“How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever.” — David Norris
Time is precious in my book. It is the one thing that once it is gone, you can’t get it back. That is why I find it so important to be in the flow when it comes to how you choose to intentionally spend your time. As a business owner how you use time is crucial to:
- Earning money and profitability
- Creativity and innovation
- Serving customers well and delivering high quality work
- The ability to expand and grow
Just to name a few…
Clients and colleagues ask me all the time about what tools I use to simplify and be more productive. While what is or is not considered productive is definitely personal: Some people love time blocking their schedule for instance while others rage against and would take root canal over time blocking. One thing is common across most people. The easier, more convenient, and consistent your systems are, the more likely you are to use and benefit from them.
Here are my top 5 current favorites for making life easier, getting the right things done, and freeing yourself up for what matters most to you.
This handy note taking and filing app can be used on the web and via mobile devices (Android and iOS). It is like a giant filing system of notes you take, web sites that you “clip”, or articles you save. The power is in the tagging. By tagging each note with a category of your own making you basically have a compendium of important stuff at your fingertips wherever you go.
I use this as a swipe files for ideas to use with clients, marketing ideas, and quick notes from seminars, and important tips I receive. I also use it to track books I want to read, wines I want to buy, and recipes I find. It is easy, versatile, and free (there is a premium version but I haven’t needed it yet and I use this all the time). So free yourself of sticky notes and random pages of magazines and check out Evernote here.
Do you create to-do lists? Who doesn’t? This app is a brilliant way to capture all your to-do lists in a way that makes sense. You can nest them, tag them, search them, and mark them complete. It works via the web and mobile devices (Android, iOS). I use this to capture immediate to-do’s and takeaways from meetings and seminars. I also use it for tasks I want to get to but not immediately. This way I don’t forget and I have a focus point for my efforts. Check out Workflowy here.
Storing files in the cloud is a lifesaver. Particularly if you have both a Mac and a PC and never the two shall meet on your home network. It’s also incredibly handy to be able to grab documents from wherever you are using a mobile device. Since you can share certain files and folders with other users (or publicly) and adjust the degree of access rights, it is a must-have for teams. While I know Google Drive can also do a lot of this, I was already invested in Dropbox with my team. It allows me to work seamlessly with my team as well as work on-the-go. I also upload my camera photos here as a way to back them up and access them from other devices. Free up to 5GB. Learn more about Dropbox here.
Have you ever spent forever playing email or phone tag trying to schedule time to meet with someone? Exhausting time-suck right? Enter automated scheduling that is integrated you’re your existing calendar. While I still believe in the personal touch, this has come in handy many times over. I use this tool to set up appointments with prospects, potential partners, and other hard-to-schedule meetings. My assistant still offers personal touch scheduling to all my one-on-one clients and I’ll certainly set up appointments via phone or in-person as it makes sense. If used wisely, it can save you tremendous time and money. Free to try, $49/year and up. Learn more about TimeTrade here.
Are you tired of taking notebooks full of notes from seminars, conferences, and meetings and then never being able to find what you want? Worse yet, your best Aha’s get vanquished to a pile on a shelf somewhere? I love using Notability (iPad app only) to take notes. I can type or use the stylus, draw, highlight, or otherwise personalize whatever I want. The notes are filed by subject and category and I can automatically sync them with Dropbox. How I find it most productive is to keep all my notes from a particular event in Notability with my immediate action items transferred to Workflowy. That way I capture the big picture but can take action fast. Learn more about the Notability app here.
What are your favorite tools that keep you productive? Would love to hear from you in the comments….
Note: None of these links are affiliate links, I receive no compensation and have no affiliation with these tools except for a few hundred extra megabyte storage on Dropbox for recommending them. I simply use them and they make a huge difference in my sanity and productivity and wanted to share them with you.
Need help getting organized and putting systems in place so you’re more productive and feel more freedom? Contact me today for a conversation to explore how I can help you break free from “too much to do” syndrome.
4 thoughts on “My Top 5 Productivity Tools for Business Owners”
Thanks Paula. I'm always looking for good productivity apps. While I use Dropbox and Evernote, I clearly don't use them to full advantage (as evidenced by the random scraps of paper on my desk and multiple files and documents saved to my desktop.) And some of the others you mentioned I wasn't familiar with. Excellent, share-worthy post!
So glad it was helpful Bev!! I don't know if you could ever be 100% full advantage to using the apps, but there's always some new level of ease that can be created from my experience.
Thanks for commenting and sharing!
My recent post The Myth of Pushing Through Pain
Love that Workflowy! That's new for me! Thanks Paula! I have used all the others too! Great tips!
My recent post Why Self Confidence Is Your Secret Weapon For Business Success
Thanks so much for taking time to comment Cena! It is a great tool and for you and the Mom's in your entrepreneurial community the cool thing is you can merge your personal, kids, business to-do's and with proper tagging filter out only what is of immediate concert. You don't lose the other stuff, but you don't get bogged down with it either.
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