Solopreneurs and Freelancers – Is Your New Year’s Resolution to Get Organized and Productive?
There are never enough hours in the day, especially if you’re running a solo business. Many solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and freelancers make the new year’s resolution to get their businesses and lives organized and productive. However, in many cases they don’t have the knowledge or tools to follow through with their resolution.
They know that making the most of their time is essential for success, but they still fail to effectively manage it. Formulating the best choices about what do to with their time involves goal setting, planning, prioritization, scheduling, self control, analysis and other factors. Thus, choosing the right tools and methods for getting organized and productive helps them realize their time management goals and objectives.
As the makers of the LifeTopix app, we’ve learned a trick or two about getting organized and productive. Keep reading to learn how to follow through with your resolutions, as well as tips and tricks for using the LifeTopix app to help you along in your journey to get productive.
Free Your Mind By Using a Productivity App
One of the most important reasons to use a planning or productivity app is it frees your mind so you can concentrate on the things that you need to accomplish. The advantage of using a mobile app is it’s portable so you’re able to record information when on the go. Naturally, it’s important that your app syncs with your device calendars and across devices, such as iPhones and iPads.
Capabilities of productivity apps vary. As the makers of LifeTopix, we recommend that you choose an app that allows you to manage many aspects of your solo business and lives in one place. For example, if you choose LifeTopix, you’ve selected a smart, simple and powerful app. Our users enjoy the convenience of managing projects, tasks, social media and inboxes, shopping lists, events, travel, contacts, goals, finances, assets, education, notes and lists, media, passwords and bookmarks – all in one place. Parents, real estate agents, freelancers, contractors, business owners, students, teachers and others use the LifeTopix app every day to manage their busy lives.
Set Strategic Goals for Your Solo Business
When a new year begins, it’s crucial to set goals for your solo business and your personal development. You must build specific and measurable goals, make yourself accountable and visualize your progress to motivate yourself to keep going. Thankfully, the LifeTopix app provides an effortless way to set goals and build a plan to turn your dreams into reality.
Watch this short video to learn how to set goals with LifeTopix:
Plan Projects and Tasks to Help You Achieve Your Goals
Once you create your goals for the year, it’s necessary to build the projects that are required to achieve those goals. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, one of your goals might be to increase the number of clients for which you perform work. You might create a project that’s focused on growing your business. Next, you’ll break this project into manageable items and schedule those items on your calendar. These items might include appointments for attending networking events and tasks for reaching out to prospective clients.
In LifeTopix, this freelance project would appear as shown below with status, categories, context tags, associated tasks and appointments and other supporting information (such as notes and files). The context tags in LifeTopix categorize these items allowing you to view them together in specific views. For example, in the example below I created a tag that identifies items that are associated with lead generating activities, called @leadgen. This way, I can easily track the progress of items that help grow my business.
Schedule Everything in Your Business and Life
Most solopreneurs and freelancers schedule time on their calendar for events, meetings and appointments, but they fail to schedule time with themselves for high priority actions. It’s important to block out time on your digital calendars for projects, tasks and other actions. When you estimate how long each task will take and identify each items’ priority, you’ll understand exactly how long these items take and have an accurate picture of your entire work day, week or month.
This is why in LifeTopix, we give you the ability to schedule just about any type of item you can imagine. Specifically, the app enables you to create, differentiate and easily identify tasks, projects, shopping items, appointments, reminders, events, notes, checklists, expenses, bills, trips, visitors and inbox items. Thus, LifeTopix provides several calendar views and filters to provide you with the flexibility you need when viewing your calendar.
Get a Handle on Inboxes
Your email can control you or you can control your email. It’s up to you. According to Radicati.com, the average number of business email received per day is 125 messages. Clearly, you spend a significant amount of time sorting through these email messages when you could be using your time more wisely elsewhere. A few tips that can help you tackle your email more effectively are listed below:
- Turn off email notifications – Unless answering email immediately is part of of your job (such as in customer support), we recommend that you schedule time each day on your calendar to review your inbox and answer questions. A 24 hour turnaround is acceptable in most businesses.
- Two minute or less rule – If a message can be answered in two minutes or less, don’t defer it.
