I subscribe to HARO, a service designed to match writers who are looking for people to help them with the people who have expertise in the needed area. Three time a day, I receive an email which lists the authors needing help and the type of help they are looking for. I used HARO when I was writing Organization Made Easy!: Tools for Today’s Teachers.

time managementRecently, I saw the following posting on HARO:

I’m looking for time management experts and business coaches who can offer advice to small business owners about better time management in the New Year. Areas of particular interest are how to manage time when you are doing absolutely everything to run the business and how to manage time when technology affords endless interruptions. 

I never heard anything back from the author, so I assume she elected not to include my input. I hate to waste good material, so here is the information sent to her for your information and enjoyment.

Strategy #1-Forward email to your to-do list 
Stop using your email inbox as your to-do list. Opening new email generally means inheriting some additional “things to do.” The trick is to get those “to-dos” dissected from the email and into the to-do list, where they belong. Outlook users can use “drag and drop.” Click on the email and drag the mouse to the Task button in the left-hand pane. Release the mouse button, and Outlook creates a new task. The entire body of email is inserted into the note section of the task for later reference. Make a decision on exactly what has to be done and enter it as the subject of the task. Decide on what day you would like to do the task and set the due date accordingly. Save the task, and now, you can delete the email.

A number of good, free, cloud-based to-do lists allow you to forward email to them. Add the special email address the service provides to your contacts. The next time you open an email and realize you have just inherited something else to do, forward the email to that address. Reword the subject so that it reads the way you want your task to read. Add any additional information in the body of the email and send. This technique works whether you are reading your email on your computer, tablet, phone, or even someone else’s computer.

Strategy #2-Automate your social media 
If your business uses Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you can save considerable time by composing your material for the entire week or even month in one sitting. Set up a free account at HootSuite.com. Link each of your social media accounts to it. Enter your material and designate a day and time for each post to appear. At the same time, you can select one or more social networks on which each post will appear. Your customers hear a short message about your brand on a regular basis with no daily upkeep on your part.

Use HootSuite to organize your incoming information as well. Twitter can quickly become much like a crowded room of people all talking at once about different things. In Twitter, create a “list” and name it something like “Inner Circle.” Click on “Followers” and look for those few people who consistently provide great content. Beside each of their names, click the drop-down and add them to your “Inner Circle.” In HootSuite, click “Add a Stream,” and select “Inner Circle.” The tweets from those people you care about most will appear together in one column. You have just improved your Twitter signal-to-noise ratio greatly!

What are your favorite tips? Please leave me a comment.