Scott Steinberg is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of Netiquette Essentials: New Rules for Minding Your Manners in a Digital World, Millennial Marketing: Bridging the Generation Gap and Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty. The founder of SELECT nightlife and entertainment magazine, and among today’s leading providers of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars for Fortune 500 firms, his website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.
As fast-paced and hyper-kinetic as today’s business world is, we all want to get more done – and in less time. Happily for modern professionals, it’s never been easier to take back control of your schedule, and take back control of your working life. Using a few simple tips, tricks, and high-tech solutions, including a variety of apps and online services, virtually anyone can get a handle on their workday again, and get back to feeling more organized.
Below, you’ll find five ways to multiply your time, boost productivity, and get the most out of any given workday, regardless of whether you’re staying put, on the move, or sprinting through crunch time.
Organize and manage your schedule
How can the average working professional (let alone working parent) squeeze in sales appointments, power lunches, after-school activities with the kids, and the occasional yoga class all into the same day? Short of hiring an executive assistant, or cloning yourself, a variety of free and paid time management apps offer the next best solution.
Download myriad options to your desktop, laptop, or mobile device, and you can quickly optimize your calendar – or even let artificially-intelligent advisors automatically find holes in your schedule waiting be filled in. Some can even help you spot regular openings when you can slot in tasks you’ve always been meaning to get to, but can never seem to find time for.
Delegate and outsource tasks
It’s practically in every upwardly-mobile, career-minded individual’s DNA to want to micromanage everything – doubly so for freelancers and other self-employed workers. But until they invent 30-hour days, learning to outsource is the fastest way to multiply your time and output – a task online freelance service marketplaces can assist with.
Got a task or project that needs assigning? From creating killer packaging to building better logos, conducting market research, or revamping your website, countless providers are waiting to bid on it. To connect with writers, graphic designers, e-commerce consultants and more, just login to these online services, write a project description, and set a price – then watch the bids roll in. The next thing you know, you’ll be delegating tasks, freeing up time on your schedule, and sitting back smiling, watching as the busywork gets done while you finally get to knuckle down and focus on high-priority tasks.
Take back control of your time
Ever look up from your desk at 5 o’clock and wonder: Where did the day go? Start tracking your time with helpful stopwatch and timer software programs and keeping daily diaries and you can find out – then cut out all the attention-diverting distractions that keep you from getting things done.
A number of time sheet applications can also help in this regard, as can a few productivity-boosting tips. For example: Waking up earlier each day (to get more done before other distractions encroach). Focusing on the most important tasks first every morning (to get them out of the way faster, and make the rest of the day seem easier by comparison). And, of course, setting specific hours each day during which your door is closed (and email and instant messengers are shut down), so you can fully concentrate on the work at-hand.
Skip the busywork
Need to catch-up on email, send a text, or get back to a colleague stat? There’s no sense wasting time typing everything out when you can simply dictate messages instead. Many popular desktop and mobile devices and applications (as well as in-car-compatible systems) make it simple for you to speak your mind – and transcribe or share your thoughts on-screen in seconds.
Simply activate speech-to-text (a.k.a. voice recognition) features, and/or a Bluetooth wireless headset, and you can quickly get your point across by vocalizing thoughts… all without lifting a finger. Better yet, a growing number of solutions even let you save out lengthier conversations to full-fledged documents. So the next time you’re thinking of writing that great American novel or cutting-edge business book you’ve always dreamed of? Remember that it can be as easy as dictating 600 words every morning for a couple months while running on the treadmill.
Tap into high-tech solutions
You’ve got a great idea for a new or side business, a working plan, and the perfect audience in mind – but how to quickly grow and market it? Easy: Just drag and drop to setup a website, e-commerce platform, mobile interface and more, thanks to a growing range of providers that offer plug-and-play templates for basic business functions. Literally dozens of solutions exist that can help you mix-and-match photos, copy, and online shopping carts to build a homepage, blog, Internet storefront, and more in minutes. Likewise, you can also find countless off-the-shelf providers that can help you fulfill orders, or manufacture and deliver everything from books to branded memorabilia and even streaming online video courses on-demand.
As you’ll soon discover, the moment you’ve got a great idea is the moment you can tap into countless resources for quickly testing and promoting it – so what’s stopping you from prototyping or launching your next great business idea today?