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3 Online Tools to Increase Productivity

Posted by in Organisation, Time management

In this video, I’m going to share with you 3 online tools to increase productivity.  These are tools that I use to help me work more productively and ensure that I’m working on the most important tasks at any one time. The 3 tools are: ToDoist – An easy to use tool to set up and manage your to do list, set deadlines and recurring tasks, add notes and labels and receive a daily email reminding you of what tasks are due that day. Workflowy – A very simple tool which you can use to set down your tasks, take notes, keep a journal or plan a project. You can use Workflowy to list out all your ideas and tasks and create hashtags to organise tasks by date, project or other criteria. Trello – Similar to a white board which you can use to keep track of  your projects.  It’s more visually appealing than either ToDoist or Workflowy and is a great tool to use to collaborate on projects with others as you can easily track activity. Watch the video below to find out more: As  well as using these tools on your computer, they all have apps that you can download on to your phone or tablet so you can manage your task list on the go. So check out these 3 online tools to increase productivity and see which one works for you.  If you’re using one or all of them already, or want to recommend any other tools then drop us a comment...

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7 Productivity Tips and Tricks for the Holiday Season

Posted by in Organisation, Time management

So it’s the last week before the festive break.  If you’re like me, you in a mad rush trying to get everything done. However, on the positive side, we get the opportunity to have some down time and recharge our batteries (mine are definitely running low!).  As well as vegging out on the sofa and watching trash TV (or is that just me?!), it’s also a good idea to use the time to take stock of your plans and get ready for the year ahead. So take time out from the sherry and mince pies and use the quiet period to make sure that you are set up to go full steam ahead in the New Year. Here are 7 productivity tips and tricks for the holiday season Go through your to do list.  Dump everything down on a piece of paper – this includes your task list, stuff scribbled on post-it notes and things in your head that you’ve been thinking of doing but haven’t got round to.  Go through them one by one and decide on what action you’re going to take –  Do it, ditch it or delegate it. Review your processes.  Are you working seamlessly or do you waste time trying to find things?  Perhaps you’ve got some files saved on your PC and some on Dropbox?  Or you’ve got half your task list on post-it notes and the rest are on Trello?  If so then review your processes and set up the right apps and tools to ensure that you can access what you need quickly and easily. Plan where you’re going.  What are your plans for next 6 months?  Have an overall goal that you want to achieve.  Mine is to create an online course product by the middle of next year.  Write this down or create a vision board around it.  You will start the new year knowing exactly what you need to be focussing on. Set out your goals.  Now you have an overall vision or goal, set out the 5 key actions that you need to take to move you towards that goal.  This helps to ensure that you keep on track and stay focused on where you need to be going.  Put these down somewhere so you can track your progress,  for example using tools such as Todoist or Trello. Clean your inbox.  Wouldn’t it be great to not only to start the year with a clear inbox but keep it that way as well.  Go through your emails, unsubscribe from those newsletters that are no longer relevant, filter others that are non-urgent but you want to keep, and start to act on those that require a short response...

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How to move forward by looking back

Posted by in Organisation, Small business

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.  Winston Churchill I’ve recently been reviewing my business after a period of feeling like I’d hit a brick wall and didn’t know where to go next. I actually think it’s something that a lot of business owners face at one time or another – you get to a point where you feel stuck and not sure how to move yourself forward to the next stage.  But it can leave you feeling demotivated and demoralised if you don’t do something about it. So I went back to basics and did a complete review of my business.  I looked back at how far I’d come since I first set up, how the business had changed from my initial vision, what I liked about it and what I didn’t like, the changes that I’d like to make and what I’d like to do going forward. So how did it help to move forward by looking back? Not only was it good to get everything down in writing and be able to look at it objectively, it also made me feel proud to see how far I’d come as a person and business owner over the last few years. The whole exercise helped to reconnect me to the reason why I set up in business in the first place.  It reminded me of my successes and how much I’d achieved as well as giving me clarity around how I wanted to move forward.  This left me feeling much more motivated and positive about the future. So if you’re ever feeling stuck and unsure about what action to take next, then I can definitely recommend taking time out to look back and review your business.  Just writing out your achievements, what you like and don’t like about the business (be honest!), as well as where you want to go in the future, will help to give you the motivation and energy to move forward to the next stage. A really useful tool that I  use for writing out my thoughts is Oh Life – it sends you an email once a day and you just hit reply and write out whatever you want. And if you’ve got your own experiences to share, then please feel free to drop a comment in the box...

