Whatever business industry you are in, it seems there is not enough time unless you make time. The way you can make more time is through organization, efficiency and automation! Below are some of our favorite applications for creating automation workflows to make your life simpler, easier and more efficient:
Zapier is an easy way to connect the many popular apps you likely currently use into useful automations. If you like to write blog posts in Evernote and want them to automatically post to your WordPress blog, there is a Zap for that. Let’s say you use Slack as a communication medium for your team and you also use a project management system such as Trello, you can easily have Slack create Trello cards using Zapier. Do you live and die by your ToDo list? Zapier has a whole host of automations you can set up based on your favorite Task systems, such as Google Tasks or ToDoist.
The possibilities with Zapier are really endless, and it is the first place we recommend you start for creating easy and efficient workflow automations.
Similar to Zapier, the IFTTT system is basically an “if/then” system that creates mini “Applets” based on the connections between two popular software systems you are using. Many of the automations in the IFTTT system connect the varying apps on your iOS or Android phone. We like to use the Applets for social media automation, such as automatically posting links shared on Facebook to Twitter, or automatically backing up iOS photo to Dropbox so they are saved in more than one area. There are multiple uses for creating automation based on the apps you use on your phone to make your life easier and more organized.
Our lives are busy, and often times mean lots of meetings. We are mindful about making the meetings we do have effective. While meetings are necessary, the back and forth about setting meeting times does not have to be. Enter Calendly, the easy calendar system that essentially takes the back and forth communication out of setting up a meeting.
With Calendly, you can easily set up your calendar for whatever times you are available and quickly send your Calendly link to anyone you need to set a meeting with and tell them to schedule a time. This is also a great tool for sales teams who need to demo a product, or have a quick and easy way to set up meetings with prospective customers.
You could easily set up an automation with Zapier (see above), to automatically reply to a lead form that comes in via email with the name and Calendly link of a sales representative so you can quickly get a meeting on the books with a lead.
Calendly also has an easy way to help teams coordinate their schedules. Instead of 5 emails back-and-forth trying to coordinate an update meeting, you could each have Calendly calendars set up and be able to coordinate a team meeting quickly based on everyone’s availability.
Wufoo & Mailchimp integrations
Do you need to make your marketing and lead-generation seamless? We like to use the integration between Wufoo and Mailchimp to make the leads that come in follow-up with an automatic response from us based on which form a user has filled. Setting up a form in Wufoo is simple, then they have an easy integration with Mailchimp to connect the form to a Mailchimp list. Then, within Mailchimp you can set up a list and an automation for any new subscriber to that list. That way, dependent on which form a user has filled out, you can know that they will get an automatic response from you. You also have the option to set up a follow-up email series to stay in front of that person. Marketing 101 with a little touch of automation!
Documents and forms are not always fun but a necessary part of doing business. Fortunately there are useful document-signing tools such as HelloSign! Whether you need to onboard a new staff member or you are working with clients on new contracts, HelloSign is a great application to help you. While we love the ease-of-use for eSigning documents, one of the best parts of HelloSign is document automation. This means if you have standard documents that need to be signed for any given situation you can set those documents up as an automated document workflow and save you or your team members time!
There are many other tools we use on a daily basis that help us in the name of organization and efficiency. Here are some additional tips that will help make your work-life easier, more simple and more seamless.
- Use software programs that have both desktop and mobile applications. This way you can use it on-the-go or in the office and have seamless interaction regardless of where you made updates or changes.
- Set workflow standards and use them. Once you find a good workflow that works for you (and your team) make a conscience effort to stick to it. This way it becomes second-nature to you and you are able to work better and more efficiently because of it.
- Live and die by your task list and calendar. Need to remember something? Put it in your task list with a due date – every time. Think you’ll remember a meeting or a time you’re supposed to make a phone call? Put it in your calendar immediately with an alert. This way you’ll ensure you don’t forget.
Life gets crazy, especially when you consider internal team along with client or customer needs. Making an effort to make your life work seamlessly using automation tools will help simplify the things you have to do every day. Automation maximizes time, so when you need more of it using helpful tools is how you “make more time.” We hope this helps you make more time in your work life.