In today's cutthroat market, speed and agility is the name of the game for startups. Competing on a playing field where anyone with an idea, conviction and plenty of drive can start a venture of their own, founders across all industries - be it fintech, medical tech, software or hardware - find themselves being torn in a million different directions every day. When numerous decisions and priorities scream for attention, time-strapped founders must look for ways to economize their most precious resource - time.
Maximizing your day-to-day appliances
Many of our appliances are powerful, but underutilized in our daily lives. Mac users and Windows users alike enjoy powerful operating systems with intuitive interfaces and power user functions. Did you know that OS X has two clipboards? Or that on Windows, you can create your own Shutdown button shortcut both on Desktop and your Start screen? Familiarizing yourself with power buttons and shortcuts on your devices will help build efficiency into work processes and ultimately boost your productivity.
All of us have certain functions on our devices that we constantly access, for example the mail app, or word processors. Hotkeys can help you to speed up your work process. Register keystrokes that are familiar and convenient for you. They may take some getting used to, but once you get used to them, you’ll be going at the speed of light.
While it may be cheaper to handle all your operations inhouse initially, there comes a point where it becomes more cost-efficient to outsource business functions and maintenance to external parties. There are a myriad of HR and accounting firms that offer outsourced software and services for payroll, leave management, archival and other similar services. Engaging them could be a good way to reduce the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks.
Another area you could consider outsourcing would be your technical needs. Many companies offer solutions for internet connectivity and cloud solutions, complete with managed services. With the growth in Singapore's startup scene, many ISPs are beginning to offer plans specifically catered for startups and SoHo (small office home office) arrangements. Ensuring that your internet is protected by a service-level agreement (SLA) that guarantees uptime will allow you to focus more on business, rather than on internal systems and infrastructure, so why not leave your IT systems in the hands of professionals?
The market is saturated with apps for both mobile and laptops on every operating system that aim to boost productivity. Most of these are based on scientific research on psychology and habits, built with a user-experience focus, and are often finished with gorgeous aesthetics to boot. There is an entire array of tools at your disposal, from task-focused apps like schedulers GCal, to-do lists Wunderlist, Todoist and Trello, as well as cloud storage solutions Dropbox and OneDrive. Other apps like Focus, Pomodoro Timer and Headspace place the emphasis back on you by eliminating distractions, encouraging concentration and providing resources for you to meditate and relax with. All these help you work on the fly, increasing task efficiency and personal productivity at the same time. Most of these apps are either free or come at a small premium, and could potentially change the way you power through your day’s work.
Running a startup is in equal parts grueling and rewarding, and founders constantly have to keep up a momentum and commit to a daily grind. We will never have enough hours in a day, but there is definitely more mileage we can get out of every hour we have. Let technology take on some of the workload, and free up your time for the more important things in life.