2020 is the year of “Work from Home” and has propelled the conversation around the “Future of Work” to the forefront. In February 2019, I did a short video about my favorite productivity apps. In 2020, a lot changed for me, personally and professionally. For all of us, it has meant adapting schedules, tools and figuring out different ways of working. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share a list of my favorite work from home products in 2020.
1. Airtable – Airtable is one of my favorite work from home apps! It has been a cornerstone of my work from home toolkit for a long time. In 2020, I started using Airtable a lot more. I’ve been using it for managing and tracking Invest Stream related things like possible speakers, artwork, bios, etc. as well as using it to get startup pitches. Airtable is a great cross between a spreadsheet and lightweight SQL database. If you’re working with any sort of structured data or want to structure your data, Airtable is a great tool.
2. Notion – I started dabbling with Notion in late 2018 but I really started using it more heavily at the end of 2019. I love the flexibility of Notion and it’s definitely one of my favorite WFH products. I love that they added “Scribble” support to their iPad app. In 2020, it’s been my de facto tool for all kinds of notes, information and data. I haven’t been using the web-clipping extension but I have been using the iOS/iPadOS/macOS apps on a daily basis for scribbling on the iPad, writing up a document to be shared as a PDF with clients, collaborating on the Workomo content calendar and working with others on all kinds of content.
Notion helps me structure my thoughts a little better. It is a little complex to get started but once you commit to using it, you realize you have your own personal wiki for pretty much everything. The one thing I don’t like about Notion is the import and export functionality.
3. Workomo – Everyone who used Rapportive years ago, will know how useful it was to have a tool that gave you a summary of people that you were connecting with. However, the problem has become quite acute with the move to online meetings / webinars / networking events / etc. I’ve been an active Workomo user since the early betas and I also do meetings with a lot of people I don’t already know. Workomo has been an invaluable tool in helping me get quick summaries about these people as well as learn a few new things about people I already know.
Conversations (audio, video, podcasting)
1. Clubhouse – I got on Clubhouse in September and, now, I use it all the time while working from home. Clubhouse is my watercooler / coffee machine at the office. If you need to take a break, chat with someone during lunch or join a discussion about almost anything, Clubhouse is the place to be. Most rooms are well moderated and people are polite and friendly. If you need an invite, I *may* be able to help so try DM’ing me and if I have any invites left, I will send you one.
2. StreamYard – 2020 might just be the year where podcasting and online video tipped. I started Invest Stream at the end of 2018 but 2020 is when I started live streaming. StreamYard is a really awesome product for doing livestreams. My friend, Gregarious Narain, found it when we were doing The Raise. It made it so simple to start streaming on multiple platforms. I’ve been using StreamYard a lot in 2020 and I love the simplicity. It’s super easy to join a livestream off your phone or iPad. Hosting a livestream is still Chrome specific, however. The free version is good enough for most people who want to get started.
Entertainment / Relaxation
1. Digital Assistants / Smart Speakers – Listen to a podcast, check the weather, play some music or talk to someone all over a smart speaker. I’ve ditched Alexa and Google Home Mini in 2020 and gone all in with the HomePod and HomePod Mini. However, whatever your choice is, I’ve found the smart speaker to be an invaluable accessory to use as a speaker phone, a stereo system, listening to the news (I like to keep Bloomberg Radio going in the background), etc.
2. Streaming – We can all use a break after a long day of working from home. What better way to spend some of that free time than with loved ones watching Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+ and YouTube? It’s definitely the golden age of content with fabulous shows like The Queens Gambit or The Expanse available at our fingertips along with blockbuster movies like Wonder Woman 1984! BTW, pairing the HomePod with an AppleTV 4K gives you amazing Dolby Atmos sound. There are many videos on YouTube discussing this.
As much as we’re all suffering Zoom fatigue, without Zoom, Google Meet or FaceTime, working from home over an extended period of time would have been almost impossible. They aren’t my favorite apps but they are most definitely necessary.