Shift Review – The Ultimate Toolbox for Freelancers
By Jena Kroeker
Do you ever feel like you’re running out of time, and you don’t know where it’s going? This Shift review will introduce you to a new tool that can help restore your productivity and focus.
As we discuss in a previous blog post, “Seven Productivity Tools to Add More Time to Your Week,” the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word productive as “having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance” and “effective in bringing about.” Shift is called “the workstation for productive people” and gives you the power to do just that – produce work in abundance and effectively bring about your goals.
What is Shift?
In a recent Freelance University event, co-founder and instructor Craig Cannings demonstrated how Shift works and called it “the toolbox that houses the tools” used by freelancers and virtual assistants. He describes it as your work hub or workstation. It saves you time by integrating your web applications into one place where you can access them and toggle back and forth. That way, you’re not required to open a new browser window each time or have multiple browser windows open. Instead, they’re all built into the desktop interface.
The beta version of Shift was launched in 2016 by a company named Redbrick, based on beautiful Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada. According to the website, after continued growth and popularity, Shift now saves users more than two hours per week and integrates with over 900 apps.
The Basic plan is free for up to two accounts (Gmail, GSuite, Outlook, Office 365) and up to 1 App account. The Advanced and Teams plans are each $99.99 per year and include unlimited accounts (Gmail, GSuite, Outlook, Office 365) and unlimited App Accounts.
In an article titled “Todoist Integrations That Will Boost Your Productivity,” Fadeke Adegbuyi says, “Sometimes it’s the little things that add up to make us less efficient. Something as simple as switching between apps and keeping our tabs in order can add up into time we can’t get back.” And the more you can streamline those actions, the more time you have to go out and enjoy life.
So, let’s dive in now and do a Shift review to explore its features in more detail.
Shift Review – Pros
1. Effective Email Management
Shift lets you add multiple Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts and manage them all from one workstation. Simply toggle back and forth between the inboxes. And if you’re managing your clients’ email, you can add their account, and it will quickly shift to their Google Drive. This allows you to easily access their files.
In her article, “How to Manage Multiple Google Accounts,” Jessica Greene shares the following advice:
“If you truly need more than one Google account and you actively manage your different accounts daily, Shift is probably your best bet. It doesn’t restrict you to using Chrome as your browser like Google’s account-switcher or Chrome profiles, and it lets you consolidate all of your work tools into a single desktop application.”
2. Streamlined Web Applications
Another pro to add to this Shift review is the ability to integrate all your web applications. As mentioned above, over 900 apps are available. Simply select “Add application” and search for the ones you want. For example, if you add Facebook to your workspace, it’ll include Ads and Messenger.
Using Shift as the toolbox for your apps streamlines actions so you don’t lose time accessing bookmarks or opening new browser windows. Instead, you can quickly toggle back and forth between the web applications you use most. You can even add Chrome extensions like Grammarly, Boomerang, Dropbox, HubSpot, Zoom, and more.
Shift’s integration with LastPass Password Manager can save you even more time. Once added, you’re automatically logged in and can access all your platforms seamlessly.
3. Customized, Focused Workspace
Do you find you’re always using the same combination of apps? Or different combinations of apps for different clients? Shift lets you customize workstations based on function. For example, you can add apps that play well together like ConvertKit, Asana, PayPal, HelpScout, and Canva. Combinations will vary based on the tasks you do each day for different clients. And using customized workspaces helps create a workflow for your team and prevents mistakes like posting in the wrong account.
You can also create a workstation that includes websites you frequently visit. For instance, since Thinkific and PayKickstart don’t have applications with Shift yet, you can create a saved bookmark and quickly log in.
And to further improve focus, you can manage app notifications in your workspaces by customizing alerts or muting them entirely.
4. Efficient, Unified Search
One of the most frustrating, time-consuming tasks is searching for information you know you have but just can’t locate. And if you manage multiple client accounts in addition to your own, it’s easy to forget where everything is. With Shift, you can use one query to search across all your email, drive, and calendar accounts.
The article above explains it this way:
“One of Shift’s standout features is that it lets you search across all of your Gmail, Contacts, and Drive accounts at the same time. If you know you saved a file, sent an email, or created a contact—but you’re not sure which account you used to do it—you can use the main search bar in Shift to search across all of your accounts. It lists all results by account and app.”
Shift Review – Cons
Although we discovered more pros than cons in our Shift review, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
1. If other applications are open on your desktop, Shift can load a bit slowly. For example, when Craig was demonstrating Shift’s features while broadcasting a webinar, it took a couple of seconds longer to load apps when toggling from one to the other. Although we have noticed in a recent update that Shift is running more efficiently now!
2. As the article above explains, “It consolidates all of your accounts into a single view, but you’ll still have to do a lot of switching to manage each account individually.” This inconvenience is balanced, however, by the benefits of being able to “compartmentalize and keep things organized while eliminating the logging in/out.”
Interview with Creator of Shift
Recently, Craig had an opportunity to sit down with Michael Foucher, the Head of Product at Shift to discuss the specific benefits and uses of Shift for Freelancers. Have a watch of this insightful interview.
Are You Ready to Shift?
In our previous blog post, “How to Stay Focused in a Distracted World,” we stress the need to understand the source of your distractions and strategize the way you combat them. If logging in and logging out of web applications is distracting you, housing them in a Shift workspace is an effective strategy. It could free up the time you don’t even realize you’re losing.
So, after reading this Shift review, what are your thoughts? Do you think Shift could improve your productivity and add more time to your week? Please share your feedback and insights in the comments below!