Without question, technology has enabled us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our time and resources beyond what we imagined.
On the flip side, it’s an unforgiving beast that can consume the badly organised and easily seduced. Entrepreneurs by definition too often fall into these categories.
Time is often our enemy. As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve developed my own kit and disciplined the way I use technology to help me better manage this, to survive, thrive and …relax.
The crux of this is about finding what works for you by starting with the basics and the tools that help you rigorously apply your energies to technology and social media that support better time management. Ultimately, it’s about finding the tools to tame the chaos and overwhelm, streamlines the little things leaving you to focus on the big things.
Co-ordinate everything: laptop to tablet to smartphone to diary to notes. Never replicate anything and keep it one place. There are great apps out there to help with this. Try Remember the Milk, if you struggle to manage everything you have to do and work with multiple devices, helping you to manage your tasks easily and remind you of them wherever you are.
Listful thinking: Apps like Todoist enable you to manage tasks and projects from anywhere, meaning you can get rid of scraps of paper, note books and post-it notes cluttering your workspace. Keep your “to do” list in the cloud. It also supports collaborative productivity for managing group actions across your team.
Don’t keep it in your head: Ideas hit us at the most random times; don’t let it go, get it down. Tools like Evernote helps you track and cross reference every thought you ever have …. well, try not to list every thought. Ultimately it’s about making sure you convert inspiration and great ideas into action for you business.
Unleash yourself from email: Easier said than done. Have you ever done a spot check on how often you check your phone for email? We all do it – waste both time and focus by over-checking our email. More research is coming out about this toxic habit, linking it to poor memory, increased anxiety and lower productivity.
The simplest way to crack this habit is to create windows for checking email – so 8am, 10 am 12pm, 3pm and 5pm. This gives you blocks of time to complete your bigger, more valuable tasks as well as time to respond to important emails.
Own your social media – Don’t let it own you. There is a strong tendency to get sucked into this. First rationalise the platforms that best work for your business. When you’re planning your day, dedicate a 30 minute time slot to create meaningful, focused content:
- 10 minutes reading
- 5 minutes curating stories
- 15 minutes composing and scheduling
Buffer, Feedly, Swayy and Pocket are all great tools to maximise this time.
Play to your strengths: Doubt whether you have the time or expertise for certain tasks? Find someone who does and can. Sites such as Elance, People per Hour offer experts competing to help. Make sure your instructions are super clear but outsource where you can’t add value – this could be for blog writing through to social media management, leaving you the time to focus on big ticket projects
Get out from behind the laptop: You could spend an hour tweaking that final sentence of a blog or perfecting an email, while your competitor is out there, working some Tech City networking event. Sometimes you need to remember not to sweat the small stuff and that meaningful connection comes from beyond your device. Get out there. Make it happen.
Andrew Weaver is CEO at LawyerFair.
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