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7 Steps to Reduce Overwhelm

Posted by in Organisation, Time management

I recently had a day when I took one look at my to do list and my heart sank!  I had put down so many actions, thoughts, ideas and plans that I just didn’t know where to start.  I was also busy with client work and was struggling to fit in some of my own business stuff into my working day.  There was one word that described how I felt – overwhelmed. Now I like to think that I’m an extremely organised person – it’s part of my job!  But like any business owner, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by all the competing demands and challenges that come with running a business. However I’ve found a few strategies to help me get focused and motivated again. So here are my 7 steps to reduce overwhelm. Put it in writing.  If there are ideas or plans buzzing around in your head, then they are just going to stress you out.  Get them out of your head and down on to paper.  Write down any ideas, thoughts, plans or worries. Very often by writing them down, you can start to look at them objectively and make a decision as to whether to pursue them or let them go. Share it with others.  There is an old saying, a problem shared is a problem halved.  So use your support network to help with any problems or challenges that you have in your business.  It could be that you just need advice or are looking for more formal help on a project. Seek support – outsource/delegate.  Don’t try and struggle with a problem alone.  If you’ve got something on your to do list that needs to be done but you don’t have the time or skills to do it or just simply don’t want to do it, then outsource it to someone else.  This will give you more time and energy to focus on the important tasks that you enjoy doing. Find inspiration.  Sometimes we can get overwhelmed when we are feeling stuck with a project or task and don’t know what to do next.  A good way to get round this is to take a break and do something completely different.   Pick something that you enjoy doing, such as a walk in the park, running by the sea, gardening or reading.  This will help to break the mental block and give you back your inspiration and motivation. Be ruthless with your to do list.  Is everything on your to do list really important?  Or have you just used it to put down all your ideas and plans?  It may be that there are things on your list that are no...

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10 Online tools for people on the go

Posted by in Organisation, Time management

Because I provide virtual assistance to my clients, I can pretty much work from anywhere.  That’s why I’m always on the look out for tools that can help me stay productive while I’m on the move or out of the office.  See my previous blog “Online tools to help you work effectively”. In this blog, I’m sharing the tools that I use most often to help me work from any location or computer. So here are 10 online tools for people on the go: Dropbox / Google Drive:  As more and more people set up in business and work with virtual teams, then document sharing has become an essential tool.   Both Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive all help people to share and work on documents together, without having to email versions back and forth. ToDoist:  This enables me to record and track all my tasks and projects in one place.  I can categorise them, add notes and tags and set deadlines.  I can use ToDoist to review my productivity and ensure  that the important stuff gets done. Workflowy:  This is a great tool if you like hierarchical to do lists. It enables you to set out your actions and projects in bulleted lists and then add tags such as month, category etc so you can quickly see what you need to be doing by month or project. Mindmeister:   I use Mindmeister when I want to brainstorm a project such as writing an Ebook or updating my website.  Mindmapping is an effective way to capture your thoughts and ideas and Mindmeister makes it easy to do this. Pixlr:  If you’re like me and write regular blog posts, you’ll need to edit images to go into those blogs.  Pixlr is an online image editing tool which has all the basic functions of Photoshop so that you can resize and crop images to ensure that they are the correct size for your blogs. Trello.  Another productivity tool which you can use to record your projects and share them  with other people.  Recommended for people who are visual and don’t like using standard to do lists. Paymo:  An online time tracker tool which you can use from your computer or Smartphone.  Helps you to track and record how much time you’ve spent on a project so that you know you’re billing your clients the correct amount. Feedly:  This is where I can read all the blogs that I follow in one place.  You can sorts blogs by category, save them or add them to Evernote, as well as share them via Twitter, Facebook or Buffer. Dragon Dictation:  This is a great tool if you have an iPhone or iPad and want to...

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Gmail tabs: How to ensure you’re seeing your important emails

Posted by in How to, Organisation, videos

As you probably know, Gmail has introduced a new way of organising your inbox by  separating your emails out by category and putting them into separate tabs, eg Primary, Social and Promotions. Now this can be useful in helping you to see the most important emails first but you could also miss out on other emails that come in.` So watch the video below to find out how to use the new Gmail tabs to ensure that you see the emails that are important to you. Alternatively keep reading for a step by step guide. Go to your Gmail inbox and click on the Promotions tab and check for new emails. If there’s a message in there that you don’t want to miss then select it and drag it to the Primary tab. From now on, any messages from that sender will arrive into the Primary inbox. You can do the same for any messages that arrive into your other tabs such as Social. All starred messages will automatically appear in the Primary tab. If you want to revert back to the old inbox just click on the Settings icon and then Configure inbox.  Now deselect all the tabs and you will now see the old inbox view. So that’s how to you set up and manage the new Gmail tab system. If you want to get more tips on how to manage your time and work effectively in your business, then download a copy of our guide “How to organise your workload so there’s more time for you“. This guide is packed full of time management tips as well as 10 online tools to help you work more productively. Click on the link to download the guide >> How to organise your...

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