Every year I go through my business from top to bottom do a deep cleaning.
I let go of tools I don’t really need.
I reduce my monthly operating costs by canceling things that I’m not using.
I try to be as ruthless as possible and smart about the number of tools I use plus the value I’m getting out of each one.
If a tool isn’t pulling its weight in the way I originally thought it would, it’s gone…or at least shelved indefinitely.
Now, this is not the first time I’ve done this for my business and shared with you the results.
You can check those out here:
How to pick the RIGHT tools to run your business
How to choose the RIGHT tools to keep your next online product launch on track
Now onto this year… my business has changed so much in 2014 that the tools needed to change too. Plus a few really interesting apps and online tools cropped up that I just HAD to test out.
I put this whole weeding out process in a short 3 part video series…and I'm wrapping it all up for you here with a bow.
1. Analyze What Worked and What Did Not Work
This is pretty self explanatory. You look at the main tools in your business and you think, am I using that? Am I paying for that and not using it? What core system is that tool supporting?
I tend to try products a little too long, so I know that I need to come back to this process more often throughout the year.
In this video, you’ll hear me talk about some of the tools that were dropped or put on hold for the time being.
Find out more about the tools that are on hold for now…I loved some of them but they just didn’t make the primary tools list.
So, in general, I’ve been going through all tools asking the following:
- Am I Using This?
- Am I spending money where I don’t need to?
- Do I need to free this money up for anything else?
Check out Denise Duffield Thomas’ recent post on money leaks…because this started me on my tools review and helped me see why it was important to cancel out accounts that were essentially leaking money from my business.
Last word of analyzing what you’re using…little charges add up, so if you’re not using something, stop paying for it!
2. Keep It Simple and Decide Which Tools You Can’t Live Without
Pretty much the second you lose what you don’t need, you’ll see the tools you do need.
Here’s my rundown of the tools that will continue to run my biz in 2015:
Ready to learn what digital tools run my business? The ones I keep going back to over and over again?
My core group of tools has stayed the same over the past 2 years, so there might not be any surprises here, but I think you'll enjoy knowing why I stick with them!
Here's the list of tools I talk about:
3. The Power of Using Analog Tools
Probably my most favorite step in this whole process has been discovering ways to get my brain offline.
I’ve noticed something happening over the past few years that I tried to ignore. Too many ideas just being put in random cubbies like Evernote, Google Docs, and random text documents.
My content creation and strategic ideas are often lost completely because I forget which online place I’ve kept them.
So, now, I’m giving myself a break and rekindling my love of paper planning.
In this video you’ll see what I’m using now. And even though I didn’t actually say it, these are my favorite tools because they don’t require me to be online. This is the kind of rest my brain has needed.
So expect to hear me push planners a lot until and IF I calm down.
So you can see that the paper planners have made their way into my business brain and heart…and aren't leaving any time soon.
I love being able to jump in and out of the digital realm because it also reminds me to get away from my computer and go talk to real live people.
What Do You Think?
So what's your take on my tools?
Go through each video and make your own list of keepers, losers, and then also let me know in the comments if ANY part of your business starts on paper.
I can't wait to hear from you!
A few final notes – just so they are here:
*Some but not all of these are affiliate links. I only share tools that I actually use or have used in the past. I do receive some sort of commission that helps support my blog and business if you purchase through the link–thank you in advance for your support!
“Groundhog Day…I wonder if that dude saw his shadow…” You totally crack me up.
I could geek out on planners and tools all. day. long.
I got my Day Designer this fall and was a little intimidated to write in it when January rolled around, because it’s just so damn pretty, but I got over it and have really been putting it to work for me. I actually love the dated pages because I can jump ahead and put reminders on specific days (Pajama Day at preschool next Weds.. holla!) for all those little things that I don’t want on my Google calendar. I use the top 3 things for my work stuff and the list on the right for all the other misc. stuff (schedule this, cancel that, drop off this, pick up that…).
The only other paper planner I’m using now is a really skinny monthly planner that I use to sketch out my editorial calendar and launch dates. The Day Designer has the monthly view, but they’re all spaced out throughout the planner and it doesn’t work for me.
The one thing I can’t seem to stop buying is notebooks. Good lord, somebody stop me. I have a problem.
Anne Samoilov says
Lane! I knew you’d chime in here! I do love that Day Designer…that’s why I know that it’ll just be a super fancy to do list that I can use when I want…and I seriously could kick myself for not waiting for the undated version to come out! But – you live and you learn!
Don’t go to TJMaxx or Marshalls…because there are some super cute notebooks there… AND…mead just released a new series of waterproof notebooks that are sooo nice. LOL. You’re welcome. 🙂
Damn you woman! LOL
Keepers: iDoneThis, Unroll.me, Wave Accounting, Highrise, Google Drive and Dropbox (for different things), Celery, Buffer and Edgar (the combo really suits me), and Mad Mimi, as well as few other odds and ends and of course my website. Still need to audit the plugins on my site though. I think some of those can go.
I hesitate to call the next batch “losers” because it’s more that I’m just not sure how to integrate most of them into a proper system. Though maybe I just need to let go and try something different…
My current WordPress theme (ToomMorel by InkThemes), WooCommerce, Evernote, Acuity, Hootsuite, and every webinar software I’ve tried in the past.
I DO use paper. My bigger planning is just in a binder with some plain copy paper. I like the freedom to write whatever comes to mind and even doodle if need be. Nothing holds me back if I want to write out the tasks that go into a project on one page and then map the major marketing activities for the year on the next page. I’m not reliant on someone else’s system of pre-printed pages. BUT, the drawback is that it’s not exactly a homey, beautiful space to play in.
Stephanie Pollock says
Wow – I thought I had it bad with paper planners. 🙂
In 2013 I used Erin Condren’s planner – but didn’t love the breakdown of morning/afternoon/evening as my day doesn’t really work like that.
I got the Day Designer in September and LOVED it for it’s beauty…but I found myself not using it after a while. I love paper for brainstorming, goal-setting, to-do lists, big picture and more…but I don’t really use it for my schedule (that’s where I’m totally digital). So it felt like I was wasting the space each day b/c I didn’t record my schedule items. I might just need to write my ideas over it instead.
Now I’m trying out Smart Creative Women’s “Flourish 16 month planner” because it’s got a lot more space to put ideas. It isn’t a day-to-day – just month at a glance plus the idea pages. And I’m also trying out the Epic Blog One Year Editorial Calendar too for my content planning.
Oh, and then a friend bought me the Passion Planner as a gift (was a Kickstarter campaign) and I’m excited to try that one out too.
I restrained myself from buying Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner –maybe later this year. LOL.
It can really get out of control… but I love me some paper planners! Have never tried the Filofax yet — that might be my next try. 🙂