22 September 2016
The Perfect Startup Tools for a Productive Day
There is no denying that a day in a startup company can be hectic, inspiring, nerve-racking and a whole lot of fun all rolled into one.
One of the big challenges for any new company is that of keeping the inspiration and the fun elements while organising their working day in such a way that it is more productive. In this respect, the good news is that there are some excellent startup tools that will help out greatly.
So how will a day in the life of your new business pan out once you use the right startup tools at the right times of day? Well, it could look a lot like the following schedule that I have found works well for me.
Check the Time Tracked the Previous Day
What is the very first thing that you do every single morning at work? This is a vital time slot that can either get you off to a tremendous start or else put you on the back foot right away if don’t use the time wisely.
In this respect, I find that it is a great idea is to start off by seeing what everyone got up to the day before. Thankfully, there are a few ways of doing this that don’t involve me following people around the office or constantly asking them what they are doing.
While some of my team still prefer the old fashioned approach of tracking time through a pen and paper, there are more hi-tech solutions that I can depend upon instead now. For instance, by using the Toggl service I can benefit from one click time tracking that I can use anywhere and that provides easy to read reports.
This means that checking what everyone was doing the previous day is an easy task that I can carry out early in the morning before deciding if there is any need to switch things around for the current day.
A Kanban Board for an Organised Start to the Day
Once I know what everyone did yesterday I can look to find ways to make today an even better day for the company. This can be done by seeing what needs to be done by whom today and then getting a plan together to do it.
A powerful and highly organised start to the day like this work wonders for my business. Once I know what everyone should be doing and how it all links together then there is a far greater chance of getting through an extremely productive day.
To make this happen I start the day off on the right foot by using a kanban board to organise the workload. The likes of Kanbanchi is a wonderful collaboration tool that lets me manage all of the tasks in the smartest, easiest and most effective way.
I don’t need to worry about duplicating effort or having important tasks neglected now that I have got into the habit of managing our tasks in this way.
Finish the Morning By Checking All Your Corporate Emails
As lunch time looms I sometimes start to worry about the fact that the day is starting to slip away from me. One of the most common worries at this time of day can be that the inbox is starting to look a little bit too full.
Handling emails is one of those tasks that eat up a lot more of my working day than I would like. To make this less of a problem a clever approach I have started to use is the Yesterbox method that has been advocated by Zappo CEO Tony Hsieh.
With this technique I just answer all of yesterday’s messages today, which works brilliantly for making me feel completely up to date before lunch. This is a good choice of task to finish off the morning, as it means that I am comfortable in the knowledge that I have no old messages waiting for me to attend to them in the afternoon.
In this case, the tool that helps me out is a simple corporate email account with Gmail. In this way, I have linked all of our email accounts together and I am sure that nothing slips through the net without being seen.
Yesware to Track Emails in the Afternoon
The previous point only covers part of the email process though, doesn’t it? It is all very well responding to the messages that people send me but what about following up the emails that we have issued to try and drive some new business?
The other part of this therefore involves tracking the emails that we send out to customers, to see the open rate, how many people download the attachment and other valuable information. This might sound like a deeply unglamorous task but it needs to be done if we are going to expand in the way that we want to.
A terrific tool from Yesware allows me to keep a close eye on how good we are at getting our message through to the people who matter most. I track our success rate in the afternoon and see whether we need to shift your focus or try something different in the future.
This is an ideal task for starting me off gently after lunch and getting my focus back onto driving more sales. This also gives me a few moments of genuine early-afternoon joy when I see that the figures are unexpectedly good.
Find Out How to Promote Your Business After Lunch
Promoting our new business through the issuing of press releases was something of a daunting task at the outset. Indeed, it was something that I kept putting off each day because I knew that it was going to be a hard slog.
However, there are some interesting tools around that now help me to find the right site or person to get my story out there. Taking a look at them is a good way to make use of those mid-afternoon hours that could otherwise fly past unproductively.
One of these tools is called Submit.co and it offers me a list of technology related websites that can be ordered by their Alexa rank or number of followers on Twitters. This is a fine way of finding the media sites that are the best fit for my needs.
In a similar vein, the Hey Press database is set up to let me find journalists who are likely to be interested in what we do. By getting in touch with a few of them in the afternoon I can hopefully put the wheels in motion for gaining some publicity the following day or in the near future.
I feel fantastic when I have taken the first steps in this process, which usually puts me in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Whiteboard for Noting Ideas at the End of the Day
As the end of the day approaches I often feel my energy starting to wane and my ideas drying up. This means that it is a great moment to take a break from the daily routine and look for some new ideas from the team.
There are obviously a number of ways of noting ideas on a group basis. One of the best approaches is to simply get everyone together at the end of the day to gather their thoughts on what went well that day and what could have gone better.
Whenever this process of sharing ideas is done it is vital that this is carried out smartly so that we capture all of the best ideas and allow everyone to participate fully. A simple and efficient way of doing this is end the day with a productive session in front of a whiteboard.
When I end the day with a bunch of new ideas it is something that leaves me and the team feeling invigorated. Even if it has been a pretty bad day I can look forward to trying again tomorrow and seeing if the ideas on our whiteboard make the difference.
Have a Last Look at What Most Matters Online
How will you end the working day before finally going home for a well-deserved break? It is easy to waste the last few minutes of the day if you lose focus but perhaps you can squeeze a little bit of extra productivity out of it instead.
Personally, I want to see what people are talking about online and on social media in respect of our business, our rivals and the industry in general. To save this becoming a massively time-consuming task I use a startup tool to get pinged with notifications whenever there is something to check out.
For example, with a Slack integration on Notify I get notified on anything that I am interested in. This makes it easy to stay abreast of the market in the way that best suits me.
It is the sort of task that I try to keep an eye of throughout the day, although I will also have it down as something to take a final look at when the day ends.
In this way, I can shut down my computer and go home feeling satisfied that I have had a highly productive day. By using the startup tools we have looked at here I can be sure that I have made the best possible use of my time and that I am looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.