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Business owners always seem to need to get as much done as quickly as possible, so every extra bit of productivity counts. With the rapid pace at which technology continues to evolve, it's tough to keep up on what's new, and harder still to know what's actually a game-changer for your work volume, versus what's just more noise.
Here are some practical tools that we've found useful to actually boost our productivity.
The many uses of Alexa Skills
Until recently, I thought Alexa was just a cool way for Amazon to change up its purchasing user interface (UI). Sure, you can do standard, digital-assistant stuff like a web search to look up an interesting fact, turn on your favorite playlist, or find out what time the game starts. What I didn't realize, however, is that Alexa is capable of much more with Alexa Skills.
"Skills" are like apps for your Alexa, enabling all sorts of new functionality. A skill can plug into your calendar to collect all the contact information for a conference call and connect you via your cell, or it can check on your team's availability if you're trying to schedule a meeting. The Zapier integration is particularly powerful, allowing you to keep tabs on just about any metric you can think of simply by using voice commands. Other powerful Skills include mobile integration (for checking notifications, sending texts, and making phone calls) and Remember the Milk, letting you set reminders for you and your team. Visit the Skills center on Amazon to find the Skills that work best for you.
Take advantage of automation
Automation has been a digital buzzword for a while now--and for good reason. Email marketing campaigns are so much more powerful with a carefully-configured automation tool driving them. The key here is to use the data you already have on successful customers to work backward and target people with a high chance of conversion. Some key metrics to look at include the average time between site visits and the relationship between when you send an email and when you get a click through. Set up your system to email the prospect a discount offer a day or two after they abandon their cart and reap the rewards.
Automation can also help you get more done with your content publishing. If you've done your homework and created a solid content publishing schedule, you can set aside an afternoon to schedule everything and then not worry about it for the rest of the month. This goes double for making sure that content hits the social media channels you're targeting. It is important to remember to remain aware of the calendar even if it's automated, however, in case something happens in the world that might change the way your content is interpreted. Set it, but don't forget it!
Ready for what's next
At its core, productivity is a mindset. Yes, tools and knowledge can help you get more done, but the most important thing is to be maniacally dedicated to constantly finding ways to improve. If you can find a way to get perspective on what works and what doesn't, you'll be able to use these tools most effectively and take back your time.