By Heidi Thompson
Most of the time, when people say they’re too busy, they’re just not organizing their tasks properly. I hear people tell me all the time how hard it is to keep up with their email or social media or about a million other things, but it’s not if you use the right tools and approach it strategically. There are lots of tools that will help you make the most of your time but these 7 tools easily save me 5 hours per week at the very least. That’s a bare minimum of 20 hours per month or 240 hours per year. Imagine what you could do with that kind of time!
I subscribe to a lot of emails and I love reading them but they can be distracting. Unroll.me has allowed me to create an actual system for going through all of the great emails I get. Every afternoon, Unroll.me sends me a digest of the emails I got in the form on 1 single email. That allows me to take 30 minutes to go through it all at once at a time that works for me. If you use Google Apps to host your email, check out Unroll.me here.
Social media can be a huge time-suck for people and it’s easy to get lost in it. That’s why I knew I had to figure out a way to scale back the amount of time I spent on social media while still sharing great content. I had been using Hootsuite to schedule posts but it’s not the easiest way to schedule them so that didn’t stick. I came across Buffer and it has totally changed the way I use social media. It let’s me schedule posts to my Twitter account, Facebook page, Google+ profile and LinkedIn profile with the click of a button. Now I only spend about 30 minutes each week scheduling my social media posts.
In order to make sure I get everything done, I use Google Calendar to manage my schedule. I actually make appointments with myself and treat them as appointments with other people. Let me explain. If I know I need to write 3 blog posts this week, I’ll put a 2 hour appointment in my calendar. Now I’m not meeting with anyone but if I schedule it, I know I’ll do it. Also, I’m horrible in the morning so if I don’t have my day planned out the night before, I’ll just be totally lost until about noon. When I start my day, I can see exactly what I need to do and when so I don’t have to waste any time figuring that out.
Do you find yourself going back and forth with people trying to decide when to meet? ScheduleOnce lets you make your calendar available to whoever you give the link to. They can choose a few times for you to approve which elimates the back and forth emails trying to choose a time.
iDoneThis keeps me accountable and reminds me just how much I have accomplished. At the end of the day I get an email from iDoneThis asking me what I got done today. It connects to Google Calendar which keeps me accountable to the appointments I’ve made there. When I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and I’m just spinning my wheels, I can refer to iDoneThis and see all the things I’ve actually done. If you have an assistant or a team, they can report what they accomplished too.
When you don’t have self-control, these apps force you to. Both of these apps will block out distractions (like Facebook, email, whatever you choose) for a set amount of time and they will not allow you to access them until that time is up. No more getting sucked into Facebook or watching cat videos and wondering where all the time went!
Trello is a great tool that allows you to see everything that you need to do, are working on and have done already at a glance. It’s incredibly flexible and works like a digital whiteboard. Creating a board for each wedding you’re working on could be a great way to stay on track