August 22, 2018
Time is money.
But based on the way most people manage their time, you wouldn’t think they believe it.
As a coach, you actually get paid for your time, and that means you’ve got to how yourself accountable to with regard to how you use it.
One of the best ways to grow your business is to start employing tools to eliminate, automate, or reduce the work and repetitive tasks that you do every day.
Productivity is a major factor in how much your business can grow. I mean, if you can save 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and an hour over here, you’ll have more time to coach people or do more creative things that will help you grow your business rather than simply maintaining it.
For this, I first recommend looking at every task that you currently are doing in your business and consider:
Is there a way that I can automate this repetitive task?
Or, if the task isn’t repetitive, is there a way that I can do this one time without having to revise it?
Having said that, I have found these particular tools – new and old – have saved me time and a lot of money over the years.
I actually pride myself on being a pretty good writer, but I hate revising and editing documents. And, if you’re like me, you can easily miss minor writing errors when you read through an email or document right before you send it.
Grammarly is a great app that highlights word everything from missed commas, misspellings, to improper word usage. And it does it within any word processing program whether you’re writing a blog, a Facebook post, an article in Microsoft Word, or an email.
This little app saves me tons of time and helps me catch a lot of little things that I’d normally miss.
I started using Evernote several years ago because one of my clients kept all his goals in a single document, and the only way he knew to share them with me required me to download the app.
What an awesome discovery that was!
Evernote has a beautiful interface. The display is really clean and easy to read (kinda like a Kindle), and for typing, it doesn’t feel clunky and cumbersome like most apps.
When I first started using it, I only thought it was good for taking notes, but honestly, I started using it for dictating notes, thoughts, ideas, etc. as I went about my day. You can scan, attach most kinds of documents (like Excel, Word, etc.), and basically organize all your creativity, to-do lists, and administrative tasks in one place.
It also autosaves to the cloud, so you can pick up where you left off when you’re on your computer and vice versa.
I’ve always been an administratively-challenged person; even worse, I have always hated paper! Paper and file folders have never been my friends.
I couldn’t even muster enough skill to put my receipts in a shoebox.
So you can only imagine what I mess I would be in when tax time would roll around. I would be digging around in my email, in the glove compartment of the car, desk drawers, nightstand, and seemingly any place where a receipt could possibly be hiding. I’m certain I lost a lot of tax deductions because I simply couldn’t find my receipts that showed my expenses.
Those days were history once I found an app to help me keep track of it.
There are a lot of apps that do expense tracking, and I’m certain this one has some worthy competitors. I chose Expensify after I got really burnt by a free app that left me hanging at tax time (and by “left me hanging” I mean they literally shut down the cloud that had all my reports, and I was forced to do it all over again!).
With any app that you chose for important tasks like this, use a reputable company that will be around in the foreseeable future that has good security.
This app saves me a ton of time and allows me to get rid of paper altogether. That’s because I can use it to take a picture of a receipt with my phone and upload it to the cloud. Expensify has a SmartScan feature that will literally take the text off your receipt and put it in a report for you. You can tag the receipt so that when tax time rolls around you have a report with each receipt cleanly placed into the right expense categories.
I get a ton of email every day. I tried categorizing/labeling it to help me manage it, but, with my lack of administrative skill, I’d inevitably forget to respond, followup, etc.
Boomerang is a really good add-on for Gmail. If an email comes in that you read, but you don’t have time to write a response, you can simply “Boomerang” it to yourself to remind you to act on it later. You can Boomerang the email 15 minutes, 15 hours, 15 days, etc. to whatever time is your best time to act on it.
What that has allowed me to do is schedule when I’m going to check email rather than being tethered to it all day.
Or perhaps you’ve sent an email and it’s important that you receive a response from that individual. You can Boomerang the email when you haven’t gotten a response.
Boomerang also allows you to schedule emails to send later.
There are a lot more ways you can use this tool, but these are a few that I like.
Let me also add, for you Gmail users, that there is a lot of productivity hidden in Gmail. One thing I noticed as a coach is that I often was asked the same question time and time again. Repetitive tasks like this can kill your productivity.
Fortunately, Gmail has a feature called “canned responses” where you can save all your common responses and simply copy them as your response to future emails.
I think this article is turning into a bunch of exhibits about how I have no organizational skills!
At any rate, here’s another helpful app/tool.
As with anything, I have a tendency to leave a trail which means that really important things like my wallet, keys, glasses, and phone are all in different places particularly at the moment when I need all of them.
But one day everything changed. In one of the nearly daily repeated episodes of my life, I was asking my wife if she’d seen my wallet lying around. Usually, she actually does know the answer to this question, but, on this particular day, she didn’t and I was tearing the place apart in a frantic search because I had an appointment and needed to leave.
My wife said the magic words that day: “You waste so much time just looking for stuff.”
That was my spark. My wife had tried to put key hangers and dishes for me to put all my stuff into to no avail, because,…well…I’d never use those things.
But this day I was triggered to do something. I went online and ordered a set of Tiles. Basically, what the tiles allow you to do is attach the tiles to anything you have a propensity to lose, which in my case, were my keys and wallet.
If you can’t remember where you’ve put them, you’re still gold: open the app on your phone and click the “locate” button, and a ringer on the tile will help you find your lost item. If you’re out of range, you can use the Tile network, and there are literally 1000s of people using Tiles.
What if you lose your phone? Well, you’re still good. You can click the button on a Tile, and it will ring your phone even if it’s on silent.
Operating a business in California, you can really feel some pain at the pump. I was recently on the East Coast and couldn’t believe the gas prices were about 75 cents less a gallon than what I pay at home!
Money isn’t as tight as it was when I was a rookie coach, but my wife can tell you that I’m still extraordinarily frugal. Gas Buddy can be both downloaded as an App or searched via their website.
You can find all your local gas prices in real time.
Particularly if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area and you need to fuel up, nothing is worse than overpaying for gas and finding a reasonable gas station less than a mile away of where you got gas.
Let me say again, that this is not the only app that’s out there, but these days I tend to lean towards apps that are functional, have great support & updates, and will be around for the foreseeable future.
If you’re driving even 5-10 miles to meet a client, that is a tax write off for your business.
For 2018, the mileage deduction in the U.S. will be 54.5 cents per mile. So a 10-mile trip is $5.45. That adds up!
And every trip counts – trips to Wal-mart, Home Depot, etc. – any place you are driving for the purpose of business gets to be added as a qualified business expense.
I used to think that I really didn’t drive much for business, and, for the first couple of years, I didn’t even keep up with it. Then I found that those little trips add up to 1000s of miles.
This app simplifies your life by tracking every trip via GPS. You simply tell the app if it was a personal drive or a business drive later, and you don’t have to think about it or add it up on a piece of paper later.
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