Business Owners – Learn to use Technology to get your Most Important Things Done

We are living in a wonderful time.  There are simple to use powerful online tools that will help you get your most important things done.

However, the challenging thing for all of us is to first determine what our most important things are.

To start, the best thing to do is to spend time developing your long-term vision as well as the long-term goals that support your vision.  Remember, every one of your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time–based).  This takes some practice, but is worth the effort.  With a SMART goal, you know what specifically needs to be done by when.

Once you’ve developed your long-term vision and long-term SMART goals, then you breakdown you goals into annual, quarterly, and then weekly SMART goals.  Your weekly SMART goals are where you focus your valuable time and energies.  When you do this planning exercise, you ensure that what you’re working on each day supports and brings you closer to achieving your long-term vision.  As you work on different things, if you find yourself spending time working on things that are not supporting your Vision, you should seriously question whether you should be working on that activity.  You need to focus on activities that help you achieve your vision.

Software Tools

Here are some online tools that I suggest you consider using.

Evernote is the granddaddy of sharing apps.  This app enables you to easily capture notes, pictures, and screen shots from your computer, iPad, or smart phone and save this information in the “cloud”.  At a later date, you can easily search and find the information you’ve saved.  It’s an amazing app and you can download it for free.  Here’s a simple example, you can use Evernote and your smart phone to take pictures of business cards and then retrieve the information later.

Dropbox is a must have app that enables easy online file sharing between computers, people, and smartphones.  I use my Dropbox multiple times a day.  I save all of my current project work into folders on Dropbox.  This way, all of my current work is available to me whether I’m using my computer, iPad or smartphone.  Plus, I can invite folks I’m working with, to view and to work on documents in specific folders.  This is great when working with teams.

Omnifocus for Macs & Shuffle for PC’s are apps that help you plan, schedule and prioritize your work.  These apps will assist you in extending the learning resulting from David Allen’s great book, Getting Things Done.  For those of you who want to get control of your schedule and office, this is a powerful book.  Plus, these apps work across your computer, iPad, and smartphone and really help you get organized and to maximize the utility of your time.

Other online tools for you to consider include –

  • Teambox a simple to use project management software for small teams.
  • The 37 Signals suite of tools that include Basecamp to manage projects, Campfire to work in real time with teams, and Backpack to share internal documents.
  • Ta-da, which keeps all of your to-do lists together and organized on line.  Plus, you can share these lists with others to encourage easy collaboration.
  •, which offers a comprehensive suite of on-line business, productivity and collaboration applications.  If you’re starting a new company from scratch you should consider ZoHo.
  • Google Docs, which is a free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.
  • Microsoft Office 365, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and the latest version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop suite.

While you are on the Web, you should spend a few minutes on Pandora and start your own “radio station”.  Plus, set up a LinkedIn account so other business people can find you.  Finally, Slideshare has a wealth of presentations you can view and learn from.

The use of these tools is limited only by your imagination.  Download some of them and begin experimenting today.

Tom McMillian

President of Techtao, a marketing consultancy.  Earlier this year, this article appeared in NJ Entrepreneur.

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