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Ways to simplify your business

Simplicity is great – cutting back on the clutter and staying calm.

Tools to make life simpleIf that sounds good but unobtainable in your business (and life) then keep reading as you might just find something to help.

Last Friday, Susan Oakes posted about simplicity in marketing in which she listed a number of ways to judge if you are overwhelmed and need to simplify a bit. Go ahead and read the list then come back to read my post – it’s ok, I’ll wait for you!

How many things on that list resonated with you? You’re not alone as many of us are overwhelmed, on a short or long term basis.

Simplifying step by step

Like many people, I find that a big list of things to do or pile of papers is overwhelming to the point that you can’t see how to fix it.

The truth is you probably can’t fix it as a whole – but if you attack bits of the pile you will see it disappear. Like I replied to Susan, I found it overwhelming to think of employing someone or outsourcing a lot of things so I just found one thing to outsource (bookkeeping as it happens) and then another and another. Each task clears a little of my load and helps me see past the pile of stuff.

I strongly believe that approaching things step by step is the best option in most cases.

Examples of simplifying

By no means have I fully simplified my life and stopped any sense of overwhelm.

However, I thought I’d share a few ideas that have helped me simplify and gain some time and control back. Hopefully the list will not only help you but inspire you to share more ideas as a comment…

  1.  I use leenk.me (a WordPress plugin) to automate announcements of new blog posts to my social media profiles – it saves me logging into multiple places and matches the announcement timing to any scheduling of posts, too
  2. I use Tweetdeck to organise my Twitter accounts (I manage client accounts as well as my TashWord account so I really don’t want to log into each separately). It also lets me see my Facebook feed but not interact with it (it used to and I miss that ability – I may have to reasearch other platforms like HootSuite now).
  3. storing passwords in Roboform Pro – it is so much easier than remembering not only passwords but which username goes with which account (again, having client and my children’s logins as well as my own, there is a lot to remember!)
  4. using ‘delay send’ in my email program. You’d be amazed at how much I use this 🙂 Examples of when I use it includes saving emails until someone is back from holidays, preparing information when it suits me but sending it at a premium time (or just during business hours!), setting up reminders leading up to a deadline and sending timely messages when I’m away from my desk
  5. Get rid of scraps of paper and put ‘stuff’ into OneNote. This is a recent find for me and I am finding so many uses for it (maybe that’s another blog spot in itself!) but it is handy for key information (like my ABN and email list for cubs) and  jotting down ideas and links to data/inspiration for blog posts and eBooks.
  6. I’ve found Dropbox great for sharing images with designers – it saves me the time of emailing potential images to them as they can just refer to the relevant folder and select what works in that case. It’s also an easier way to transfer large files between us compared to emailing or using a paid for service. (I think dropbox is still invitation only but I’m happy to invite you if you ask nicely 🙂 )

9 Responses to Ways to simplify your business

  • Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Tash,

    Thanks for the mention and totally agree worth you about step by step approach as it always works. I haven’t heard of leenk.me before. I use Twitterfeed and if anyone wants to do a newsletter or email campaign I would recommend Awber or Mail Chimp (which is free) as you can schedule in advance. The other thing about being overwhelmed is not to focus on the problem as there is a solution even if the initial one is not ideal.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for the original post Susan 🙂

      I didn’t realise MailChimp was free – I use mailmagic (via outsourcing!) but agree that scheduling is a good feature.

      That’s true – if a less-than-perfect solution moves you ahead it’s still a good thing and may just give you enough space to find the better option.

  • tashword says:

    I came across another potentially useful tool this evening. Called rescue time, it tracks your time (very handy for monitoring where your day goes or keeping tabs on work for each client) and can even warn you if you spend too long doing something classed as a distraction. Their ‘focus time’ sounds interesting – I put in a time (eg 45 minutes) to focus and during that time I can’t access things I’ve noted as distracting. All with no data entry…

    I’m installed it so we’ll see how it goes – has anyone else used it?

  • Joe Wells says:

    Really great post! As mentioned, you can use these tips not only to simplify your biz, but simplify your personal life as well. I also use dropbox and Roboform and find them to be invaluable. Even though I like to pretend that I’m really organized, Im not! But I’m getting there using tools like you just mentioned. Rescue time sounds interesting @tashword. It is so easy to get distracted especially when working on the computer. I will have to check that out.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks Joe.

      I think it’s pretty hard ot be compeltely organised when most of us wear so many hats, but these types of tools do help.

      Rescue time is quietly running on my computer – totally unaware of it unless I look at the site for my data which is a good start. Apparently I am a lot more productive than the average user (it tells me so!) but I’m waiting until it’s been there a week to take much notice of it. It was handy today, however, when I couldn’t remember what time I staretd a task 🙂

  • a legacy reborn says:

    It does seem that a lot of wasted energy that businesses have nowadays is spent in trying to perform mediocre tasks that could be automated quite easily. It is just a minor inconvenience, at first, but as a business grows it starts to make it harder to scale and makes the system as a whole less robust. Your simple steps will definitely leviate some of those growing pains that a business gets due to the tedious tasks that are often overlooked when a business first starts.

    • tashword says:

      yes, saving time does make a business more effective amd it can certianly reduce stress for the business owner/manager.

      Hope these tips (or at leats one of them!) was useful for you, a legacy reborn.

  • vida_llevares says:

    I agree on the step-by-step approach. Changes should be taken gradually. Processes should be streamlined to avoid redundancy of functions.

    • tashword says:

      Gradual changes are easier to implement and easier to comprehend, too – as a general rule, we don’t all deal well with change and establishing new habits so small steps seem achievable.

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