Stop saying you’re stressed. Stop saying you’ve got tonnes to do. Start being more productive. Work faster. Develop a leaner approach to your work and create more free time to enjoy the more important things in life. This “stuff to do” place isn’t a great place to be. Get out of there. Fast. We’ll show you how to streamline your work days & make more time for you, without sacrificing work quality! (of course).
Lean into SaaS Automation
Technology means we don’t wait for anything anymore. Out of hours? Send an email. Don’t know it? Google it. We’ve also become accustomed to quick responses. It easy to get into a trap where you are hiding behind your technology. Hiding being loaded inboxes, missed calls, to-do’s and such. You’ll need to lean into software automation if you are to break the cycle of endless work. Let tech work for you. Stop working like its 2009. Speed is as valuable to your business as the dollar. Time is money, utilise tech & you can be rolling in both.
Don’t be a slave to technology. Its 2021, let technology work for you.
Software can do it, but not alone.
Software that gets stuff done for you isn’t new. Everyone talks about time saving & ‘hacks’. Even we’ve done it before.
It doesn’t matter what you do. If you use a computer or a phone, these steps can help:
1. Create a strategic method for working
2. Understand that Email is a tool, not a homepage.
3. Get more Saas to automate your life.
1. Creating a strategic method for work
Most importantly you need to take a step back and ask yourself how effective your work is. Are you doing what it takes to get where you want to be? Focus on effectiveness & efficiency.
Being effective is doing the right things. Pick a goal & do it.
Being efficient is about doing things in an economical way, process-oriented. Don’t make things longer than they need to be.
Effectiveness is picking a direction and efficiency is running really fast in that direction.
Use the 4D’s:
Do it, Defer it, Delegate it or Drop it.
2. Email is just a tool. Nothing more.
Your full inbox looks like work, but its not. It’s just an illusion. Stop staring at it all day. The stuff on your to-do list is work. Your inbox hasn’t passed through your 4Ds yet. Here are a few ways to streamline your relationship with your email inbox:
1. Limit your checks & turn off notifications.
Unless you are a customer service agent, you don’t need to respond instantly. Check your email twice per day. Spend no more than 30mins on each check. The quicker you continue to respond over email, the quicker your contacts will expect you to respond. If you answer emails at 11pm, don’t be surprised when you keep getting emails at 11pm. Have some self respect & put it away.
Don’t be unresponsive, be realistic. Most emails do not need instant answers.
Don’t take pride in multitasking. Do one thing and do it well. TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS. The people who are ‘putting fires out’ all day & working off their feet are most likely just working slower & to a lower standard.
Don’t let your notifications mess with your flow. Turn them off, don’t be a slave to your technology. You will work faster & to a higher quality.
2. Create a priority inbox
1 inbox for the emails, CC’s and BCC’s. 1 inbox for important people, important projects and stuff that you are currently engaged with. Don’t make the mistake of thinking everything is urgently important, it’s not. Figure out what needs doing, don’t try & do it all.
If you get an intimidating amount of work email this will safe your sanity.
3. Send shorter emails. Stop waffling.
This sort of explains itself. If Hemingway could write a story in 6 words, you should be able to make your emails more like tweets. Your recipients will appreciate it. Get to the point.
4. 15 Minute meetings
Just because most meeting software has a 1 hour default block doesn’t mean that you need to conform. Meetings usually take an hour because of padding time, people are late/unprepared. Now you are working from home more often, your colleagues & clients have no reason to jump on a call unprepared. No padding time. Get to the point. Everyone will like that you keep it short, they want that to.
You will be amazed by the urgency a 15min meeting instills in people. It will not be too short get everything done, I promise you that.
If you are going to shorten your working engagements, you will have to be super professional. These will be your meeting rules:
- Never be late. Ever
- Have an agenda. Be clear & share it before the meeting.
- Follow your agenda like a script. Don’t deviate from the plan.
- Have an outcome. Don’t decide to ‘meet again to discuss some more’.
3) Jump into the SaaS pool & experiment.
Everyone talks about productivity tools, the AppStore & PlayStore are full of them. Give them a whirl. Using an app like Invoice2Go can save you days worth of work. Seriously. Here’s an article we previously wrote on The Cloudtools you should be using.
Here are a few of our favourites and how we use them:
If you run a B2B business, Invoice2Go allows you to invoice your clients and suppliers in seconds. Its a super useful tool that we ourselves have used in the past (for a different business). You can create & send immaculate professional invoices from your phone, take payments & refund orders. All in a few clicks. If you run a small business where you are the main workforce, get it. Thank us later.
Do you struggle with your accounting? Is keeping track of VAT a nightmare? Are your tax returns always a last minute struggle? Then Quickbooks Online is the tool for you. Quickbooks takes a lot of the hassle out of accounting and you don’t need to be an experienced accountant to make the most of it. Whether you’re filling in a self-assessment form, or need a more comprehensive accounting solution, Quickbooks has a product that suits your need.
If you use just one cloud-based tool for your business, make sure it’s Office 365. Why? Because it offers so much in one product. It provides all the usual Office tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. But there are also a huge range of other tools in there. From Skype for messaging and video conferencing to OneDrive for storing all your important documents digitally, Office 365 has pretty much everything you’ll need to make your business more productive.
Need to get your working life organised? Trello offers an excellent way to do just that. Although it’s most frequently used as a to-do list, Trello’s flexibility means that you can adapt it to meet your needs. You can get some advice on how to make the most of Trello here.
Pipedrive is the first CRM tool built from a sales persons perspective. It allows you to track & manage orders, grow your customer base, keep in touch with clients, schedule meetings & share information with a developing sales team. It’s the small business alternative to the below tools; Salesforce. Pipedrives ease of use makes it a user favourite among smaller, budget conscious businesses. The user interface is so simple you will be a master in days.
If you’re looking to streamline your sales process, then Salesforce is worth looking into. In fact, the company claims that people who use its software see, on average, a 37% increase in sales. Weighing it at £45 a month for the full CRM tool, Salesforce isn’t the cheapest tool around. However, if it does what you need then it should more than pay for itself. Slightly more complex to use, takes a while to learn but is designed for large businesses.
Need to jot down your ideas or set up a to-do list that you can check off as you go along? Then Evernote is well worth checking out. Its free version is great if all you need is a simple way of keeping track of your thoughts. However, if you need a more powerful note taking solution then bear in mind that Office 365 comes with OneNote – Microsoft’s own note taking tool. So you might be better off opting for Office 365 and all the other features it offers, rather than just paying for a standalone note taking tool like Evernote.
Dropbox is great for sharing and storing your documents. The most basic package is free, which is great if you’re just starting out and need to save as much money as possible. However, that free package is limited to just 2GB of space, which means you’ll struggle to share multiple large files. There is a paid for version of Dropbox available, but again you may want to take a look at Office 365 first to see if that better meets your needs. Office 365 provides 1TB of storage space, along with a whole host of other useful tools.
That’s all folks.
When you create a strategic working method you will find you get more done in less time.
Create the headspace you need to tackle the bigger plans for your life.
Work smart, be both super effective & super efficient.
Don’t be one of those people who brag about how long they work for & how stressful it is… that’s SO last decade.