When you start your own business, you put on a ton of hats — accountant, administrative assistant, office manager, sales team, creative director, designer, social media manager, human resources, and a million more. It can be overwhelming, and while you’re a one-person army trying to do it all, some things can fall through the cracks. Today we’re going to look at 5 ways you can streamline your business to help keep you on track.
It’s very easy to forget important tasks, reoccurring items, and small admin duties. Creating a master task list is a quick and easy way to make sure you catch all those things in one place. Where you make this list is entirely up to you. Personally, I use ToDoist, but Asana is a great option as well. It helps to do this in whatever task management system you’re already using.
Once you’ve created the list, make sure you add reoccurring due dates! For example, every 2 weeks the task “Update QuickBooks” is added to my daily tasks. Every month “Record social media stats”. Take a peek at some of my tasks below.
The internet is an awesome place these days. Automation is super simple with free tools. If you’re still updating all your profile pictures manually, sending important emails to your to-do list as they come, or using more than one to-do app, you need to hire some robots for your team. Below are my three favorites.
If This Then That was one of the first tools that allowed me to automate some tasks. The first thing I did, was set my Instagram posts to automatically share on Twitter as native images. There are a million things you can do with this tool. Check out what applets you can make here.
This tool is free for up to 100 uses per month, so I only use this, for one thing, sending my blog comments to ToDoist. Anytime someone posts a new comment on my site, I get a task added to my day that reminds me to respond. This way I don’t ever miss your comments and I can give answers quickly. Of course, there are a ton of other zaps as well. Check out what you can do on Zapier.
This is a newer tool I discovered, but I use this one to move all my Asana tasks into ToDoist for me. There are a ton of options on this site as well, so sign up and give it a look. Get started with integromat now.
By using these three tools I’ve been able to cut out 4 of the tasks I was doing almost every single day. This has saved me a ton of time, and because it works automatically, I don’t even have to think about it.
Social media takes up a ton of time, at least it did for me. Until I put a solid social media system in place, I spent hours each week posting and being active. Now I only use three tools and I only have to jump into each one monthly (see part 4).
CoSchedule is my favorite app of all time. I’ve talked about this one a lot because it’s how I manage all of my content in one place and keep myself from forgetting important posts. If you want to use my affiliate link for Coschedule you’ll help me get a little discount on their services (thanks!)
There’s been a lot of buzz about tailwind lately, and for good reason! It’s the easiest tool out there for scheduling Pinterest pins. Tailwind is a great value if you can pay for the yearly plan upfront. Every weekend I go through all the blogs I follow (using Feedly) and I save their posts to tailwind to schedule for the rest of the week. This gives me the chance to really read what I’m sharing, learn new things, and create my social media for the next week. You can use my affiliate link to get a month free.
This tool is less known, but it’s one of my favorites. This is how I schedule all my Instagram posts for the month. Grum posts to Instagram directly, uses the first comment for hashtags, and still abides by all of Insta’s crazy rules and terms. It’s one of the few companies that actually do this, and it is worth it. You can check out Grum here, and if you want to use my promo code, “NoraConradFREEMONTH” you’ll get one month free to decide if you like it or not.
This is the single best thing you can do to save yourself time and get ahead of your content. Batch processing is when you do multiple tasks in “batches” rather than in the regular workflow. For example, instead of outlining a blog post, creating graphics, writing the post, scheduling social media, then publishing — you plan 4–5 blog posts at any given time and do each step as a batch. Outline all 5 blog posts. Create 5 graphics. Write 5 blog posts. Schedule social media for 5 blog posts. And on and on until it’s published.
This method of content creation does a couple of things for you:
- It gets you thinking ahead. Instead of planning one post at a time, this method forces you to plan multiple blog posts or content bits. That way your content has a more cohesive feel. This is also a great way to plan a series.
- Helps you break up 5 weeks' worth of content into 5 days worth of work. Spend time each day for 1 week creating the blog posts and in one week, you have the entire month’s worth of content completed. That’s a great feeling. Now do this 2, 3, 4 weeks in a row and your entire quarter’s worth of content is scheduled and ready to publish.
- This method lets you work when you’re feeling it. Feeling some writer’s block? Create all the graphics for the next 10 blog posts instead. Sick of thinking up clever phrases for social media? Proofread the month’s blog posts. You can always be working on something productive without missing deadlines. Plus if you’re really in the writing mood, you have 5 blog posts outlined and ready to be written, rather than pausing your process to create the graphics. Better flow = better content.
You’re only human and you can’t do it all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed even after putting these systems in place, you need to back off of some projects. I’ve outsourced, canceled, and stopped many projects, and you know what? I didn’t miss them. Your business is in your control, don’t let it control you.