Owners are often reluctant to embrace new technologies and applications because “they’re so into the busy-ness of running their company, they don’t take a step back,” says Drew Stevens, a St. Louis-based productivity coach. “Some owners work tactically, but not strategically.”
Integrating technology into your operations allows you to spend more of your time and energy in developing, perfecting and growing your business, rather than getting bogged down by day-to-day tasks. Here are five technologies Stevens and other productivity experts suggest:
1. Messaging tools
Your inbox houses a mountain of communications, but writing and responding to all those emails may be draining your time. Instant messaging, often provided through your email host, can be much faster for communicating with people you need to chat with regularly throughout the workday, Stevens says. Also consider messaging tools specifically designed for businesses. Yammer is a free enterprise social messaging platform that makes communicating about projects and the issues of the day more efficient.
2. Note-taking and archiving
Digging up notes you may randomly jot down can be cumbersome, especially because you might have them stored on various devices, such as your smartphone or laptop. Apps such as Evernote let you quickly store and find notes related to specific topics or people. Everything is stored in the cloud, so it can be retrieved from whatever device you happen to be using.
New calendar apps and features can make scheduling even faster, especially those that are fueled by artificial intelligence.
New calendar apps and features can make scheduling even faster, especially those that are fueled by artificial intelligence. “Amy” from x.ai, for instance, is a personal assistant app that can arrange meetings with others. Over time, Amy intuitively learns your preferences and schedule, and can email back and forth with employees and customers to find the best time and location.
4. Voice transcription.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time behind your computer writing blog posts, emails, notes and reports, consider using transcription software. Stevens uses Dragon Dictation, so he can write wherever he happens to be. “I can get a 1,500-word article done in eight to 10 minutes,” Stevens says. Perhaps you’re not that prolific, but the ability to unchain yourself from your virtual cubicle and write on the run gives you the time to do the things that really matter to you.
5. Project management tools.
Project management platforms allow you to store all documents and conversations associated with a project and organize them, as well as take a load off your shoulders by assigning tasks to other team members. “You don’t have to dig through emails and files on your computer every time you need something,” says Sarah Krivel, a Denver-area productivity consultant. Some platforms, such as Zoho, are specifically designed for small businesses. True, they have fewer bells and whistles than larger platforms, but they are easy to use and come at a fraction of the cost.
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