Stress isn’t cool. It saps our energy, drains our creativity and shortens our lives.
I don’t have a magic potion for curing these things, but I can at least offer up a handful of tips to help you boost productivity in your business.
Did you know?
Since 1992, each April has become known as Stress Awareness Month.
Problem shared = problem halved
Remember that friends and colleagues are likely to be going through the same issues you are.
Lean on your community for support.
Tip 1. Simplify social media updates
In 2014, I started using social media to help market my work as a freelance technical writer. Social media is great, but it can really take up a lot of time if you don’t manage it properly. No one has time to sit there all day and post manually on each platform. I’ve found that scheduling tools have helped by doing the heavy lifting for me.
Since adding Buffer to my workflow, all I have to do is queue up what I want to say and then use the service to drip-feed the content out to my audience. That means I can use my time on social media to react to what others are saying rather than worrying all the time about posting new updates.
Social Jukebox is another massive time saver. Instead of remembering to re-post my old blog articles every now and then, I put them all in Social Jukebox and it automatically shares them on Twitter a couple of times per day.
Check out my no-painer explainer videos on these two free tools:
The ultimate stress-buster for social media is simply to use it less. Check out my Facebook Free February.
Tip 2. Give your eyes a break
Try this: Protect Your Vision (free)
I bet you stare at your screen for hours each day. In the long run, that can lead to eye strain and headaches – no good for your business.
I use the Protect Your Vision website to make sure I take short regular breaks from looking at my screen.
Every 20 minutes, the site reminds me to look away from the screen for 20 seconds. I use that as an excuse to stand up and look out of my office window. The recommendation is to look at something about 20 feet away – so it’s called the 20–20–20 rule.
Where does the word ‘stress’ come from?
It might have been the Old French estresse, meaning ‘narrowness or oppression’, which is based on the Latin strictus, meaning ‘drawn tight’.
By the way, you don’t always have to read the text on your screen. Give your eyes an extra rest by getting your computer to read your text to you. Here’s a tip for Mac users to use the text-to-speech feature to do this: Speaking text on your Mac.
Tip 3. Share files quickly and easily
Try this: Dropbox (free)
Back in the day, if you wanted to access a file on more than one computer, you’d need to email the file to yourself or transfer it using a USB drive.
Cloud-based file-sharing tools mean you can store files in a special folder on your computer and have those files be shared automatically on your other computers and devices.
My favourite file-sharing tool is Dropbox, which is free for sharing up to 2GB of files. I’ve written a couple of posts about Dropbox here:
Tip 4. Be smarter with passwords
Try this: 1Password ($2.99/month)
You’ve probably heard the advice that you should use a unique, hard-to-guess password for each of your online accounts.
That’s tough when you’ve got dozens or hundreds of accounts, so a lot of people give up and use the same password everywhere – bad idea!
The sensible and secure alternative is to use a password manager.
I use 1Password, which keeps all my passwords safe and can suggest strong passwords each time I need to store new account details.
Tip 5. Make money less scary
Try this: QuickBooks (£6/month)
Accounting is something that all business owners need to have some basic knowledge of. But it’s often a boring, time-consuming process that takes you away from running your core business.
Unless pushing numbers around is your thing, consider using a tool such as QuickBooks to help you with accounting and invoicing.
Over to you
Which productivity tools make your working life easier? Let me know by leaving a comment below or catch up with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.
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