Being a business owner is a round-the-clock job. And let’s be honest, it probably isn’t exactly what you were expecting when you first signed up.We get it, you’re constantly having to manage things and it might seem like you’re always battling against the clock to get everything done in a day.
But never fear, we’re here to help demystify the technology that can free up some of your time, and make you more productive and efficient.
Here are 14 tips that will boost your productivity and efficiency.
1. Cloudbased collaboration tools
Google Apps for Work or Office 365 are both powerful tools for a business of any size.
Google Apps for Work gives you 24/7 access to your email and an entire suite of productivity software, which includes a word processor and spreadsheet creator. It also offers collaboration plugins for almost everything you could imagine. The best part? Everything is in the cloud meaning things cannot get lost or left back at the office.
2. Cloud based project management tools
Tracking projects and associated tasks can be a nightmare. Project management tools help keep everyone accountable and on track to complete a job.
Cloud based project management tools such as Basecamp and Trello make it possible for your team to keep up to speed with everything that’s going on, no matter where in the world they are based.
3. Cloud based point of sale (POS)
If you’re in the business of selling products, it is time to say goodbye to antiquated cash registers and make the switch to a cloud based POS.
POS solutions simplify inventory and stock orders, show you what your most popular items are and let you keep an eye on the business and sales - no matter your location.
A cloud based POS can be pricey to onboard, but the hours saved in administration work are well worth the implementation costs. And, the accurate sales metrics will also help you tweak your offerings to increase profits.
4. Automated marketing tools
Automated marketing tools are essential if you want to increase your productivity. These tools can range from a simple email marketing solution such as Mail Chimp all the way to an all-inclusive system like Hubspot or Pardot.
These platforms are used to measure and automate your marketing efforts. But it’s important to remember that you will need to have a strategy in place to implement them successfully. You’ll also initially need to take the time to learn to use the program, but it will be worth it in the long run.
5. Social media suites
Social media is a time consuming task for many business owners. Avoid the black hole of time wasting by moving to a social media management suite. It can reduce the hours you spend on social dramatically.
Programs such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social bring all of your social accounts together and let you schedule and track your efforts in the one place.
General productivity boosting tips
6. Reduce the spam
Love reading industry publications, but your inbox is overflowing with information? Roll all of your newsletter subscriptions with Unrollme. It compiles all of your email subscriptions in one place and lets you unsubscribe with one click.
7. Get Lastpass
Forgetting and resetting passwords is a major time waster and distraction. Avoid this by installing Lastpass — it remembers your passwords and keeps them safe. The best part is that logging in only takes one click!
8. Invest in two screen
Two monitors gives you the ability to copy and paste easier, stops you getting distracted by switching between tabs and and can reduce the amount of documents you need to print.
9. Distraction by social media
Personal social media is an absolute time killer. One minute you’re looking at an email, then someone's signature links to their Linkedin and next minute you're watching cat videos. Monitor how you spend your time online with Rescue Time.
If you discover you’re slightly addicted to social media, look at installing a free app like Self Control or Freedom. These block your access to sites that distract during the work day.
10. The Pomodoro Technique
It can be incredibly hard to stay on task. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate try the Pomodoro technique. The basic idea is to set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a single task for that amount of time. No distractions. When the time is up you take a 5 minute breather and do something else completely. Then, reset the timer and start the process again. Watch this Pomodoro technique video for a more indepth explanation.
11. Be active
You’ve heard it before but it’s time to listen up — it’s scientifically proven that exercise gets more blood and oxygen pumping through your body. This not only benefits your physical health but also your mental health too. If Foreign Minister Julie Bishop can go for a jog every morning, so can you.
12. Feed your brain.
Do not skip meals and don’t go for a McDonald's run. Your mind cannot function at an optimal rate unless it gets the supplements it needs — this does not mean coffee all day. Nourish your body.
13. Take your phone off the desk.
Did you know the average person checks their smartphone 110 times a day? And up to every 6 seconds in the evening? Turn your phone on silent mode and keep it off your desk.
14. Plan your day the night before.
US President Barack Obama plans his entire day the night before. Planning gives you the best opportunity to start the day off on task, rather than wasting time working out what to do.
There’s no doubt SME owners and operators have a tough job. Work often spills into your personal life, but you can reduce the chances of this if you utilise some of the above tips and technologies.
Smart technology can automate tasks for you and give you easy access to information which will boost your productivity and overall efficiency.