Productivity is paramount to running a successful business. But for the self-employed it can present a number of challenges as you juggle numerous clients with conflicting workloads and deadlines – then, of course, there’s your own business to manage. How can I cope?! Stay tuned, for help is at hand. The following five points will boost productivity, make you more efficient and hopefully bring some useful apps to your attention.
Tips And Apps To Boost Productivity
There are many useful online apps and businesses there to support you. The problem isn’t finding one, it’s finding the right ones for you. Without further ado, let’s get started with five great ways you can boost productivity.
Asana is a time and work tracking application available on web and mobile. It was created by by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein, who both worked with Facebook employees to boost productivity. It is an app I use and highly recommend. It helps me plan out a week, month or year and know which of my remote contractors has been assigned which tasks. It send automated email reminders to both you and your remote staff, which is incredibly useful. This is a great project management tool, which has a free option for up to 15 members, and paid plans for larger teams or companies.
Having a calendar to book appointments, meetings and interviews is essential. Calendly is a great choice as integrates with numerous other calendar apps (for example Google Calendar), meaning you don’t have to juggle numerous calendar applications and run the risk of double-booking yourself. This tends not to go over too well. Calendly allows you to email a link to people for them to book a meeting at a time that is convenient to them. It also allows the owner to block out time they are unavailable. It has a free plan, with limited but usable functionality, and more options are various pricing levels should you need extra functionality.
3. Invoicing and Bookkeeping Software
Keeping track of your work and correctly invoicing are essential to boost productivity and earn a living as eating food cannot be underrated Too often people can spend too long trying to backtrack on invoices, fail to account for their time correctly, and miss time and tasks. Also not having an adequate accounting system in place will create havoc and headaches during tax season. Two popular options for small business are Freshbooks and Quickbooks. Neither are free but both have a number of options that are all very affordable, specifically their entry-level options, which are $15 and $13 respectively per month.
4. Time Management
Take Breaks. That’s Right, It’s Not All Work, Work, Work…
While stopping work might not sound like a great idea when you’re buried in an avalanche of tasks, but plenty of research exists to say that taking brief and regular breaks helps to keep you focused. This can be especially true if you are sat staring at a computer screen all day.
Keep Meetings To A Minimum
Meetings are essential, it’s often how we get new clients, update existing ones, or hire new staff or freelancers. But to boost productivity, keep them to a minimum and keep them short and on-point. It is very easy to get sidetracked and talk at tangents. It is essential, therefore, to control your meetings, keep everyone focused on the task(s) at hand, and ensure that they result it action points.
The Myth of Multitasking
Job posts are a prime example of asking people to be able to multitask. This is not a good idea. Being able to manage deadlines and workflow is essential but focus on one task at a time. Trying to split time invariably ends up wasting time. By planning your workflows, days and weeks (with Asana, for example) it is best to prioritize tasks, allocate sufficient time to completing them and then move on to the next.
5. Hire a Virtual Assistant
You knew it was coming didn’t you?! Well, what kind of business owner would I be if I didn’t indulge in shameless self-promotion (is there any other kind?). The realities are, though, that this can save you time and energy to focus on what is really important – making money.
By hiring a Virtual Assistant to take on tasks that distract you from running your business efficiently you can boost productivity an astounding amount.
I have a number of testimonials that highlight how delegating repetitive, time consuming admin tasks, web management tasks, and social media postings can free up a lot of time.
Think of hiring a Virtual Assistant as an investment in yourself, not as an additional cost. It will be far cheaper in the long run to delegate tasks which consume your time and stop you focusing on what makes you money.