The phrase “work smarter not harder” is probably one that’s familiar to you. What exactly does it mean?
Timothy Ferriss makes the distinction between efficient and effective in his book The Four Hour Work Week:
Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
Ferriss goes on to talk about how 80% of outcome derives from 20% of the work. So, we want to be both efficient and effective in our businesses.
I have been running businesses for over a decade. One of my early businesses was an Etsy store for handmade and hand-printed stationery. The business model was pretty much non-existent and the printing process was too time-consuming for it to be profitable.
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I’ve gone through many business tools over the years.
Here are a few of the business tools I am currently using to make my business run more efficiently (and effectively):
Sure, you could do your accounting by hand in one of those accounting notebooks that you get from an office supply store (and 100% of the time see people using in movies and TV shows), but that leaves too much up to human error, in my opinion. Or, you could use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses and income, but also – too much room for error.
I have been using accounting software on my cell phone with an app from Quickbooks. There are many other apps, online software systems and brands out there, though. Look through reviews and compare features to find the one that is best for you and your business needs.
Instant Record Check
If you’re an employer or hiring manager, this website lets you do a comprehensive background check on candidates with instant results. You’ll receive their criminal records (if they have any) within 15 to 20 minutes. It’s one way to make the hiring process more efficient and help ensure that you are hiring trustworthy people for the company.
A Central Place for Your Notes and Documents
My go-to application to store documents, notes, and lists is Evernote. I’ve been using it for years and their app is always open on my computer. I like that I can clip websites and articles from my internet browser directly to Evernote.
A Task Management Tool
While I generally write out my daily to-do lists and have a paper calendar/agenda system in place, I feel much more organized having projects and tasks in a central place online. I use the Asana application on my computer and cell phone I also get email reminders sent when tasks are due or overdue.
There are other task management tools that you can check out: Trello, Todoist, and Wonderlist just to name a few. Many of them are free or have free versions available. I encourage you to check them out and find which one(s) work best for you.
These three types of business tools have helped me stay on task, organize my ideas and tasks, and helped me keep track of my expenses and income.
For more business tools, check out master data management tools.
I’d love to hear from you—what are your favourite business tools?