- Don’t treat your inbox as a to-do list – Once you open your email client, you can fall into the trap of reading articles, watching videos or reviewing information that simply isn’t urgent or important. This is why LifeTopix is integrated with Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, Outlook.com, Exchange and iMap email via email feeds. I’ll show you below how to convert email messages to actionable items in order to defer them for a time that is more appropriate.
- Filter email messages – Most email clients have filtering capabilities, which manage the flow of incoming messages. In LifeTopix, we give you the ability to filter email messages by keywords searched in email or by sender. For example, if you want to immediately see email from an important freelance client, you can create an email feed specifically for that client.
Converting Email to Actionable Items
Once you’ve set up your email feeds, you can easily convert your email messages into projects, tasks, events or other items in LifeTopix, by following the steps outlined below (after purchasing the Pro Inbox pack):
- Tap the Inbox icon in the left pane of LifeTopix.
- Assuming you previously set up email feeds (plus sign -> Email feed), tap your email feed and the select View.
- Tap an email message you wish to make actionable, and then tap Convert.
- Choose Convert to Any Type.
- Choose a type, such as Project, as shown in the video below.
- Schedule a start or due date, review any attachments and tap Save.
- Now, this item is scheduled on your calendar and agenda (shown in the video below).
Better Manage Your Customer Relationships
When you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, managing client relationships is everything. Staying engaged with important clients and creating relationships with potential clients is imperative for growing your solo business. This is precisely why customer relationship management is part of our productivity solution. Managing contacts in association with projects, tasks, events and other information keeps you organized and productive. Productivity tools that include customer relationship management, such as LifeTopix, help you better manage your relationships by organizing contacts into groups, tracking client interactions through contact logs, creating project notes which can be associated with clients, and creating reminders for meetings, follow-ups and other important client information. Check out the following screenshots to get an idea of how contact information organized in LifeTopix can help your solo business.
Exercise Self Control and Beat Procrastination
One of the best ways to exercise self control is to turn off notifications when you’re getting work done. For example, if you’re a contract software engineer or web developer, schedule time for coding on your calendar and turn off all unnecessary notifications, particularly for email and social media.
If procrastination is a problem for you, you can beat it by setting a deadline for all your tasks and by determining the appropriate amount of time to complete them. Set aside the proper amount of time for your tasks at hand and stick to the schedule. Schedule these projects and tasks on your calendar or place them in a to-do list with an appropriate time limit.
Creating a to-do list or scheduling tasks should be automatic as brushing your teeth every day. Working a to-do list into your daily routine can be key to getting things done. I recommend that you create your to-do list the night before so you’re ready to get started each morning without delay. A daily to-do list usually consists of approximately three to five tasks to complete every day. Immediately start with the most difficult task on your list. This way, you’re working on the task that requires the most energy when you’re fresh.
Take Care of Yourself
You should never underestimate the power of proper sleep, exercise and nutrition. When you don’t take care of your wellness, it’s more difficult to stay productive. In fact, research by Dr. Sharon Toker of TAU’s Recanati Faculty of Management and Dr. Michal Biron from the University of Haifa shows that those who engage in physical activity are less likely to experience burnout and depression. The study mentions that exercising four hours a week yielded the best benefits.
Nutrition also plays a big part in your productivity. According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, fruits and vegetables can increase your happiness, engagement and creativity. The researchers hypothesized that the nutrients that fruits and vegetable provide foster dopamine production, which simply makes you feel good.
This is precisely why LifeTopix includes built-in activity, health and nutrition logging. Tracking and scheduling exercise, nutrition, health stats, medication, wellness and prescriptions (including RX numbers, doctors and pharmacies) can help you reach your health and productivity goals. Thus, viewing your progress through charts and graphs motivates you to keep going.
We’d love to hear from you. Please comment or ask questions below.
LifeTopix is available at the Apple App Store
Marilyn is the Marketing Director at LightArrow, Inc., the makers of LifeTopix, a complete productivity app and organizer available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. She is a regular contributor to the Life Blog from LightArrow, which is a blog dedicated to sharing tips and tricks about LightArrow products, personal productivity, time management, organization, and getting things done.