representation of your projects and the work you finish. You can see which milestones you’ve achieved and how much work you’ve completed. This is especially helpful for large projects that have many smaller tasks, as slow processes are disconcerting.
Ideal Planning and Productivity Software for Windows
Some of these applications are specifically for Windows while others can be used as browser extensions. The browser extensions can be used on any platform, including Mac, but we won’t be covering other systems here.
Wrike is a cloud-based planning tool, which means it can be used cross-platform and data is synced across all of your connected devices. It’s great if you’d like to organize and manage your schedule from your computer and then pull it up as a resource later on your smartphone.
Instead of installing an application on your PC, the tool can be opened right in your web browser.
What can it do, you ask? It allows you to handle anything related to planning, organization and project management. You create tasks — which can also be broken into sub-tasks — and then organize them by order of importance, due dates and more. You’ll receive notifications when a due date is getting close, and you can leave yourself additional notes for each task. There’s a handy timer, too, which allows you to track and monitor the time you’re spending on a certain task or project.
Since it was designed for use in a business environment, Wrike also offers a variety of collaboration tools. If you’re working with others and they have access to the application, you can share documents, chat and organize responsibilities across a project.
It’s free to use for a team of up to five, but if you need access for groups larger than that you’ll have to pay for a premium subscription. That said, professional and enterprise users may sign up for a free trial to test the platform before they spend anything.
Some of the real benefits of Asana come into play when you’re working with a team, particularly because of its collaboration features. However, it works just as well for single users or small groups.
The platform allows you to track personal projects and tasks. Work is organized by projects, and then sub-tasks can be added for each. There’s a calendar tool that allows you to visualize future duties.
If you need to, you can add attachments to any project sheet. This is great if you’re working with others and need to pass a file, image or various documents back and forth.
As an added bonus, when you mark a project as completed, you can see unicorns flying across the screen accompanied by a congratulatory message. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be rewarded with colorful unicorns when they complete a project or task?
Asana has mobile apps for both Android and iOS, and the web application can be accessed through any browser. It’s free to try and free to use for teams of up to 15 people. If you’re using the platform as a personal tracker, you won’t have to pay a thing.
The only downside is Asana doesn’t include a timer tool, but you can always find a third-party one to use alongside it.
If you’d much rather have a desktop application, then GanttProject is for you. If you’d like to see the platform in action, you can watch the video tutorial on YouTube. It briefly discusses all the features of GanntProject and explains how to work with the program.
It’s quite similar to Wrike or Asana in that you create projects and break each down into sub-tasks. GanttProject, however, is designed to be much more visual. Your projects, tasks and milestones are all displayed in a unique chart.
Of course, there are team-based collaboration tools and support for exporting — and importing — documents pertinent to your work. If you need to share your tracked projects with others, you can always export them, including the work calendar, which comes in super handy at times.
GanttProject is free to use for both personal and commercial projects.
HiTask is another cloud-based planning tool with a whole slew of collaboration and personal project management features. It’s accessible on PC through any web browser.
The most promising feature is the timer, which allows you to keep track of the time you invest on a project — and you can even export your time logs if you need to.
Of course, the calendar, project management, organization and team-based tools are just as useful. If you’re using it as a personal planner, you can create projects and tasks, organize them through a simple drag and drop interface, and even access them via mobile. The platform offers an iOS and Android app, with cross-platform management support.
There are file sharing tools, which — like Asana — allow you to upload files and documents to go along with various projects. You can also generate reports about pretty much everything created through the platform, including your progress.
As an added feature, you can create new tasks and projects through email. You simply email the appropriate address with the necessary information, and it will be added to your account. You could always do it through the mobile app, sure, but this is another great way to record tasks and projects if you’re on the go.
HiTask is free for personal use. If you’d like to sign up as a team, you’ll need to choose one of the premium subscription plans. Don’t worry, there is a free trial available so you can check out the application first before you plop down money.
What other Windows tools do you use to stay productive? Tell me in the comments section below!
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