Plan Your Work to Increase Sales
During a recent webinar, I listened as business owners discussed the value of social media in their respective businesses. Some agreed that blogging has waned but Facebook and Twitter have become very important revenue drivers. Others admitted that blogging is still strong, but they’re using other mechanisms to push customers to their site to read their blog, and inevitably, scan their offerings. Not one lamented at the time it took to do marketing in these ways because they understood that it’s part of doing business. They’ve become efficient with their time, though, by analyzing what works and tweaking what doesn’t work.
In August, I discussed how to create great content and save time. We all have the same amount of hours in one day, so maximizing our time is really important. Planning is key. If you don’t have the skill sets to write compelling content, either for a blog or a website or social media, there are people who do this for a living, do it well, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it can be when you consider your return on your investment. But, if you are good at it, love it, and want to do it, here are some things you can use to plan your time better. Some are free, but even the ones you have to pay for are very reasonable and under $50:
This is a free set of productivity tools. According to one friend who uses it religiously, “I like the tasks section a lot. I typically flag everything by priority and set up work and personal folders for it. There's a free app to for organizing on the fly.”
Formerly called the SPARK notebook, it’s now called the VOLT planner. Unlike traditional day calendars, this one ($40 retail) is focused more on meeting goals but by using the “planner” mentality to achieve them.
If you’re like me, you still love to use paper planners. While I love my calendar and list apps, I get tremendous joy from writing my "to do" lists in my planner and organizing my day/week/month in it. The company offers a free PDF download of the whole planner if you don't want to buy it!
This has been one of the best inventions since sliced bread ... at least for me. You can create filters based on who is emailing you and/or what the email is about. This helps me manage my email and saves me HOURS, probably even days, of filtering through hundreds of emails I get on a daily basis. You can create filters for just wholesalers, another one for retail friends, another for personal, and so on. If you get an email in that filter, the filter name will appear in bold (as if you have an email waiting to be read) so you won’t miss it. The nice thing about it is it doesn’t make your email inbox unwieldy and cause you to miss something important. It also makes you more aware of all the useless spam that hits your email so you can more quickly unsubscribe and/or report it as spam. Life. Saving.
Finally, if you’re fanatic about time as I am, this might be interesting to you. Toggl is an app you can start and stop based on your activity. It’ll track exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks. Some people like to be blissfully unaware of how much time they waste trolling through Facebook, but others, like me, who work with clients and bill by the hour, need to be very mindful with how we spend our time because, in our case, time wasted is money wasted. But, another reason this is a good tool for retailers is if you ever hire people to do merchandising or other tasks, it’s good to know how long it normally takes to complete them so you can budget for those tasks accordingly. Does it normally take you 30 minutes to prepare an email blasts to customers? Or one hour to upload new products to your website? Then you have a rough idea of how many hours you’ll need someone to come in every week to produce one email, post products on Facebook or Pinterest, upload and write product descriptions for 50 new products on your website … you get the picture.
Are there any time-saving hacks you use to help you plan your workday? I’m always on the hunt for good ones. Email me at email@example.com and let me know your favorites. I’d love to share them with fellow readers in an upcoming story!
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