Entrepreneurs face the challenge of keeping on top of things. There are countless emails to go through every day as well as staying on track with your projects. If you have employees then there is the added task of delegating responsibilities and keeping track of their progress. And let’s not forget networking and looking for new business opportunities.
All of this must be done without being too distracted by the news, social media, watching sports and then we must also make time for our families.
So how can entrepreneur juggle life’s challenges and stay productive? The answer is by using smartphone apps and other tools that are readily available to better manage our workload.
Today I’m going to list several of my favorite tools that I use on a daily basis to help me effectively tackle my daily responsibilities and ensure I make the most of my workday.
I use Trello to manage most of my life. Whether it’s to plan a family vacation, create an editorial calendar, or follow a strict exercise regimen, Trello is there to save the day.
The main point of Trello is to give you a birds eye view of projects, large and small. In Trello there are boards, lists and cards. A board could be titled Work, a list could be titled Articles and each card would be the title of a different article.
From within each card you can set due dates, add a checklist and even invite others to collaborate on a project. This is extremely useful if your collaborating with a team member on any kind of project.
That team member doesn’t have to be a coworker though. It can be your spouse as you are jointly planning your child’s birthday party. You can create a list of what you need and each of you can check items off as you complete them. You can add comments, images and links to each card.
There are so many cloud services out there. It seems like each major company has one. There’s Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and of course Dropbox.
The reason I choose Dropbox over all of the major companies is that Dropbox works perfectly across all platforms. I use it all the time to share documents. I create a document, save it, then right click on the file to copy the Dropbox link to share. I no longer need to attach documents to emails. Edits can be made by the other party, I can then see their edits, add comments and see who has opened the document and when.
Other benefits of Dropbox include being able to recover deleted files, restore a previous version, setting expiration dates for links and of course it works on both my computer and my iPhone seamlessly.
3. Momentum Chrome Extension
Momentum replaces your new tab window with a beautifully designed simplistic one. It’s designed to keep you focused on your goals. Instead of just a blank page as your new window, your Momentum page features a full sized background, an inspirational quote and you can set your main task for the day. This way, every time you open a new window you get a reminder of what your goal is for the day.
If just one task seems too simple, realize that people often times have trouble finishing just one task per day. Set your goal the moment you open your browser window and the Momentum plugin will keep you determined to completing your main task for the day. The next time you open a new window and get tempted to waste hours on Facebook, Momentum keeps your focus where it should be.
Wait, music? I thought this was about focusing on work. Well, for me at least, listening to music on Spotify helps me to stay productive and focused. It’s so easy to be distracted by things like outside noise, the TV and your phone. But when there’s music on, none of those other things matter. I function better when there’s music on in the background.
Just like a good playlist can help you power through a tough workout, music can help you power through a day of work. Not sure what to listen to? No problem, go to the Focus section on Spotify, choose a playlist and let them do the rest.
If you’re graphically challenged yet need to make a quick logo, banner or edit a blog image, then Canva is for you. This photo editing app is nowhere near as intimidating (or expensive) as Photoshop. First of all, you can do all the editing from your browser with a simple drag and drop system.
If you know how to use Snapchat or Instagram stories you already know how to use Canva. Just choose an image, add some graphics and choose a font to add text. You can create everything from large infographics to ebook covers or just a simple blog post image. In fact, the image on this blog post was created on Canva in under 5 minutes.
6. Streak CRM For Gmail
Want to know if your emails are being read? Install the Streak CRM for Gmail chrome extension to take your GMail to another level. Tracking opens lets you see if your messages are being opened or if you’re being ignored. It shows you when, where and how many times your email has been opened. You can also track clicks, which is particularly effective if you’re sending an email newsletter. You can see what type of content resonates with your audience by checking your email analytics.
Other features include being able to schedule emails to be sent at a later date/time. If you write a lot of the same things in emails to various customers/clients, you can also save snippets, so you don’t have to keep writing the same thing over and over again. Finally, there’s also a “mail merge” option which puts emails in one thread for all those times when a subject is changed and a new thread is inadvertently created.
For just 5 bucks you can get a quick task completed on Fiverr. Don’t expect amazing results, but for simple tasks nothing beats Fiverr.
So if you’re looking to get some text translated, an article to be proofread or need a caricature/avatar made, Fiverr is the place to go.
I use Fiverr weekly for any small tasks I need help with. Here’s a sample of some gigs I’ve had completed for me the last couple of months on Fiverr:
- I bought a new blog and needed a logo. $35 later I had a perfect logo at a reasonable price.
- I also needed new content for this site, so I bought bulk articles at a rate of $10 each.
- There was an error on another blog of mine I couldn’t fix. I ordered a gig from a WordPress expert who got my code fixed.
- I ordered a review of a blog I own because I wanted the input of an impartial observer. They gave their opinion on the color scheme, style, text size and overall thoughts on the blog.
Bonus Tool: ServiceScape
Do you need an email, business plan, academic paper, blog post, or book edited? ServiceScape has the right expert editors for all of your editing needs. They have been providing professional editing services for over 17 years, and their editors are all vetted, rated, and reviewed. They even provide free sample edits upon request. So, if you’re looking for a second set of eyes to correct and polish your writing, ServiceScape is the perfect place to go. Everyone can benefit from an outside perspective.