When you talk to people all over the world about how they stay productive, the number 1 culprit of productivity issues is with their email. That is why Mailbird is building the most productive email client ever! I have had the pleasure of meeting many inspiring entrepreneurs who are so kind to willingly share their productivity hacks. A good friend of ours Tobias Schelle, Founder of 24slides shares a post about his toolbox for optimal productivity, read the post on Medium. Elaine Heney, CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps is another power house on productivity. She is also the best kind of work-a-holic you’ll ever meet. Below, Elaine shares with us her take on email and productivity.
I’ve spent the last month in Bali, co-working with an inspiring group of 25 successful entrepreneurs at Project Getaway. Our businesses are diverse – from cloud hosting solutions, to industrial manufacturing and mobile apps.
Regardless of the business type, working in Bali focused our collective minds on one major challenge – how to become more productive while having more free time to enjoy this beautiful island. Here are the top 6 ways I’ve increased my productivity as CEO of my mobile games company.
Install StayFocusd on your web browser and block the top three non-work related websites you spend the most time. My biggest time waster was facebook. While I was on some work related groups there, it was just eating into my time. Installing the StayFocusd plugin on my PC means that Facebook automatically closes after I spend max 5 minutes on it per day. Absolute genius. If you want to go one step further, delete the facebook app from your phone as well. Checking your facebook account for a few seconds on your phone while you have downtime is a total waste of valuable reflection time, especially when you think of how many times you check facebook ‘for a few seconds’ every day.
Build a team
There is just no way you can grow and company and enjoy your free time if you are doing all of the work yourself. Putting together a team, consisting of people with better skills than you (in my case app developers and graphic artists) is a great way to get more work done and to raise the quality of your products and services.
Get a virtual assistant
My VA has saved my life on numerous occasions. A virtual assistant can free up so much of your time, by taking over the repetitive, mundane, copy & paste tasks you find yourself doing every day. These tasks are often important for your business to keep growing. But that does not mean that you need to spend your time doing them if you can train someone else to do them. This has freed up at least 3 to 4 hours of my time every single day.
A VA is also a super resource to work on some small test or trial projects you have in your mind, but you don’t have the time to work on yourself. This can range from web research, to SEO to watching online courses for you that you don’t have time to view yourself, and then writing a short one page report on actionable items that can be implemented in your own business. Hiring a VA is something I recommend for every business regardless of the size or industry.
Outsource and automate your email
Email is wonderful – but email can eat up your time. You can definitely mange your email to cut down on the time you spend on it. To begin, analyse what types of emails you are getting. Some may be customer support emails – without too much effort you can create templates with the most common questions, and either hire a VA to reply to these or put them up as a FAQ section on your website to reduce your emails.
Secondly, you can get a lot of personal emails looking for help, or from people trying to sell you their new products that you may not be that interested in. What I found really useful is on my contact page, I now advise people that my email address is only for product support. If they want to contact me directly, then they need to leave a comment on my blog and I promise to read all of these. This also cut down my email, while increasing my blog comments which was a great result.
Batch your email
I get tons of email a day. One really useful way I have with dealing with it is to batch it into two times per day. I check all email early in the morning and clear my inbox to zero. Then I close it, and reopen my email at about 4pm in the afternoon and catch up with everything again. This batching of work means I get through my email a lot faster, and I get quiet time to work on important projects for the rest of the day.
Hire a project manager
When you are the cog in the chain, you might be getting work done, but you can’t scale and you will find you end up working about 23 hours in every day. Hiring a project manager who can deal with your team, chase late deliveries and keep everything moving while sending you daily updates of the progress and of any issues, is a really effective way for you to use your time more efficiently.
I’m happy to report that in two weeks I’ve cut my working hours by half and am now well on my way to becoming the next Irish professional surfer after some great lessons here in Indonesia.
Life is for living, not for working 24 hours a day.
Elaine Heney is CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps, and #1 bestselling author of the ‘App Escape Plan’ and ‘App Marketing’. She has over 180 apps published and 3 million downloads. She is a 5 star Online App Development coach for app entrepreneurs. Sign up to the Express, a unique, totally free program for increasing your app downloads and sales at http://www.thechocolatelabapps.com
A big thank you to Elaine for sharing her business productivity tips with us, with a special focus on how she manages email in the most efficient way for business. We encourage Windows users around the world to try the best email client solution for business. A cool business feature coming down the pipeline to make you an email-client-inbox-zero-badass in the modern work force, is the Mailbird Wingman. A dashboard that provides your unique email usage data so you can process and improve your work flow. Key additions in the Mailbird Wingman include an email follow-up reminder and email scheduler. You’ll never forget a follow up to that important person or to send that important deal breaker email. You and your team’s effort to get more things done becomes much more strategic and planned. These features will be available for Pro and Business customers only. Take advantage of the 25% off pre-order discount today and be the first to build superstar productivity powers for your team right within the Mailbird nest.
What are your business productivity hacks? What tools do you use today for team to get the most done? Looking forward to your comments below.