Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs: Do Apps Work?

Apps are hot productivity tips for entrepreneurs. But do they work? We review some of the most popular tools, including when (or if!) you need them.
Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs: Do Apps Work?
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Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs Episode Summary

Productivity, especially for entrepreneurs is often a big challenge. This is where productivity apps, gadgets, and tools come in. But do they work?

In this episode, we go over the pros and cons of some of the most popular tools and techniques, including when (or if!) you need to use an app to help you get the job done.

We also discuss some of the most popular productivity apps and tools, including Trello, Todoist, Evernote, Google Tasks, and more. Learn the good and the bad of the apps, and how they can be used to achieve better productivity.

We're live on YouTube Thursdays at 10 AM US/Pacific. Subscribe to the channel to have your marketing questions answered.

Words of Wisdom

You have all the productivity tools you need to manage your projects and to manage your tasks already. You don't need to go outside of the things that you are given when you sign up for your Google Workspace or Office 365. These are called productivity tools for a reason — they're powerhouses. — Jen
Does the productivity tool promote a feeling that you're in control? I think that's it right there in a nutshell. Am I feeling in control of my schedule? Of my time? If somebody calls me up and says, do you have time to talk this week? I can open up my calendar and I can say, yes, let's do a two o'clock on Thursday. — Shelley

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Transcript: Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs

[00:00:00] Jen McFarland: The Women Conquer Business show is an educational, how-to, women in business podcast that features stories, marketing news, and real-life experiences from fun and friendly hosts, Jen McFarland and Shelley Carney. Join us as we dive into the details so you can slay marketing overwhelm, streamline processes and amplify your impact.

[00:00:23] You'll learn strategies and tactics, leadership skills, and practical advice from successful women entrepreneurs to help you grow, nurture, and sustain your business.

[00:00:38] Here we are. Hello and welcome to Women Conquer Business. My name is Jen McFarland. I'm joined by Shelley Carney. And this week we are talking about something that you would think I would have a different reaction to because of, how much I love apps. We're going to talk about whether or not productivity apps actually help you or not. And my answer to that question may surprise you, but before we begin, how are you doing Shelley?

[00:01:05] Shelley Carney: I'm doing really well. We had a great weekend. Toby and I got to visit with some friends in their home without masks. So that was very different and fun. And getting back to the good old days of being able to hang out with people and share a bottle of wine and check out all the things they've done to their house in the past couple of years. Well, we fixed this and we did that, we got this new furniture. It's it was a lot of fun. So that was great. How about you?

[00:01:35] Jen McFarland: Super fun. Over the weekend? Not a lot, because I started to have a lot of concussions symptoms. We talked about the concussion last week and I went actually to get checked out on Friday evening because it was weird.

[00:01:47] So they said no screens for three days and that was miserable, but it was a good chance to get outside. The weather here is starting to change. Portland can tease you. We say it only rains once in Portland, it starts in October and ends in June. And we're in that phase where we're all really tired of the rain and it starts to tease a little bit.

[00:02:09] So on Tuesday it was 70 degrees. And then this morning when I went paddling, it was like 30, so 35. So it's sunny and then rainy and so we've been taking advantage of that. And hoping that we'll start to get some more warm weather again. Yeah. And other than that, yeah.

[00:02:25] Shelley Carney: Yesterday I woke up, we had four inches of snow. It was a winter Wonderland. I'm like, this is spring? I don't think so.

[00:02:31] Jen McFarland: I don't think I want that. Yeah. So in oh, and then to follow up on something else we talked about last week, I am migrating the Women Conquer Business website to Ghost. The migration is actually starting today and then I don't know how long it will take me to finish the development on it to get it how I want it to look. But it will be nice to be leaving WordPress and not having to manage that anymore. And it also is very aligned with the goals for Women Conquer Business, which is moving it to become more of a publication. Blogging and more of a creator hub.

[00:03:05] And so that's all very exciting. And then also in our breaking news, the She Podcasts Live conference got announced. At one point we didn't know if they were going to do it again in 2022, but now they've decided to do it. This year in DC at the MGM National Harbor, which is just, I don't know, down the street a little bit from my in-laws.

[00:03:26] So the plan is that John and we were talking this morning about possibly doing a cross-country drive, which I don't know if that'll happen or not, but that'd be super fun to take the dogs. Drive cross country and go see the in-laws and go to She Podcasts Live. Yeah. Do you think that you'll be able to make it this year?

[00:03:43] Shelley Carney: I doubt it. We are, I am taking a weekend to go visit my mom in April and beyond that, I have no plans to go anywhere this year. We will see how things go. We're just going to have to be feeling that out. I'm sure that Toby would be traveling back east to see his family. But I don't know how much traveling I'll be doing this year.

[00:04:04] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. There's just so much going on, but I thought maybe you'd escape. You never know. I thought I'd ask.

[00:04:10] Shelley Carney: Yeah. It was tempting because Toby does have family back there in Virginia near not far from DC. So that was tempting, but so far at this point we're like we just went last year. Maybe we'll wait and try a different conference this year or something.

[00:04:26] Jen McFarland: Yeah. Yeah. It would be cool. It'd be cool for you to speak at some point and really talk about the live streaming system, so people can get into that. That would be really neat, but yeah, I think you're right. This is probably not the best year for travel and all of that stress of preparing a talk.

