First of all, you need to know that I really had to restrain myself from turning this quick-read list into a giant novel. There’s really so much more to talk about when it comes to keeping overwhelm under control (and a lot of it isn’t as simple as a tool you can buy online). That said, I tried to pick tools that I use every day or have been real life- or time-savers when it comes to running my business.
I don’t know why I didn’t start using this for project management earlier. We were using Basecamp and it just didn’t do what I needed it to do on the client side. Trello seems to work the way my brain works and I can use it easily with clients and coworkers. You can customize and modify it for your exact needs too.
(I’ve also been flirting with the idea of using Airtable for more complicated project management, but haven’t had the time to really play with it.)
2. Your Best Year Workbook by Lisa Jacobs
I credit this book with helping me keep it all together in 2017 when I packed up my little family and moved from Brookly, NY to Portland, OR – which was immediately preceded by a 3-month trip to Spain and England. When I look back on it I think “how the hell did we do that?” – but I know a large part was because of the power of this workbook. It kept me focused on my progress and priorities. I’m using it again this year. Whenever I feel lost and overwhelmed in the muck of day-to-day operations I just review my worksheets and calendar in this book. (Lisa Jacobs is generously offering the workbook for free right now! If you don’t feel like your not clear on your 2018 goals grab it now.)
Wave is definitely the best free small business accounting solution out there.
Fundbox has been my best friend when it comes to cash flow management. I wish I would of had it early on in my freelance career, it would have saved me some major headaches. Check out Fundbox here – and if you sign up using my link they’ll waive your first $100 in fees!)
5. WLC (Whole Life Challenge)
This isn’t technically a “business” tool. But I have to mention it because I’ve done two challenges so far and it has helped me SO MUCH with life and work overwhelm. I’ve taken some of the exercises and insights I’ve learned about myself during the challenges and have applied them to my work. You can read more about it here. (Let me know if you sign up and want to be part of the team I’m on!)
When you just can’t go on and feel like you’ll gag if you have another cup of coffee try turning on some tunes. I’ve really been digging XRAY.fm lately.
7. Support network (CoCommercial)
Let’s face it, most of your friends and family are just smiling and nodding politely when you talk about business stuff – they can’t really relate to what you’re going through. I think of CoCommercial as a small business association, mastermind, support system, and social media group all mashed into one. (Although it’s a billion times better than any Facebook group I’ve ever been in.)
I really hope that you either have someone else managing your social media or you are using a tool to help you do it. If not, stop what you’re doing and jump on this free trial of SmarterQueue.
I still use Evernote every day for my random note taking and obsessive checklist making.
This is a robust app. The way I use it (contracts, questionnaires, proposals, lead captures) barely scratches the surface of what it can do. And they have THE BEST customer service! Give Dubsado a test run if you want to refine your workflows and client relationship management systems.
11. Hiring Help
This is the best thing you can do to knock out overwhelm. And it doesn’t have to be help that’s directly related to your business. Childcare and housecleaning services can do wonders for your biz, I would start there. (One time I hired a personal organizer for my studio and it was THE BEST THING I ever paid for!) You can also start with the things that make your brain hurt or the things you don’t like doing in your business.