Micro-Productivity Tools to Boost Your Business’s Output

Micro productivity

When we work with small businesses and other digital marketing agencies, we’re always surprised at how little attention they pay to optimizing their productivity.

If you want to have massive success with your business, you’ll need to maximize each minute of your day.

Think about this: how much it would add up to at the end of the day if you’d be able to shave off 10-20 seconds off of every task?

How Much Time Do People Actually Waste During Work?

In 2014, Salary.com conducted a survey on productivity. The results weren’t surprising: more than 89% of people waste considerable amount of time during their work day.

The survey sample was 750 people. They found out that:

  1. 233 (31%) people waste more than 30 minutes per day,
  2. 233 (31%) people waste more than 60 minutes per day,
  3. 120 (16%) people waste more than 120 minutes per day,
  4. 45 (6%) people waste more than 180 minutes per day,
  5. 15 (2%) people waste more than 240 minutes per day, and
  6. 15 (2%) people waste more than 300 minutes per day.

Wasted minutes per day graph

4% of people waste more than half of their working day on activities that don’t produce any value.

The survey contains interesting facts about the biggest time wasters. Google has been where people waste most of their time, ahead of Facebook who is in second place.

If you want to find more interesting stats in the survey, check out Salary.com’s breakdown.

What About Freelancers and Small Business Owners?

A more recent survey was done by OfficeTime in February 2015. In this survey, they looked at freelancers and small business owners:

Worst time killers on your day job

The sample size was 1200 people. Here are the biggest time-killers for business owners:

  1. Email: 44%
  2. Meetings: 41%
  3. Web Surfing: 14%
  4. Travel time: 7%
  5. Tech problems: 7%

And that’s the reason why we always advise our clients to limit email use by, setting up a project management tool like RedBooth.

You Can Improve Your Productivity by Creating Small Habits

We’ve discovered that creating habits around small things adds up over time.

For example, if you’re not doing this already, you can create a habit to use keyboard shortcuts for smaller tasks like copying and pasting text and images.

Start using Ctrl + C / Ctrl + V (or Cmd + C / Cmd + V, if you’re a Mac user): you’ll be more productive right away. There may be a learning curve of a few hours if you’ve never used keyboard shortcuts before but push through the initial discomfort that comes with doing things a new way. You will save a lot of time in the long run.

Once those become a habit, you can learn other shortcuts as well: cutting, duplicating, and cloning objects are just a handful of useful ones that will increase your productivity.

Below is a list of the 10 tools that we use every day. We couldn’t live without them.They increase our productivity and free up more time for the most important things in life – our family and friends.

1. Gorgias (Chrome Extension)

Gorgias banner

Gorgias is a Google Chrome extension for creating email templates. If you’re sending emails with the same (or similar) content all the time, this app will save you a lot of time.

With Gorgias, you can create a word, sentence, paragraph or an entire page template. Then, you assign a keyword to it and press tab. The whole text inside of the template will be pasted into your email body.

How Gorgias works

You can also create dynamic placeholders that automatically place different values into the email. For example, the app can pull the “from” field and place it directly into the body: you don’t have to know the actual email address of the sender.

The sender’s first name is a great variable you can pick. You can send personalized email, and no one will know the process was almost fully automated.

This method has proven to be much better than creating Word templates that you have to copy and paste every time.

If you don’t remember the shortcut keyword, you can simply click on the “G” button at the top right corner, and it’ll list all the templates (and their respective keywords) for you.

One good usage example is doctors’ offices: they always send similar emails (appointments and follow-ups).

If your business has a team – and you’re using Google Apps for Work, this combo can save you an enormous amount of time.

Find out more about Gorgias on the official website.

2. DashLane

DashLane is the best password manager we’ve come across. It’s also a digital wallet.

If you work on a computer, you probably have a lot of passwords. And you probably haven’t memorized all of them. That’s where a password manager comes into play.

Since it’s a digital wallet, DashLane makes it very easy for you to purchase things online. When you click on the first field of a checkout form, a pop-up will appear asking you which credit card to use. After that, it’ll ask you for a password. Once you enter in the password, all the fields will be filled automatically.

One great thing about it is that the app will give you an option to identify your cards through different colors. That means you won’t even have to remember the last four digits or the security number on the back side of the card.