[00:04:43] Shelley Carney: My kids just moved from Round Rock, Texas to Manchester, New Hampshire. They drove across country and gas was the highest it's ever been. Close to $5 a gallon and it cost them so much money just to drive. So I was like, oh yeah, maybe we'll wait for the war to be over.

[00:05:03] Jen McFarland: Yeah, we would do it just for the fun of it. Not necessarily to save money versus flying. And we have two little puppies, so it would be also to have my husband's family meet the dogs and his sister lives on a big farm. So it'd be really fun for them to just run around like a couple of crazy heads with horses and all kinds of critters.

[00:05:22] So yeah, so I think we'll be at She Podcasts Live and in DC, in the National Harbor, that'll be super fun. Also in breaking news, we've got all kinds of breaking news Amazon Amp, it's a new thing. It's if Amazon did Clubhouse, is that your impression of it?

[00:05:41] Shelley Carney: It's a Clubhouse, but they're leaning more towards the Spotify model where they're adding music and being like DJs, but they're really focused on a big name celebrities, people who are going to bring people into the platform, rather than supporting small-time creators.

[00:06:03] Jen McFarland: Independent creators,

[00:06:04] Shelley Carney: Independent creators. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:06:07] Jen McFarland: And that's what's so interesting. Amazon started rolling out all of these tools, sent us all these creator links and all kinds of stuff. And then we've talked about it before, how Amazon's like Winchester House. It's so everything's everywhere. It's really hard for anybody to figure out how to do anything. I got excited about Amazon Amp but this is more in Shelley's realm. And so I am going to take you at your word that this is not really for people like us, but it's still something maybe to watch. I don't know.

[00:06:37] Shelley Carney: It is something that you can be involved in. Right now, it's in a limited beta. And what it is a mobile app called Amp that allows users to create live radio style programs in which they could serve as a DJ by accepting calls and playing tracks from an extensive catalog of licensed songs. So Spotify has something similar. Toby has done this on YouTube. We've done it for years. Off and on when we had the treasure hunting channel, he would go on Saturday nights. He'd play YouTube music that was allowed, to be to be played on YouTube. And he would do a little DJ thing and then he would take calls. So it is possible to do this on a lot of different platforms.

[00:07:17] So I feel like Amazon is trying to catch up. Trying to keep up. They're like, oh, here's another thing. And they're chasing a lot of shiny objects right now. And I don't think that's going to be a good business model for them.

[00:07:27] Jen McFarland: It's probably not. And for independent creators, the app that's similar to this that I would recommend and actually recommended over Clubhouse is Fireside. It's another app that is really good for podcasters. Really good for content creators, but isn't as noisy as Clubhouse and sounds like it's a lot more for indie creators than Amp. And it's also backed by Mark Cuban and I trust him on things like this. So it's interesting. I also transitioning into the breaking news. It's also interesting to me that Amazon would call this app Amp and to get into super nerdy stuff. If you have a total mobile-first website, oftentimes you use something called Google Amp, Accelerated Mobile Pages. So it was really funny to me that they called it that because I was like, really Amazon's doing? And I was not the same thing, not the same thing. So moving into the next thing, and I said this to you, Shelley, and you were like, I don't think this is, how is this breaking news? That was, and I explained it, and then we decided that it was breaking news and it's so funny and that's, what's so great about having co-host is that we have different expertise.

[00:08:38] And so what I get excited about and want to talk about is different than what Shelley gets excited and wants to talk about. And we do this sometimes back and forth. And so this is one. So the title of this article, don't snore, cause I'm going to make it exciting for you all here in a second is Website Quality Score Is It a Ranking Factor? They're wondering if the better your website is if it's going to rank better in Google. So what's going on in the environment is there are a lot of people who are using these writing programs.

[00:09:09] An example is Jasper there's pepper type. There's a whole bunch of programs out there that use artificial intelligence to help people generate copy. I've been in all these groups where people are saying I'm writing 4,000 word blog posts every day. My ranking is so high, and I go to this person's page and it's just junk, like the texts, everything is just junk.

[00:09:29] You don't know if people are hedging a little bit on whether or not on their numbers. But some people do have some screenshots and things like that. And I'm like, okay, is it true then if it's really just about bulk. Because what we teach people about content is it has to be high quality content.

[00:09:46] If you want to rank it has to be high quality content. So what I had been noticing in some of my SEO programs and different things that I've been researching is now there's a domain trust factor that's in there. And I think that's what this is related to. Domain trust means is there content and is it likely that this is content that you can trust?

[00:10:06] Is this a domain that is creating good content? The Women Conquer Business site gets like a 73. That's really high. So that's really good. Higher is better in this. And it's because we use well-researched content. We link out to things a lot that are high ranking pages, and we bring people in.

