Q: Time is money, and I’ve never understood that term as much as when I became a business owner. I feel like I’m spinning around in circles trying to both manage my business and get work done for my clients. I’m unsure of how much time to spend on billable versus administrative tasks, and am sure that I’m not being as productive as I could be on any of it. I’m totally overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, but I feel the constant pressure of the clock ticking. Any suggestions on how I can better focus so that I can more efficiently use my time to increase my business’ income?
A: Working for yourself is a dream for many, but it comes with signnficant challenges. One of the most difficult to manage is how to effectively juggle multiple tasks, all of which must be done now.
You have your work to attend to. Then you have to stay on top of your accounting and finances. Don’t forget your marketing and social media. It’s enough to make your head spin!
I’m a big fan of using technology as an aid to help entrepreneurs maximize their limited time. We’re all limited to having just 24 hours in our days, but there are a variety of tools that can help us use that time more wisely. From communications to time tracking, here are five of my favorites.
This walkie talkie app is fun, but most importantly, it’s incredibly useful. Voxer allows you to connect with teammates with whom you need to have frequent communication to deliver quick messages.
It's faster than an email and doesn't require the hassle of coordinating a call. You can send text or audio messages and ensure that you’re all on the same page--all without having to open your email.
You have the best of intentions. You want to have a conversation. You offer several available timeframes. They don’t match your client’s availability. They, in turn, offer alternate times that aren’t a fit for you. And round and round you go, spending days trying to accomplish what should have taken five minutes. That’s exactly what you need in your life, right? More complications.
Calendly takes the hassle out of the process by showing the times you have available for clients and consults to choose from. You can use the link on its own, or include it on your website. Whatever the case, those dreaded back-and-forth exchanges can be a thing of the past.
In order be your most efficient, you have to understand how you use your time. Toggl allows you to track how you’re spending your hours on desktop and mobile so that you can make the necessary adjustments. It allows you to track time spent on client work in real-time, or you can use it more as a time sheet.
You can assign billable rates to your tasks to understand how your productivity impacts your bottom line. Toggl also helps you track overall project estimates, comparing completion estimates to actual timeframes.
If you’re like me, you make a lot of lists for different areas of life. Many times those lists require additional information, but that is housed somewhere else, probably with no system attached to it.
Trello can help reign in the chaos. You can make your lists, outline your steps, and track your progress. It helps nicely lay out all of that information you have floating in your head. Capture it, release it, organize it, and plan it out without worrying about missing something.
Like it or not, your business has to have a presence on social media. It can be overwhelming. Scheduling tools like Hootsuite help you manage all of your accounts from one place and schedule your content. You can also see and respond to your mentions all in one place.
You still have to come up with the content, but with this app you can save time by scheduling it at one time in one place.
Organization is half the battle in effectively managing your business. This should be a good starting point in getting a hold on the major areas that can be a challenge so that you can focus on your work and paying the bills.
Thanks for the great question. Best of luck to you!
Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash