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How to Get More Done

Lesson 13 of 17

My Favorite Apps for Productivity

Tara Swiger

How to Get More Done

Tara Swiger

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Lesson Info

13. My Favorite Apps for Productivity

Lesson Info

My Favorite Apps for Productivity

So we mentioned bits and pieces of tools we've used, and I want to hear in the chat room and from you guys about other tools he views, but when we're talking about productivity there, she is so many tools that make life a lot easier. So I was in a share, my favorite apse for being effective, and if you bought this cross, you gotta resource guide that has links to everything and even more stuff from that talking about here, this is a photo I snapped from spotify, they do a weekly thing, and this week they got really, really right with the things that they suggested, like salt and pepper and blues traveler, they know me so thiss one of the chaps we're going to talk about, but, uh, so we've talked about all the different ways you can be more effective and for the for the tip, about staying focused and keeping your time sacred. I got to recommend the pomodoro timer, so this is a technique that there are tons of websites about this, but the idea is that you work for twenty minutes and you t...

ake off five minutes. They work for twenty minutes, so if you find that you're not feeling productive because you just can't stay focused for that long, like a normal human reaction, your brain can't stay focused super focused for very long at all so pomodoro time where there several websites and aps you can get on your phone that air free that's all over the place I just use a website that I link teo in the resource guide and you started what I would do is I open a tab I started I have everything else closed I work the timer dings I'm odd stop work and some people just do two or three pomodoro sessions in a day and that's that they do their twenty minutes a couple times a day and that's like a good a work day for them because of you truly focused on nothing but what you're working on for that twenty minutes you will get so much done obviously some of us have proud like tasks that are going to take forty five minutes or fifty minutes so I also suggest timer plus is a time I used on my phone all the time because it lets you do have several timers going at once you know I don't know about you but my phone's built in timer I can only do one but if I have tea steeping and cookies in the oven and I want to be productive and I want to remind myself to stand up every twenty minutes I have all of this timers going at once with the timer plus app and I'm fairly sure that's free so that lets me forget about everything else so I'm gonna close the tabs I'm going to stop being distracted just for this amount of time and especially if you're training yourself for the first time ever to really just focus on one thing it's really good to have an end time like I don't have a focus for ever just have focus twenty minutes and maybe for you like taking photos maybe you want to set a timer anything you avoid or dislike or feels like a hassle means at a time and be like I'm gonna photo this work session for just twenty minutes and I'm gonna put my camera phone away and go back to work that way you don't feel like you have to do it forever so those were those were traps I really like and then also we're talking about environment how you work best so I like spotify you can make a playlist also pandora what kind of a little less control over what they show you but I find having something that you can set the music even music you don't own my husband really likes to own music and records and I want to be able to listen to music I'm never going to buy and that so I use spotify and make a playlist for everything there's running their writing there's the happy sparkly one which is actually a better writing playlist there's also a starship playlist with all the starship theme songs out there that there's a mac, maybe that making playlists, which is about, like helping it like like it starts out like you're setting goals and you're dreaming big, and then it gets all like productive music, so playlist really, really helped me get in the mood of getting things done. So if you find that music really helps you and you know what kind of music it is, you can make our math of playlist that's another app I love and then we're talking about matching social media. I mentioned buffer and you mentioned later gram, which I don't have up here, but cho schedule is a plug in I used inward press and they just recently released accessibility toe other kinds of websites I use it inward press, and it is ten dollars a month tio it's built right in when I'm writing a post on wordpress underneath the post is it invites me to share it on social media, but what lets you do is shared at different times, so you can attach all of your social media profiles. Well, twitter, facebook, pinterest I think tumbler other ones they don't use, but and then you can schedule them so I have the post go lie or I have the post go to twitter when it goes live, I haven't got a twitter eight hours later, and I have a go to twitter like two months later, so I don't have to remember to share my new posts. I have to remember to do that while I'm writing the post, but then it's all done and so that's part of my systems, part of my blogging system and social media system, is this plug in that allows me to share directly from the post because all social media classes and teachers will tell you you need to share, especially on a like twitter, you need to share something more than once for people to be able to see it, because I'm twitter, people only see it in the moment that your post it so to get its share multiple times, you don't have to remember to keep going back to your site and sharing it. Going back to your seat and sharing it. The app will do it for you. You just put it in and we actually have a system about, like, how often to do each post, so I'm not rethinking it. I just know I'm gonna put it in for one hour, eight hours, twenty four hours maybe. And then two months yes, I love coast cattle uh oh, like I said, the links to everything is in the resource guide. That comes as a bonus with purchase and the links and also more that I could even I can't really excited about this our plan was to do five laps and I was like, I can't limit it to five you have to talk about all of them so if you are struggling to keep track of everything you need to dio and we're gonna go into your system of keeping track of everything you need to dio there are couple different task management apse that I use the first one is omni focus on the second one is asana asana is really good if you work with other people and then in the chat they mentioned trail oh, so they're all aps you congee check out and see if it works for you. What I like about asana is I put a task and I give it a due date I sign it to me or somebody on my team and it reminds me each day I just go in and I look at what it's telling me to do today and it just helped like I let it boss me around so I'm not having to remember thirty in there and it's what we talked about prioritization like I prioritized it then and now I just listen to myself I don't like okay, you're telling me what I said before us honest, I'm trusting you and then to keep track of everything I use ever note a lot you can save things from the internet you can start your own documents actually have my notes well in evernote minutes for everything ever will the travel all my just everything you can clip in any browser you use that comes with the clippers you khun save it into your different folders I find it really effective at collaborating with people because I can say things to the same folder they can save things too and then we can see what the other person shared especially gonna produce design work with other people or you wanna read up on the subject. So how about you guys? What? What you have perhaps or productivity tips things that you use right now because I know I've only like brush the service yeah that's a timer one called toggle ta go okay, I've used that on you is it only found yeah it's on your phone you just set a timer then you can, you know, name what task you were doing and it sets up a whole list of how much time you spent doing a certain time oh, good. So it's a timer in the kind of a tractor I like that? Yeah there's a couple of good time tracking things that if you wonder where all your time goes can use the time tracking software and actually figure out where does all my time go like that a lot you haven't focus it will oh yeah I've heard about that one yeah you can do all different timings I like do the twenty minute and then supposedly the music is set with neuroscience backing and changes it as you want to be twenty twenty minute increments than at ten minutes you know the music changes with the amount of time you you set so like that one I like that that's good so she's had focus at will focus that will and it plays music and you sold three months of music you could decides and all real chill and not like pop music so you think you can be the poet like yeah has the trapper we have other uses of pomodoro we have a few people saying are nearly donato says leech block and focus on our two for blocking social media and email but for some of the same ones that you guys have been talking about scrolling down oh writer for a beautiful and no distractions writing environment and that was own with two m's I see lots of people using different google ideas iphone app called good habits that appeals to the tiki boxer and me taking boxer yes I f t dot com yes if this than that so can I explain that it is that I think that with you set up rules for all different I mean, so many different programs, so for example, a rule could be when I post to instagram, you're going to share on twitter as a twitter picture, as opposed to just linked on instagram, so I have that set up, so if this, then that what it means is you're you, you you're setting rules. If this happens, then that happens and I would love to hear the rules every time I talk to anybody about it, who loves that they have all these rules and, like, I didn't even know that happened. So one of the things that have is when I make a somebody makes a square purchase, you know, with the square at it goes into a spreadsheet on google box because that's, where I keep my money stuff so I can track it because I was having a hard time keeping track of that number is kind of random. You can also set up a paypal to do things to google docks or some other spreadsheet or document you can set up ever note so when I had for a while is if I favorited a tweet, it would create it ever note note, so I was favorite in tweets when people were like doing testimonials of my book or my class. And so then I would have a copy of that saved I had to turn that off because I realized I was just favoring tweets about like all kinds of stuff also if I want to save something toe pocket I can set up if this in that if I do this action on the social media site send it to pocket for me to read later also if I do this to it in pocket like favorited or share it with a friend also shared in these places so the site keeps all these recipes for you and you of course log into the different apse that you're connecting and you're telling it taking this from this app and do this to it and there's a lot of different ways that people do to them simplify their social media like maybe take the whole instagram photo into a twitter photo also facebook or tumblr or even sites that instagram is already connected to if this and that can connect them the same thing with facebook and twitter it's very like time saving because you do one thing and it'll do fifty things which is often that is a very clever so that was I f t dot com I'm r e re asking what it was called but it's thin that yes another one that has come through is called rescue time yes a rescue time I think it's on ly with max but you installed in your there might be window's, too, but you install it and then it tracks how you spend your time. So instead of you having to go in like wesley was mentioning in ta go and you telling it what you're doing, it just tracks what you're doing, and it gives you reports for how you spend your time when your computer so if you're at your computer all day, it will tell you you spent, you know, twenty hours on e mail or and you spent only five hours a day eating us, see, and then let you know what, exactly you spend your time on without you being able to like game it or what I do with time tracking things, I find myself not tracking the goofing around stuff, and so rescue time will be like, no, you were goofing around, you can't hide it like, okay, so, uh all of the time management effectiveness, productivity comes down tio not focussing, knowing what you need to work on and then a focusing and the one of the things I've mentioned a couple times, but I want to make explicitly clear as I mentioned, closing tabs. I'm also a huge fan of turning off all notifications, so if you are like scott, my timer set, I'm gonna work for twenty minutes. I know exactly what I want to work on, but your phone keeps digging at you and it's like you have a new tweet, you haven't like on instagram, you have a new friend on facebook, then you're never going to be able to focus and the thing that I think that I said a little bit, I said this a little bit earlier, but on a state again, in order to focus, you need to set your environment so that you can focus, you need to take responsibility of not letting any notifications distract you not have any tabs open, not have anything dinging blinking at you. Uh, and you can do that by turning them all off. So if I haven't said that clearly before that's like the big thing, turn off everything that's going to distract you like we talked about willpower being finite don't force yourself to ignore something, take away that destruction all together, and that brings us to the best free hack ever is to put your phone on airplane mode and what's funny is I shared this on twitter is I was getting ready and somebody said, oh, I just did that and I missed a meeting so put it on airplane mode but set a timer but if she got a lot done because she actually got done what she wanted to get done that's awesome! So airplane mode just means that you know you're not connected to the internet, so all those things can't come at you, but you can also turn off notifications your settings on your phone I make it so nothing notifies me except her text messages from like my husband and my mom because it's the only people that are ever going to need to get me right now on but also put it on silent just don't let something especially especially if you have a limited amount of time make it as easy as possible for you to just work during that amount of time and not be distracted. So what you guys are like? Yeah, you think there was an app that posts automatically to instagram as opposed to with later graham you have to you could set it up but you stopped just click okay for two there is not so far, but they're actually working on that. So it was because of and that's going to get into an area I don't really understand but instagrams ap I didn't let other app to do that, but they recently changed it and who sweet did institute just like last week and I've already written all of this like instagram, you can't go changing things on wait, let me finish recording it, but they had sweet did instagram scheduling, but I've heard miss mixed reviews of it and buffer, I tweeted, I really like buffer, I wish they would do this, and they tweeted back that they were working on it so it's gonna happen a soon we will be able to do that, but it's not quite there yet. Yeah, I was used to sweep for awhile, but sort of like the free version with only you know, you could only post three or four things at a time since there's so many, you know, apse there kind of duplicating each others, you know, territory are there once that allow you more flexibility without having to pay for it? Or are they all pretty much sticking to a standard of you get four, then you pay. I think that who sleep probably think that four different accounts that's probably the most you can get for free. I know with buffer you can have more accounts, but you can only post from, like ten messages on each one. So I went ahead and pay for the very smallest version of buffer, because when I got a town for a week, I'm more than ten messages. You two messages a day for seven or eight days so I want teo I wanna be able to do a whole week's worth at once so I pay to be able to a whole week's worth it once this is actually just a conversation we're having in the starship and somebody said one week they're like, well, I'm not sure if it'll be worth it, so she went ahead and paid for it and one week later she came back and she said that is already saved me ton dollars worth of time because she's running multiple accounts it was like a retreat and she has her own business and so she having it all scheduled in there now this doesn't mean when we talk about scheduling, it doesn't mean that you don't also interact live, you go in and you reply like we talked about, but you're also what I do when I go in and reply also check and just talk to people right then but what I'm what it allows me to dio is make sure that I'm sharing good content and not just hey guys and not just links to my own stuff like there's nothing sadder than a twitter account that's just knew in my etsy shop new in my etsy shop you wanted to have a mixture of adding value to your followers along with letting them know what else you have to offer a few sort of random of questions. Yeah, that'd be great going back a little bit, but totally that apply so one of them is about thes concepts of patching and setting boundaries. Do you have any tips? Ideas around how to set it up with your customers or clients so that you're not actually offending anyone? You know what I mean? Yes, I'm so glad you asked, because I feel like it's easy to talk about social media patching and maybe like writing blog's or something, but you can also streamline and systematize all of your all of your interactions with everyone ever know, but you can sew with customer service. You can do a couple things you, khun. The first one is to identify the questions people most ask you. And then, once you've done that, you have a few options. One is, if you use gmail there's a a free thing under the tab labs, you can turn on that's called canned responses, and canned responses allows you to write out a response and save it, and then when you're in an email, you can choose from your canned responses, hit it, and it'll automatically populate that. Whatever you wrote into that email, so someone always says, how do I buy x and you want to say, hi, thanks for writing you khun by x by going here, you can get that on camera spots now totally separate of technology you don't have to be using gmail use anything you can just write out those responses and save them so I have frequently asked questions notes in every note and when somebody is in the question I read out a reply save it if it's the kind of thing people ask me a lot like where I get this when does the starship open? What does this cost? Are you going to come too? Nepal, like whatever questions are that I think people are gonna ask I save them so when another person acid, I'm not retyping and each time so you can also sew sew a couple ways to batch that the first way would be to only answer those emails and threw them in a chunk don't do it all whenever, chunk it into one chunk and then also having their replies written like I said, but answering the same. Depending on what email provider you use, you can have things be filtered automatically. So if somebody asks a certain kind of question, I can set up a rule in gmail teo move it to a different folder so it's not in my in box in a different folder and then I can go in and answer that folder uh when I want teo so things that are less important if somebody's asking about their shipping maybe you want to answer a shipping requests one today or once a week if somebody is asking a question because they're about to give you money, you probably wouldn't answer that a lot quicker and if your inbox once you get more and more customers or inbox gets more and more full, you need some way of filtering these out so that your addressing the first one's the most important ones first and the last important ones later also you khun systematize your hole where is my package process? Right? So you can have depending on it by the label, you can have a copy of it sent automatically to them that can be part of your process. As soon as I print a shipping label, I send people the tracking number right then and then if they ask about it, all I have to do is like copy it from the last e mail I sent them and paste it again there's a lot of different ways to make this a system so that you're not doing it fresh each time. But the main one I think to answer that question is to write out template, id responses and then she mentioned offending your customers a most people won't realise that the temple it'd response if it's if it truly answered your question and you write it in your own voice like you're not going to sound like a robot and be make sure that it truly you're applying the right template to the right situation you know like you're you're if somebody says how do we take your creative I've crossed and I say thanks for asking me about classes you can buy them here and I give him link to my website that wasn't a good answer to that question would make sure you're paying attention and most won't know that their templates and the template here's how I always think of it templates and systems and even scheduling social media might take me out of the personal immediate I'm thinking of you as I write this email or tweet but it allows me to better connect and serve more people and so you might not write a personal heartfelt email to each customer you might bachir or automate the thank you messages but that allows you to serve more customers and to serve them better and working insistently because ofyou hand right I think you right hand right like with each order then you send them a thank you email versus automating that that's going to put an upper limit to how many people you can effectively serve and thank you and eventually you're going to not be able to thank everybody where does automated everybody will have the same great experience no good I have another question that is from adrift artist now already the artist on and hasn't votes too so if so, if something is sucking your time away, is it better to learn to manage or to pay someone else to do it and use the time you save to do other stuff too advice around outsourcing certain things as a tool for forgetting how done and I've been thinking about this a lot I just recorded a podcast episode like seven steps to hiring her first person because I was talking to some people who have massive major businesses and they ship hundreds of things and they do it all on their own and that's taking time away from creating their thing I mean so the do I get better at it or do I outsource? It depends the first question is always what are you uniquely qualified and awesome it doing and what is the heart of your business? Hopefully those two things are the same thing right? So if your awesomeness is leather working that's the heart of your business everything that's not that someone else could d'oh now doesn't necessarily mean you want them to do it but um so you want to identify what you are uniquely qualified to dio and what the heart of your businesses and you keep doing that and you don't need to learn how like I don't need to know the inner work kings of wordpress in order for me to write a blawg that touches people, I don't need to know how male chimp does what it does in order for me to send an e mail newsletter. And in fact, I don't even have to be the person to put it into male chimp orto lauren. Learn how male chimp does it if I want to hire that out, so I'm a big fan before you hire somebody of doing it yourself so that you know what it is and a first figure out how to batch it and then figure out how to automate it and then hire somebody to do it. So I am a fan for most businesses that are bootstrapping, too, to figure that out first, so that you don't hire somebody to do something in effectively, because if you don't know anything about it, it might take them ten hours. When really you could automate a lot of it. It would take him to embers.

