Free time is something everyone wants more of, but getting it can be a struggle—especially for business owners. To help free up some time in their busy days, many small business owners have turned to low-cost or free apps for support. The problem is that the Internet is filled with an endless list of options to choose from, so picking the right one can be difficult. Although not all challenges in your work day can be solved with an app, there are tasks like email sorting, meeting schedules, and project management that can be made simpler and easier with the right tool.
To narrow in on these tasks, start by taking a minute to think about what functions eat up large chunks of your day and are tied to technology in some way. For any tasks that fit this description, there is likely an app that can help. Now, what is the right app for you, and will it help accomplish the goals you are trying to achieve? Recently, I attended the University of Innovative Distribution conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and had the opportunity to attend a session facilitated by Beth Ziesenis. Beth is an author, speaker, and self-identified nerd who specializes in free and bargain apps and technology for work and home. The session was titled “Powered Productivity: Tech Tools You Need to Get Stuff Done.”
During her session, Beth provided several examples of apps that can be used to improve your productivity, make you more organized, and better protect you. The list she discussed was broken into several categories, many of which would be of interest to small business owners.
Listed below are a few examples she shared:
Cozi - Calendar manager
Google Calendar - Calendar manager
Todoist - List management tool
Evernote - Note-taking tool
Google Keep - Note-taking tool
Trello - Project management tool
Asana - Project management tool
x.ai - Virtual scheduling assistant
YouCanBook.Me - Scheduling tool
When is Good - Scheduling tool
SaneBox - Email management tool
Unroll.me - Email management tool
LastPass - Password management tool
KeePass- Password management tool
Shoeboxed - Expense management tool
Wally - Expense management tool
Mint - Budget tool
New tools are being developed every day that you and your business may be able to leverage to improve your productivity. All these apps have at least one thing in common—they all require you to recognize you have the potential to improve and are willing to seek out the right tool to support your initiative. A tool is only helpful if it is the right tool for the job and it is utilized properly and consistently.
The above list is just the tip of the iceberg and, with advancements in artificial intelligence, more and more is becoming possible and affordable. Everyone is looking for the next best way to save time or become more productive, and these tools can certainly make it easier. Keeping up with the technology—now that’s the hard part.