Updated: May 1
If you feel like you are constantly drowning in admin tasks and never actually have time to work on the "money-making" tasks in your business, it might be time for you to streamline your business systems and get organised.
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of an efficiency nerd. I love trialling new systems which promise to streamline my work processes, and love finding the best, most effective, and easiest way to do those boring admin tasks, leaving me free to work on the bits of my business that I really love.
One of the best things about the internet (aside from hilarious memes of course) is that there are just so many amazing tools to help make running your business a million times easier. One of the worst things about the internet (aside from terrible people), is that there are just so many amazing tools to help make running your business a million times easier, that it can be overwhelming to know what is good, and what is a waste of time. I’m something of an online organisation connoisseur, and I’ve tried most things that the internet has to offer when it comes to systems and tools for organisation, and here are my top 3, tried and tested.
Asana is the entire hub for my online businesses. Everything I need, from client details to my daily tasks and important information all lives on my Biz HQ in Asana. It’s what I use to allocate tasks to my team and to get an overview of everything that’s going on across my different projects. This one tool has replaced so many for me. I no longer need to scribble things on PostIt notes around my desk, or scramble around Google drive to find documents I need. I have everything, for every project, for every client, saved on Asana and it’s always the first tab opened on my laptop every morning.
I have set up templates for different things that I find myself doing regularly, such as writing blog posts, or launching courses. This way, when I need to set up a new project, I can simply use one of my pre-made templates and within seconds it will populate each individual task and sub-task, ready to allocate. This means that I don’t have to spend hours setting up a new project, and nothing gets forgotten about or missed. I use the same Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for every time I write a blog post (from the prep work, and keyword searches, right through to writing the first draft, having it proofread, and adding graphics etc) that I know exactly what needs to be done for a successful post and can use this to make sure each step is completed.
Asana is really easy to use, and once you’ve set it up to work for you, it can be a huge time saver.
At first glance, AirTable just looks like a normal spreadsheet, but this is really like Excel squared! It has the functionality of a spreadsheet but with flexibility and customisability that I’ve not seen anywhere else. One huge draw for AirTable, for me, is that you can put almost anything in the fields, from images and links, to attachments and files. For example, if you are using it to organise your social media strategy, you can drag and drop the image directly into a field, so that your team can find it quickly and easily.
You can use colour-coded selector fields to mark things such as ‘in progress’ ‘ready to post’ ‘publish’ etc, so that everyone can see exactly where everything is at a glance, and what needs to be done.
Another amazing feature of AirTable, is that you can link spreadsheets (or Bases as they call them) together. So in our social media example, you can set it so that anything that has been marked as ‘in progress’ shows up on a different sheet. You really can create a super effective workflow with AirTable, and once everyone gets the hang of it, you will find yourself setting up so many of these links to make things smoother and more efficient.
One of the best features of AirTable is that it offers so many templates to use. It’s not just geared up for business use, but you can find templates under categories such as “Fashion and Style”, “Food and Drink” and “Sports and Games”. Of course, with our business hats on, they have everything from “Marketing and Sales” to “Operations” and “Product, Design, and UX”. If there is something you want to create, it is probably already in the templates, or if not, there will be something you can adapt. You can change every part of a template, so you only have to use them as a basis to start from. The Airtable Universe is an amazing community of users who have uploaded their own templates, to help you with everything from tracking TV shows to watch, to setting realistic goals.
Most of the features are free, and it makes it easy to collaborate with members of your team as you can choose which bases they have access to. It updates in real time so it’s perfect for working cooperatively, and is just a fantastic tool to take your spreadsheets to the next level.
I’m a really visual person, so I need to physically see something in front of me to get my head around it. That’s one of the reasons I absolutely love Trello for mapping out my social media plans. I’ve tried so many other techniques, including actual PostIt notes on my desk, but nothing has worked as well as this. You have a really intuitive canvas to start with, and it’s super easy to drag and drop different sections.
Not only is it amazing for organising social media but I've actually set it up as a training plan for one of my clients employees, they log in and mark off what they have completed in their pathway and can add pictures of things that have been completed. It works really well and is helping them achieve their goals.
So, if I had to choose three tools to keep your business organised and thriving, it would absolutely be Asana, AirTable and Trello.