I love online shopping, not just for stuff I need in my life, but also stuff that I could use to organize my business with. There are so many awesome tools out there – and a lot of them are free – that I am often tempted to get them all.
However, this is not always a good idea. In business tools, less is often more.
Here are some reasons why you should curb that excitement for trying out all of those awesome tools out there:
- They take time to learn. Each tool takes some time to get used to, in order for it to be the most efficient for you. As a businesswoman and manager of a household, I know you don’t have any time to waste.
- They often cost money. Most tools for small businesses are relatively cheap – have an affordable monthly rate or a discounted yearly rate – but, if you add those tools together, it is easy to spend a couple hundred Dollars a month. That is a lot of money for a tool, that you may use once or twice. Stay away from the free trials, that entice you to “just give it a shot”. Save your money for those really useful, essential tools that you will actually need.
- Too many tools can cause confusion. When organizing your day, simple is often better, because trying to remember all of the tools you are supposed to be using (after all you are paying for them), is hard enough when you are the only one in the house, but lets face it, most of us have children, and a spouse, and other obligations. If you have so many tools that you need to keep a list of what you use for what – you probably have too many tools. Trust me, I have done that, and ended up doing a tool purge to keep myself from going insane.
- A lot of tools have overlapping uses. Instead of getting three different automated systems to post your social media for you, get one that includes all of them (I use buffer – and no, I am not affiliated with them, I can simply schedule to all platforms from there). I will give you a list of tools that I do use, and that are multi-use below.
- They become out of date. Let’s imagine that you went through the trouble of learning all of the tools you chose, and you made a list of how to use them properly, you spent all of that money, and you are ready to roll, but now you find out that there are better, more updated and current products out there, that replace what you now use. Now you have the choice to pay for something that you can no longer use, or is less efficient, or you have a choice to drop that tool and learn another. This could turn into an endless cycle, that is simply not effective. And isn’t that point of tools in the first place? To make our lives easier?
Now let me give you a list of classic tools, I do suggest that you should have in your business (and home management) toolbox
- Evernote. You need a place to capture everything. From receipts to article ideas, to a place to write your posts, notes or other business communication. Evernote does that for you. Actually, I am writing this article on Evernote right now, as I have done with most of the articles you see on this site. There is a free version (yay), and a paid version – which I am using, because it allows me to capture business cards, receipts and other needed info via my mobile devices. I also like the fact that I have an app for it on my Kindle (yes, there is an Evernote Kindle app), which sinks with all of the other places I have Evernote on, so even if I only take that one device with me, I have access to my entire business! Isn’t that cool?
- Trello. I use Trello as a to-do list, editorial calendar for all of my niche sites, menu planner, homeschool planner, a place to keep my medical info organized, and a lot more! It is another free tool (and has a premium version as well), that includes the option of adding my Evernote notes and articles directly into my editorial calendar. No more searching for important info, it’s all there! For me, Trello and Evernote are a perfect organization couple – and completely customizable. I have created a Trello Training series for Wealthy Affiliate members, which you can access here.
- Buffer. As I mentioned above, Buffer allows you to schedule your social media posts for all of your platforms, from Pinterest to Twitter, even Instagram. While this one is not free, it is worth the money, because it makes my life so much easier, and it does not take much time to set up. Easy to use, and navigate, Buffer is my favorite when it comes to social media scheduling.
- Bullet Journal. I don’t use a traditional paper planner, instead, I use a bullet journal, as it is completely flexible to my needs (as you noticed that is very important to me when it comes to choosing tools). I use it as a to-do list, a place to keep track of income and finances, my schedule and appointments, re-occurring tasks via habit trackers, braindump, a place to create and keep workflows – such as my facebook posting schedule – and much, much more. I bullet journal in a Moleskine notebook because I like the size and the sturdiness of that type of notebook. My system is minimalistic – meaning, I don’t decorate as much as many bullet journalists do – for me, the function is more important than decor. Yet, whenever I need to unwind, and I want to make it look pretty, I can add stickers, or draw flowers, which makes it a lot more fun than a standard business planner.
Look out for more detailed posts about the individual tools that I have mentioned here.
Question: What organizational and/or business tools do you use on a regular basis? Would you recommend them? I would love to hear from you!