data, productivity, team collaboration applications | by Joan Narciso

Tools of the Trade: My favorite data, productivity, and team collaboration apps

I’m not sure how many of my friends still don’t know that I’ve left my job that was based in Tarlac and I’m back in Dasma (for good). For over six months now, I’ve discovered the joys of working from home and I’m not sure you can bribe me to find a job that would require me to commute daily ever again.

As my job breathes and lives online, I communicate with colleagues using various online tools for communication, collaboration, file sharing, data recording & analysis, process documentation and implementation, and monitoring productivity.

Of course, email, Skype, and Google Drive or Drop Box are given. But, there are desktop and mobile apps I personally love. Sometimes, I get really amazed at what a certain app can do that I share it with some friends and former officemates. So not to annoy them individually anymore, I compiled my favorites and hope these could help some of you at your own workplaces or even with personal goal setting.



This is my absolute, absolute favorite sticky notes upgrade. If you’re a to-do list person, I guarantee you would love Trello!

Here, you can categorize your tasks how you want it: per urgency, importance, or type of work to be done. It also eliminates back and forth emails as you can invite teammates to join the board where you can tag them and share updates on specific topics. You can attach files, images, and even connect this to your work calendar.

data, productivity, team collaboration applications | by Joan Narciso

Trello’s interactive lists and cards are so easy to create and monitor that I even use it for my personal dream/goals board. I even have a board for what our family aims to buy by order of what’s important & urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not urgent & not important.

If you need more inspiration on how to make full use of Trello’s features, you can visit their inspiration gallery here.



Airtable has Trello’s features but it has way more than what Trello can offer. It is like a mutation of spreadsheets, almost fully automating different types of reports on a given data set with just a few clicks.

For starters, it could just be a basic spreadsheet like Google Sheets. But once you’ve filled the grids with data, the spreadsheet can transform to mini presentation cards, automated calendars, and individual cards that are loaded with information.

It’s also a team collaboration app so you can easily tag people, assign tasks to team members, and track deadlines. You can also make forms from Airtable and the answers sync automatically with your tables.

Whether you’re in sales, software development, editorial, or events and marketing, I’m confident you’d find this a better way to keep track of things at work. They have handy video tutorials, too if you’re a audio-visual learner.



I work with multiple tabs open at a time. Sometimes, that could take a toll on my laptop’s performance; s I try to minimize using extra applications when I could. When I need to take screenshots, and this is especially needed for creating process documentation files, I no longer use the snipping tool, or some similar application. Instead, I use FireShot. It’s a Google Chrome extension that allows you to take a screenshot, edit, annotate, copy and paste it wherever you need it even without saving the picture. And it doesn’t eat a lot of your laptop’s memory and disk performance.



Am I alone in thinking all this time that Bitly is just a URL shortener? Haha! Well, I learned it isn’t. You can use it to customize every single link you use which could help increase website engagement, as well as monitor the clicks and visits that those links get.


Canva for Work

I’m not a big Adobe Photoshop fan. Partly because my innate creativity gets sapped when mixed with too much technicalities to work around. Excuses. Gladly, there’s Canva for my 2-minute blog banners and quick and easy cards.

But it’s 2018 and no good application out there simply remain good. They just have to keep improving. Hence, Canva for Work. It’s a click and save tool for making sure you are following your company, team, or blog’s branding. Pick your colors, fonts, and logos and it will be easier for you to stick to those things when creating new content.


Bonus Tip for Windows 10 users:If you ever need to create documentation or instruction videos, you don’t have to download a special screen recording software. XBox, a built-in software I almost disabled, does the job.Just open the app you need to record, press Windows + G,  and select “Yes, this is a game” checkbox to load the Game Bar. Click on the recording button and start recording your screen. 

Published by

Joan Narciso

Joan is a walking set of ironies who likes to look at the sky no matter its mood and color. She has no exceptional talent unless you consider talent the skill to read a book in one seating, predict plot twists in stories, know what singing contest judges have to say before they say it, and reset her body clock whenever necessary.

5 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade: My favorite data, productivity, and team collaboration apps

  1. These are such great tips. I absolutely must bookmark this page. I didn’t know half the things you mentioned. I use Canva today but don’t know much about Canva for work and I would like to have a consistent brand across platforms. I will be investigating them all a lot more to see if they are a good fit for me. Thanks again!


  2. These are all really good ticks and tips to staying focus. Trello would probably work best for me since i have postage notes laying everywhere on my desks and computers (I work from multiple offices)


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