We live in a 24/7 state of connectivity. Yet business owners and employees often complain there is not enough time to juggle all their work. Endless emails, long meetings and the constant onslaught of information that comes our way every day can make it difficult to focus. Efficiency goes out the window and jobs fall by the wayside. But what if there was help at hand?
Business performance coach Jamie Cunningham suggests most workers and business owners find it difficult to see the bigger picture, because they’re too busy trying to keep up.”
Yet just as technology has become a problem for some, it can also provide the solution, Cunningham suggests there are countless apps that can make working lives easier. The trick is to sort the wheat from the chaff.
“But how do we work out which ones are actually going to improve our day-to-day lives and which are just going to add to the noise?” Cunningham asks.
“I think everyone who works in an office has had the experience where the company introduces a new software system, spends thousands on training, but then it’s not adopted by everyone and eventually dies out – only to be replaced by the next big thing.
“If you’re team is not fully on board with using a new piece of technology, there is no point introducing it.”
Cunningham suggests introducing new tech should be about streamlining processes to save you and your employees time.
“It needs to be strategic – determine what the bottle necks are in your business and then see how technology can help. The trouble is there are lots of imposters out there that can make us even more inefficient and slow down the workflow.”
Cunningham tells KBB the really good apps take all of the minor details off your plate.
“So, you can cut through the clutter and focus on the bigger picture.”
It’s no surprise that emails are some of the worst distractions for employers and employees. Other time wasting culprits include poor project management, which leads to jobs falling through the cracks and bad time management. Lengthy meetings are another issue.
“A well-run meeting begins with an objective and has structure to reach it,” Cunningham says.
“As a business owner, I don’t want to have to remember anything – that’s not the best use of my mind. With the right technology, I can use my mind for problem solving and creative thinking.”
So what are Cunningham’s top apps to improve productivity and give back time?
Slack: This very popular messaging app removes the email clutter that is the scourge of so many workplaces, especially when coming back work from holiday to find your inbox overflowing. Work-based messaging apps like Slack help clear away that clutter and save huge amounts of time.
Trello: Trello is a project management or ‘task manager’ software that helps removes the confusion that permeates workplaces in terms of who is doing what. Invaluable, especially for a small business.
Zoom: Zoom is a video-conferencing app that records your meetings. It means that people in meetings don’t have to take notes or minutes and can focus on contributing to the discussion, as well as providing a resource for employees to go back and look at when necessary.
Evernote: Evernote allows you to not have to worry about where your information is stored. When you suddenly need something like a warranty receipt from two years ago or a note someone passed you yesterday, you can relax because you know that everything’s in Evernote. It allows you to concentrate on the big things rather than obsess over the details.
Meetme: Have you ever spent hours trying to work out a time where you could get ten different people to a meeting? MeetMe is a simple program that makes setting a time for a meeting so much easier. It might seem like a small thing, but for some businesses it’s a lifesaver.
“You have to work out what’s right for you, but one or all of these programs could change your productivity in short order, whether you’re a solo practitioner, an artist, or a business owner.”
“The important thing is to work out what’s going to allow you to do what you do best, rather than sweating the small stuff,” Cunningham concludes.