[00:10:25] So all of which to say, I saw a hint of this coming. So it's really exciting. And I'll tell you why. So for small business owners, you maybe don't have as much time to create tons and tons of content. And now the people who are doing these kinds of content farms, where they're just using artificial intelligence to generate a lot of content that may be nonsense, meaning you read it and you get a general idea because the AI writing it really just isn't there to create anything sensible. A lot of people who are doing that, they don't understand the other components that go into search engine optimization, which is getting found on Google, which is also getting back links and all kinds of things so that people are more likely to go to your site. So all of which is to say, people who try to cheat the system with Google, Google always catches up and Google is catching up with the people who were creating bad content. Which means that you as the business owner, are once again, back in play in terms of creating good high quality content, you don't necessarily have to create a ton of it, but just create some. As long as it's good and high quality, which is getting back to the fundamentals of what anybody should be doing when they're creating, because it takes time to create. So why not create good stuff? Now, Google is rewarding people possibly with ranking higher if you have good quality content, not just a ton of content. It makes a lot of sense because people used to stuff keywords into their content and then that's penalized now. You can't just type dog over and over again and expect to rank at the top for dog. You have to actually talk about things that people care about. And so I saw this article and I was like, so excited. And yet, for most people, this is not an exciting thing because it's all talked about in such a nerdy way.

[00:12:15] But for the average business owner who just wants to talk about their services and really is passionate and cares a lot about what it is that they are doing this is huge. This is really great stuff for people because over and over again I tell people don't cheat the system. Here's a time where it's see, that's why you don't cheat the system.

[00:12:37] Shelley Carney: Humans win over AI.

[00:12:39] Jen McFarland: Always. It's always humans over the robots. Use the robots. I use AI, I use Lately AI all the time. Use the robots with human intervention that's what you always have to do. So that's the bottom line on that. Did I make it more exciting for you, Shelley? Did I make it more.

[00:12:56] Shelley Carney: In a way. Yeah, because I've used the AI for idea generating or sometimes to pad a paragraph or to put together an outline for a presentation or something. I have used it, but a lot of times I'm disappointed with it because it's just a bunch of fluff words.

[00:13:16] And what I really want is more the statistics and the research. That's something that I have to do myself. So it didn't save me any time.

[00:13:25] Jen McFarland: It doesn't do a lot with substantive content.

[00:13:28] Shelley Carney: Yeah, exactly. It's just fluff. I have enough of that fluff stuff. I need real hard facts,

[00:13:34] Jen McFarland: I'm a big fan of Pepper Type. That's the one that I use it sometimes to help with writing descriptions, like product descriptions for the podcast that we put up on YouTube. I just put the information in there about what we're going to talk about and I let it generate it. Then I go through and edit it to sound like us. But it helps with saying, oh, okay. So this is the structure of a YouTube description, which I am not used to writing as often as we do for the show. So it's good for that. But like people use it for like long form content. Okay. There's no way, like it comes out and it's all gobbledygook.

[00:14:10] Shelley Carney: It's not personal.

[00:14:12] Jen McFarland: It's not personal. You always have to personalize it. That's why creating good content takes longer and that's why Google's going to reward you for that,

[00:14:19] Shelley Carney: Which is why we came up with our method of doing it, starting with the live stream and spreading it out from there. But you start off with something that's real and personal and in our own words, our own language. That carries through to all the other content that you produce from it.

[00:14:33] Jen McFarland: And that leads us into productivity. So you can try tools like AI that are, they purport to make you more productive. Like you can generate all this content and we'll do it in a flash, and it's great. And there's nothing wrong with that, but is it making you more productive?

[00:14:52] If you have to go back. And edit it. And for me, I found that if something is creating long form content, it actually took me longer to go back through it and check the work then, as opposed to something shorter. So that's why it works well. For idea, like you said brainstorming ideas, coming up with some short descriptions that you're like, oh, okay.

[00:15:14] Yeah, I get an idea and that I can just take it and run with it. And that's what it's good for, but it's always good with like human intervention. So as we start to segue into the topic, which is really do productivity and task management tools work. I was thinking maybe we could back up a little bit, cause we haven't really talked a lot about how.

[00:15:39] Part of productivity is that you actually don't work yourself to death to be more productive. And I feel like that's something that is, and that's part of why I struggled so hard with the concussion and no screen for three days, because I wanted to work through it, even though it was the weekend and everything.

[00:16:03] So even though I know. Inherently that working longer does not in fact make me more productive.

[00:16:15] Shelley Carney: Yeah. It needs to be focused on the goal. First you start with the goal and then you break that down into tasks and those are the things that you focus on. And if you spend too long on each thing you work yourself to death. Right?

[00:16:29] Jen McFarland: So that's the preface, right? So we're going to talk about productivity tools. We've talked a lot about making checklists, but if you are wearing yourself out and my business partner, Gail is so great about telling me I need to rest. If you're wearing yourself out, you have to look at all of these other factors.

[00:16:47] And I think that's part of it too, is look at all the factors so that you can understand what it is. That's actually distracting you from being the most productive is a distraction or an interruption. And I love this because these are actually two different things. Like I have always blended them together to be the same thing.

[00:17:06] And interruption would be if my husband came walking in. To the office right now, he, he would be interrupting my work. A distraction is when I pick up my phone and start I'm distracting myself. So are you distracting yourself? And then you just stretch out your day to be 12 hours. Because you weren't focused on the work, and that's what the, that's what the time audit can be helpful with, or are you being interrupted a lot and need to find a more dedicated space if it's possible to work in.