Class Description

Stop fretting over the limited number of hours in a day and get to work – the smart way! In How to Get More Done, Tara Swiger will lay out a simple action plan that will help you manage your time, your business, and your family life more efficiently.

When Tara's online yarn shop replaced her day job, she fielded a lot of questions about the secret to her success. One thing led to another and now she is devoted, full-time, to helping other crafty entrepreneurs realize their dreams. In this class, she’ll help you take control of your calendar and build your business. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Implement a simple system for managing your time and tasks 
  • Prioritize time with your family 
  • Balance business, life, production, and marketing 
  • Strike the perfect balance between “studio time” and “admin time" 

You’ll identify your time-sucks and unproductive distractions and overcome common scheduling pain points by developing an action plan that works. 

Learn how to create a workday you'll love - no matter how (little) time you have. You’ll make the most of your time, keep track of your to-dos, and get the things that matter done in How to Get More Done with Tara Swiger.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Kickstart Your Profits

Bonus Materials

Get More Done Resources

Get More Done Workbook

Ambitiously Forecast Your Sales Calculator by Tara Swiger.xlsx

Improve Your Holiday Sales Sketch Note

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

A really great class. As a newer creative business owner I have had trouble with always feeling like no matter what I worked on it wasn't the right thing or it wasn't enough. I think the advice in this class will help me feel better about my accomplishments and keep me focused on the things that will help my business. Thanks!

Jacqui Kelly

I loved it! start to finish really packed full of sensible easy to follow advice - great workbook and extra materials. Highly recommended. Tara does continually mention STARSHIP and MAPPING with out any background info on these topics which began to niggle at me but guess the answers are on her website. This was my first full class after purchasing my Creator Pass and it gets a 10/10