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Working in blocks of time, using a to-do list and focusing on your top priority tasks are all proven ways to save time. When you combine those timesaving methods with technology, you can save even more time. Consider these eight tools to help you save time.
Whether you use a desktop with a large screen (ideal if you never leave your home office), or a laptop because you rarely work in your home office, save time by investing in a system that’s easy to use and is able to run programs you’ll be able to understand. It’s a waste of time to learn how to use an accounting program with more features than you’ll ever need, or a contact management program with too many places to enter client information.
2. Smart phones
A Blackberry, Android, or iPhone, among other smart phones, helps you save time when you need to find client contact information, track tasks to do and record other information you need to run your business every day. When you organize the data in your phone through various apps, and sync your smart phone often with your desktop, you’ll save time searching for the data you need.
3. The Internet
Anything you need to know is only a keystroke away. Phone books, printed manuals, and reference books…who needs them? More updated versions of almost anything in print are available online. Invest in the highest speed Internet you can get (and afford). The time you save waiting for pages to load can translate into more productive hours every day.
Communicating with someone halfway around the world is as easy as staying in touch with your favorite local client. No more waiting for snail mail or overnight mail. If you need an answer from someone, you can have it in seconds. Make your e-mails more effective by being concise, by asking for what you want within the first few sentences, and by doing something to move each e-mail forward. Instead of opening an e-mail and then marking it as unread to review later, take action and either move it to your daily action folder to review during the day, or forward the e-mail to an assistant or associate who can handle it.
5. Voice mail
Save time playing phone tag by asking callers when you record your outgoing message, to leave the best time to return their call. Also check your voice mail after you record it, to make sure there aren’t any unwanted background noises. Clear your messages often, so callers don’t get the message that your voice mailbox is full.
6. Caller ID
It’s great that anyone can reach you anytime on your cell phone and you can still receive calls while you’re away from your home office. It’s not so great that anyone can reach you anytime on your cell phone, especially when you want to take time off. That’s why Caller ID is incredibly effective. By screening calls, you’ll stop wasting time answering the calls you don’t need to take, and instead answer the calls that need your attention.
Searching through stacks of paper to find what you need is a true time-waster. Instead, scan papers and store them electronically. Don’t forget to back up anything you scan and save. All-in-one machines like the Brother MFC-J825dw, complete with a scanner, are the ideal time-and-space-savers. You can scan important documents and after you name them, you’ll be able to find what you need, when you need it.
Face to face meetings don’t have to include an expensive flight, hotel, and travel expenses. Instead you can meet with clients virtually, save time traveling, and best of all, you can sleep in your own bed at night.
Technology can help you save time, especially when you use the right technology and take the time to learn how to use it.
Is there any piece of technology that’s making working from home work better for you? Share your comments below.