Our favorite productivity tools at KnowledgeOwl

Catherine Heath | September 19, 2019

We put together this post of our favorite productivity tools here at KnowledgeOwl. They don’t relate to any particular area of our business, but are simply any tools that make our work lives easier. These are paid tools but we think they’re worth investing in!

Asana

Asana is our collaboration software of choice and the ultimate productivity tool. The benefit of Asana is organizing your work into boards. We use the boards for anything ranging from client work, keeping track of documentation and feature requests, to organizing our editorial calendars. Tasks can be tagged with a status depending on what stage they’re at, and assigned to the appropriate team member. You can move tasks around and mark them complete when you’ve finished. Asana lets you motivate yourself with fun little features like turning on task completion animations that appear randomly when you complete tasks. 

Slack

Slack helps our team communicate with each other in real-time with one another and is customizable for any team. Slack is primarily organized around messaging, but there are lots of other features you can take advantage of such as video calls and many shortcuts. In terms of our own Slack, we have channels that correspond to every important area of our business. This means we can easily filter out unwanted messages. All you have to do is check the channel that interests you and ignore the rest. We can also integrate some of our other apps into the Slack platform, such as the customer ticket queue from Help Scout or downloading tweets from twitter. 

Help Scout

Help Scout is our help desk ticketing system for organizing customer conversations. You can easily collaborate on tickets, cataloguing your tickets with a tagging system, and assigning tickets to a particular person. Keep tabs on who has said what by replying to tickets directly within Help Scout. The pleasingly visual layout of Help Scout means you can view your customer conversations at a glance and also look back over old conversations should you ever need to. Organize your conversations into separate mail boxes, so you will never have to deal with operations while working in the support queue. 

KnowledgeOwl

We use our own KnowledgeOwl software for hosting our website, documentation, and our blog. KnowledgeOwl helps our team collaborate more effectively because we are all using the same system. You can log into one platform and have access to all your knowledge bases from the dashboard. Although created as knowledge base software, KnowledgeOwl at its most basic is a website CMS which can be customized to suit many purposes. You can create and edit content in the WYSIWYG editor, or dive directly into the source code if that’s what you prefer. You can be more productive by duplicating previous articles or templates. Your articles can have different authors and statuses to help you organize your content workflow. 

Snagit

Snagit is used for screenshots, gifs, and quick screen recordings. Snagit makes it easy to customize and save a color palette for brand-consistent call-outs. It has some great built-in image editing features such as blur, text extraction, simplify, etc., plus a pretty slick combine images function for multi-step images. It will easily convert videos to .gif formats, too, which will give your content extra flare. It also has some nice scrolling/panoramic functions. Really, Snagit is one of the easiest-to-use screenshot/image editing tools we’ve used, and the toolset makes it a breeze to standardize the default palette and call-outs across users.

Velocity

Velocity helps us visualize Asana tasks using custom reports and dashboards. This helps us track the number of bugs closed, etc., across projects rather than relying on a burndown in Asana. You could say Velocity helps us track our productivity by letting us see where we’re spending the most time, and where we need to place more resources. 

YouCanBook.me

YouCanBook.me and ScheduleOnce together has saved us so much time. Not only does it reduce the amount of back and forth of scheduling calls, but it delights our customers with how easy it is to use. We look like geniuses and it makes our lives easier. Huge win-win for us and customers.

SetApp 

SetApp is a Mac app subscription service. You pay around $8 a month and you can have access to hundreds of apps. Our Support Pyromancer Stephen uses about 15 of them regularly, and is always discovering more. Some examples:

  • Paw is super helpful as it allows Stephen to do an API call and see the results rather than writing one manually in JavaScript to test something out. 
  • iStats is great for computer and network monitoring. Can see in a pinch if there are any CPU/Memory/HDD hoggers, and the network speed. Awesome for when things go wrong.
  • BusyCal is Stephen’s lifeblood, much better than the Apple Calendar, and filters make it super easy to view the events he wants to see and ignore the clutter.
  • Bartender is a great little app that lets him clean his menu bar and hide away things he doesn’t need to see all the time
  • Wallpaper Wizard gives him a whole bunch of curated wallpapers and changes them every so often. May not seem strictly productivity related but the wallpapers are so pretty and change all the time, they make Stephen feel like he’s in a different environment every 15 minutes, which feels refreshing and increases productivity! Haha!
  • Rocket Typist is a text snippet storage app. Allows you to quickly insert text or code that gets reused regularly. Lorem Ipsum is a great example. Invaluable for coding too.
  • Sip is probably Stephen’s favourite. It keeps track of color codes you copy, and you can choose colors from your history to paste. You can also organize these colors into palettes, so he can organize each customer’s color scheme and always have them at the ready whenever working on their kb. It even has a little dock on the left of the screen to choose colors. Saves me so much time.

LastPass 

LastPass is our password management app. The idea of LastPass is storing all your secure information like login details within a secure vault that needs one master password. It helps us keep everything secure, and use complicated passwords without having to remember them. You can also share details within LastPass so anyone who wants to use a tool can access it through their own vault. It also allows us to change passwords regularly without any interruption to each of our daily working lives. A lot of us also use it for our personal passwords, win win!

Timeular 

Our support pyromancer Stephen uses Timeular to track his time. It’s both a timetracking app, as well as a timetracking “dice” (called “Zei”). Yep, an 8-sided large dice, with each side corresponding to a task. When he switches between tasks or projects, he just changes the side of the dice facing up. When he’s not working, it sits upright in its dock. Awesome when he needs to keep track of how much time he’s spending on a whole bunch of things (important to keep the accuracy of quoting in check, and for general time management). 

Final remarks

We hope you enjoyed this post about our favorite productivity tools. Every business is different but maybe you gained some inspiration from this list for your own software toolkit. There are many more tools out there we haven’t listed but that’s why this is a list of favorites rather than a comprehensive list. 

Now you're feeling all productive, check out our post on how we maintain our self-care rituals in a remote working culture

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