I’m sure if we all stopped to pause and genuinely consider our digital hygiene, we’d be more than a little uncomfortable with the results. A recent episode of Reply All saw podcast host Alex Goldman ask an online security expert to hack his personal details as an experiment. When the results came back, he was horrified rather than amused. Not only were former and current internet passwords easily accessible, but so were details around his home address, his accounts, his family, and more. Alex was tasked with a lengthy process to clean up his online security, and the first thing he implemented was a password manager.
When we use passwords that are common, easily guessed, or when the same password is used all over the place, we’re asking for trouble. Too much of our world now exists in a virtual space to leave an easy back door open.
Dashlane is a password manager app that provides an easy solution, killing two birds with one stone. It suggests and sets...
‘Looking forward to meeting. How’s 3pm Tuesday?’
‘No can do unfortunately… how about 1.30pm Wednesday? Or 4pm Wednesday?’
‘I’m at an all day event. Monday week?’
Spotted in the wild: two time-pressed individuals trying to book in one half-hour meeting. By the time the meeting’s locked, it’s taken almost as much time in back-and-forth, pop-up email distractions, and flipping through calendars to make it happen.
There’s a far better solution.
The rise of online scheduling has given birth to a wave of apps that do what they say they will: simplify scheduling for both parties and remove mental clutter from your daily task list. There’s more than one good option to choose from:
Some people have the gift of organisation. Their beds are made each morning. Their belongings are put away where they should be. Their desks are pristine, not a paper out of place.
And then there’s the hoarders, the multitaskers, the I’ll-get-to-it type. Their office desks look a little different. Generally, there’s some towering piles of files yet to be put away, perhaps some receipts that need to be handed over to accounts, a contract to be signed, a proposal for review. Except… none of these things have stayed in the place they were meant to. Instead, it’s just a big pile of stuff, getting in the way of the real work.
The first kinds of people are rare. The rest of us - we’re somewhere more along the spectrum. However, we don’t need to give in to the easy discomfort of a messy, chaotic workspace just because we’re not Marie Kondo. We, too, could live that dreamy life of the organised, with everything in its place, and...
Not every app is created equal. Some are more showy than others - the flashy icons, screaming landing page, the promise of how it’ll Change Your Life Forever.
Others are quiet workhorses. They’ve got a purpose, and they get on with the job.
Then, there’s the under-promise, over-deliver kind of team players. Airtable, I’m looking at you.
Airtable is a powerful, friendly and intuitive cloud collaboration service that offers a huge range of abilities through its spreadsheet-slash-database design. It’s as simple to use as your average Excel spreadsheet, but gives you the in-depth power of a database, taking your organisational abilities to a much deeper level.
I use Airtable to collaborate with my team across geographical locations and time zones. By creating and populating robust and dynamic databases, the information we need to pick up tools each day is always readily available. Airtable removes unnecessary follow-up, administrative questions and...
We’re suckers for productivity clickbait. Articles proclaiming productivity hacks, workflow techniques,and five-step-programs whet our curiosity time and time again. With the same 24 hours in the day as the next guy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that there’s a ‘secret’ you may be missing out on when it comes to squeezing the most juice out of each day’s opportunities.
Well, yeah, kind of.
As a business owner, prioritising the most important tasks of each day is fundamental to continued growth. I’m a big believer in the power of uninterrupted work. Instead of letting my inbox dictate my schedule, I map my time and capacity each week in a way that allows for deep and meaningful work to be achieved.
And yet, I do so in a way that means the world’s not waiting for me to resurface.
I use practical automation tools on a daily basis to keep business running without my input. Clients can schedule meetings, employees know...
There’s a little bit of irony in the fact that we’ve never had more information at our fingertips at any other point in history - and at the same time, we’ve never had to work as hard to stay focused as a result of that access. You’d think the smartphones we lug around with us would make us… well… smarter. Unfortunately, with great things comes great responsibility, and it’s all too often we squander our time scrolling through a feed, rather than building our own contribution.
So. Time to take stock. Take a step back and look at how you’re using these tools at your fingertips. How can you use them for better and not for worse?
Personally, I’m a big fan of the power of routine. The incremental elements we build into each of our days that allow us to function at our best, enter deep productivity, create work we’re proud of, and end the day satisfied with our output.
Routine can also help to fend off constant distraction,...
Remote work isn’t quite the buzz term it used to be. With flexible work conditions becoming more common across all kinds of industries, our ideas of a ‘day at the office’ are changing rapidly, incorporating technological advances and greater desires for work-life integration into new solutions for all kinds of workers.
A 2018 study by Zug found that 70% of professionals around the world are working remotely for at least one day a week, with 53% working remotely for more than half the week. These kind of work arrangements are a far cry from the 9-5 in a crowded cubicle we used to believe was standard - but with such changes in work dynamics, new solutions are needed. When you can’t pop your head in to your colleague’s office with a quick question, there’s got to be a way to replace collaboration in an online environment.
Enter a whole suite of automation tools. There’s a plethora of powerful and intuitive apps that can make teamwork across...
Ever get those emails that make you wince purely out of the little annoyances they bring with them?
For me, it used to be those asking me to ‘sign something’. Cue the process of printing the attachment out, signing it, either returning it via fax, or scanning it back in and re-attaching to the email. It was laborious, wasted paper, and meant a simple process interrupted my day when it shouldn’t have.
You can probably tell where this is going by now… back to the land we normally inhabit: the happy space of automation. Because (as usual) there’s a way to let technology take care of that for you.
Online signatures remove the annoyance and wastage of printing/signing/somehow returning. All within your browser, you can effortlessly and elegantly sign documents and send them back to the interested parties. There’s a number of added benefits that come with online signatures, too, including the ability to highlight exactly where signatures...
Let’s take a look at a tool you may already have a degree of familiarity with. You’ve probably filled a couple out in the past 24 hours - the online form has emerged as a ubiquitous form of data gathering and transactional processes. However, online forms can be the under-appreciated swiss army knives of your customer engagement strategies, so I’m championing their cause in a fight for the underdog.
Online forms can be used to build databases, engage leads, capture early enquiries, trigger direct downloads, sign up new users, generate immediate quotes, increase conversion rates or sample customers through surveys. Not only do they offer many benefits, but they’re also deceptively simple to set up and use. A well-crafted online form can make engagement with your current or potential customer base smoother and can lead to the increased profitability of your sales approaches.
Some of the benefits of online forms include…
Jump back a post if you’re yet to read part one of our introduction to sales and marketing automation.
Once you’ve found a great CRM you can trust wholeheartedly with your customer’s data, and you’ve considered what can be integrated to drive data input in and out of that CRM, it’s time to ramp up to the next level of what automation can offer to your business - marketing automation.
Marketing automation is a dream come true - when it’s approached with the same kind of understanding and consideration that any other kind of marketing would be treated with. Automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all for your business solutions. If you don’t have an effective understanding of your customer base, existing and potential, or you’re unsure how to communicate the value of your product or service, automating your systems isn’t going to solve these issues.
However, when you DO know why it is you do what you do, and how it will be of...