As an entrepreneur you should always be striving for productivity.
If you can do, in three days, the work that takes other people a week, you’re already well on your way to creating something lasting. Being efficient doesn’t necessarily mean working more either. For me, it’s about the best possible use of the time that’s available to you.
But how can you make your working practices more efficient?
In this post I’ll show you three tools that can help you streamline the way you work and quite simply get more done! That’s what we all want right? Entrepreneurs are generally pretty busy, so time isn’t always plentiful. Making more of the time you do have will be crucial to your progress.
1. Automate Daily Online Tasks with IFTTT.
IFTTT has the tagline:
“Put the internet to work for you.”
There’s no doubt that the internet as whole is incredibly important to entrepreneurs. It’s a way of connecting with people, spreading the word about your latest project and getting more done.
IFTTT uses a system of ‘Triggers’ and ‘Actions’ to automatically perform a huge range of tasks. A combination of a trigger, say getting a new email, and an action, say adding the email to a spreadsheet, is called a ‘Recipe’.
Now you can create completely custom recipes from a huge range of services, including Gmail, Facebook, Feedly, Buffer, Evernote, WordPress, Tumblr, SMS and loads more. This means that the possibilities are nearly endless.
Think about the tasks you do every day and try to automate as many of them as possible with IFTTT. This might only save you a few minutes here and there, but when you consider the time saved across a month it becomes much more significant.
To give you some real world examples:
This recipe will add new RSS feed items to Pocket. Really useful for quickly accessing the content you like and staying up to date with industry news. This saves me a lot of time accessing different sites or chasing down the latest posts. It’s always in my Pocket app waiting for me!
This recipe automatically adds all my receipts into a handy Google Doc and saves me hours every month.
Finally, I’ll give you this one which adds all my new Twitter followers to a spreadsheet. I can then add my own notes, follow them back or visit their website. All from one document! I can also highlight those who I want to really engage with and add them to a Twitter list.
2. Make Document Handling More Efficient with Google Docs.
Google Docs really is a godsend for Entrepreneurs.
Not only does it mean your documents will be available anytime and anywhere, it also makes sharing information incredibly easy.
As Microsoft Office has been so ubiquitous for so long it can be difficult to make the leap to a new document editing platform. I can assure you though you won’t be disappointed by moving to Google Docs.
You’ve got a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation creator, drawing tools and more. It really is the complete package, at zero cost!
How long it remains a free app remains to be seen.
If you’re working in a team with people, Google Docs makes collaborative document creation easy. It’s just a case of sharing the document you’re working on with the relevant people. Click the bright blue Share button that appears in every Google Doc and type in an email address or share the link.
There’s also a built in permissions structure. If you want someone to be able to read, but not edit the document … fine! If you want to ask someone for feedback but don’t want your document to be edited, then just allow comments. Or if you’re working collaboratively on one document, allow full permissions. Google Docs will also automatically keep track of the changes that each user is making. This allows you to roll back specific changes as and when you want to!
I have found that our workflow for collaborative documents has gone through the roof since we started using Google Docs.
Perhaps most importantly however is the cloud storage that Google Docs utilize. We no longer have to worry about shared drives, email attachments or much else to do with document storage. We all know where the most up-to-date version is. I can’t tell you how much time we’ve saved by not having to merge changes from different documents or by not having to attach documents to every email we send. When you’re making changes to a document it’s automatically saved every few seconds. It gives us peace of mind and ensures that everyone is up to date.
3. Get Serious about Project Management with Asana.
Asana is a cloud based project management system.
I know project management can be a little boring and sometimes we get bogged down in project management rather than focusing on the work itself.
But Asana is, in my opinion, the best tool out there for entrepreneurs or small teams wanting to manage their projects more efficiently. Creating to do lists is easy, assigning tasks is simple, and inviting new team members is a breeze… It’s all made very simple for us!
Couple their really easy to use web app with their outstanding iOS and Android apps and you’ll soon see why this app has become so popular.
It’s helped me personally become more efficient too. I’m not likely to forget a task any time soon. I manage my own time better. Plus, making plans for the medium to long term has become much easier as my visibility of longer term projects has skyrocketed.
I really hope that the Get Busy Media readers go ahead and try out the apps I’ve mentioned here if you haven’t already. Properly utilized they can save you time and money!
And who doesn’t want to save time and money – as an entrepreneur or a small business they’re your most valuable assets by far.
Let’s hear what apps you use on a daily basis in the comments, maybe you can help another Get Busy reader out with some more tips?
Sam is a marketing executive at Easy Offices. They help businesses of all sizes locate the perfect office space. They work primarily in the UK and have helped thousands of start-ups secure ideal serviced office space. You can follow their content on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.