Ever ask yourself “how on earth am I going to get everything done?” Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and that while saying yes to more work is great for your bank balance, it throws everything else off balance. With the fear that you might not always have this much work at the back of your mind, you want to be able to take on new opportunities when they are presented to you. But how can you boost productivity so that you don’t need to add headcount to your team? This article will break down the mindset you need, plus provide some awesome ideas for technology that makes it all that bit easier.
“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them”
We’ve all experienced that feeling where you have an awesome idea or a sudden recollection, and you can’t do anything else until you’ve told someone or written it down. If you let it slip now, it might be gone forever! Or conversely, that frustrating moment when you realize you’ve forgotten something that feels super important because you didn’t codify it or say it out loud.
The quote “your mind is for having ideas, not holding them” is by David Allen, and it comes from his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity. The idea itself is very simple. In a great IT-focused analogy which works well for our audience (!) Allen compares our short-term memory to RAM. This is where we hold all the incomplete and disorganized stuff, and there’s only so much space in that part of our minds before we start to perform badly, just like an overworked computer. We have limited capacity. If you walk around with your RAM “bursting at the seams” you’ll be “constantly distracted, [with your] focus disturbed by mental overload.”
Instead, Allen recommends that we empty our minds of all of these ideas and put them somewhere else, so that we can focus our attention on getting things done, and using our ‘RAM’ as it was intended, to form the ideas in the short-term, before moving them elsewhere.
Using technology to its best advantage
In our tech-driven world, this is easier than it’s ever been before. There are a lot of great tools and software solutions that offer the ability to “empty your mind” and store all of your great ideas, thoughts, and plans, not just digitally but on the cloud, so that they can be shared, collaborated on, enhanced and grown.
Here are just a handful of our favorites, and how they could add productivity to the way that you do business, and free up your mind to do more in less time.
For easy and quick messaging communication between your teams, Slack can’t be beat. You can send messages, media and files, organize polls, and even screen share to collaborate quickly on a problem. Slack works from mobile and also web app, and many MSPs like to create customer Slack channels so that there is always a direct line of communication to technicians when a problem occurs.
Added productivity ideas that you can do with Slack are syncing your account with calendars such as Outlook or Google Calendar to schedule meetings internally or externally, and adding Slack messages to pull requests in your own developer tools or in BitBucket Cloud. You can also create and assign tasks from Slack that appear in Trello or Workast project management tools.
Talking about project management tools… At Atera we love Monday.com! This project management tool gives everyone a shared space to work in, reducing the number of unnecessary meetings, and providing a clear single view of everyone’s responsibilities, and who is accountable for what element of larger projects. You can create statuses so that it’s really visible when a project is stuck or waiting for review, and you’ll get automatic notifications and reminders if something is waiting on you.
Great productivity features are the ability to set priorities so that tasks are completed in the right order, and the addition of time tracking so you can spot who is being super productive with their hours. Want an alternative to Monday.com? Try ClickUp, which is free – and calls itself “One app to replace them all!”
Using Google Workspace really does revolutionize the way you work, and definitely adds back more hours to the day for busy MSP businesses. For example, think about the difference between relying on MS Word and moving to Google Docs. No more sending multiple versions of local docs with track changes, losing track of versions, or trying to go back to a previous document. Instead, from a single link, multiple stakeholders can collaborate on the cloud, using previous versions, suggestion mode and comments in real-time.
Now think broader, because Workspace is so much more than Docs! It’s Gmail and calendar, as well as Meet and Chat for collaboration, Drive for sharing documents and client information, Sheets and Slides to replace traditional Excel and PowerPoint processes, and even Forms and Sites. When you use Google Workspace as a single tool, all of these features come together to work as a holistic whole, so you don’t need to jump in and out of different software tools. Here’s some extra productivity tips for using Workspace.
Make note-taking much more efficient with Evernote, which allows easy note taking, archiving, task management and organization from any device. You can upload images, files, PDFs, scribbles, audio and video, whatever you want, and then create and assign tasks based on your note-taking. No more paper records, and it integrates with Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft Teams.
Extra bonus features that we love include Evernote widgets, where you can even see your latest notes on your mobile home screen, quick-note options to set reminders for later, and great email integration with Outlook and Google Calendar. You can also share entire project notebooks across teams to save on the emailing.
Empty your mind – use software instead!
With collaborative cloud-based software tools, you don’t need to walk around low on RAM all the time. Instead, you can free up your mind to focus on actionable tasks, resting assured that everything important is written down, assigned to the right human, and ticking along behind the scenes.
Oh and talking about awesome productivity tools that get work done behind the scenes… have you tried Atera yet? Our software monitors your client environments while you get on with other tasks, alerting you when there’s something you should know about. Start your 30-day free trial here.