Ever feel like your days are taken up by those tedious daily tasks and that you don't have enough time left to focus on the work that really matters to you? We're all busy people leading hectic lives and I've been trying to find ways recently to streamline everyday tasks so I have more time to focus on the projects I'm excited about. So if you feel a little stretched too thin as well, here are five ways I streamline daily tasks:
Buffer Awesome I've been using Buffer for over a year now but I finally took the plunge and invested in their Awesome Plan recently as scheduling social media was a process I knew I could streamline into something a whole lot less time consuming. Running two Twitter profiles - both for here and ALO - means I'm forever scheduling promotional tweets and now I can do a week in advance if I wanted to which makes things a whole lot easier. I know there are other platforms out there for scheduling social media in advance (with Buffer you only get 10 tweets at a time for free) but personally I much prefer Buffer's interface and user experience to any other platform.
Email Templates Emails are the bane of my life, as soon as my inbox is emptied another bunch of emails appear that need my attention and it can feel like a never-ending cycle. Not all replies can be automated - when I'm talking with freelance clients, readers, or the ALO team I like to be completely engaged with the conversation. However, when you just need to politely turn down a PR opportunity, or answer any FAQ's (for example about your freelance process, media kit, rates etc) having templates that are easily personalised can help save tons of time.
Digital Bookkeeping Looking after my own accounts is probably the most challenging part of being self employed, and what I'm learning is that the only way to stay on top of them is to have a process set in place. With things also changing come January 2015 in terms of sales of digital products (fellow digital entrepreneurs - catch up with VATMOSS if you haven't already) it means I'm going to need to be even more organised, so I've been focusing lately on building a bookkeeping routine that works for me. You can either use online accountancy software (Xero and Wave are a couple of options I'm looking into) or keep it old school and manage your books yourself. For me, spreadsheets are the best route to take and just having a super easy place to document income, expenses, and assets will make your life a whole lot easier.
Have Multiple Calendars Google Calendar is my best friend, it's the only way I manage to stay on top of everything. I have 5 separate calendars on the go; ALO editorial calendar, Jennypurr editorial calendar, business calendar, freelance clients calendar, and a personal calendar with Alex. The good thing is that I can either view all five at one time, or just have one or two showing depending on what I'm working on. Instead of fumbling about throughout the day feeling lost as to which task to tackle next, my calendars help keep me on track and organised.
Lists Are Your Best Friends As well as my calendars, lists are also one of my biggest aids when it comes to staying on top of everything. So much time can be wasted trying to organise everything, yet if you're always keeping focused and concise lists you'll rarely go wrong. I keep a list for everything; each and every project I'm working on, always one for both ALO and this blog, and then a personal one for any errands that need running. Start your day knowing exactly what it is that needs doing that day so you don't waste time figuring it out as you go.
What about you, how do you streamline daily tasks?
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