Increase productivity. It’s not a set of buzz words, friends. It’s legit. I’ve said many times the buzz word people need to avoid is “multi-tasking.” Multi-tasking is, for lack of a better word, a fallacy. People can’t be productive if they’re multi-tasking. Being “able” to take on multiple tasks at one time isn’t a goal to strive for, or put on a resume. What you want to be amazing at? Time management, because when you know how to manage your time, it leads to being more productive. Productivity is where it’s at. Plus, it helps keep that work life balanced with your “real life.”
The only way to increase productivity is to manage your time
Great. Now, you know managing your time is the goal, in order to being more productive. So, how does one increase productivity? Manage your time effectively? Start with a few apps to get your work, as well as personal, time managed!
Ever head to a conference, event, or meeting, and end up with a ton of business cards? Yeah. If you’re like me, you also have notes written on those business cards, so you remember who the person was, and what you discussed, in order to reach out at a later date to network and keep that conversation going. What happens to the cards once you’re back home, or at your desk? They sit there, for weeks, which then leads to months. Basically, until something sparks your memory, and you have to go through the stack of cards to find the right contact to make that great idea happen.
HUGE TIME SUCKAGE. Entering the information into your contacts, then typing up the notes from the card. It’s why those cards sit there, and eventually, all those leads become garbage, instead of opportunities. Time (& money) wasted, because attending the conference, where you collected those cards, cost you money and time.
Instead of taking the paper card, download the CamCard app to your smartphone! You’ll be able to take a picture of each business card, then CamCard will read the contact information, and add it to your contacts. Even better? The app allows you to write notes in it, so no need to look for a pen to write notes on backs of paper business cards. All the information is at your finger tips, and saved in the cloud, too! It can be accessed easily over the cloud from any device.
There’s a whole ecard aspect, too. GO CHECK OUT CamCard!
How do you spend your day? Do you get sucked into answering emails, or scrolling through Facebook? Wouldn’t it be nice to track all of that information, so you can figure out what you’re spending your time on, then create a better use of your time? All those distractions you “kind of knew” were there, aren’t going to be a shock. You know all of those things happen, however, Rescue Time will slap you in the face with the reality of just how much time you’re spending on unproductive activities.
It’s a huge pill to swallow, but it’s necessary! Before venturing into putting processes into place to increase your productivity, find out how you spend your days for at least a week. Get the information, study it, and finally, CHANGE your days for the better.
Trust me, head over and take a look at Rescue Time.
I’m a big fan of writing things down on a to-do list. I still use a regular paper planner, not a digital one. However, as my family grows, and I have new business partnerships, I’ve found I need to have lists I can share with others. When things pop into my head, and I send a message to my business partners, it can be annoying and things don’t get done, because they’re forgotten about.
Same for family, right? Now my daughter is in middle school, and has a phone. I hate having to remind her of things, and she isn’t a fan of asking me over and over if I got her the new folder she needed three weeks ago.
The answer? Well, for those in my life, it’s the Wunderlist app.
I’m able to share lists with everyone in my life. Reminders are set, and lists shared across multiple platforms. I can access my lists through my Android phone, but also on my iPad. I love when apps work on both Android and iOS. It makes it so much easier for everyone in my life!
Everything I write for my to-do list that sits by my desk, is then put into the corresponding lists on Wunderlist: family, work, grocery, private (my personal to-dos that concern no one else,) and even travel. Whatever list I need to create, it can be created, shared if I so wish, and reminders can be set. EVEN BETTER? I can attach files to the to-do list items, along with notes.
There’s no room for any excuses for things not getting done anymore! I don’t have to remind anyone about things to be done. It saves me a ton of time, and my sanity.
IFTTT (If this, then that)
Repetitive work need to be done regularly? Personally, I handle social media, and much of it requires a crazy amount of time each day. After finding IFTTT, I realized how much time I was dedicating to tasks zapping tons of my work day. IFTTT allows users to use pre-built “applets” to automate many tasks, such as collecting Twitter links designated to a certain social media campaign I’m working on.
Instead of hunting through my Twitter feed for each Tweet, IFTTT is doing it for me based on my Twitter handle, and a specific hashtag used for the campaign. It places them into a spreadsheet, and at the end of the campaign, I have every Tweet for the brand to check out. It’s a huge time saver.
