During our business planning meeting last New Year, my sister and I made a very conscious decisions not to have any employees. That means that we have a very lean business operations, and as the business grows, our responsibilities grow without additional sets of hands and minds to help. That is when technology comes in handy and help us stay on track. Here are the top 3 productivity tools that keep me sane.
In a recent blog post, I talked about 17hats. What I love most about 17hats is its templates. With most of our general inquiries saved as templates, its cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks down significantly. That is not only more efficient, but it also cuts down costs (our Project Coordinator bills by the hour).
I also use templates in my Gmail; you can download Canned Responses in the Lab section of your Gmail Settings. Here is a tutorial on how to add Canned Responses to your Gmail. You can do the same with your invoices and contracts. Most word processing programs allow you to save your documents as templates that you can reuse over and over.
This applies to graphics as well. I have most of our blog title cards saved as templates in Photoshop, which makes making graphics much quicker and faster. It also keeps the branding consistent and across the board by using the same colors, fonts and style repeatedly.
photo courtesy of Evernote
I had been a long-time free account user and never really used it, but I recently listened to a podcast with Michael Hyatt. Oh man, I started to use Evernote like crazy and pretty much upgraded to a premium membership within ONE day. The BEST and most powerful tip I’ve taken away from that session was using the email address that Evernote gives us. I changed all my email subscriptions over to the Evernote email, except for the really important ones. Combined with using Unroll.me, these two tools had minimized my inbox volume tremendously, and I feel so much less stressed when I look into my inbox.
I also love how Evernote becomes an extension of my very messy brain, hard drive & bookmark bars. I was able to re-organize a lot of the sites I’ve bookmarked, tag accordingly and file everything into notebooks. It also freed up a lot of space on my laptop since I’m able to organize a lot of research materials for some passion projects that I’m working on.
Like Google Drive, you can send documents that you are working on to others to collaborate. I also love the Work Chat function when I’m communication with our freelancers on projects, ideas, and brainstorms.
I’ve tried a lot of different to-do apps, and I settled on Todoist, which is simple and easy to use. I use the free version; the design is simple and beautiful, and I have both mobile and desktop versions. The paid version has a lot more bells and whistles but the free version works for me right now.
I pretty much brain dump everything into the app, and I prioritize them accordingly. I love that I can see my to-do items for the next seven days in a glance. The app also now syncs with Evernote, Google Calendar & Pocket, which makes this app even more powerful.
If you are curious about what other tools we use all the time in our business, take a peek in our toolbox.
HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT ARE SOME PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS THAT YOU USE ALMOST EVERY DAY? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW.
*Referral link: I get a little referral perk if you signed up via my link at no additional cost to you.
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