How To Master Your App Ecosystem

Everything serves its purpose, especially when it comes to apps.

I’m going to keep saying this. Your apps are your tools, and together they make up your toolbox.

Yesterday, someone asked me why we need Smartsheet, if we’re going to use Google sheets. The answer is simple. While they have a fair amount of overlap, in terms of what you can do with them, they’re actually very different tools.

Smartsheet is a project management tool. Google sheets is a spreadsheet. If I have a large data set, that I need to manipulate quickly with sorting and subtotaling, a spreadsheet is the better solution. Right up to the subtotaling, I could use either one. Smartsheet doesn’t handle sub totals at all.

You also have to think in terms of what you’re going to do with the data.

If the analysis is just for you, then use what you love. If you need to share the results with a client, then you want to make it as easy as possible for the client. Use what THEY love.

Here’s a thought. Use the tool that you love best to prepare the data. Then convert it into the tool you need to present / share it.

I can cut up my data on Google Sheets, and then convert the results into Smartsheet for better collaboration and tracking of what we’re doing with the data.

You have to stop limiting yourself by saying you don’t want to learn all these apps. That’s the modern day equivalent of a carpenter saying he doesn’t want to learn to use a Phillips head screwdriver, because he’s comfortable with a standard screwdriver.

The choice is yours of course, but as you learn more apps, and what they can or can’t do, and which ones handle certain things better than others, you’re going to be able to work circles around your competition. What’s more is you’ll be able to charge more for the same things because you can get them turned around in a fraction of the time, and clients will pay extra for that.

It amounts to a clear understanding of the apps that are available, so that you have a logic around what to use and when. That logic will keep getting redefined as you learn more apps.

If you start feeling overwhelmed, create a document, and list the purpose and the app that you use. Then you can start to define this better. In some clients cases, we have an internal tool, and a separate, client facing one. These are always intentionally different, so that we aren’t likely to get confused about where we put information that the client doesn’t need to see.

We use ActiveCollab for our private education projects, but we use Asana for consulting projects.

It’s OK to use two apps for the same thing, as long as you can define where you use one vs the other as I just did above.

The obvious reason is that one works better for a particular type of project, but you don’t need that good of a reason.

It can be as simple as, I want to play with this other app, to see if, and in which use cases it might work better. So you put your next new use case in a new app, and you play. Have fun with it. Learn it inside and out. The best way to learn is on live data, and real life use cases. This gives you the opportunity to be caught off guard and think on your feet. How can I use this app to handle this situation? Does my other app work better for this?

That’s how you learn to get creative with your apps. That’s the stuff of warriors in the world of apps.

How to Be Insanely Productive on a Daily Basis

People often ask me, “how do you accomplish so much in a single day?” My colleagues are always asking me if I ever sleep. I do sleep. Most nights, I get a good 8 hours. If I don’t get 6 – 8 hours I am tired, unfocused, and unproductive the following day. The secret to my productivity is not in lack of sleep. The secret to my productivity is in my toolbox. This is how I can be insanely productive on a daily basis.

Today I’ll show you my workflow tips with 17Hats, Evernote, and WordPress.

When was the last time you looked in a toolbox? Did you notice the screw driver? Maybe you recognize a Phillips head vs a regular screw driver? Most of us don’t question which of these tools to use, and when, because we’re clear on it. This is what we need to accomplish with our digital toolbox. This is how you can be insanely productive on a daily basis.

Your digital toolbox is going to be a little more ambiguous, than a traditional toolbox. There’s only one kind of Phillips head screwdriver and only one kind of screw that it works with. With business management and workflow apps, there are many choices.

So how do you choose?

Choosing your apps is a process, not an event.

If you’d like more direct help with this,

sign up for a private training session with me,

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Patreon 97 & Up plan.

I go over this kind of stuff with you twice per week.

The short answer is test, adapt, test adapt, test adapt, and repeat. What happens over time is that you start to nail it down. You have those aha moments, where you realize, this is IT. This is the app that will solve my problem. This is the “hammer” that I need for my particular nails. Then you have another epiphany, and you realize that these apps MAY, at your discretion, be subject to change, at any time, and without notice. Why? Because you found something even better.

I wind up keeping many of these tools around. Why? One might work better for one situation versus another. Having lots of tools at my disposal is how I keep insanely productive on a daily basis.

In this video you are going to see two examples of tools I use to manage two very different types of information.

17Hats is what I use to manage leads that come in. You can learn exactly how to set up what you see in the video in my course on 17hats.  This was a new tool for me this year, which replaced what I was previously using Smartsheet for. Both allow you to create web contact forms, which can be embedded on your website. The reason I switched this particular process from Smartsheet to 17hats, was that 17hats enabled me to take this process one step further. 17Hats allows me to automate responses based on the nature of the inquiry. I still use Smartsheet for a lot of other things, but I added the 17hats tool to my toolbox, because it is very handy when it comes to automating workflows.

Second you’re going to see how I use Evernote, to log information about my blog posts & videos. Specifically in this case you’ll see how this enables me to get in there quickly and make an update requested by my client.

This is how I am able to be insanely productive on a daily basis.

I hear it all of the time from people, “I don’t want to use another app!” Why not? If it solves a problem, and most of these apps are very easy to use, then why not add another tool to your toolbox. By having these tools at your disposal, you can get things done quickly and efficiently.

How do you know the difference between a Phillips head, and a regular screw driver? You know this, because at some point you learned it, and you understood the purpose. As you add more apps to your toolbox, you will understand the purpose, and based on that, it is no longer another app. Instead it is a useful tool, that makes you insanely productive on a daily basis.

When you can look in your toolbox, and understand the tools that are in there, and the purpose each one serves, you will begin to see these things, not as a burden, but as a key to a new freedom, and a new happiness. A key to being insanely productive on a daily basis!

This is what comes with being insanely productive. Like I am 🙂

Enjoy the video!