[00:17:40] And then are you working so many hours or do you, have you decided that you just need to work until you get everything done to a point where you have completely lost your productivity and he needed to close the computer, turn off the monitor and. Hang out with friends and family.

[00:17:58] Shelley Carney: I'll make a point of it to five o'clock, I start looking at my clock. I'm like, okay, it's going to be five o'clock it's time to make dinner and get away from the computer for the rest of the night. And I don't sit on the computer all night long. I used to when my husband worked nights. I'd be on the computer sometimes till 10 o'clock at night, and then he'd be coming home at that time of night. I would be on from morning till night just researching and learning and clicking and keeping busy.

[00:18:29] Jen McFarland: I tell you, this is a habit that I got into before I started my own business. A lot of people say they start doing it when they have their own business. Leading a big project with the big team.

[00:18:38] And so I got into this huge habit of just working until I dropped, and it would be like weekends. I would just pass out for a couple of days. And then I could go back to working these insane hours. And upon reflection, it's you would have been so much better off if you would have taken a chill pill sometime and and been more productive.

[00:18:58] W we want to like, make sure that we're reminding ourselves and everybody listening that and watching that it's important to really look at the external environment. You can't just look at productivity and task management tools. They're not a panacea. They're not going to fix anything.

[00:19:15] I say that all the time software is a support system for your business. It's not. Problem solver. It doesn't solve it. They're still in charge of the robots. And it's not going to fix everything that ails you it's in, and it will actually amplify things that are not going well. So it's important to really look at it as how, what is it, the, what is it, what kind of foundation do I need to set my business on right now?

[00:19:42] And is that what's going to make it go and. And that's really important with productivity tools and task management tools, because they're the real intention of those tools is to make you more efficient so that you can go through your day more efficiently and. One of the pros and cons, the pros and cons of some of these tools.

[00:20:03] I used the tool for a long time called Monday, and then I realized I was spending so much time setting the thing up to do what I wanted it to do, that it was like a whole project. I'll all of its own. And I had to abandon it, even though it was really beautiful and it was supposed to do all the things that I needed it to do.

[00:20:20] It ceased to be a productive, tool for me because it was just too much, and I don't, and I felt the same way about a, another one that people just love called click up. I, I got click up and I was like, oh, okay. I can do this. And then it was like, no, this is Monday all over again.

[00:20:37] I have to like, really set up a big environment and do all of that. And. So when you're looking at these tools, it's really similar to, anything that you add to your business, how long is it going to take you to get it set up? Is it going to frustrate you so much before you get it set up that you're never going to go back and use it?

[00:20:58] And that's why it's really important to take advantage of any free trials that you get so that you can figure out, is this really hot tool that everybody's talking about really getting to work for me and my business.

[00:21:10] Shelley Carney: Yep. And you're always wondering, is there something out there that's going to help me stay on track and get my work done when it's supposed to be done? It ends up being something like you said, where it takes as much time to work on that productivity tool and get it set up and work with it as it would if you just had a to-do list.

[00:21:32] Jen McFarland: Which is why I think people are, probably you're surprised that here's this app person who's saying, yeah, you don't really need all of these things because that's where this is headed, but we're still going to talk about some of the most, most popular tools out there.

[00:21:43] And it really does come down to what is it that's going to. Get the job done as quickly as possible. So what does this say? I agree with Jen's assessment on both of those products set up time is is designed for a corporate specialist rather than a small business owner. That's totally true. And I, and to be fair.

[00:22:04] When I worked in large scale project management, see that's part of it too, is I've worked in large scale project management. I had to use Microsoft project. I disliked Microsoft project, even though there were things in it that were really great. If you're managing a large team, know, you really have to pay attention to dependencies.

[00:22:25] And what it dependency means is do I have to do this thing? Before everything else is this task dependent on anything else? So an example of that is when we are producing the show. So after the, after this is done on YouTube and we're moving into making the podcast mode, there's this time where it's we have to finish the show notes and then it needs to go on the website.

[00:22:48] It has to be produced and pushed out. As a podcast so that I can embed the player, but the player needs to have the link to the website. And so it's this chicken egg thing where it's what do we have to have first? And there are times when that happens. There are other times, if you don't take care of.

[00:23:08] The first task, it means that you cannot move forward in the project. So those are things that happen. And that's one of the frustrations that I have with Trello to do is just Evernote, Google tasks. They don't seem to manage things like dependencies. A Kanban board, which is what it's called for like almost all of these are Kanban boards.

[00:23:31] Kanban boards are where you see the columns that are like, to do in progress and done. It came out of Toyota actually. And it was a system that they used for years just to move things through a process line. It's really great for that type of work. But if you start to do anything a little more complex, Kanban boards.

[00:23:50] Aren't going to get you anywhere. You might need a Gantt chart, which is another way of mapping out. What it is that you have to work on. How long does it take? And then in Microsoft project and other programs, it's and what else needs to happen before I can get that?

[00:24:05] Trello to do with some of these programs, they do it maybe with some reminders or you can set up some sub tasks, but it's really not knit together in any sort of way. And that's my frustration with the people will spend, I don't know, piles of money to use some of these tools because that's what everybody's talking about.

