Consolidating tools puts us all on the same page

We’re all so busy. That’s the common denominator amongst almost everyone I know in the nonprofit and social enterprise sector. We are all so passionate about what we do and we are pouring our hearts and souls and every ounce of time into realizing our mission. I am in the same boat and I can’t and won’t judge anyone for this extreme dedication to their cause.

Yet, busy does not necessarily equate to effective work or measurable progress. How many days have ended with you frazzled and a little uncertain of exactly how much was accomplished? Again, I’ve been there. It is because of my similar experiences that I am able to say that many of those days resulted in unfocused efforts, which led to diminished impact.

The biggest problem, I discovered, was the sheer number of tools I had to use on a daily basis. With the rise of technology, there was an app for everything and I had all the gadgets. One to track my time, another to view my programs, another to communicate with my team and another to document my notes. I had a different tool to communicate with partners, and yet another to create and send proposals. I even had an app timer to tell me when to take a break and notifications set up to remind me to meditate. After all, I new that mindfulness would lead to better work. Oh but the barrage of tools and alerts and ways to communicate were just too much.

I needed to simplify my processes. I needed to simplify my team’s processes and more importantly, I needed to get us on the same page without having to open six to ten different apps. We needed a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that would store and allow us to interact with the majority of our data. As much as possible we needed tools that would tie together so that we were logging into two or maybe a handful of places where we would interact with our daily tasks and communicate with each other.

This is not to say that we don’t have or need some of the other apps, but to be effective in our day to day work so that we could do our very best, we opted to build a process around simplicity and better connectivity of the tools we did choose.