Sections of the day are lost, either to handling minutia that never seems to end or from brain breaks that end up eating hours instead of minutes. Fortunately, there are a number of technological tools and tricks that can help stem the tide, ranging from creating automated integrated tasks to something as straightforward as setting an out-of-office message when you need a week to focus.
To find out the specifics, we asked members from Young Entrepreneur Council how they use technology to shave off hours of their work week. Here's what they said:
Automate Email and Scheduling
I've automated so many processes to save time in my own business. I use a business-management tool that automatically takes care of specific emails with clients, and I use a calendar system (ScheduleOnce) to avoid the back-and-forth of scheduling meetings. It's like having another person on my team. – Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography
Use an AI Assistant and Ride-Share Apps
Time is the most valuable thing we have. The technologies I use to shave off hours daily are ride-sharing apps and my AI assistant. By not driving, I gain approximately 200 hours per year. My AI assistant schedules all my meetings, which saves literally thousands of emails per year, which is time and energy I can then refocus on executive level tasks for running my influencer marketing company.
– Justin Rezvani of TheAmplify
Send Out-of-Office Emails During Busy Weeks
There are tons of apps that you can use to manage your productivity and streamline processes. One of my favorite things is a simple out-of-office email — but don't just use it when you're out of office. Use it when you have a heavy week of meetings or you're behind on important tasks. That way, you can filter the messages coming to you and no one will be expecting an immediate reply.
– Kevin Conner of Vast Bridges
Plan All Schedules Through an Online Calendar
It may sound very easy, but most people tend to use online calendars (like Google or Microsoft) to only schedule sit-down meetings and other strictly work related activities. I do not. Instead, each week I spend an hour or more planning and scheduling activities one week in advance. That way, I'm not reactive to things that come up during the week, and I can stay focused and on track with my life.
– Kristopher Jones of LSEO.com
Keep Google Drive Organized
We are meticulous about the organization of our Google Drive. By having everything in its right place within a folder, it saves us all time and frustration. We never need to dig to find a document, presentation or invoice. It also enhances our ability to work remotely, as we can live-edit documents within the drive from different locations.
– Justin Lefkovitch of Mirrored Media
Tap Into Meeting Apps for Agendas and Notes
Meeting apps allow you to plan a thoughtful agenda and capture meeting outcomes that the team can easily access. When you know what the meeting will achieve, you’re less likely to have an unproductive meeting. You can also opt-out of some meetings when you know notes will be captured in a meeting tool or other digital document and available within 24 hours.
– Mamie Kanfer Stewart of Meeteor
Automatically Filter Emails
This email application is a huge time saver and saves me hours of filtering through my emails. Sanebox organizes my inbox and automatically knows which emails are important and which ones are less important. This way, I’m not getting lost in emails and can stay on top of important tasks.
– Stanley Meytin of True Film Production
Rely on Chatbots
I like having an AI-enabled chat bot to take care of some of our customer interaction because it saves countless hours answering basic inquiries. It's more responsive and can answer immediately, which also helps us focus on these interactions only when we are really needed.
– Cynthia Johnson of Ipseity Media
Track Procrastination via Qbserve
I use a time-tracking application called Qbserve to constantly stay aware of how productive I'm being for the current day, week and month. If I start to procrastinate, that little reminder in my menubar is all it takes to get back on track. It is also vital in my weekly planning to look at areas where I got off track and determine how I can keep improving each and every day.
– James Simpson of GoldFire Studios
Create Easy Workflows for Repeated Tasks
Zapier is an incredible tool for connecting and integrating apps to automate your life. By creating easy workflows for repeated tasks, automating assignments to virtual assistants when necessary, and building templates for how to handle things, you can save hours per week. The best guide for putting this into practice is Ari Meisel's The Art of Less Doing.
– Zach Obront of Book in a Box
Mobile Hotspots Allow for Work While Traveling
When I am traveling without access to a reliable WiFi connection, I use my smartphone's hotspot to access the Internet on my laptop. While smartphones are great for email and surfing the web, they have their limitations. I capitalize on my transit time when I use my mobile hotspot to work remotely. This ensures I end my work days early enough to unwind when I get home and get a good night's sleep.
– Firas Kittaneh of Amerisleep
Send Auto Responses to Basic Questions
I take advantage of automated responses on email inquiries for my business that pertain to more basic questions a customer may have. Not only does this save me time, it is typically a faster response time for the customer, leaving me more time available for more pressing issues.
– Renato Libric of Bouxtie Inc
Read more about improving productivity on Tech.Co