I am all about making things streamlined and organized. I’m actually rather obsessed with it, truth be told. I understand that every minute I have to spend not focusing on creating helpful content, that’s one minute I’ve lost. Sure, there are some things we have to do, but most of the time I like to make those things as hands-free as possible.
Lastpass has saved me hours of looking up login information, trying to remember or reset passwords, and trying to keep client’s information separate from mine and other clients’. It automatically logs me into the websites I choose and then gives me the option to login to whichever account when I have multiple accounts. For example, I use Godaddy for my website hosting. This is what it looks like when I go to GoDaddy’s login page.
That is my account login and then a separate account back from the days when I managed people’s WordPress websites through GoDaddy Pro. It is so much easier than having to hunt through emails for passwords and usernames and try to keep it all straight.
The other thing is does it helps me save time by letting me autofill forms with whatever information I need. So, let’s say I wanted to apply to an affiliate program and they needed this information:
- facebook URL
- twitter handle/URL
- blog URL
- paypal email
- tax ID number
- business name
That used to take be a while to type in, then I had the brilliant idea to keep it on a sticky note with all my URLs to copy and paste, but that was slow too. I started using Lastpass’s Form Fills option to automatically fill out any registration form I needed. I wish I had had this since blogging day one, it would have saved me weeks of work over the years.
On a personal note, I also use this for online shopping, and anything else I need to sign up for. SUPER handy and even keeps my credit card info secure and stored so I can buy stuff without having to have my card in hand.
Affiliate links are a great way to share value with you, but also help me keep the costs of my business down. This actually has saved me more time and has allowed me to streamline my blog post writing because I have all my affiliate links in one place. If you’re a blogger who’s been around for a while, you know how it goes. You may be a member of 17 different companies, all of which have at least 56 products and you regularly share a handful of them because you find them useful…. but finding and keeping those affiliate links organized it a pain on the best of days.
Thirsty Affiliates replaced:
- a spreadsheet system (so outdated)
- a written sheet I abandoned about 15 minutes after I started trying to compile my affiliate links.
I started using Thirsty Affiliates before I had OrganizeYour.Biz, so I already had it when I launched this blog. That’s part of what made the launch so successful, I eliminated wasting time on anything besides content creation and system setup.
You know that saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” well that’s how I feel about Stay Focused. It’s one of my top tools for staying focused during the work day so I’m not struggling to find time to run my business. It helps prevent me from getting sucked into the blackhole of the internet and getting majorly distracted.
Some days I hate it, but it’s kind of like when your best friend offers to buy you a milkshake because you’re having a hard day, but you tell her not to buy it because you’re on a diet and you hate yourself a little for telling them not to get it, but you know your waistline will thank you for it later. When the days I just want to veg out, Stay Focused is all “Yeah, you can try it if you want. Not gonna happen.” Which is good because I need that.
I hate keeping track of money. I seriously hate it. So when I started using Mint.com for my personal finances, I had a brilliant idea: what if I could make Mint.com keep track of all of my information I would need to know at tax time? It took me a few hours to create my business account (since it’s separate from me personal accounts) and then to import my transactions, then sort them.
Now, I check in maybe once a month or every other month and make sure Mint isn’t miscategorizing anything. When I filed taxes this year, the whole thing took me less than an hour. An hour people! I know people who don’t own small businesses or have particularly complicated finances whose taxes took 6+ hours to do, or who they paid someone else to do. Forget that noise!
Pay someone to fix my car? Absolutely! I don’t want to do that and I would probably do more harm than good. But paying someone for taxes? Definitely not. So not only does it save me time on end-of-the-year accounting, it also saves me money because I don’t have to hire someone to help me enter receipts or organize my taxes because it’s all done for me.
My best friend had a Mac die on her. She texted me, freaking out because the Apple Store people told her she probably wouldn’t be able to save her data. She had 5 years of design work and a book manuscript on the thing! I know it was horrible for her, but I was so glad my computer automatically backs up work as I go throughout my day. Thankfully for her, the Apple Store magicians saved her data and she came home right away and started backing up here laptop.
Disclaimer: Dropbox itself isn’t free. I personally pay $9.99 a month for the 1 TB plan and have found that it’s more than enough for my needs. All of my clients’ designs are there, plus everything from my laptop and all of my personal photos and videos… and I haven’t even touched the halfway mark on my account limits.
I debated about what my last most useful tool would be, until I thought about how much I use my website, and how having the right theme has made a huge difference in the time it takes me to create a new page, post, or any kind of content really!
I use Divi, which is a drag and drop theme that’s super easy to use to make beautiful visually consistent websites.
It makes things that can be difficult or impossible with other themes super easy:
- adding code to blog posts and pages
- moving elements around on pages
- creating global content that I can show all over the website, but change in one place as needed
I can’t tell you how much time these apps and services have saved me – I could not do everything I do without them!