Given that I recently moved into a new office and it’s the end of the year, I thought that now would be an ideal time to tune up my productivity as a small business owner. My enhancements fall into four categories, including built-in exercise, time-saving office equipment, efficiency apps, and streamlined processes.
My holiday gift to myself this year was a treadmill desk. The desk allows me to easily get in 10,000 steps a day without having to schedule in a trip to the gym or even a walk around the neighborhood. Now, Alyson Shontell at Business Insider used a treadmill desk from LifeSpan for a whole day and said it negatively impacted her productivity because she was so exhausted. I’m not surprised. It’s all about moderation, so in 2015, I will use the desk during busywork periods (answering emails, submitting invoices, making administrative calls, etc.). I have a regular computer desk for periods of intense, focused work.
Time-Saving Office Equipment
You already know that I’m a spokesperson for Canon, and as such, the company sent me a new Canon Maxify printer designed specifically for small business owners. I don’t employ a full-time assistant, so printing and scanning tasks can be laborious – not to mention a time and productivity suck. The best thing about the Canon Maxify is its speed: in just a minute or so it churned out a 20-page client contract. The Maxify also allows me to send documents to print from any location in the cloud, so I can take care of my printing and scanning tasks while on the go.
The iPhone App Store is always full of interesting finds, and this year I’m adding Dashlane and Gmail Canned Responses to my repertoire. Dashlane, which is free, automatically logs you onto websites so you never have to remember individual passwords. Its security seems pretty robust, as I’ve already received an alert that one of my passwords was potentially compromised. As for Gmail Canned Responses, I learned about this from CNET’s Nicole Cozma and don’t know how I lived without it for this long. The Canned responses feature lets you compose replies to common messages you receive and saves them for future use so that in just few clicks, you can insert one of your pre-written replies. I tend to get asked the same questions over and over, so this tool was invented for me!
In 2015, I’ll also continue to use my go-to efficiency apps of Dropbox (cloud-based storage), Doodle (online meeting coordinator), Evernote (note-taking and content-clipping), and If This Then That (social media coordination).
As a small business owner, three major time management pitfalls are small-task procrastination, working on tasks outside my expertise, and managing my finances. For 2015, I’m implementing a few processes that I anticipate will double my productivity in these areas. First, I’ll increase my use of the “Under 10 Minutes rule.” The rule states that if a task arrives in my queue and it can be completed in less than 10 minutes, I take care of it right away. I’ll also use TaskRabbit, a tool that quickly locates experts on a variety of topics and can also provide administrative support in case, for example, I need someone to help me respond to media pitches. I also plan to expand my usage of Intuit’s Quickbooks, Quickbase, and Mint products in order to better keep track of the money coming in and the money coming out, as well as my client engagements and budgets.
Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post.
We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon Maxify MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!