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About Jo Meunier

Jo is a Senior Editor at Alliance Virtual Offices. She loves chatting with people about virtual offices and is always eager to share stories, tips and ideas about remote work on the Alliance Blog. Connect with Jo on LinkedIn.

Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Productivity and Get More Free Time


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Guest post from Appointedd, a provider of online booking and scheduling solutions for busy owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses.

As a solo business owner, the feeling that you could always be doing more for your business never really goes away. Your time is often the very thing you are selling, which is why taking a proper break without thinking about your business can feel so impossible.

But a study by David Meyer from the University of Michigan has shown that being busy, despite sometimes being seen as a badge of honour, just makes us less productive. It creates a never­-ending cycle of overworked people with too much to do.

Caution: Shameless Plug Ahead! Continue Reading Below ↓

Need tips on keeping your team of remote workers productive? Check out our Tips to Help Virtual Teams Stay in Synch

There’s also a little thing called busywork. You will recognise busywork as those jobs that should be boring but that you secretly like doing because they’re easy and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something with minimum effort: stapling, shredding, filing… all these things that yes, need to be done, but do they need to be done right now? And is there a way you could cut them out with some smarter planning?

To get you started, here’s a list of easy ways you can shave the minutes and perhaps hours from those menial tasks that can sometimes swallow up your entire day.

Use a tool that helps you manage your emails

Emailing may seem like one of the easiest parts of your business, but it can be even easier to get bogged down writing and replying to a constant flow of emails. We’ve all experienced how that little ‘ding!’ can ruin your productive flow.

For a start, set aside just a few times a day when you check emails, and have canned responses ready (here’s how to set these up in Gmail) to make your life even easier.

You could also use a great free tool like Boomerang that schedules your emails to be sent at optimum times, and automatically sends reminders if someone has not replied, so you don’t have to chase them yourself.

Take the sting out of accounting

It just isn’t possible to be an expert at everything, and it helps to remember that one size does not always fit all. One of the biggest headaches for many is accounting and finance, and if you find it a stressful and time-consuming job, then maybe there’s a better way.

Tools such as FreeAgent can be huge timesavers and are absolutely perfect for the one-man or one-woman business. You can automate practically everything from invoicing and expense calculations to filing your tax return. That’s a whole lot of time freed up for you, and fewer things to worry about day to day.

Let your calendar fill itself

Managing your appointments can take up as much time, if not more, than the events themselves. Using a tool like Appointedd is the ideal way to free up all the time spent making arrangements over the phone or via long email exchanges by letting your customers book their own appointments online, even when you’re not working.

Schedule your social media

If social media forms a part of your marketing efforts, you’ll find that it’s a time-consuming task to keep things ticking over. Hootsuite and Buffer are useful (and free) tools that can help you schedule your posts in advance, so you can do it and forget about it for a while.

For more advice on tools and techniques to stop admin taking over your days, you can download this free ebook from Appointedd: My Business Ate My Evenings!

Guest post by Appointedd, a provider of online booking and scheduling solutions for busy owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses. Find out more about their flexible time management technology here and get started with Appointedd here.



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