When we purchased a new computer for our office, we realized that we didn’t have any of our passwords memorized anymore. But, with DashLane Premium, we were able to quickly integrate all our passwords from the cloud with the new computer. It saved us a ton of time.

3. LastPass


LastPass is similar to DashLane. We like DashLane more, but LastPass might be a better option if you’re planning to log into the app from different devices and platforms.

Otherwise, it’s just a personal preference. The main point here is to get a password manager, since it will take the hassle of remembering passwords off of your back.

4. ColorZilla (Chrome Extension)

Colorzilla in action

How many times has this happened to you: you stumble upon a great website and decide you want to use some of their colors for your own site?

The problem is, you would need to take a screenshot, open it up in a photo editor, and then use the eyedropper tool to get the color code (and potentially translate it from RGB to HEX).

ColorZilla is a Google Chrome extension that enables you to get the hex value of any color that’s currently present in your browser – without leaving it.

The latest versions also give you an RGB color representation, and the dimension of the objects that you’re hovering over. They pull that information from the CSS file.

Download Colorzilla here.

5. Page Ruler (Chrome Extension)

Page ruler in action

This is a useful tool if you’re doing any kind of marketing or design work for your website. It measures the pixel width and height of the element.

If you’re writing a blog post, this tool can help you see how wide the post area is so you can resize your images properly, increasing your page speed performance by using the smallest possible file size.

Download Page Ruler here.

6. Lorem Ipsum Generator (Chrome Extension)

Lorem ipsum generator in action

If you work with content and CMSes, this tool will come in handy. It creates the boilerplate lorem ipsum text that you can simply copy and paste into your web pages.

The app can create up to five paragraphs, and every paragraph can have up to 20 sentences.

7. Moz Toolbar (Chrome Extension)

Moz toolbar in action

The Moz toolbar is a great tool to find out who your competitors are and how strong their online presence really is.

When enabled, the tool will appear at the top of every page you visit – and give you all the familiar stats (like Page Authority and Domain Authority) from Moz’s database.

It’ll also give you the website’s social stats – like how many likes, +1s, and tweets the page has.

You can also enable this tool in Google search results, which lets you see how strong your competition is.

The only downside is that – if you want to get all the stats – you need to have a Moz pro account. The basic version is limited to Page Authority, Domain Authority, Spam Score, Facebook likes and Google +1s.

Download Moz Toolbar here.

8. li maker

li maker before transformation

The li maker is just one of those tools that’s handy when you have to copy and paste between your documents and WordPress (or any other CMS that accepts HTML as input).

li maker after transformation

It can be really time-consuming to fix all the bulleted lists when switching between Word documents and the WordPress interface. You can put your content into the tool and decide the delimiter of the new item – whether it’s a new line, a comma, or a semicolon.

9. Visual Hunt

Visual hunt

Visual Hunt is a search engine that searches for photos and images that you can freely use on your websites – without giving any attributions.

Just bookmark this tool and use it whenever you need an image for your blog or some other part of your website.

Using images that you find over Google Image Search can be dangerous: Image copyright infringements are high.

You’ll also save some money in the process.

10. Cmd + R / Ctrl + F5

If you press Command + R on your Mac, or Control + F5 on your PC, you’ll do a hard refresh of the browser.

Browsers temporarily store website data into the local memory of your computer, making the page load speed faster after the first request. The case is storing HTML, CSS, JavaScript and images.

However, sometimes that means that you won’t be able to see the changes that you were making on your website (because the old files in the cache are still there).

By pressing that keyboard combination, you’re flushing the cache. Then, you can immediately see all the changes that were done.

Conclusion

In order to advance your business, you need to think about improving your productivity. Time management is an essential skill if you want to get more things done – and spend more time with your loved ones.

It’s incredible how helpful small tweaks to your workflow can be. Fortunately, there are many applications out there that help you boost your output – and your competition still doesn’t know about them.

Are there any other great tools that we haven’t mentioned here? Share your favorite productivity apps and workflows in the comments section below.

  • rekhaweb

    This flexible working movement, known as co-working, is gaining a lot of momentum around the world. When you reduce your rent expenses, you’re able to invest it in other areas of your business.
    http://www.canopuswebtech.co.in/