Top 5 Technical Tips to Take Back Your Time
By: Kelly Louro
Here’s an honest question for you – how much of your week so far has been productive? And we mean like, really productive. The kind that prompts you to take that nice, deep breath of accomplishment after you’ve finished?
We’d wager it’s pretty low, if not non-existent. And we get it – you’re running a business, so everything has to fall on you, right? Wrong. If you’re sacrificing true productivity for the day-to-day busy work, you are not fulfilling your role as the business owner/manager.
And we’re here to help. It isn’t always easy delegating – you may feel guilty or uneasy – that’s why it’s a process, and one we are going to walk you through right now.
Here are our 5 favorite tech tips and tools for leveraging your time and boosting your productivity:
Train Your Staff
Handing off work to someone else can be anxiety-inducing. But it doesn’t have to be. If you document your work properly and provide the tools your staff needs, the work should be done timely and accurately. For that, we are protocol-junkies. Sure, we have protocols written out in documents with screen shots and all that, but what we really love are videos. Our favorite software, Active Presenter, is a free tool that allows you to record your screen while also providing voice-over and easy animation.
Or, if you prefer training in real time and having your admin create the protocol themselves, tools such a Zoom or Join.me allow you to share your screen in real time and walk through the process as it happens. Ensuring proper training is the first step to peace of mind, so don’t coast through this step.
Get on the cloud
Training your staff and removing yourself from your ball & chain (aka your desk) is all for nothing if you can’t get your work done remotely. Having ease of access through remote accessibility is not only necessary, it’s almost impossible not to with many of the programs you use already. Sure, you can access your social media channels, your email, but what about your documents? Your agreements? That project you’ve been working on that you just had a huge breakthrough on? Don’t shackle yourself to the office.
Using Cloud softwares such as Office 365, Dropbox, or Google Docs is a surefire way to allow you to be productive from anywhere. If your staff is in the office and you’re out at client meetings and they have a question, don’t blind yourself to their dilemma – with remote access, you can check in, view, and even work on any and all documents you have saved. Trust us, it’s just our way of life now.
Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean you have to be completely out of the loop. There’s a ton of great tech out there designed to help you stay informed and keep tabs on the work being done in your business.
To view open projects and tasks that you and your staff have on their plates, we recommend Asana – a project management software that allows you to create teams, assign tasks, and keep up to date on all team work.
Wondering how long your team has been working on a project? Try T-Sheets – a time-tracking software that helps you and your team keep track of time spent on work. You can categorize, group, and of course connect the time-tracking with your QuickBooks for easy-to-create invoices to your clients.
Not sure what’s going on in the social media world? We recommend Hootsuite – a centralized hub where you can view and manage all of your social media channels. Schedule posts, view analytics, and even reply to comments and messages. Social media is probably one of the biggest time suckers we’ve encountered. This is surely a program you want to try out.
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you need to be out of the loop. There are a ton of great ways to stay in touch with not only your clients, but your staff as well. Some of our favorites?
Zoom is a great platform for virtual meetings. Conference calls work fine, but there’s something a little *extra* about a face to face meeting, and Zoom has the clearest quality, best customer service, and easiest interface that we’ve experienced yet.
Want something a little more low-key? Try Skype for Business. Our whole staff is on and able to message each other for phone calls, questions, or even just to say hello 😊 It’s a nice way to stay connected without it being cumbersome, plus it’s a fun throwback to the old days of AOL instant messenger (who thought that’d ever make a comeback?)
Procrastination. Excuses. Busy work. All these things are productivity killers, but they also feel pretty darn easy to do in the moment, right? Before you can ever hope to achieve a streamlined schedule, you need to train yourself. This includes throwing out the excuses, ditching the procrastination, and clearing your desk (and mind) of the busy work. The first step we recommend is working on your MBA – no, not that one. We mean “Management By Absence” – the act of literally removing yourself from the situation as to better ascertain what truly is work you need to do, and what can be delegated.
Once you’re able to recognize and prioritize the necessary from the extraneous, you need to set boundaries. Schedule time on your calendar to be unavailable. Set expectations with clients and staff early. You are not always available at their beck and call – and that’s ok.
Then, set SMART Goals. Those are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Without all the noise in the way – you can now focus on what’s truly important by only focusing on what matters to growing your business.
Productivity is the goal. Always. And it can be difficult to get there. But don’t forget the other very important reasons for leveraging your time well.
We’re talking about:
- Avoiding burnout – no one ever wants to get to that point, but it happens. Don’t let yourself be one of those people.
- Strengthening the core of Your Business – Having a strong staff at your business’ core is only going to strengthen you, your reputation, and of course, your bottom line.
- Taking time to work “on” your business – In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And yes, we know that pertains to taking time to slow down and enjoy life more often (which we are TOTALLY for as well), but it can also refer to the business world. Things are constantly changing and shifting. If you don’t stop to work ON your business once a while, you’re going to be left behind in the dust.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. This is a process and one that needs to be constantly worked on. And remember – there’s always help available. Thinking of hiring an assistant? We can help. Need some clarification on what your goals should be to earn more in your business? We can help there, too.
You can’t control time, but you can become an expert at leveraging it to boost your productivity. It will help you in the long run.