Friday Favorites - Productivity Hacks

Let me just start by saying I. AM. ALL. ABOUT. EFFICIENCY. Maybe a little too much. My third grade teacher made us memorize the definition and I’ve never forgotten it.

Fine, I’ll tell you.

Efficiency is the ability to do what needs to be done with a minimum amount of effort or waste. Working well.

And what goes hand and hand with efficiency? Productivity. And this week I’m sharing five of my  FAVORITE productivity hacks that have helped me maximize my time and streamline my business. Ready? Let’s do it.

  1. Dubsado (my CRM). Ok so I cannot say enough good things about Dubsado. Everything I say describing it will just fall short of how incredible it is, but I’ll try anyways. Here goes.

    If you are a creative/service you need this in your life RIGHT NOW. Or actually yesterday. With Dubsado, I can send personalized/branded contracts, proposals, invoices, questionnaires, intake forms - from anywhere at any time. It takes a little bit of work to set up initially, but it will completely change your life.

    For example, the Contact Form on my website is linked to my Dubsado. So when someone fills out that form, it triggers a “Workflow” that I’ve set up based on the service they’re interested in. So basically, a new client submits that form and they receive a thank you email from me and another email (a few hours later) with a link to schedule a meeting to talk about their business (more on this below). ALL WITHOUT ME DOING ANYTHING. Read that again. Once we’ve had the meeting and determined we’re a good fit, the workflow will kick in again - sending proposals, contracts, invoices and collecting payment with minimal effort from me. I’ve also formatted templates for other things like proofs and content forms that I send from within Dubsado as well.

    Grab your attention/sound like something you want in your life? TRY IT!! They offer a free trial, but when you decide to pull the trigger (you will) I can get you 20% off your first month with this link or code “emmatthews”.

  2. Planoly. Instagram can be a major timesuck. Plus, with all these stats about scroll time being linked to unhappiness I’m trying to draw some big boundaries with social media. On top of all that, I’m very self-conscious about posting frequently and posting any photos of myself, and Planoly sort of removes me a little from the process.  

    Planoly is an Instagram scheduling app that allows you to schedule posts and format your stories ahead of time. The designer in me loves it because it shows you a grid- making sure you like how all the pictures work together as a whole. Bonus: It also saves your hashtags by category so you don’t have to type them every single time. You can set to auto-post or require approval if you like control. The choice is yours. There is a free version, or you can sign up to get some of the paid features like gifs and videos. If you’re interested, I’d love it if you use my link!

  3. Unroll.Me. Ok, so this is for everyone that has an email inbox full of unwanted emails. If you find yourself constantly checking/deleting/scrolling through emails this will rock your world. We’ve all been there - online shopping when the pop-up window asks for your email in exchange for the beloved 15% off. That’s great... I mean a discount is a discount #noregrets, but I don’t need the Gap emailing me every day of the week.

    Enter Unroll.Me. It’s free! All you do is sign up, allow access to your email, and within a few seconds it generates a list of all the emails you’re subscribed to and gives you three options: Keep in inbox, Add to Rollup, or Unsubscribe. If you keep it, it will come through as normal mail. If you add it to your rollup, it will combine all emails you don’t want to unsubscribe to, but don’t necessarily want taking up space in your inbox into one daily email. Total game changer (especially if you’re an avid online shopper).

  4. Calendly. If your business calls for meetings, you need to try Calendly. Calendly is a scheduling app that syncs with your calendar/email and allows others to book time with you based on your predetermined availability. Do you have a lot of client on-boarding calls? Within Calendly you can create “event types” that basically serve as a template for re-occurring meetings. It generates a personal link to your availability calendar that you can send to clients. I embed mine in my Dubsado emails like I mentioned above, so when clients get the auto email to book time with me, they can do it right away with the availability I’ve set.

  5. Block Scheduling. Still working on implementing this one, but I’m super excited about it. There are so many things I want to do/need to do with my design business, and since I have a day job, my time is limited to early mornings, nights and weekends. My to-do list varies from social media content planning/creation to design work and email content (to name a few). I was getting overwhelmed with all the different things I need to do and feeling like I couldn’t give 100% to any of them, so I decided to try this new way of approaching tasks. It can be applied to anything (not just design), but it’s basically where you assign certain tasks to certain days. For example, on Sundays I do my designing for clients (if it’s a heavy week this will also take up an evening during the week) and on Thursdays I plan out my social media, blog and email content for the next week. That way on Sunday, I can give 100% focus to my design work because I know I’ve designated a time for all the other things I need to do throughout the week.

    Whew. I know this is a lot, but I hope you find it helpful and that it can help you simplify your life!!

    Have you tried any of these before? I’d love to hear about some of your own productivity hacks!