9 tools to help you become a more effective board member

Unlock your true productivity with these 9 tools

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” ~ Peter Drucker

As a board member, you have the responsibility to keep the organisation on the road to success. But that doesn’t mean trying to squeeze more hours in a day to get there. On the contrary.

Management quality has been shown to improve dramatically when its leaders are grounded and balanced, instead of overworked and constantly overwhelmed.

A good board member is one that:

  • Focuses on results
  • Keeps the big picture in mind
  • Makes the best use of their time

Luckily, with the right technology and services to support you, you won’t get bogged down and overwhelmed by the minutiae of the day.

We’ve handpicked 9 solutions to help you streamline and simplify your workflow and help solve the problems that may be affecting your productivity.

So without further ado, here are the 9 tools:

Tool #1: Get more stuff done with Todoist

To-do management tool – https://todoist.com

The Zeigarnik effect is the tendency for people to dwell on an unfinished task, and it has been shown to severely impair workplace productivity [3].

To-do lists are a simple fix and have come a long way since pencil and paper. Todoist has a simple user interface that gives you the option of adding tasks to separate folders for each train of thought.

Tasks can be scheduled and set to repeat for a specified timeframe, and shared with colleagues to delegate and work on collaborative projects.

EXTRA: To-do list pro tip

If you really want to make sure that you’re managing your to-do’s properly and focusing on the highest impact things, finish every day by identifying (and writing) down the top 3 things you want to get done tomorrow.

When you get to work and you’re not stuck in a meeting, focus on crossing off these things before doing anything else.

If you do this consistently, you’ll see massive improvements in the amount that you can get done.

Tool #2: Google Alerts tells you what the world is saying

News alert service – https://google.com/alerts

As a board member — or anyone interested in the performance of a company — knowing how the world is talking about your company can give invaluable insight into current performance and how to manage future challenges.

Google Alerts gives you notifications about when and where your company is being discussed.

Of course, besides your own company, you can follow what’s happening with your competition or general trends across the industry. It’s basically the easiest way to stay ahead of the curve.

To set up your first alert, go here.

Tool #3: Store all your ideas and notes in your second brain – Evernote

Personal knowledge database – https://evernote.com

Great ideas can be valuable, but having a flash of genius on-the-move and not being able to write it down can seriously hurt your effectiveness.

Evernote allows you to take notes, attach links and media files, set up reminders and sync across your devices, and share these notes and notebooks with colleagues.

You can even record meetings and conferences using the app, and add your thoughts at specific points in the recording.

As an all-in-one organiser, it will clear your desk and clear your mind. And the best thing is:

The more you use the app, the more it becomes your go-to library of thoughts, notes and interesting resources that you’ll use for everything.

EXTRA: Evernote pro tip

Inside Evernote, create a notebook called ‘Interesting stories’. Whenever you’re preparing for a presentation or you’re writing an article, you can quickly browse through the archive to see what you can use to spruce up the presentation.

With the Chrome extension or shortcuts on your phone (Android and iOS), logging these gems is a piece of cake.

Tool #4: Digitizing documents on the go

Mobile document scanner – https://readdle.com/products/scannerpro(iOS)

 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appxy.tinyscanner (Android)

In an increasingly digitised world, paper can sometimes seem like a nuisance. Boarding passes, receipts, legal documents — lose these and you can put your productivity in serious jeopardy.

Evernote is already a good way to store your documents. But with apps like Scanner Pro (on iOS) or TinyScanner (on Android), you can use the camera on your phone or tablet to digitise these documents and instantly turn them into PDF’s. All ready to share at the press of a button.

With technology that detects edges and the geometry of printed tables, removes shadows and smooths put creases, this app creates a perfect, convenient reproduction of those important documents.

Tool #5: Never again make any spelling mistake, with Grammarly

Advanced grammar check – https://grammarly.com

Writing reports and corresponding with colleagues can take up a large part of the day. Being able to communicate quickly and accurately makes this task less of a time-consumer.

Grammarly works across platforms to polish your — and your team’s — communication so you can spend less time proofreading important emails, and cut out any embarrassing typos.

There are native apps for Windows or Apple. Or extensions for Chrome. Or even an add-on for Microsoft Office.

Tool #6: Expense management made easy using Expensify

Expense management on the go – https://www.expensify.com/

Expense reporting and management are a pain. No two ways about it. Expensify removes the annoyance from calculating and submitting expense and travel reports.

It uses features such as one-click receipt scanning and automatic approval for selected transactions. And it can deliver next-day reimbursement through integrations with auditing software like Quickbooks, Xero and more.

It will not only save you a ton of time. But also the rest of organisation.

Tool #7: Use Headspace to maximise your downtime

Meditation made easy – https://www.headspace.com

Taking a break can be so much more than a trip to the coffee machine and a walk around the block. Using your downtime effectively and switching off from work mode completely can renew your focus and give you a new perspective on the task ahead.

Headspace encourages mindfulness and focuses you using meditation exercises. Activities are tailored to the amount of break time you have available, and as your stress goes down, your productivity goes up.

Download the iOS or Android app now and get your first dose of meditation in.

Tool #8: Fancy Hands takes care of the housework

Outsourcing tasks – https://fancyhands.com

Your work-life balance can play a huge part in determining your productivity, and making sure you get the quality time at home you need is crucial.

With a Fancy Hands plan you can outsource all those time-consuming personal chores back at home base, so you can worry less about the washing line and more about play time with the kids.

You can submit requests on-the-fly or schedule weekly requests, depending on your plan. Check out this service here: https://www.fancyhands.com/

Tool #9: Remove temptation and Stayfocusd

Chrome plugin https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stayfocusd/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji

Listen. The odd visit to social media while you’re at work isn’t going to bring the business down. It’s fine.

But the devil makes work for idle hands, and if you’re not careful that quick check on Forbes or the Guardian turns into half an hour of wasted potential.

So take note of what the websites are that you spend most of your unproductive time on.

Stayfocusd is a Chrome browser extension that then allows you to block access to those selected sites for a chosen period of time.

It’s pretty much the easiest way to cut those non-productive sites that are eating into your day out of your work time.

Bonus productivity booster!

Before you go, here’s one last productivity booster:

Read the bestseller “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

This book will help you discover the 6 things that are blocking you from success, and learn how productivity in and out of the workplace can help you achieve your goals.

Everyone has one thing that is the single biggest drain on their productivity, but finding it can seem impossible. “The ONE Thing” will help you find your sticking point and support you through the process of fixing it.

It shows you that by fixing your One Thing, you set up a chain-reaction that lifts the lid on your potential — in every aspect of your life. In and outside of the boardroom.

iBabs Meeting Assessment
iBabs is a leader in paperless meetings and enables you to reduce these piles of documents to the thickness of your tablet. Thousands of organizations have been using this system for more than 15 years.

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