When I look at the older generation and how they use their mobile devices, I realise how much we take for granted. We're so used to clicking and getting instant results, while they take forever to type sms'es. I must say, my mother's emoji use is on point, but that's a conversation for another day.
It's a shame, really. It could be so much easier if they could only embrace technology. I think we're often guilty of the same thing, although we may not be aware of it. How often do you repeat tasks because you haven't automated them? I'm in the midst of a very busy period at the moment. I'm shooting photos and videos, I'm editing and I'm staying in constant contact with my clients. If I didn't have systems in place, I'd be stressed beyond belief.
I know I don't have it all down, but there are a few systems, apps and tricks I use that simplify my processes and give me the ability to feel in control even when I'm running around like a mad person. You may find some of them useful in streamlining your own processes:
17hats is a ridiculously easy all-in-one business management app for freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. It's a catch-all environment where you can handle quoting, invoicing, CRM and workflows. I can't do business without it. I tested a few similar platforms when I realised that I needed to improve my workflow, and most of them were very difficult and cumbersome to navigate. I signed up to 17hats a few years ago. When a client requests a quote, I send it to them from the 17hats system. When they accept the quote online, the system automatically generates the contract and the invoice. They can sign contracts digitally, so there's no need to print, sign, scan and email. It makes it so much easier to do business professionally. It's business managed well, without the frills.
The platform you choose depends on the price and on your needs, but I'm a fan of Google Drive. I've tried Dropbox, and I don't like the interface and the fact that it doesn't give you an indication of upload progress. To each his own, I guess. But back to Google - did you know that you can back up your cell phone photos to your Google Photos App? Let's say your iCloud is full, there's always the option to back it up to your Google Photos App. This article tells you how.
I bought additional space on my Google Drive, so I was able to upload a 10gig video for a client without any hassles. It's so convenient, and it's safer to have your files available online than being stored on a hard drive.
Recently, a client needed to send me a large video file. He doesn't have space on his Google Drive, but I have lots of space. I sent him this article. It gives you detailed instructions on how to upload files onto someone else's Google Drive. So handy!
One final note - if you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, whether it's a single app membership or a full membership, you get 10gig free storage space. That's a lot, and I know it's going to come in handy for me some day.
Sendr is like the Uber of deliveries. Gone are the days where you had to sign contracts with courier companies to get parcels delivered. I love it because it works. You book a collection on the app, fill in all the necessary details, pay them, and shortly after a driver will show up at your door. Their prices include deliveries within 30km, and there's the option of paying extra per km if you need something delivered farther away. The other reason I love it, is that they don't charge per kilo, so I've used them to collect and deliver equipment when I couldn't do it myself. I find their staff super helpful. They went above and beyond to get my Valentine's order delivered, and that's their busiest day of the year. Give them a go when you need a parcel delivered next time.
ShopShop is a simple shopping list app that has saved my life many times. I'm just not the kind of person who uses paper lists. You can have multiple lists, and you can also share lists with people. It's really simple to use. It's a no brainer, really.
Looking for a simple, but effective to-do list/reminder app? MinimaList may be what you need. It's elegant and it functions well.
Pocket, previously known as Read It Later, is an application and web service for managing a reading list of articles from the internet. It's where I save articles I come accross that I'd like to read later. It's also where I save all the recipies I find online that look amazing. It has a powerful search feature, so I never worry that I'm going to lose information that I won't be able to find again. You can tag articles, and Pocket also has articles recommended for you, and a section where you can explore popoluar articles about various topics.
Preview is an app to plan, design and manage your Instagram. You can plan your Instagram feed, rearrange the order of your posts, edit your photos, schedule, find trending hashtags, test your hashtags, and check your analytics. It's super handy. If you set aside two hours every once in a while to plan ahead, you will know exactly what your timeline is going to look like, and what to post next. It's helpful because you can immediately see whether your timeline is visually pleasing, and it's easy to swap photos around if you need to.
How many times have you taken a business card from someone only to lose it? I've done that more often than I'd like to admit. With Haystack, you can scan business cards. The information is stored on the app, so you will never have to wonder what you've done with so-and-so's number again. You can also make notes when you scan cards. I often note where I met the person whose card I've scanned. The app also allows you to create digital business cards that you can share with other Haystack users. It's a better looking, much more functional version of a rolodex.
I use Truecaller to identify spam phone calls so that I know which calls I can ignore. Many of my friend just don't answer unknown numbers anymore, but it's not viable when you run a business. When a company phones you and they are flagged as a spammer on Truecaller, their number will show up marked as spam. I've avoided many cold calls this way. You can also flag numbers as spam, and you can block calls and sms's. If a number does slip through and you happen to receive a cold call, you can always ask them to remove your number from their database, and not to contact you again. They might get very annoyed, but they are obligated by law to do that.
Do you ever just want to pull your hair out because you need to see what a font is going to look like, but the software you're working in doesn't do that well? Wordmark.it is brilliant at that. You type in a word or a phrase, and it shows you that word or phrase displayed in every font on your computer. It's a simple, no fuss way of chosing which font you're going to use.
I hope this list has inspired you to systemise your workflow, and that you will save time in the process. Let me know if there are any systems or apps you use that you can't live without.
Until next time,