The time saver I use is a pre-built one, but IFTTT allows you to build custom tasks using the pre-built applets, and services. Whatever combination is needed to trigger what needs to be done, is more than likely available on IFTTT, also known as “If This, Then That.”
Passwords. Just give everyone headaches, don’t they? Writing them down, trying to remember them, and resetting them. No one likes wasting time doing all of this, but we do need to keep our passwords safe. Instead of having 300 different passwords to remember, use LastPass. You’ll have to remember one master password, while the 300 different ones are safe and secure in the password manager.
Don’t take my word for it, head over and check out LastPass for yourself. It’ll all make sense when you have it in front of you, I promise.
PS – if you shop online often, you’ll love LastPass. It’ll fill out your payment information for you, saving tons of time. Might get you into a bit of spending trouble, but that’s between you and your bank account. I’m just here to let you know the time saving aspects, so you can be more productive.
If you’re working with multiple people for your business, or some kind of project, Trello can save a ton of time. With Trello, you can create Boards to help keep your various projects organized. Each board has tasks listed, with notes, and files, and links, attributed to each task. The app allows for collaboration with coworkers, as well as friends, which makes it great for any type of collaborative project. Plus, it’s FREE forever.
If you’re not part of a group, it’s still a great way to organize yourself, and your projects. Give a test drive, I mean, it’s free. Why not try!
One thing I hate about web conferences, and web meetings: having to download software to be able to attend the meeting, or coordinate the meeting. Instead of doing it the old way with software to download, try Join.Me. It’s web conferencing without a need to download any software, because it’s hosted right on the web. Just create the meeting, and send the meeting code to the attendees.
It’s simple, takes little effort, and time. The trick is to get the right time, and day for a meeting, right? That leads us to the next great find, Doodle.
Back in the day, I was an administrative assistant. One of my responsibilities as an admin assistant? Scheduling meetings. Meetings with MULTIPLE attendees. Yup. All I had was a phone, and email back in the old days. I spent HOURS tracking down each attendees schedule, and going back and forth with options for the meeting dates, and times, so each attendee could participate.
Honestly, it was the worst part of being an admin assistant, and probably the impetus for my desire to move up in the company QUICKLY. However, these days, an app like Doodle, would be a blessing. Doodle figures out the best time for a meeting.
No more going back and forth over the phone, or through emails, wasting time. Want to schedule a meeting, just send out the meeting information, provide attendees with options for the meeting times, and the app handles figuring out the best time slot for everyone.
If you’re required to track time worked on projects, as well as expenses, you’ll love Harvest. Need to invoice a client? No problem, Harvest can do this, too. Harvest has different time tracking options to fit your work style. If you prefer to have a timer track the work, or just enter hours once the work is complete, it’s got you covered.
Time can be tracked to specific clients, and tasks for specific clients, plus it has a spot to add notes in order to keep track of exactly what you’ve been working on.
There’s a Mac app, Chrome extension, Safari extension, and a mobile versions for iPhone and Android, too. However, that’s not all. You can connect Harvest to a variety of tools, too. IFTTT is one of those tools, just in case you wanted to know.
There’s a free version, and paid versions, and with how much time this bad boy saves, it’s definitely priced well for a freelancer, or solo entrepreneur.
Document scanning… it sucks. When you’re out in the field, and need to scan a receipt, or an important document, what do you end up doing? Snapping a photo of it, right? Instead, Genius Scan allows you to scan the documents, and receipts, and creates a digital version of it. A PDF. Easy to file away, email, share, whatever needs to be done with the document.
I love the fact that it can create a multi page PDF. It’s an amazing time saver, and the quality of the scans is top notch. I mean, I have a great camera on my phone, but it isn’t going to cut out all the garbage around the document I want to scan, and creating a high quality PDF of the document. It’s all about keeping things professional, organized, and of course, it’s important to save time!
If you’re in charge of planning not only your business travel, but also your personal travel, Hopper’s a great app to utilize. I used to spend hours hunting for the best deals for my travel dates. Now? I enter my travel information into the Hopper app, and wait for it to tell me when the flights I need aren’t going to mean selling internal organs to pay for them! Let Hopper be your “assistant,” and free up hours of airplane ticket price comparisons.
It’s right on your phone, and it’ll alert you of great prices for your travel dates! Try it out, the worst that can happen? You get a great deal on airfare!
How do you manage your time?
Do you have tips, and tricks, to help manage your time in order to increase your productivity? Share them with us! We love learning about new apps, strategies, and processes, to increase productivity!