There’s never enough time in the day for a business entrepreneur. Repetitive daily tasks can eat up an inordinate amount of time that could be better spent elsewhere. To maximize productivity, it helps to stay up to date on current technologies that can save time and help manage the various “to-dos” that can quickly eat up the day.
There’s an almost staggering array of business and productivity software, apps and add-ons available. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which tech truly stands out from the rest. Below, 16 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their current favorite tech hacks for saving time and managing daily work.
1. Help Scout
Our team has recently switched from using TextExpander to Saved Replies in Help Scout for managing our customer support. These saved replies are saving us tons of time while also creating happier customers with the faster response time. The saved replies are immensely more helpful than TextExpander. Our team no longer needs to memorize specific labels or go back and forth between the help desk and TextExpander to search for the reply. The fully integrated saved replies are easy to create, find and use. These have allowed our small team to scale further and free up more time for all of the million other tasks that need doing. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
I use the G Suite extension called Sortd, which has a lot of great features that can help you better organize your time. For example, when I open my mailbox first thing in the morning, it greets me with a popup saying: “What’s your focus for today?” I then enter my goals for the day one by one. When I finish a task, I click the checkboxes and it moves it down to the completed items. It’s very satisfying to click those checkboxes! The extension also allows you to better classify your emails. For example, when an email needs a follow-up, I send it to the “FollowUp” category, and the extension “stickies” it on the right side of my screen in a sidebar that includes all items I need to follow up with. This extension is a lifesaver for those who get over 100 emails per day like I do. – Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media
3. Pomodoro Timer
I’ve recently adopted the Pomodoro method when working in order to keep myself productive without feeling rushed or anxious. This is accomplished with the aid of a Pomodoro timer that you reset after every session. I like to use a physical Pomodoro timer when working from my home office, but I use an app on my smartphone when working in my main office. This is the best method I’ve found for accomplishing a large number of tasks without feeling burned out in the middle of the day — giving myself micro-breaks and dividing every task into smaller chunks of work. For some reason, 24 Pomodoro cycles are so much easier to manage than eight full hours of work, despite being equal amounts of time. –Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success
My favorite tech hack for saving time and managing daily work is an automation system called Control4. Specifically, the system integrates and automates all the little (but crucial) maintenance issues that make a business run smoothly. For example, I can set and control the settings of my business’ lighting, temperature, televisions, security systems and much more with the touch of the button, even when I’m not in the office. Control4 gives me a competitive edge by streamlining my business’ operating systems and saving me precious time. As a business owner, I have enough to worry about without letting minor technological maintenance issues distract me. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
If you have Gmail and don’t have Mixmax, you’re losing out on a lot of automation. It’s great for tracking who reads your messages and automating reminders to bug someone if they don’t respond. I really enjoy being able to track who reads my messages; it gives me a much better insight into an email and how many times someone read it before they responded. In a business environment, that is invaluable to me. The software has a ton of other features, but the most valuable to me is the ability to see when and where someone read my email. – James Guldan, Vision Tech Team
My favorite tech hack today is utilizing a Trello board to portion out the tasks, projects and ideas that I have on my plate. As an entrepreneur and marketer, new work pops up every day, and you need a way to properly record it so that you can return to it later or mark it as a priority for your time. With my Trello account, I have different buckets for high-priority work, ideas and in-progress work. I even break the tasks down into the different departments of my business (that is, social media, content creation, advertising, software and so on) so that I can easily see what I have going on within each area of the business. You can download Trello directly to your phone as well so that you have it for organizing thoughts on the go. It gives me a reliable way to remember everything. – Connor Gillivan, FreeeUp
Asana is a great tool to organize, manage and track our entire company’s workflow. It’s a great time-saving tech hack, especially for remote companies. You can go in and see what each team is working on and if they’re on track or behind. You can assign tasks to yourself or others with due dates to make sure projects are completed on time and even “tag” followers on a task that you want to keep updated. The ability to immediately see, at a glance, what your tasks are, as well as get a notification each time a team member finishes their own task, is important to keeping everyone in the company on the same page. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
8. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is pretty great because it allows you to easily time-block your day. The app will let you know if you are visiting a distracting site, and if you’ve been idle for too long, will ask you if you’re still working. Being honest with yourself and the app helps keep you on track. You’re then able to dive deep into the data and find out how you allocate your time. This helps when figuring out what to delegate or what you need to spend more time on. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
Maintaining an active social media presence is important, but it can take up a lot of time in the day. That’s why Buffer is a great tool. With Buffer, instead of logging into all of your social media accounts over and over again throughout the day, you can go in and schedule all of your social media posts for the entire week for all of your platforms in one place. You can easily share and re-share all of your content and schedule it to post at peak times when it will get the most engagement. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
CoSchedule is a tool we’re loving for social media and content scheduling. Both of these are huge drivers for our market strategy, but taking time out of our day to schedule posts is irritating and time-consuming. Sometimes we even forget! Now it’s so much easier to select content for the week and schedule it all out a week in advance. This saves us sitting around trying to think up useful content, and we can focus on more pressing tasks at hand. CoSchedule also sends a weekly follow-up that tells you how your marketing went and even how much time you saved that week by using various features of CoSchedule. Analytics are easy to read and understand too, which helps us tweak our strategy. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs
Boomerang is the most important extension I have on my email. I not only use it to suggest times for meetings and calls that auto-populate into Google calendar, but also to bring a message back to my inbox if there’s been no reply after a certain amount of days. This is a huge time saver over having a list of everyone that I need to follow up with. I can also schedule an email to send at a later time if I don’t want it to go out immediately. – David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
Not quite a tech hack but a collaborative task-management tool, Any.do works equally well with Chrome, Android and iOS. While the basic version is free to use, the paid version comes with a range of additional features. These include setting up recurring tasks, attaching notes and making use of location-based reminders. The free version of the app lets you preview all the tasks you have lined up for the day, giving you the option to commit or reschedule. You may view your to-dos based on different categories such as work, personal and goals. The Any.do Moment works as a recurring reminder, which you may schedule for any time. The mobile app includes a type-head function that lets you add new tasks quickly by using voice. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns
Wunderlist is a rather simple but very useful app that works great for both personal and professional tasks. It’s easy to share to-do lists, reminders and notes with anyone on any device. What I like about it is that you can quickly send simple messages, such as including someone on a project, wherever that person happens to be and whether he or she is using an iPhone, Android or laptop. I also find that it’s good for reminding myself of something, whether it’s an upcoming meeting or to wish someone happy birthday. It’s often small details that make the difference when it comes to productivity, and Wunderlist is helpful to keep the gears running smoothly. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
Much of my time is spent traveling to conferences worldwide and meeting with clients face-to-face. Keeping track of all my commitments used to be a hassle. Calendly integrates seamlessly with Outlook (and every other major calendar service, such as Google) to keep my schedule straight and keep me accessible to clients. When I’m traveling, I even encourage team members to make use of Calendly to book time with me where they can have my undivided attention. – Thomas Smale, FE International
Rocketbook is an erasable notebook that can automatically upload your notes to the cloud. It looks and feels like any other paper notebook. Plus, you can use any erasable pen from Pilot, which can be found at most office supply stores. Simply take a photo of the page with your phone to automatically upload the content to the cloud system of your choosing. Afterwards, use a damp cloth to erase the writing on the page. The ink comes off easily and there is no trace of the previous writing on the page. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
As the owner of a completely remote company, my daily work is never the same, and I really need to focus my time and energy on projects that will move the needle and not get caught up in busy work. The Focus app is great in helping me achieve this by allowing me to block out certain time-wasting and distracting websites. I can also schedule breaks depending on when I need it. The app will block certain websites of my choice and replace them with a motivational quote, which is awesome! It allows me to stay on track and get the work that’s needed to finish open-ended projects done. It helps improve productivity and blocks distractions, which saves me time and money! – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com