[00:24:24] A sauna is another one. There's a lot of them and they are all fundamentally the same and they add some different features and bells and whistles. Are they going to do the work for you? No, none of them do the work for you and an app can help you if, if you need a lot of reminders, but guess what?

[00:24:48] You have a calendar. Yep. You have a lot of the tools that you need to manage your projects and to manage your productivity already. And you don't need to go outside of the things that you are. Given when you sign up for your Google workspace or if you use, office 365 all of those are called productivity tools.

[00:25:11] When I talk to people about their marketing, it's actually listed in the model as do you have productivity tools and that's email, calendar, docs, sheets, all of that is productivity tools. When I was managing huge projects, I had to put things in Microsoft project to make the project managers on the team, happy that so that we could manage together.

[00:25:36] But what I had when I was over again, managing large teams, I used Excel. You can also use Google sheets and there's a website that I just love. It's absolutely fabulous for small business owners. Many of their spreadsheet templates are free. It's called vertex. 42 and it's a V E R T E X 40 two.com.

[00:26:01] Almost all of it is free. You can download these templates and it's, he's done all of the programming if you want something fancy. But there are also some really great ways that you can just be tracking tasks and working with people. Now, I was using Excel and I was managing a team and keeping.

[00:26:18] Keeping up and working with people and making sure that they were staying on task. So you might be thinking why would I use Google sheets? I have a team of 10 people or whatever, and you can still do it that way. You can also do a lot with like reminders and tools, and that's something that, if you have a Trello board and everybody's in there that can be really effective for that, and a lot of people really like that it is about what works for you and makes it a little bit more efficient and something that can help you track things.

[00:26:52] I would say, make sure that you can get some reminders and to do list is really great with setting up all of the reminders and things like that. These apps only work though, if you use them. And if the whole team uses them, if there's anybody who's not using it, it falls like a, a house of cards really quickly.

[00:27:13] Shelley Carney: You can't be a part of a team and not be totally the part of the team doing what the team does when it comes to communication and sharing what you've done and what you still need to do. People need to know where you're at if you're part of a team. If you're doing things all on your own, you've got to do what works for you.

[00:27:29] Toby's reminder system is me. It's did you see this on our calendar? Don't forget. Some people need that, but I'm usually pretty good about if I have a thing I know I need to do I immediately put it on my Google calendar. And that's of course it's on my phone. It pops up on my phone, pops up on my Fitbit watch, it pops up on my computer so that it reminds me and I'm aware and then I can get it done.

[00:27:53] I can remind other people that it needs to get done. We share a Google docs. I think that things that have been around the longest have been around the longest because they work for most people.

[00:28:05] Jen McFarland: Yeah. Yeah. And Google tasks. So it's in it's, everybody's trying to figure out what Google tasks is going to be around anymore, but it's actually baked into your Google workspace.

[00:28:18] So if you look in, when you log in, even to your email, it's one of the things on the side. Sidebar, at least it is on my Mac and you can actually see it's it knits everything together. And that's one of the things that is also included with your Google workspace. So your Google workspace. If you're in the Google environment, that might be a good option for you.

[00:28:41] Along with Google sheets. I like Toby without Shelley, I would wander around wondering what I had to do next. He

[00:28:48] Shelley Carney: would, he would just go play. He would just be playing all day. He's like a child sometimes. Oh, look, I can play. And I can do my, he does his hobbies. It's good. Busy.

[00:29:01] Jen McFarland: But you use, you use something. What do you use for?

[00:29:05] Shelley Carney: I've tried Chaos Control and it's very similar to tasks because you can, you could open it up and it just has a running thing. You just click it off. You just go. Yeah, I did that. Yeah. I did that. Oh, I need to still need to do these things. But what it does is it helps me remember all the steps that are involved in getting this one thing done and what day I should get that done so that I can move forward with the week. And you can do that with your Google calendar, if you're good at keeping it updated, and you can put those tasks on your calendar as well. Like I did, I have a Google calendar and I put, on Mondays I have one task I have to get done.

[00:29:43] It's my LinkedIn newsletter on Tuesdays. I have to get my email newsletter done. And on Fridays I have to make sure the blog is edited and posted. So those are my, I plug those into my calendar and I make sure that I. Done and if they don't get it done that day, it carries over to the next day and it's hello, get me down.

[00:30:06] Jen McFarland: So that's interesting. Yeah. I, it was just popping into my mind. Chili's going to be like, oh no. Now we're, off-roading, we're going off the show for a a little bit, but how, what are you, it, as you were talking about this, how do you feel about. I think that there are productivity apps that I use that have nothing to do with productivity.

[00:30:28] And I'll give you an example. I'll give you an example. So one of the things that keeps me on track throughout the day is an app called pocket. And I think I've talked about it before you're nodding. So you probably know what it is, but I am an avid reader. You've mentioned it to me. Yeah. I'm an avid writer.

[00:30:45] I do all kinds of research online all the time, researching things for clients, looking at apps, all kinds of stuff. And if I find myself going down a rabbit hole, I'm like, okay. I don't have time to read this long form post. I just hit the button in my browser for pocket and it saves the article for later.

