In researching the productivity-focused The Ultimate Bite-Sized Entrepreneur, I discovered one strong truth: The difference between success and failure is priorities. You have to know what to focus on, what to keep on the radar and, to paraphrase LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, what fires to let burn.
I have five secret weapons that have helped me juggle TED Talks, startups, fatherhood and writing. I'm doubling down on these in 2018.
Trello is terribly simple: Make a list of things to do. What's great about Trello is how intuitively it works. Type in a task and then give it a deadline, break it down into a checklist or share it with others. You can leave it at that or go deeper with categories, linked tasks and other dimensions.
Trello became a lifesaver when my Cuddlr co-founder Charlie Williams introduced it to me. The syncing across platforms and easy team tasking helped us lead the app from launch to acquisition.
ConvertKit takes the email list management popularized by MailChimp and adds amazing, granular detail. It gives you key information on your audience, from which links they click to how many people prefer one email headline versus another. You can also do serious segmentation, customizing the newsletters received or responses based on the audience member.
I now use ConvertKit to manage my email-based community, making it easier to communicate with my entrepreneurial audience and deliver exclusive content to them.
TripIt has been around for a bit and I've been an avid user for at least five years. It is a virtual travel assistant, organizing all your itineraries - from hotel to airline to car - into one cohesive app. The beauty is in the details. For instance, TripIt not only gives you the time between layovers, but also the time it will take for you to walk from your landing gate to the departing gate.
I use TripIt Pro, which adds some serious firepower to the basic, free app. The premium version will ping you when a flight gate or time changes, often before the airline itself acknowledges the change. Airport lounge specials, seat upgrade options and other perks are worth the price of admission.
Calendly is a quick way to tame your appointment schedule. The free software asks when you'd like to make yourself available - say, from 9 am - 5 pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday - and then syncs with your personal calendar to block out any conflicts. Your colleagues can then visit your Calendly website to see when you are available and set up a meeting without you having to lift a finger, aside from confirming the appointment.
I'm fairly new to Calendly, but it took only a month for me to realize how much time I used to spend just coordinating times with potential coaching clients, collaborators and colleagues. It is easily the most surprising productivity discovery I've found this year.
Meet Edgar handles your Social Media which, as I've shared many times, we spend an inordinate amount of time managing. You can store all your evergreen social media messages, like a note talking about your new product or an article your company published, and Meet Edgar will publish them based on your predetermined schedule. It is very much set it and forget it.
I've been a fan for the past year for two major reasons. First, it allows me, an introvert, to save some of my social energy, as constantly pushing out social media posts can be draining. Second, I trust the hands-off system enough to actually take a much-needed social media break - without worrying about my business falling apart.
Ready to take your ideas to the next level? Join Damon's priority-empowering discussions at JoinDamon.me and download your exclusive solopreneur guide.