As we prepare to talk about finding balance in your life and business throughout the month of June, I want to start out with something that is typically everyone’s favorite: TOOLS to boost productivity.
Now, in order to get the most out of these tools, I would suggest taking a few minutes to determine in which area you need the most help to be more productive.
One area that I have found to be the most time-consuming for business owners is email.
The whole 'inbox zero' idea is overwhelming, so let’s start with two tools that I love to use:
SaneBox is simply amazing. It uses a powerful system to filter out your mail for you, allowing you to focus on what matters. It will even track your emails and let you know if you didn’t get a response to something. PLUS, they recently added a spot to add your assistant’s email to the account to help process unimportant or non-replied-to emails!
It is truly one of my favorite tools out there.
Unroll.me is a totally free service. It lets you easily unsubscribe from anything you don’t want, and it can simply send emails into a “Daily Rollup.”
Imagine this: one email a day with all of your subscriptions instead of constantly looking to see if that email notification is important or not.
Now that we have that big obstacle out of the way, let’s review some other amazing tools for business owners.
After email, organization in general seems to be the biggest struggle for business owners. Evernote takes care of that.
Evernote is a tool that I simply couldn’t live without! It's an app for your smartphone, tablet, computer, and even your Moleskine notebook.
The beauty of Evernote is that it syncs automatically across all your devices and across all your operating systems. Write notes, clip notes from the web, message with others, and create slide decks - all from the app!
Here are just some of the things that Evernote is good at:
- Collecting recipes
- Taking screenshot images
- Working together with other team members on files
- Bookmarking pages on the web
- Attaching documents and spreadsheets to a note
- Scanning text in a photo (like business cards) when doing a search
- Sharing notes, or whole notebooks, with your team, business partner, clients, family, etc.
Best of all, it’s free. There is a premium version, but the free one offers everything I listed above.
If you want to read more on how to use Evernote, CHECK BACK HERE for a guide coming later this month!
Let me be honest, as a business owner that is reading this list, you should have read the book Getting Things Done a long, long time ago. While I have created my own productivity systems, I believe that David Allen’s Getting Things Done (or GTD, as true believers call it) is the jumping off point. It truly is the definitive book on time management.
Now, in his podcast, David uses the GTD system to help listeners achieve what he calls a "mind like water." Among the various topics discussed: technology, creativity, and improving mental flow. Who couldn’t use more of that?
Side note: If you have read Getting Things Done but are struggling with implementing it in a tech-driven world, check out the topic on Skillshare.com. Search for courses by Dan LeFerbvre or Tony Staunton.
This little tool is AMAZING!
Branded as a virtual “chief of staff,” Accompany does all the research necessary to prep you for big meetings by emailing you a concise briefing beforehand. It provides you with all the pertinent information you will need to succeed in any situation.
Accompany works by connecting to your Google or Microsoft email account, your mobile calendar, and your Facebook and Twitter accounts. It examines your personal data and goes through biographies and other information online to create summaries of each of your contacts. How cool is that?
This “save for later” app allows you to file away useful articles, interesting videos, and any other content that you want to hang onto for future use. (Or perhaps to read while on an airplane, which is my favorite time to clean out Pocket.)
When you find something you want to view later, simply put it in your Pocket, and you’ll be able to access it from your phone, tablet, or computer, even without internet access.
This app gives business owners a simple way to manage and track invoices. It allows you to you create a BRANDED, personalized, professional-looking invoice. It automatically bills your clients for recurring invoices, and it accepts credit cards on your mobile devices.
Other useful features include the ability to track and organize expenses from anywhere and create customizable business reports, such as profit-and-loss statements.
Bonus: FreshBooks also has an app that makes it easy to check the status of things on the go for both Android and Apple devices.
As a powerful social media publishing tool, Buffer streamlines the process of reaching your fan base by making it easy to schedule content on social media. It helps increase your reach by ensuring you get the most out of each post. With one click, you can share content across multiple social networks and ensure that it’s posted at the optimal time so more followers will see your updates.
Buffer is a tool that allows you to easily bookmark and schedule social media posts across nearly every platform. You can schedule from any browser or mobile device or directly from Facebook and Twitter. Buffer allows you to preset the times it will post so that you can simply add things as you find them, instead of copying the links and going back to a scheduling tool.
You should also grab the Buffer extension for your browser of choice, or drag the Buffer bookmarklet to your toolbar, so that you can add items to Buffer as you surf throughout the day. I use the extension for Chrome, and it puts a little Buffer icon at the top of the page which gives me one-click posting to Buffer.
HelloSign is the easiest and simplest way to handle contracts or other agreements on the fly because it lets you view and sign without scanning, attaching, or faxing, and without any in-person visits. You can just use your fingertip to sign any PDF file and forward it to the necessary party.
Lastpass remembers all your passwords and other sensitive information so that you don't have to! It keeps secure digital records, and it allows to you share your passwords with your team by auto-filling the login information without revealing the password. So if a team member leaves the team, all you have to do is unshare. Think of the time and headache saved!
This one-touch dialing app gets you into all your conference calls on time and unflustered. With MobileDay, there’s no more searching for misplaced conference call PINs or passcodes. The app auto-syncs with your iOS or Android calendar and plugs you into your calls with one click, so you can connect to that business call from anywhere.
What tool would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below!
/krēāˈtivədē/ /kuh n-suhl-tnt/
Noun: An energetic native Floridian with a passion for smart, authentic, imaginative, effective marketing strategies and original ideas.
Synonyms: Netflix Junkie, Cockapoo mom, crazy aunt, world traveler, foodie.
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