As much as time-saving tools and resources can help us manage our business in a way which would have been unthinkable not so long ago, don’t you feel sometimes that it’s too much? We have project management tools, social media marketing tools, email marketing tools, post scheduling tools, and zillions of other different tools… That’s what I call the agony of choice.
Which one’s the best option? How long do you have to test apps and plugins and that new software before you decide which one’s the best for YOUR time management? Isn’t it wasting time anyway? How can you know that you’ve chosen the best tool?
The answer is that you can’t. The “best tool” doesn’t exist. You’ll have to find the best combination of time-saving tools which best suits your online business and your personal taste. And that tool combination is probably completely different from another person’s tool choice. And that’s the way it should be. You just have to feel comfortable with YOUR choice and try to stick to it for a bit to see if it really helps.
Steps to choose time-saving tools and get rid of the agony of choice
Make a list of all tasks you’d like to automate.
♥ Social media – If you haven’t read it yet, check out my blog post about social media overwhelm. It may ease your choice process
♥ Project management – This task is especially relevant if you work with other people, or if you’re planning to create a small team.
♥ Editorial calendar – Do you have a blog? Are you publishing posts regularly? Then you can’t live without an editorial calendar, can you? 😉
♥ Web analytics – Are you going to use Google Analytics? Do you prefer your favorite tool’s analytic system? Or would you like to combine them all?
♥ Email marketing – Have you decided which platform are you going to be sending e-mails from? Have you set up your welcome package yet?
Take one task at a time.
Otherwise, you’d go crazy in a couple of days 😉 Let’s say you’re desperately in need of a project management tool. Then you’ll want to compare Asana, Basecamp and Trello, for instance, and forget about social media tools. At least for a couple of weeks 😉
Research which time-saving tools could work out for that specific task.
Watch some demo videos and read some comparison reviews. There are lots of them!
Pick up two – max. three – tools and sign up for their free test period.
Almost every tool offers a 15-day or a month free demo. Very important: Don’t sign up if you think you’re not going to be able to take the time and use it. It would be a shame if you waste that free trial 😉
Once you’ve chosen your favorite option, take some time to get used to your new online tool.
With that I mean that the tool has actually become your little online helper, instead of a new task you have to learn.
- You feel comfortable with your choice and feel like you could automate even more tasks?
Then go for the next task of the list
Apart from its top functions and user-friendliness, my personal favorite time-saving tools have to combine two key factors for me:
♥ They have to help me achieve what I need in the easiest – and quickest – possible way.
♥ It has to be love at first sight. And with that I mean that – no matter which great functions a software offers – if I don’t feel comfortable with it after using it for a couple of weeks, I won’t use it. Some tools need some more time though to get to be loved. It’s just a matter of taste 🙂
These are the time-saving tools I’m using right now – but I keep on trying new options, though:
♥ Trello – My editorial calendar, goal-setting and weekly task tool. I’m trying Asana out, but I just love how easy and user-friendly Trello is.
♥ Nelio Content for WordPress – My blog post and social media scheduler. Easy, free, awesome 🙂
♥ Social Warfare – The social sharing plugin I use. Also free!
♥ Yoast – Not exactly a time-saving tool, but who can leave Yoast out of any time-saving tool list, right?? If you don’t know it, you’d better add it to your #1 priority plugin list. It’ll save you tons of time and SEO work.
♥ ConvertKit – My email platform. If you’d like to know why it saves me so much time, check out this blog post about business automation.
♥ Pocket – I think I’m not exaggerating when I say that Pocket has changed my life. I tend to check so many blogs, websites, tools and techie articles that I used to have zillions of open tabs on my PC. The idea was for me to check them when I had the time. But that time never came. Or – even worse – I forgot that I wanted to check them out! So, what does Pocket do? You just save all articles in the same place – or pocket – and you can check them all later from any electronic device. So, if I see on my PC some post I’d like to read afterward, I’ll save it with a tag of my choosing for a quicker search, and I can read it later on my tablet when the day’s coming to an end. Just awesome. And free!! 🙂
My top two social media time-saving tools:
♥ Board Booster – My favorite Pinterest scheduling tool. It’s not only super easy to use, but it also takes time-saving tools to another level 🙂 – By the way, if you click on the link, you get your first 100 pins for free. Just try it out, and you won’t be able to live without it anymore 😉
♥ Planoly – My Instagram scheduler. I love it from the beginning I registered, and it keeps getting better! They just added a hashtag manager this week. How cool is that??
♥ If you’d like to check out other social media tools and tips, check out 3 Steps to Manage Social Media without Going Cray-Cray.
Sometimes, the best option is the easiest one. At least for me. There are hundreds of tools out there. Some of them are awfully powerful. You could go to the moon with them if you wanted to. Or if you knew how to 😉 And that’s for me the most valuable asset a time-saving tool can offer: That it saves time. That you don’t have to spend hours trying to figure out what the tool can do for you. And that it lets you fall in love ♥
Are you born to freelance?
Wow, really helpful! Thanks for sharing it!
Thanks, Sandra! I’m glad you can use some of my tips 🙂