As small business owners, our world moves fast. There seems to be a never ending quest to keep up with everything happening online today. And that’s before factoring in all of the communication that happens in one day alone! So how can you get more done each day with less time and more going on than ever before? What are some of the tools that can help you to maximize your productivity each day? Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Email Organization and Tracking
One of the biggest challenges in the business world is keeping track of the hundreds of emails that fill an inbox each day. Whether you’re responding to the sender to ensure your message was understood, or reminding yourself to take another look at a task, email is an important part of the day. Boomerang does this and more.
Cost: Free for the first 10 messages. $14.99 per month for Unlimited Message Credits
This user-friendly email management tool allows an individual to verify whether emails are being opened, and tracks the location of those opened emails in real-time. The Gmail extension also allows users to check the status of links clicked, schedule emails for specific dates and times, and save templates for frequently used emails.
Cost: 5 emails and 3 email templates per day are free; $30 a month will get you unlimited use of their service
If you are looking for an app that provides maximum productivity and minimal distractions, look no further. ActiveInbox enables you to turn emails into tasks, organize emails and projects, review tasks at a later time, and that’s only the beginning. There are quite a few time-saving features. You are able to back up and sync preferences, set deadlines on email, and even review by that deadline.
Cost: Free for basic or $25.95 a year for ActiveInbox Plus
Industry News and Information
Flipboard synchronizes individual social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) with blogs, news sites, and general topics you are interested in. Everyday, it provides “top news” so you can scroll through quickly when busy at work. Not only does it help them learn the most popular headlines of the day, but they can also tweet any story they want with the simple click of a button.
Use Pinboard to keep track of stories that will help with research for blog posts, guests articles, or any content we produce. Tag stories with categories so you can easily revisit them later. It also serves as a great alternative to a search engine — you can search a topic and browse other user’s pins.
Cost: $10.04 (one-time fee)
The quick click of a button can be an incredibly valuable tool when there is a lot to be done. Email this page is an extension that is added directly to your toolbar. If you have a webpage you want to share, highlight it and click the mailbox icon. This will cause the portion of the article you are interested in to be emailed through your default email client. It is simple, effective, and incredibly convenient.
Wunderlist is an amazing tool to manage everything on your plate. It is a really great to-do list that allows you to create separate lists, add notes, set priority and deadline dates, share with team members, and more. It syncs across all devices for free, and also has a desktop version. You can set recurring tasks so that nothing is ever missed or forgotten.
This is another task management application that is very simple. You can set your task with a specific due date or as a recurring task with tags, time estimates, and more. Each morning, write your to-do list of items. This tool is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play store, so everything you need to accomplish is right at your fingertips.
Cost: Free for everything I use it for; there’s an option to upgrade to a PRO account for $25 a year
Its feature set is quite extensive, and the app handles workflow from start to finish. With bigger projects, this app helps to prioritize action items and make sure all information is available throughout the process.
Cost: Ipad – $9.99, iPhone – $4.99, Midnight Inbox Classic – Free, Midnight Inbox version 2.0 – $19.99
Notes and Organization
I live and breath Evernote. Inside, you have your notebooks for all of your different subjects (or in this case, clients). The notebooks are all sorted according to your preference, making them easy to reference later. You can sort by date created, date updated, source, size of note, etc. It also works with pretty much every computer, phone, and mobile device on the market.
If you are looking for a certain note that you can’t seem to find, don’t worry — everything is searchable by keyword, as well as by tag. It is a cinch to stay organized, capture meeting notes, set up action items, store important screenshots and information, and share important notes with the team. Need I say more?
You can use Powerbot to send notes to your peers. The app can attach the notebook to your email, archive to Evernote once sent, or save an email thread directly to Evernote once it has been read.
This app shows your contacts’ social media presence right inside your inbox, along with their picture and location. This is a great way to learn a little more about the interests of your contacts or clients through what they post on their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, etc). This insight helps you get to know your client on another level and allows you to build a stronger relationship by creating conversations. With clients and contacts all over the world, it’s also a nice reminder of their time zones and where they are and what may be going on in their neck of the woods. While I know a lot of this information off the top of my head, it’s a good reminder and really helps with personalizing emails and other communications. The more personal I can be with contacts, the better the relationships I can build with them.
Next Meeting Lab
It is located on the sidebar in Google Calendar, and allows the user to see upcoming meetings without actually clicking on the events within the calendar. To access this helpful tool, go to Google Calendar —> Settings —> Labs —> Next Meeting (Located towards the bottom of the Lab’s list). There are many other great tools on the Labs page as well if you are looking to spruce up your calendar.
This extension is quickly downloaded to the Chrome toolbar, and allows you to see time zones all around the world. When planning events in other cities or trying to set up a call with another country, this tool is a lifesaver.
When you are trying to explain something to someone through email, I find it most helpful when you can actually see what is being discussed so no items are lost in translation. Awesome Screenshot helps you better communicate the whole picture of what’s happening through visual evidence.
This blocks access to selected websites during selected times of the day. So it forces users to focus on a single task at a time without too much distraction. No procrastinating around here!
At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE consultation.