Small business is clumpy. My father says that it’s a series of “soaring victories and crushing defeats.” Days are often a mix of loneliness and being super busy.
I have a full plate between work, home, social and civic engagements. I have no complaints about this abundance. I learned to be efficient with my time to get everything done and keep a calm head.
When I was a boy, my mother, took me to the Joseph O’Connor Foundation in Atlanta for “aptitude testing”. This was part of her project for her Master’s degree in Counseling. Lured there under the guise that we were going to Six Flags, I endured a day of what I now view as mental poking. The result was a diagnosis that I would make a great bus driver and a recommendation to leverage technology whenever I can.
It’s true. I would make a great bus driver. But before I digress into why and how I am a human compass, let me say that fascination with technology was born.
Many of my regular readers know I’m a fan of using technology in my work and personal life. A colleague recently described me as an early adopter. I disagree. I’m not an early adopter. I’d argue that I, and Charlotte as a whole, are late adopters, (particularly the older, male crowd of professionals who have lived here for generations). I turn to tech to do more, be more efficient and stay organized. I don’t have the patience to work with something that’s buggie.
So here’s a list of some of my favorite, proven apps, processes, and techniques that are helping me get stuff done.
- LandGlide is an awesome app I’m using a bunch these days. It uses GPS technology to pinpoint my location and provides access to maps and 150 million parcel records in over 3,000 counties, accounting for more than 95% of the U.S. population. It’s never been easier to find out a property’s owner, boundaries, parcel ID and more.
- I’m not a fan of the name, but Mixmax is proving super helpful at helping me maximize my productivity with email.
- Speaking of email, I am a firm believer of having an empty inbox at the end of the day. Sticking to this belief ensures my next day starts off on the best footing.
- Calendly offers an easy way to schedule, and stay on top of meetings.
- Freelancers. I find phenomenal freelancers and hang on to them. A talented and dependable team can make magic happen. Kerry Singe is my trusted go-to person for help with all kinds of content, proposal, and other writing needs. And I’ve found another fantastic freelancer to help with offering memorandums, Jax Ball, who with her family splits her time between South Carolina and Bali.
- To do my best at work I need to be physically healthy. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to keep track of stuff, and have hired a local coach, Jamey Yon of TRiYon Performance. He’s a 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Champion for his age bracket and believes in achieving a balance of sports specific training, strength work, healthy nutrition, and life.
- The app Strava keeps me enthused and inspired about my cycling. It offers a social fitness community for runners and cyclists
- When cycling I use bone conduction headphones so I can jam out to music but still hear road noise and world around me. AfterShox uses your cheekbones and jawbones to transmit the vibrations directly to your inner ear while by passing the outer and middle ear. Cool huh?
- The Pomodoro Technique. I use the “Focus Keeper” app to break tasks into 25-minute increments. I love this app!
- Suttna. Used through Slack, Suttna holds me accountable for all of my goals.
- My CRM? For over a decade I have relied on Highrise. Simple and cheap.
- How to manage deals and communicate to clients? Trello
- The best VA’s on the planet? Leverage
- No time to read? Blinkist
- No time to recall? Evernote
What I love about the above-named apps and work processes, is they make me hyper-efficient, so even though I’m getting a lot done, I still have time to stop and think.
I also have some apps to help me with that as well.
I recommend Mary Meckley’s Daily Medication Podcast. And yoga at least three times a week is what works best for me. The Charlotte Athletic Club and YogaOne. When I want to go fast with some great riders? WeeklyRides
This combination of technology and outsourcing, combined with apps that help me be a healthier person and family member, are the face of today’s small business. If you are going to be independent and efficient and deliver at a high level, embracing tools, such as the ones I recommend, are how you are going to do it.