I am a geek. I wholeheartedly admit it.
The great part is I can use my geekdom to help my clients. We have a tremendous variety of technology at our disposal these days. We can better leverage our time, get organized and make things much easier with just a few clicks. Here are three tips for using technology to make your daily life a little bit easier.
1. Getting your inbox to "zero" is a guideline, not a rule.
Let's face it, you don't have to be rigid with your email rules. Our lives are busy and things pile up. Set aside some time each week to process your inbox down to a level you can live with (mine is keeping it down to less than 20 emails), and that's good enough.
If you can respond in about two minutes, do it right then. If you need to research or take other action for a longer period of time, flag the message and decide when you will revisit. You may not get your inbox completely cleaned out, but also don't let it get out of hand. If important emails are missed and things are falling through the cracks, it's time to rethink your system. But, if you are getting the important things done, just stay on top of it. Some rules are just meant to be broken...
2. Smart scheduling.
There are numerous scheduling tools out there. Some let you set up "appointment books", set up weekly calendars for sharing or even automating bookings altogether. Using one of these tools allows you to set your availability once and then sync with your calendar. When a potential client sends that first email and is ready to book an appointment, send them a link and let them choose the time that works best for them.
Many of these tools also help you to lock down the details of your calendar, only allowing viewers to see general availability. They don't need the details of your schedule, they just need to know when you have time to help them with their issue. Imagine bookings showing up on your calendar and receiving an email which requires little attention from you. Automating your scheduling will save you email ping-pong and phone tag. You have better things to do with your time!
3. Face-to-face in a virtual world.
Sometimes meeting face to face in real life isn't possible, for reasons like geography or a tight deadline. No problem! Use a web-based conferencing system or a free internet calling software to quickly connect. You get to see each other and interact in real time when it's convenient, and without the hassle of travel. It's almost as good as a live meeting, and especially helpful when you just can't meet at the corner coffee shop.
I've used this tool to have "virtual coffee" with colleagues living in another city or even country. We set a time and chat via the web or phone. It's a fun way to chat with someone I rarely get to see, and kicks the door wide open to strategic partners anywhere in the world. It no longer matters if they are halfway around the world!
If the opportunity presents itself...
Using technology to shortcut the little things helps you and your business become more agile and quick to respond. Eliminating even small distractions or menial tasks also allows you to spend that time on other things. So, when the technology tool is available to help, consider using it!