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7 Undiscovered Apps to Boost Productivity in Your Small Business

7 Undiscovered Apps to Boost Productivity in Your Small Business

As a small business owner, your plate is full of responsibilities; aside from ensuring your day-to-day duties as a leader within your company are carried out, your to-do list includes things like taking care of employee payroll, paying the rent on your office space, and keeping your team on track. Successful leaders often delegate these tasks in order to allow themselves to focus on critical responsibilities, however, small businesses do not always have the manpower to make this possible. As an alternative, consider incorporating these apps into your business processes to improve productivity, enhance business efficiency, and to avoid problems later.

Take a look at these apps below, which will facilitate everything from your company email newsletter to your social media posts.

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1. IFTTT for Automation

IFTTT is an automation app that will save you time an money by allowing you to automate just about anything, from your shopping list to news alerts. Use IFTTT for things like automatically scheduling through Google Calendar and managing recruiting activity. It’s all synced across the cloud, and the best part is that IFTTT provides a huge database of “automation recipes” with step-by-step instructions to help you get set up.

2. Evernote for Notes

How many times a day do you have to say, “I have to remember this”? Evernote allows you to make a note of anything to use later. Track everything from business trips to your favorite web pages, or manage research for your next project.. Some tablets even allow you to jot down notes on the tablet’s Evernote app using a stylist, giving you the feel of pen and paper.

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3. MailChimp for Email

MailChimp helps you to take control of your email by providing easy layouts to create newsletters for your company, tools to collect email addresses for marketing, and straightforward email templates. Collaborate with other employees with multi-user accounts, or independently use Mailchimp’s automation features for your online sales. Mailchimp also provides you with advanced analytic tools so you can track which campaigns are the most successful, allowing you to optimize your email effectiveness.

4. ZenPayroll for Payroll

Managing the payroll for you company can be very time-consuming, especially due to complex rules and regulations that require careful planning. ZenPayroll helps you avoid payroll confusion by handling most aspects of payroll for you, including features such as employee self-onboarding. Furthermore, ZenPayroll is an affordable solution used by many small businesses; ZenPayroll is a service you can trust.

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5. CoSchedule for Content Marketing

When it comes to content marketing, developing a comprehensive editorial calendar is arguably the most important step. CoSchedule not only provides you with an easy-to-use online editorial calendar, but also allows you to collaborate with team members and automate both blog posts and social media shares. With CoSchedule, you can plan your content for an entire month and let the app do the rest of the work, saving you hours a week.

6. HipChat for Real-Time Communication

HipChat makes it easy for you to talk to your teams by providing you with a platform to engage in both group and individual chats in order to streamlining your communications. Using a chat service like this will help keep your inbox clear of tedious email updates while clearing the way for more important conversations.

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7.Priority Matrix for Task Management and Collaboration

Priority Matrix is a task management app that allows you to quickly create action items within projects and collaborate with your team. The app utilizes the Eisenhower method of time management, which helps you categorize to-dos based on how critical and urgent you consider them, so your team stays focused on the right tasks. Finally, Priority Matrix can also be synchronized with your calendar and email platforms, making it easier for you and your team to stay on top of task due dates and keep track of important conversations.

By integrating just a few of these apps into your small business, you can save yourself hours a week, resulting in days of time gained at the end of each month. Just imagine the levels of productivity your business could hit by utilizing these extra hours to grow and improve.

Do you have any other tips or suggested apps that make your life easier? Leave a comment below.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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