Top 10 Tools You Need to Increase Efficiency While Saving Money
We’ve all heard the saying “Time is money.” But how much does wasting time really cost us when we’re distracted or not being as productive and efficient as we could be? Researchers have come up with an answer.
A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper found that employees spent an average of 34 minutes per day not working. That figure may not sound so bad, but when the researchers slashed people who said they didn’t spend a single minute wasting time, the figure actually rose to 50 minutes. And how much a person actually worked also impacted how much time they wasted. The more they worked, the more time they ultimately wasted.
Overall, efficiency and productivity seem to be on a rapid decline, with plenty of statistics and research to back it up. The 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report found that less than one quarter of employees are highly engaged and only 39% are moderately engaged. With all of the tools, apps and resources on the market, it would seem we should have everything we need to increase efficiency while saving ourselves time and money. But maybe we’re using the wrong tools for the job. Here are the top 10 tools you need to increase efficiency while saving money. Does your favorite make the list?
Whether you’re working with a team, remotely or just on your own, Slack can help keep you organized and bring all the pieces of your workflow together in one place. Invite members or clients to a channel, and organize team conversations. You can also direct message each other right from the app, launch calls to discuss a project, or quickly upload your files.
One handy Slack feature that reduces tedious upload time is a ‘drag, drop and share files’ feature that you can import right from Google Drive, Dropbox or Box. When a project is complete, you can remove members from the channel and only leave those who are still involved in some way.
Data can help you determine what steps you should take next in your business, but it can also feel completely overwhelming to analyze and apply. Project management software WorkflowMax takes care of business management needs and streamlines the process. You can track the time you spend working on tasks, create timesheets, send invoices, and monitor jobs that others are working on from right from the platform. People short on time who need to use several time tracking, spreadsheet, and management software programs can use WorkflowMax instead.
Once the work is done, you can go back and look through the data on your projects to see how much time they took, how much you charged, and any areas you can improve in. For example, you might discover those graphic design projects for a particular client take longer than anything else. With that knowledge, you can make adjustments to your workflow, raise your rates or hire more help to become more efficient.
When you’re building websites, it can be difficult to envision what they will look like and what you want them to incorporate when you’re working with a team. Instead of trying to lay everything out in a static template and passing it around the office, Trello lets you create boards, lists, and cards so you can organize your project. Upload images and graphics, add notes and collaborate in real time directly on your boards.
Trello is a natural fit for a visual project like a website build. According to Pearson Prentice Hall, 65% of the population are visual learners and retain more information when there is a visual component. Upload images and graphics of what you want your site to look like, outline the next steps in your process, and invite web designers and content managers to give input. When everyone can see what the project should look like, they’re more likely to fully grasp and understand how to make it a reality.
Launching a website can feel overwhelming when you need to come up with visuals and graphics to keep up with best practices and trends in website design. It’s easy to create graphics and images to promote your brand, or the perfect Pinterest Pin for your post with PicMonkey. Although there is a premium package that unlocks more features, the free version is robust enough to allow you to create text over images, make simple designs, and jazz up your blog posts.
PicMonkey also has the ability to freshen up photos before you post them to your website. It has handy tools that allow you to touch up facial wrinkles and eye tint in your photos before turning everything into a collage. But the real magic of PicMonkey is that it’s simple and easy to use without requiring you to spend hours trying to learn the system, even if you’re not design savvy.
Have you ever calculated how much time you need to connect apps just to automate your workflow? Zapier helps move information between your web apps automatically. For example, if an email goes into your business inbox, you can set up Zapier to move it from Gmail to Dropbox and then notify your team that new content is ready to go.
Sit down with your team to figure out the processes you use the most to automate them through Zapier and shave hours off your workload each month. Zapier currently works with over 750 apps, including Slack and Google Sheets.
Do you ever get tired of coding the same web components over and over? Web developers looking to save time and money on projects should consider Django for rapid development. The free and open source web app works on a Python web framework and was created by developers with developers in mind.
Building websites can sometimes feel tedious when you’re continuously pulling from the same type of components. Django stores ready-made comments you can use from your websites, from sign-up forms to a way to handle user authentication.
Every dollar counts when you’re bootstrapping a business or trying to get a new website off the ground, but it can be hard to focus on saving for your long-term future or business expenses. Acorns automatically invests your spare change without you missing it or depleting your checking account.
Users connect bank accounts and credit cards that they use a regular basis. When you make a purchase, Acorns rounds up your purchase to the nearest whole dollar and then invests the spare change. You can also set up recurring amounts to go to your investments, whether daily or monthly. The genius behind Acorns is that it puts you in a position to incrementally grow your wealth, even when you’re focused on budgeting and business building.
Cyfe serves as a one-stop business dashboard to let you monitor all of your data in one place. According to Cyfe, 80% of businesses spend their time collecting, monitoring, analyzing and reporting data. It’s even harder to manage when you’re looking at stats like your website traffic. Cyfe pulls together your data so you can monitor it quickly.
Another benefit of using Cyfe is that it keeps you more focused. When you’re trying to grow your business with social media, content marketing and by attending conferences, it’s easy to forget exactly what you should be looking at. Cyfe’s dashboard will remind you about what’s going on with Instagram lately, or that your account may need some attention.
According to a survey of IT administrators, admins spend an average of four hours every week manually resetting forgotten passwords for users. Those four hours are half a work day wasted on tasks that need immediate attention. 1Password helps you keep your passwords organized and in one place.
1Password remembers your passwords and logs you in on various sites, from your web hosting provider to social media accounts, with just one click. And it’s safe. 1Password encrypts your data for you, and only you have the master password. In other words, even 1Password can’t access your various accounts.
10. Hubstaff Talent
As your company grows, your time diminishes. You can only do so much in your business before you’re stretched so thin you’re no longer productive or efficient. It may be time to hire someone for your team, or outsource tasks as needed, such as bookkeeping or email marketing, to help you grow your online presence. Finding the right talent can feel daunting, but there are sites with a pool of talented freelancers and contractors just waiting for you to discover them.
Hubstaff Talent connects you to top agencies and freelancers so you can contact them directly. You each agree on the work terms and can work on whatever platform you want. It’s true that when you delegate and outsource you are spending some money. But ultimately you’re freeing up your time to work on the areas of your business that generate more revenue.
There are more than enough tools to help you increase your efficiency while reducing your costs and adding more time to your day. The real trick is focusing on the tools you need most, and skipping the ones that just distract you from moving forward in your business.
What tools do you use to increase efficiency at work while saving money? Let us know by leaving a comment below: