Throughout the world, there are approximately 582 million entrepreneurs who are running or getting ready to start running their own businesses.
Are you part of this group? Do you find yourself struggling with productivity and time management?
If so, there are lots of apps that can help you to stay on track and get more done. Read on to learn more about some of our favorites.
Common Productivity Challenges Facing Entrepreneurs
It doesn't matter if you've just recently dipped your toe into the entrepreneurship pond or if you’ve been here for a while. Either way, there's a good chance you've run into at least one of these common productivity challenges:
Lack of Organization
Trouble staying organized is an obstacle that lots of entrepreneurs have to overcome.
It's true that some entrepreneurs have a natural knack for staying on top of things and keeping track of when projects need to be completed. There are plenty of others, though, who consider themselves to be "big picture" people.
These individuals are often great at coming up with ideas and innovating. When it comes to meeting deadlines, remembering meetings, and taking care of minute details, though, they struggle to keep track of what's important.
Failure to Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries doesn't always come naturally to entrepreneurs. Do you have trouble setting and sticking to a schedule? Do you find yourself working at all hours of the day and night, skulking off the corner during parties to check your email or respond to texts about your business?
At first, a lack of boundaries can make you feel as though you're being a good entrepreneur. After all, you're so dedicated to your business that everything else comes second, right?
The problem with this approach is that, for most people, it's a one-way ticket to burnout city. If you burn the candle at both ends, eventually, you'll find yourself letting important things fall through the cracks. You might also get so exhausted that you’re forced to take a break, which will slow down the progress of your business and your productivity way more than if you had just set boundaries in the first place.
Failure to Say No
In the same vein as struggling to set boundaries, many entrepreneurs also have a hard time saying no. They might feel as though they need to agree to every meeting and potential opportunity offered to them so that they can grow their business and become successful sooner.
The problem with always saying yes, though, is that you can end up with too much on your plate. When you learn to prioritize and say yes only to what’s important, you’ll avoid scheduling conflicts and have more time to focus on the parts of your business that really help to move the needle forward.
Failure to Delegate
It's not uncommon for entrepreneurs to want to do everything themselves.
Sometimes, this is because they're the only person on their team. Other times, it's because they only trust themselves to get things done and don't give their team members enough credit.
Even if you're a solopreneur, there are still ways that you can delegate and free up your schedule to focus on the things that matter most. For example, you can hire a virtual assistant or outsource certain tasks to a third-party company.
Do you write yourself a to-do list every day, only to find yourself lost as to which task you need to tackle first? Does everything feel equally important?
Trouble prioritizing is another common challenge for entrepreneurs. When you fail to prioritize, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself facing analysis paralysis and not getting anything done at all. On the other hand, you might end up staying up late or missing out on other important things because you’re rushing to complete tasks at the last minute or clear your to-do list for the day.
Neither of these options is ideal when you're trying to set your business up for long-term success.
Failure to Communicate
Finally, failure to communicate with your team can also make it hard for you to be as productive as you'd like. Poor communication (such as not responding to emails) can definitely slow down your business’s growth. It might even stunt it all together.
If you don't stay in touch with your colleagues, they might not get projects done on time or to your exact specifications because they didn't know what you wanted. You might also have trouble getting projects started or keeping track of people's progress because you’re not communicating your goals.
Why Use Productivity Apps?
There's an app for just about everything these days, including productivity challenges that plague entrepreneurs of all kinds. There are plenty of reasons why apps can be helpful, including the following:
Just about everyone has a smartphone these days, and entrepreneurs definitely have one glued to their palm at all times. Productivity apps are easy to download to your smartphone, as well as other mobile devices, so you can always access them.;
It doesn't matter if you're working from an office or engaged in remote working. Either way, you can use apps to stay on task, communicate with your team, and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Many productivity apps are free or available at an affordable price, too. If you're dealing with a limited budget, you can still use apps to stay productive, overcome challenges, and get everything on your to-do list done in a timely manner.
Ease of Use
The best productivity apps are easy for you and your team members to use and implement into your workflows, too.
There might be a slight learning curve as you get into the habit of using them on a consistent basis. Once you realize how much easier they make your life, though, chances are you'll find yourself wondering how you ever lived without them.
What's one thing just about every entrepreneur wants more of? Time! If you feel as though you’re constantly working against the clock, there's a good possibility that integrating productivity apps into your routine can help you to get more done and take back some of your precious time.
Once you find the right app (or apps) for you, you'll spend less time doing all the things that can easily take over your day. This includes searching for and updating important documents, keeping track of appointments, and figuring out which task needs to be addressed first. There are apps out there that can do all of this and more.
Some entrepreneurs are wary of using productivity apps because they have concerns about important information related to their businesses getting into the wrong hands. The good news, though, is that many productivity apps offer a high level of security and do a great job of keeping your data safe.
Whether you're worried about someone accessing a document or reading your messages, the best productivity apps will prevent this from happening and make your life as an entrepreneur easier and more secure.
Finally, productivity apps provide a level of objectivity that can benefit many entrepreneurs.
When you're so dedicated to your business and pride yourself on being a hard worker, it can be challenging to look at your current system and assess the potential problems with it. When you use apps, though, they can provide you with an objective, data-based assessment of your current setup and provide you with insight into what you can do differently.
For example, if you use a virtual assistant app, the virtual assistant can look at your schedule and help you decide which tasks you need to delegate. Because they don't have an emotional investment in your to-do list, they won't have the same amount of trouble that you do assigning projects to others and deciding which tasks are the most important.
Top 5 Productivity Apps We Love
Are the advantages of productivity apps appealing to you? If so, there are tons of apps out there that you can start using. Keep in mind, though, that not all of them are created equal.
Here are our top four picks that will help you to get more done, stay organized, and avoid burnout:
When it comes to project management and organization for entrepreneurs, few apps can compete with Trello.
When you use Trello, you break down projects into cards, lists, and boards so you can easily see how things are going and the status of each task. This app simplifies the project management process and is a great tool for visual learners who need help keeping track of what needs to get done.
You can also use Trello with your team members to set deadlines, prioritize tasks, and monitor their progress on various projects. All of this allows for easier delegation and helps you to ensure everything is moving along at the proper pace.
The free version of Trello is perfect for entrepreneurs who are just starting out or who have limited budgets. You can also purchase the paid version, though, for access to a more robust set of features.
Like most entrepreneurs, you're probably quite familiar with the experience of an overflowing email inbox.
Do you waste hours every day checking and responding to emails? Do you clear your inbox only to have it refill within the hour? Do you need to find an easier way to communicate with your team and making sure everyone is on the same page?
If you said "yes" to any of these questions, then Slack is a great app to consider downloading.
Slack allows you to easily stay in touch with your team through chat, as well as voice and video calls. You can also use the app to securely share documents.
One of the only downsides to Slack is that chats can get distracting, especially when you go down the rabbit hole of GIFs and emojis. Luckily, the app also has a variety of settings that allow you to decide which messages get through and which ones don't, so you can stay focused on tasks that matter without missing important communications from your team.
Do you ever have so many thoughts swirling around in your brain that you become overwhelmed and don't know which one to address first? If this is the case for you, you might have trouble prioritizing tasks and focusing when it’s time to buckle down and work.
One way to overcome this issue is by doing regular brain dumps. By taking the time to write down all of your thoughts, you can get them out of your head without worrying about forgetting about anything important.
Evernote makes it easy for you to do this in a digital format, so you don’t have to scrounge around at the end of the day looking for that piece of paper that you jotted down an idea on.
Evernote is a free app that allows you to easily take notes and share them with others. You can use it across devices, too, and your notes will sync automatically. That way, you always have the latest version of your notes available and can rest easy knowing that things are up to date.
For those who struggle with productivity and prioritization, Weekdone is an excellent app to start using. Weekdone uses the OKR (short for Objectives and Key Results) framework to help you and your team set goals, monitor progress, and share feedback with one another.
With the help of this app, you can keep track of how everyone is doing and make sure everything is moving at the correct speed. You can easily stay in touch with your team, too, when you use Weekdone, whether you’re working in an office or remotely. With the app's help, you can schedule one-on-one meetings and weekly reviews to go over goals and make adjustments to plans as needed.
Weekdone comes with a free two-week trial to help you decide if it's a good fit for you and your team, and for teams of three or fewer, it's always free.
You may not know that we have our very own app at Time etc. Completely re-engineered and re-launched this year, the app allows you to:
- Delegate tasks with ease both at the office and on the go
- Stay in touch and chat securely with your assistant anytime, anywhere
- Keep track of your schedule at a glance and get real-time notifications whenever your virtual assistant is working on a task assigned to them
The app also uses bank-grade encryption to protect your business's data and keep everything locked down.
Try These Apps Today
As an entrepreneur, you likely need all the help you can get to stay organized and productive. Give one (or more) of these productivity apps a try today so you can streamline your workflows and set yourself up for long-term business success.