It’s never been easier to start and grow a business, or even a business empire, from home. New technology and cloud computing have made it possible. Really, without a collection of handy tech and project management tools I think I’d need at least three people to run my business. Or maybe two and a half, because I confess I am a tech tool magpie and probably spend a degree of my saved time messing around with new products. So to save you that ‘experimentation’ time here are the tried and tested tools that I use every day and couldn’t live without.
I have just started using Teamwork as a project management and collaboration tool. It has transformed collaborative projects and saved countless hours and disagreements. Instead of tasks and files getting lost in a flurry of emails, everything is kept together in real-time in Teamwork. And there’s no need for a project leader to follow-up if anyone is behind, Teamwork does it automatically.
Dropbox is the best online storage product I’ve tried. Others don’t seem to synchronise as well. I use Dropbox for all of my filing. It means that documents are stored in the cloud and I can access them from any device, anywhere via wifi. Files can be accessed off-line too and I can also easily share specified folders or files with colleagues. Dropbox is free for up to 2GB and you can earn more free space for referring people.
IFTTT stands for ‘if this then that’. It brings together and links the products and apps you use every day in ‘recipes’. For example if I publish a post on WordPress I’ve set up an IFTTT recipe to post on my social media channels. If an email mentions the words ‘receipt’ or ‘order’ then that email is automatically saved to a spreadsheet.
I am currently loving Canva for images. It is so easy to use to make up reasonably professional-looking social media images, mini infographics, promotional postcards and so on. You can also put together a brand pack, including core fonts and colours so that you have a uniform look across all your designs. Sorry any designers reading this, but Canva has saved me lots of time and money.
StayFocusd is a Chrome app that stops you from wasting time on the internet. Some days procrastination takes over and if I’m not careful a quick update on Twitter can drag me into a time-sucking vortex. I’ll stumble out hours later and wonder what happened, the to-do list untouched and forlorn. Now I’ve programmed StayFocusd with the danger sites, it’s set-up to allow me a maximum of 15 minutes on them during peak work hours, just enough time for some sharp social media management and responses. If I’m not out in time the screen blanks and admonishes: ‘Shouldn’t you be working?’ It’s almost impossible to get around. Priceless.
That is my top list of time-saving tech tools. What do you think? Share your own lifesavers in the comments box below.