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How to Tame Those Technical Demons That Hold You Back

No one can know—and do—it all. And if you’re in business, then you know there are a lot of moving parts that all have to be managed. Websites, shopping carts, email managers, video editing, social media and file storage…the list goes on.

And here’s where many new (and even some established) business owners fall down. They try to bootstrap everything. Need a new website? They build it. Starting an affiliate program? They install it. Creating a webinar training series? They buy Camtasia; spend weeks learning it, and more weeks planning, recording and editing video.

While there’s much to be said for self-sufficiency, there comes a point where you simply have to decide which tasks are giving you the best ROI, and let go of the rest.

As Nicole Dean says, “If you’re a fish, stop trying to fly. Do what you’re good at, and let others handle the rest.”

And here’s why. You’re wasting valuable time and energy trying to do it all yourself. Take a quick look at this calculator to find out what your time is really worth, and you’ll very quickly discover that paying someone to edit your videos or update your website is a worthwhile investment.

Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t know anything about the techy stuff that runs your business. You absolutely should. It’s nearly impossible to outsource work if you don’t have some idea of the work that needs to be done.

What that means is, you need to have an overview. You need to know where you’re going and have a basic idea of the steps that will get you there. You need to know that these things are possible, but you don’t necessarily need to know how to do them. For example, if you’re using GoToWebinar, and you want to record to create a replay to send to registrants later, then all you need to know is that it can be done. You don’t have to understand the mechanics behind it or be able to set it up yourself.

That’s what your VA is for.

And if you’re really thinking ahead (and I know you are) then you’ll also have your VA document the steps she’s using to complete the task. As part of her job, she should be helping to build your operations manual. That will make it easier for everyone on the team to get more done in less time, which in turn will save you money.

So stop fighting with technology. Learn only what you must know to do your job, and hand the rest over to someone who can do it faster and better. Then you can spend your time bringing in the money.

VPP Voice

It is April and most businesses are starting the second quarter of the year. One of the most important goals for a business is to become more productive. Achieving goals starts with productivity and that requires time management strategies. There are several tools we use to assist us in being productive. Because I am a fan of processes and procedures, I started with reading books on increasing my productivity. My two favorites so far are “Getting Things Done” (GTD) by David Allen and “12 Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. GTD was very helpful for me in developing methods to organize myself and my business. 12 week year by Brian Moran is a recent read that was recommended as a way to jumpstart productivity. Both of the books offer a processes to follow, but the software is used to implement the ideas I have learned with not only my clients but with my teams.

My top picks for productivity and/or time management are: Asana, Google calendar, Toggl, Evernote, and my paper planner, Productivity Planner.  Asana is one of the first tools I started using. There are so many uses for it; you can store notes, articles as well as any other research all in one place. Asana has been one of my favorites. I use it individually as well as for collaboration with my team. It is a simple way to set up projects and assign tasks.

The google products are well known and very helpful in getting organized and staying on task. We use google calendar with clients and the team. As a team we use the Google Docs and Sheets to create and edit documents in real time. As a virtual assistant I manage calendars. Google makes it a simple process to share and create calendars. You can organize appointments and activities using simple methods such as color coding. You can also share permissions, update appointments and a host of other tasks.

Toggle is an online time tracking tool we use for our team. The tool is simple and you can create projects and tasks even add clients. I can track time for my team as well as monitor how long activity and tasks take me to complete.  If you are a freelancer or work by the hour with clients it can be a very helpful time tracking tool.

Evernote is another tool that can be used in both personal and business. I have used Evernote as an electronic “post-it-note” system for myself. Because we do a lot of internet research, we keep the articles, websites and other reference materials in Evernote and share them in a team folder. We store research for clients and other documents here and it works well our team. All of these tools are user friendly and simple to use.

Last but not least is my paper planner. I am pretty old school about planning and journaling. I have always loved using paper planners and writing in paper journals and I suppose I always will. This year I chose the Productivity Planner because it incorporates many of the time management principles I am using. There are tips and space for lists and incorporates one of my favorite tools the “Pomodoro” technique.

Choosing time management and productivity tools can be an individual choice. Whether electronic or paper, what matters the most is that the tools are used consistently.