The life of an entrepreneur is one full of roadblocks. Finances, clients, personal life events: all of these present an obstacle to reach your goal in your career. And with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no wonder why many have seen a loss in productivity.
Loss of productivity brings its own set of challenges — challenges I want to help you avoid during these turbulent times. And one part of helping you boost your productivity is to help you get started with a few basic tools that can make it easier to run your business. While I can’t guarantee that all of the following productivity tools will be useful to you, I’m sure you’ll find at least one that works for you.
Keeping track of the time I work on projects has been a quirk of mine. See, I can’t really do it. I always get so caught up in my work that, at a certain point, I lose track of time. This ends up posing a problem for clients I charge on a per-hour basis.
If this sounds like you, take a look at Clockify. Clockify lets you log projects, time how long you’ve spent on a project, and keeps you from losing track of time. I use it for personal projects too. Right now, I’m in a coaching program where I’ve committed to spending at least 15 minutes a day writing my book. I start the timer on Clockify when I start writing, and before you know it, I get in a rhythm where I’ve actually spent more than the allotted 15 minutes! It’s great seeing how much time I am spending on the book project. It’s giving me momentum to finish!
Keeping track of time doesn’t matter much if you don’t have a way to keep track of your projects, however. Getting lost in your files and folders, wondering where that project due tomorrow is proves a waste of time — I would know.
Asana helps you keep track of your projects. With it, you’re able to log projects, keep tabs on progress made in the project, and even talk to your team members, coworkers, or employees through it. It’s the one-stop shop for project management, really. I also use it to keep track of products I’ve purchased that require an annual renewal payment. I put a reminder in Asana to review the product before the renewal takes effect on my credit card, so I can decide whether or not I still want to spend the money on it.
Let’s talk social media. Social media acts as us entrepreneurs’ key to success. It helps us gather more followers, customers, and potential employees/helpers. It gives us a spotlight we can shine on ourselves. It allows exposure.
But managing one social media account can be exhausting, let alone multiple. Hootsuite fixes this problem, allowing you to manage multiple social media accounts on one screen. Schedule tweets, check up on LinkedIn, and type out a post on Facebook all at the same time! Hootsuite offers free and paid versions, depending on how many social media channels you wish to use. I love using it to post to Instagram, because I can schedule posts about my podcast directly through my desktop computer.
Zoom (or Skype)
Social media isn’t the only venue to connect with other people. On the contrary, many entrepreneurs or business owners, such as myself, rely on professional connections, whether these be employees or fellow business owners.
Skype and/or Zoom help you keep in touch these people. Both of these are made for business, and while Skype has been the voice call app, Zoom has come pretty far due to the COVID-19 situation.
I put both down because each one has its ups and downs. Zoom has come under fire for containing a few security issues, so you may want to use Skype if that concerns you. I first started using Zoom to coach my clients, and now I’m using it to record podcast interviews, because it provides audio and video files separately. This allows me to edit the audio for uploading to iTunes. And then I can upload the video file to my YouTube channel. In addition, Zoom has the capability of livestreaming directly to Facebook or YouTube.
Speaking of security, let’s talk about it. Cybersecurity is an important aspect of your job. Even if you don’t realize it, cybersecurity is why you’re still in business. Without it, hackers and cybercriminals are free to roam wherever they please, stealing our information.
It never hurts to increase your cybersecurity, and part of doing so means using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your data, meaning that hackers and cybercriminals are unable to steal and access it.
VPNs are especially useful if you use public networks quite often.