[00:31:04] And that's a way that keeps that I keep myself on track. Like it's a check, I'm like, okay. I can feel that I've been reading for oh, I need to get back to things. I've learned what I need to know for now that can be saved for later. And that is a big time-saver for me. To one of the apps that I want to talk about under tweak of the week is called Ulysses.

[00:31:28] And I have found that when I am writing, the more I can create a distraction free environment for myself, the faster everything happens. And one of the things I've been testing are all these different writing apps that help with. Keeping things out. So I don't get distracted by the internet and different things like that.

[00:31:49] And you list, these is great because it will. Work with my new website platform. And it's a place that I can just go and write, and there's not anything else out there that's going to distract me. And it has everything in one place it's in the Mac environment. But these are things that you can be doing that are productivity, enhancers that are not directly related to a productivity.

[00:32:16] App. So it's find the easiest thing that you can to track tasks and projects and whatever those initiatives are and do that. And then you can spend the money on other like pocket is free. I have, I've had the free version of pocket for years, and then spend the money on things that will really help you get from start to finish quicker.

[00:32:40] Shelley Carney: Yeah. So there's the link for get pocket.com yeah. For that app. I agree. I was just going to talk about was that we use a Google doc every week. We put in what we're talking about, the training that we're doing. We do our, a tweak of the week. We do our breaking news and we put all our links in there that way it's all in one place.

[00:33:04] So that when Jen goes to do the show notes, she's got all of her links and everything for that show. Are done for the week. So she has that captivate is just decided to offer this additional. Thing it's on Chrome. It's a Chrome extension. And you can, while you're looking up things like if you see something that you're like, oh, I should talk about this on the podcast.

[00:33:26] You can then put that resource into your captivate using your Google Chrome extension, and then it saves it for you. So then it's there when you're ready to do your show notes, if you've used it, in fact.

[00:33:40] Jen McFarland: If you've used it, and that's the thing if there's a thing. To what it is that we're talking about. It's like leverage or, fully embrace the tools you're already using before you put something else in your environment. Yeah. That's like you're using Google docs. I would argue. And you can correct me if I'm wrong. Shelley. I would argue that stream yard is one of your big productivity tools.

[00:34:00] Shelley Carney: Absolutely. We use it for Conferencing course live streaming. It's, it's where we store our videos. We can store them for months, and then we'll take them out when we get too far, when it gets too full and we need to make space again, but it's in there and it's a place to gather people and documents.

[00:34:20] Jen McFarland: All of which is to say, these are not tools that are being every, pocket stream yard captivate for podcasts publishing. I These are not like quote unquote productivity tools. So think of productivity tools in whatever way will help you. I think oftentimes we're like, oh, I've got to be more productive.

[00:34:41] Let me get that task manager, and really, that's not, maybe what's going to help you the most.

[00:34:49] Shelley Carney: Yeah, it depends on your business model, what it is that you need to get done every day how you work. And if you're working with other people who are remote, then you have to have a system that works for both of you.

[00:35:02] And this is what we express right now is just a back and forth with a Google doc. And we just put in what we need to put in there. Keep it together and then start over again next week. And yeah, that's what works.

[00:35:16] Jen McFarland: That's what works.

[00:35:17] Shelley Carney: So go with what works. You don't need anything fancier than that. If it's working let it work.

[00:35:25] Jen McFarland: That's right. That's right. If we, and we just about beaten this one.

[00:35:29] Shelley Carney: I think so. Now, if anybody out there has any questions about a specific app, we're happy to speak to that.

[00:35:34] Jen McFarland: Yeah, we can do that today or on a future show. Yeah, absolutely. So please do let us know what you're using.

[00:35:42] What's working, what's not working, or if you have questions about an app, I like apps and they'll go research it and come back with a report. So it's a. Yeah, this is this is fun. It's fun to talk about. It gets me really excited and it's not always about the software, even though I love software with solutions are not always about the software.

[00:36:03] Shelley Carney: Yeah. It's do they work? And do they promote a feeling that you're in control? I think that's it right there. In a nutshell. Am I feeling in control of my schedule? Of my productivity? Of my time? Am I in control? If somebody calls me up and says, do you have time to talk this week? I can open up my calendar and I can say, yes, let's do a two o'clock on Thursday.

[00:36:31] That's good. I should be able to do that.

[00:36:34] Jen McFarland: Yeah. Or you can say no, right? Like you have everything in there to say no. Yeah. And I, I think the other point that you made that is so excellent. And is the other theme through here is it has to work with the environment that you have and that you've set up.

[00:36:49] And if you. If you have tools and they're working, are there ways that you can use features that maybe you haven't used before? Like I have, I don't really know a lot of people who use stream yard for meetings, but of course you can. Yeah. Yeah, of course you can. It makes so much sense. So why would you go by zoom?

[00:37:07] Yeah, it

[00:37:08] Shelley Carney: is. It's just a one-on-one thing. Yeah. You can use zoom or you can do Google duo or any of those.

[00:37:13] Jen McFarland: Yeah. But why would you pay for something else or add another?

[00:37:16] Shelley Carney: If you're happy with, if you're familiar with a product and you like it. Use it to the full extent.

