Whatever your profession is, efficiency and sustainable productivity make a difference. To stay ahead of the competition, getting more things done in less time is crucial — but it's just as important to do it in a way that avoids overwork and burnout. This applies to startups, essential services, and corporate settings. Fortunately, there's a wealth of resources and software you can leverage to help make your job easier and increase the level of accomplishment of you and your team. Here are a few of the main types.
1. CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools and software can be web-based or local. Once you scale the learning curve (the best ones have great customer service), a CRM will help you keep track of contacts and leads, manage sales funnels, streamline your messaging, plan your activities, and keep your calendar up-to-date. They range from free online options to elaborate systems; take your time to investigate the pros and cons of each so you can select one that most closely fits the scope and goals of your enterprise.
2. Time-tracking Tools
If you're supervising a remote team with people at home or on worksites, keeping track of their time in an easy, hassle-free way is important. There's no time for glitchy software or complicated interfaces. Do a search for time tracking software and look for simplicity, ease of use, and seamless integration. Challenged by your own time management? Focus on tools that track how much time you're spending on less important tasks vs. the things that affect your bottom line. You'll be less distracted and your efficiency will improve.
3. Email Organizers
Speaking of time wasters, searching through emails to find a key document can take up time and energy. Most email programs have robust filtering and sorting capabilities; give those a try first. Also, try these tips to get control of your inbox. If you're still struggling to keep up, try one of the many email organizers to restore sanity to the clutter. They automatically filter lower-priority messages (like newsletters) to a "read later" folder, and much more. You'll find not only your email but also your mind freed up to focus on your most crucial tasks.
4. Project Management
Simplifying project management by using online and/or software tools will allow your team to collaborate with ease. Managing the resources and people associated with each task certainly doesn't have to be done by email! The best tools combine a visual element (think Pinterest) with robust organization capability. Many are free and fun to use by teams of all sizes and types.
5. Password Management
It goes without saying that password management should be a top priority if you run a business; hacking is an ever-present threat in these times. It requires creating secure, strong passwords to enable management of multiple logins — a task that's inefficient and practically impossible unless you have assistance. This is where careful research will help you, as best practices change along with current events in the tech world. Consider whether you want your program to be online or local; there are advantages and disadvantages of both options.
6. Internal Communications
Consider all of the resources that you dedicate to internal communications. It's an area of efficiency (or waste) that needs attention if you want to keep your business running smoothly. Sending out memos requires paper (or an email blast), and holding meetings takes time. And usually, something or someone important is left out of the process during initial communication, and getting that person back into the loop can take up valuable time and energy. Eliminate those issues by using one of the many chat and collaboration utilities that also enable file sharing in the context of discussions.
7. Focus Tools
Pings, notifications — not to mention news — there are a lot of inputs coming in that can be hard to turn off. If you work on projects that require your full focus, consider using a program that helps you stay on task. Some of the tools available change your computer into a full-screen environment that blocks out any distraction. You can customize them with colors and layouts to help the discipline be more pleasurable. Also, there are simple apps that use variations of the Pomodoro Technique to help keep you on track.
These are just a few of the tools that are available that can boost your efficiency. Try a few to level up your business and personal productivity, giving you the mental space for creativity and innovation.