In June I had the pleasure of speaking at the NYT Small Business Summit on a topic that I don’t normally speak on – productivity.
The panel discussion shared tips on how small business owners (or anyone for that matter) can stay productive. My presentation focused on simple math. If you can save just 5 Minutes a Day it adds up to 30 hours a year. If you can learn one new habit, tool or technology that can save you those 5 minutes a day, you could reclaim 21,900 minutes a year.
The key is investing in your training. We often get so busy “doing stuff” that we forget to invest time/money/energy in improving our skills, which can actually get us bigger returns over time.
I remember my first job after college I was a financial analyst (yes, I’ve come a long way). I spent about a half day early on learning shortcuts for excel that saved me tens if not hundreds of hours in my first 5 years…. But it took that initial investment.
Think like a Ninja. Ninjas spend most of their time training (probably years) and relatively little time Ninjaing. They work and work and work to perfect their execution before starting Ninjaing, and even once they are Ninjas, they continue to train regularly.
Isn’t it worth it to spend some time upfront learning ways to be more efficient when you get a payout for the rest of your career?
So what kind of tools can help you get these 5 minutes back? Here are some of the ones that I use:
- Evernote – to save, search and store anything from audio recordings to images to meeting notes. Notes are fully searchable and easy to organize and share.
- Tungle.me – allows you to upload your calendar and have other people schedule time with you. Isn’t that easier than 10 back and forth emails about when you can meet with someone?
- Google Voice – allows you to get calls on your cell phone for work PLUS get email messages with forwardable voicemails and automatic text message transcriptions of any voicemails.
- Stop Checking Email – just cutting out some of those “quick” email check-ins could be the first step towards saving time. Inbox Zero is also a great management method to check out.
- Boomerang for Gmail – this gmail plug in allows you to send messages back to yourself if someone doesn’t respond, or to schedule emails for the future.
- Rapportive – loads the social media profiles of anyone you are exchanging emails with, and you can connect with them with just the click of a button.