We are constantly bombarded with new tools that are guaranteed to make our lives easier. Some live up to the hype, while others sit in our inbox waiting to be used.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like change. I hate change so much that it’s #34 on my strengths finder assessment. On the flip side, I’m married to a man who loves change. He loves to try new programs as soon as they’re released. He’s completely fine to test it and if it works, awesome, if not.. Oh, well, he gave it a shot!
I would rather host a party with 50 preschoolers than to waste part of my day trying to learn something that turns out to be completely useless. That’s how much I despise trying something new and also why I have mad respect for parents that can throw a giant kid party. Both are painful!
Instead of giving you a list of “Hey- try these tools that are extremely complicated, expensive and hard to use, but they’re the latest and greatest”, I thought it would be much more practical to share the top 5 tools I use with my team every day. There may not be a glamorous one in the bunch, but they make my life easier and that is all that matters!
The number one way to stay on task is communication. While it’s true that you can email to your team about projects and priorities, chances are the emails will be lost, forgotten or even worse, find it’s way into the dreaded spam folder. I’ve had this happen on occasion when I’ve wanted to share a file with someone or simply pass on a new idea. Someway, somehow, it didn’t make it to their inbox.
With Slack, I can copy a link into the appropriate channel and viola! I know that I sent it and it’s easy for my team to access it.
Not only can I share links and documents, but we are on Slack daily. It’s essentially, our way of saying “I’m here for work. Let’s get the day started!”. My team and I converse on our projects, ask questions and have eliminated a good portion of our email clutter.
If I’m being honest, I will have to tell you that this was my least favorite tool to get on board with. I had tried several task management programs with multiple clients, each one hairier than the last. (Programs, not clients!)
Little did I know that with Teamwork, we would become a so much more productive. Dare I say, a well-oiled machine! Teamwork has given us the ability to document SOPs in an efficient manner. Allow us to track time on specific tasks and keep my team and I organized. I thought we would be perfectly fine to grow this business and stay with the same virtual filing system we started with. I’m thankful that I was gently nudged into this change. My team uses Teamwork like pros and it makes our business run smoothly. #teamworkmakesthedreamwork
In the spirit of practicality, let’s talk passwords.
Passwords are the keys to the gate. I need to know that no one is going to jump the fence! This is why I store my passwords in the secure system of Lastpass. I’m able to share passwords with my team and everything stays encrypted. I feel safe knowing that I’m able to share the sensitive information necessary to keep things running smoothly for my team.
The other perk to Lastpass is the price! I’m pretty sure you can afford FREE! My budget loves the price tag! There is an option to upgrade to the premium version, but I love that you can try it at no cost.
Working virtually has a different dynamic when training a new team member. Gone are the days of two-week orientations, in person introductions and hours training side by side. Instead, we have to rely on our communication skills to train someone well. I’ve found that it’s better to communicate through video recordings whenever possible. Using SnagIt allows you to record video of your screen, walk through a variety of scenarios and share with your team. Your team will appreciate the chance to hear your tone, watch you walk through a program and the opportunity to replay over and over again until they know it like the back of their hand.
I use videos with new team members and my veteran team. Not only do I feel they are valuable to my team, there are times when it’s just easier to record a three-minute video than to type 3 pages of instructions. Trust me! It’s the best training tool around!
If you have spent any time at all in administration, you know that one of the biggest time suckers is scheduling calls. The countless emails back and forth offering multiple dates and times, only to learn that one of the parties is out for the week, so back to the drawing board!
Last year, we decided to take the leap and sign up for a scheduling program. I was hesitant because I don’t want robots to take over our jobs. However, this has been such a time saver for my assistant. She is free to work on projects that don’t take multiple email conversations to schedule a call. She is simply able to send the link and the wheels of the meeting are in motion.
Truly, this program works like a charm for us. We are able to set time parameters, so I’m not scheduling meetings when I should be with my family and potential clients don’t have to wait for a response from myself or my team to schedule a call.
While there are countless programs that I find helpful, the five that I just shared with you are practical tools that I use every day in my business. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to run as efficiently as we do. This efficiency allows us to connect more, create more content and work on projects that would otherwise find themselves on the back burner.
I’m always looking for new ways to increase productivity. Do you have a favorite tool or app that you use? Share it with me. I’d love to hear about it!