[00:37:22] Jen McFarland: Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

[00:37:24] Okay. I guess we're, I guess we're done Salini but this one and then the last thing that I will mention is I do have a free seven day reflective journal. It's a social media detox journals. So if you feel like the. Time management piece is really you're spending too much time on social media, or you want a little aid to help with maybe how your time is being spent on social.

[00:37:50] Download it. It's free. It's a women conquer biz.com/social media detox, and you'll be able to find it. Neat. Go on. Get that take advantage of that.

[00:38:03] Shelley Carney: Did you use that when you had to be off screen for three days?

[00:38:10] Jen McFarland: I should have.

[00:38:12] Shelley Carney: And if you just want to give up entirely on production tools and all of that, just give us a call at AGK media and. Do it all for you? How about that will be your app?

[00:38:27] Jen McFarland: That's right. I have to say this working, working with you and doing the podcast in this different way has been a phenomenal experience.

[00:38:36] I wouldn't, I would just recommend people really explore that. If you're really curious about being a content creator and you're looking for a way to make it easier. Take advantage of it because Toby and Shelley have it on lock. They've got this system, they've got it down, pat. So definitely, explore that, if you want to have a podcast and have some work done for you this is a really nice system and you don't have to be techie.

[00:39:01] Shelley Carney: That's right. That's right. We do the, we do all the techie for you and you just show up.

[00:39:07] Jen McFarland: That's right. Yeah. I like having fun.

[00:39:10] Shelley Carney: That's right. Who doesn't like fun.

[00:39:14] Jen McFarland: And that is available at calendar.agkmedia. studio.. If you want to schedule a free appointment. Is that a free appointment? Is that a free concerts?

[00:39:23] Shelley Carney: Yes, it is.

[00:39:24] Okay. All right.

[00:39:28] Jen McFarland: So pin paste that copy and paste that into. The YouTube or whatever. There we go. And speaking of YouTube, you've got a couple of tweaks of the week that are YouTube.

[00:39:43] Shelley Carney: Yes, I do. YouTubey stuff. So you may have, remember, you may remember that recently, Jen and I were talking about how to add a trailer to your scheduled live stream.

[00:39:53] Toby and I had done that. Messages and methods. And it was like, oh, this is easy. We can do this. So I went to do it. Shelley Carney livestream coach. And I was like, wait a minute, this isn't working. What's going on? So then I found out, oh see, we had originally watched this video put out by Nick Nimmin and he works with stream yard, and he's an expert on a lot of things, YouTube.

[00:40:17] And he hadn't said in his video that you have to have a thousand subscribers in order to unlock this features. If you were wondering yourself, why can't I do this? Because you have to have a thousand subscribers before you can put the trailer up when you schedule a live stream. Yeah, sorry. Wow. Wow.

[00:40:37] Jen McFarland: Some of us aren't there yet, but we'll get there. We are working towards it. That's right on it. So that's interesting. Yeah. And then what else is going on? YouTube Stu studio. I haven't even read this.

[00:40:49] Shelley Carney: They have redesigned the YouTube studio and Bobo app from the ground up with a new interface that allows you to navigate with your taps and a ton of new features that make it easier for you to manage your channel on the go.

[00:41:02] And a few of these updates include a new navigation bar. To help you quickly access the dashboard, content analytics, comments, and playlists, tabs, more data in the YouTube analytics new search filters for comments and the ability to appeal a yellow icon monetization decision using your phone. So you can do more with your phone if you're a very phony person that doesn't sound right.

[00:41:27] Sorry. You're a person who likes using the smart device rather than doing everything on the desktop. The there is an app, it's a separate app from the YouTube app. It's the YouTube studio.

[00:41:40] Jen McFarland: It's been heavily disappointing. I guess when I scan this before we started, I didn't realize it was about that. I'll have to make sure the mine's up to date because I thought, oh, how cool. I had thought about doing, a lot more. Just real style, short form on YouTube and things like that. And it was just hard to use. So I'll have to give it another shot and swing back around and see if it's a little easier to navigate.

[00:42:03] YouTube is still part of the Google machine. So it's like sometimes it can be really maddening to figure out stuff. And then of course there's no. Of course it's free. So that means that they're not inclined to support it from that way.

[00:42:19] Shelley Carney: Yeah, especially the individual content

[00:42:25] Jen McFarland: creator.

[00:42:25] Indie content creators.

[00:42:27] Did you probably don't use the app much. Do you?

[00:42:31] Shelley Carney: I prefer desktop. To mouse and keyboard and yeah, that's what I go with was I didn't even grow up with it. I had it from college on, where you had a keyboard and mouse. Yeah.

[00:42:44] Jen McFarland: I, I just, I'll have to check it out. That makes me a little excited to see if it's gotten any better.

[00:42:49] One of my tweaks to the week are you talked about, which is Ulysses I really love distraction-free right. Tools I've tried. I a right. And I actually have like a. A secret personal blog on a program called right. Got as as super privacy focused. And then I, so Ulysses as an app, it's $50 a year.

[00:43:12] It sounds if Grammarly and I, a right. Got together. So I'm excited about that. It's got a lot of grammar tools. They talk a lot about people writing books and I've used other apps that help people write books. And it's like way too overwhelming when I got in there. So I'm excited about it.

