I love finding ways to save time in my business. Who is with me on this?
Each of these five tools is used by me in my business so I know they work well, they’ll save you time too.
1. Online Calendar Scheduling
Do you spend AGES on email going back and forward with clients to find a time that suits you both for your appointment?
I used to. That is until I discovered the magic that is online scheduling calendars.
These simple tools mean that clients can look at my online calendar, choose a time that suits them and voila! An appointment is made.
I use Calendly for my free mini-strategy sessions and for my paying clients.
I love that this tool allows my clients to select their own time zone so that the available times are shown in their time zone not mine. This feature alone saves a pile of time as we don’t need to both be comparing time zones (especially tricky around day light saving time).
The free version of Calendly allows you to have one event (i.e. type of appointment) at any one time, which may be all that you need when you are starting out.
The paid version is $10 a month (if you pay monthly) or $8 a month (if you pay annually) and that gives you unlimited events.
I compared a number of different scheduling tools before choosing Calendly. You can read about the different tools I tried here Save Time With Online Calendar Scheduling Tools.
Do you use an online scheduling tool?
I’m a big fan of scheduling my social media posts in advance. This was a necessity when I travelling throughout Latin America as I couldn’t be sure that I would have an internet connection on the day that I needed to post.
Because I use my DSLR camera for 99% of the photos on my Instagram feed my photos are sitting on my laptop. Using Hootsuite allows me to upload my photos, and my text, to my phone for easy posting.
You can also schedule posts within Hootsuite (up to 30 days with the free version). I love having this option as it means that I can have multiple posts lined up which saves me lots of time as I love to batch.
What tools do you use to schedule out your social media?
If This, Then That (IFTTT) is a tool that automatically shares your social media posts from one platform to another (as well as LOTS of other things).
I use IFTTT to automatically share my Instagram posts to Twitter. What I like about the tool is that it posts the image rather than just a link to my Twitter feed.
IFTTT is constantly adding more tools to its service so pop on along and see if there are any that could help you streamline your work as the tool have lots of options for you.
Speaking of batching, it’s tool number 4.
Batching is simply when you combine similar tasks together and do them all in one allocated period of time.
It’s like when I used to do the ironing (I do NOT like ironing!). It was much less painful to do the ironing all in one hit while I was watching a favourite TV show rather than getting out the ironing board and iron each day to do one shirt. Thankfully my lifestyle no longer requires me to iron – in fact I don’t think I’ve done any this year!
In my business I use batching to:
- Brainstorm ideas for blog posts and social media posts
- Write a number of blog posts and social media posts in one sitting
- Edit photos
- Create graphics for blog posts and social media posts
I find that splitting out my tasks in this way, and then batching the work, means that I am far more productive than if I did one task then switched to another then switched to another.
5. Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a fantastic time-management and productivity tool developed in the 1980’s (such a good decade. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Indiana Jones. Blade Runner. The Princess Bride). It’s named after the tomato-shaped timer that the inventor used as a student.
I’d heard of the technique but not tried it because I thought I was disciplined enough with my time. Let’s face it. I thought I knew better!
So I gave it a go…
Wow! What a difference.
I now take more breaks, which I’d sometimes skip before. As a result I’m much more focused.
The idea behind the technique is to use a timer to break down your work into intervals, separated by short breaks. The technique is based on the idea that frequent breaks improve mental agility.
The usual method is to do a Pomodoro of 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. You then do 3-4 Pomodoro’s before taking a longer break.
You can use a physical timer (phone, kitchen timer) if you have one. I like to use an online timer. Here are some options for you:
Do you have any favourite tools that save you time in your business?