by Susan Murphy
If you’re in business, keeping up with current trends in your industry is a huge challenge. We are overwhelmed with information. It comes at us from all angles, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s enough to just keep on top of projects and manage email, but in order to stay up to date with new developments and our competition, we’ve got to spend time reading blogs, following industry news and interacting with our customers and prospects. It’s a big time suck, to be sure – but it’s vitally important if you want to set yourself up for success in today’s business world.
Over the years of running Jester Creative, Jen and I have managed to get this down to a science – finding efficient ways to manage our time, staff and projects while still carving out the necessary time to research industry trends and seek out new opportunities. Here are a few things we do that you might find helpful.
Complete Your Social Profiles
I don’t encourage people to be on every social network. If Twitter isn’t your thing, don’t do Twitter. If you have been exploring the business networking opportunities of something like LinkedIN, then spend your time there. But no matter which social networks you choose to be part of, if you’re using it for business networking, make sure your profile is complete. Put a photo of yourself and an accurate and up to date description of who you are and what you do. Complete all of the areas that the tool asks you to complete. The more detail you provide, the more others will be able to quickly see what you’re all about and decide if they want to further connect with you.
Find Trusted Sources of Information
Hundreds of millions of articles get posted online every single day. Your goal is not to read them all, but to read the ones that are most relevant and informative to you. This of course, is entirely dependent on your industry. How do you find the good stuff? Well, I will often start with a Twitter Search (you don’t even need an account) to see what might be the latest chatter about industry related things. Another great way to find good sources is to ask colleagues. Also, you could dive into some LinkedIN Groups and see what people are talking about there, and subscribe to any sources you think might be useful to you.
If you have a smart phone or tablet, having the right apps can be a huge time saver! There are plenty to choose from, but first and foremost, set yourself up with apps for any of the social networks you are using. That way you can check in from anywhere you happen to be. Second, try out some news apps that let you subscribe to various categories. Flipboard and Pulse are two of my favourites. You can search by topic or industry and have the most current news delivered to you. Finally, install a bookmarking tool like Pocket or Readability. Most of the popular apps let you automatically save to these tools, so when you find an article you want to keep to read when you have more time, or that you want to save so you can refer back to it later, it’s just one click away. This one step will save you oodles of time!
Technology can be extremely useful, especially if you’re looking to keep current and connected. Taking these few extra steps will help you to become even more productive and who knows the opportunities that could arise as a result!
How do you use technology to make you more productive?