With the new year ahead, opportunities abound for small business owners—and so do potential distractions and disruptions. How can you boost your productivity and manage stress in 2020? Fortunately, there are apps and tools for that!
Tips and Tools to Keep Your Productivity on Track
1. Make logins easier with a password management app.
How much time do you spend digging through notebooks or a sea of sticky notes to track down usernames and passwords for the multitude of websites you log onto? A secure password management tool that stores all of your login info in one central place (and that can autofill your credentials on sites) can help. PC Mag recently listed their top picks, which include Zoho Vault, Dashlane, Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault, and LastPass Premium as the best of the best. PC Mag’s list includes the paid versions of the apps, but most have free versions available, as well.
2. Stop scrambling to post content on your social media channels—use a social media posting and scheduling tool.
Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, and others allow you to create post content for multiple social media channels in one place. The platforms enable you to schedule content in advance. So, you can plan ahead rather than exist in "fire drill mode," trying to figure out, on the spot, what to post every day. They also have browser extensions that let you create and schedule social media post content through a compose box that opens directly in the browser when you find an interesting article or web page that's shareworthy. Some tools have free versions as well as paid subscriptions. However, you may find that the enhanced features and capabilities offered with the paid subscriptions are well worth the fee.
Bonus tool for social media: Consider checking out Canva for creating picture-perfect graphics effortlessly. Canva also has a sizable image library from which you can purchase the right to use stock photos.
3. Keep calm and mentally prepared with a meditation app.
Starting and running a business comes with a lot of to-dos, unknowns, and ups and downs. All of that can trigger stress and squash the ability to focus in even the most laid-back entrepreneurs. One way to keep your head on straight amid competing priorities and challenges is to use a meditation app. CNET provides details about their selections for the best meditation apps available, which include Headspace, Calm, Mindwell, and others. Consider enrolling in free trials so that you can sample how they work and if they’re a good fit for you.
4. Work out stress with a health and fitness app.
We all know that exercise and proper nutrition help reduce stress and improve mental and physical performance. The benefits are unquestionable. However, staying dedicated to a fitness regimen can be difficult when you're pulled every which way at work and home. Luckily, technology and the Internet of Things have given us ways to hold ourselves accountable when looking out for our health and well-being. PC Mag has listed their fitness app favorites by category: nutrition-tracking apps, activity-tracking apps, on-demand workout apps, and workout music apps. Take some time to explore which of them will best suit your preferences and lifestyle before you invest in one.
5. Stretch your brainpower with a language-learning app.
Not all diversions are harmful. Sometimes, taking a break to focus on something new and different can revive your energy and stimulate your motivation. For example, consider using one of the many apps available for learning a foreign language. Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, and Rosetta Stone are just a few examples of what’s out there. Some have free versions or free trials that will allow you to test their approach before committing to a subscription. The bonus benefit of studying a language is, as you gain mastery, you might discover you can expand your products and services to an entirely new demographic.
Here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Successful New Year
I hope these ideas have given you some helpful food for thought as you embark on making this new year your most productive one yet. Also, remember that SCORE mentors are an excellent resource for insight and recommendations that can help you drive your business success. What tips and tools do you plan to embrace in 2020?
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.