[00:43:28] We'll see, I try things all the time and either use them or abandoned them. Yeah. The other tool that I'm pretty excited about right now is called Plaza. It's a Google analytics alternative. It is made in Germany and is fully compliant with all of the privacy laws. It's also not using cookies.

[00:43:48] So one of the things that's going on in the website world, Is everything is going to this like cookie list tracking. And that means that when you go to a website it's no longer going to, you're no longer going to be downloading a little piece of that website so they can track your actions. It's like when you go to I don't know, like a shoe store online, and then you see ads for those shoes all over the place.

[00:44:13] It's, that's the kind of tracking. So what plausible is it's an alternative. It's very lightweight. It is not attached to any sort of advertising technology. I fell, I found that the. The words that they use very intriguing. So they call it. We're not a part of the surveillance capitalism, which I had never heard of that before that term, before.

[00:44:36] And so it's not free. So you can't put, Google analytics is free. And as the saying goes, if you're not paying for the product, then you are the product. And what people don't realize is Google analytics can slow down your site. Now Google analytics is the standard. So it is what everybody uses and it's free and it's still recommended.

[00:44:59] So I'm sharing this as something that I personally am curious about, I really believe in privacy. On the web and it's one of my values and I think a value for women conquer business. So I'm looking at that from that perspective, not necessarily as a recommendation for everyone, but it is something that's interesting that's out there.

[00:45:19] And there are a handful of privacy focused tools. And I do like it, that it is compliant with the. It means no cookie banner, no nothing, and that's a plausible.io and I've just been looking at all kinds of software. It seems for the last week or so. And those are my tweaks of the week.

[00:45:39] All right.

[00:45:40] Shelley Carney: And one of our viewers, Gros pork says, I use Ulysses as well.

[00:45:44] Jen McFarland: Oh, do you like it?

[00:45:46] Shelley Carney: And you keep it at eye level for best focus.

[00:45:49] Jen McFarland: Eye level. Okay, learning here. This is great. I'm excited. I'm excited to learn it and use it. All right.

[00:45:57] Shelley Carney: Yeah. I just use Grammarly. I haven't tried anything beyond that

[00:46:01] Jen McFarland: because Grammarly has become a little intrusive, like with all of the using it for in the browser.

[00:46:08] Now it's just making me crazy, but okay. Oh, cool. He loves it. Okay. So I'm going to, I'm definitely checking out Ulysses after this.

[00:46:16] Shelley Carney: Yeah. Awesome. I think we're ready for our inspiration, if you're ready for that. I'm ready. So I pull a lot of these from the daily stoic, my daily stoic reading that I'm doing and today is what philosophical lessons can I find in ordinary things?

[00:46:38] And I think it's. It basically, it means it's one thing to say what you believe and announce your priorities. My number one priority is my health, but it's another one to put that into practice. So if I say my health is my top priority, then what I eat, how much I exercise, sleep and drink water should reflect that.

[00:46:58] If my health is my top priority, then maybe I shouldn't be drinking a bottle of wine on the weekend. Maybe I should be exercising more, How am I reflecting what I'm saying? Am I in integrity and what philosophical lessons I've learned? I should be, showing up. They should be showing up in my life.

[00:47:17] The actions that bring meaning to the words that I say. So what do you think of that?

[00:47:25] Jen McFarland: Oh, I love it. Yeah. No, a hundred percent. Okay. I do. I feel that and that's the way to live. It's difficult and important, especially for productivity. Are you thinking about it? Being an integrity and doing what you say and following through, doesn't that make you also more efficient?

[00:47:48] And then you're in your priorities and you're walking your talk.

[00:47:51] Shelley Carney: And if you put it on your calendar, it means you're doing it, right? Yeah. Yeah. That's important. Yeah. It's not easy to get there, but it is a practice and the more you practice it in small things, the easier it will be and big things.

[00:48:06] Absolutely.

[00:48:07] Jen McFarland: Yeah. Huh. Cool. Okay. All right. Thank you. Everybody. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. And we will see you next week, next

[00:48:18] Shelley Carney: week with a introspective on some women in history or

[00:48:25] Jen McFarland: a women or a place in closing out women's history month to close out women's history month.

[00:48:30] Shelley Carney: Yeah. So join us next week for that.

[00:48:32] That's right. All right. Have a good one.

[00:48:39] Thank you for joining the Women Conquer Business podcast posted by Shelley Carney and Jen McFarland, please subscribe and leave a comment or question regarding your most challenging content creation or business problem. Then share this podcast with family and friends so they can find the support they need to expand their brand and share their message with the.

[00:49:00] Check the show notes for links to valuable resources and come back again next week.

Show Notes

0:00 Music and Intro

1:05 Getting back to being with people

3:05 Breaking News: She Podcasts Live conference

5:22 Amazon Amp and Good News for Ranking on Google

  • Amazon’s Amp builds on—and deviates from—the Clubhouse playbook
  • Website Quality Score: Is It A Google Ranking Factor? At a high level, it means creating well-researched, high-quality content and Google will reward you for it. Less is more. There are a lot of people who tout create, create, create — and people now using AI to auto-generate content. This runs counter to that argument (and I think it's a good thing).

14:33 Productivity vs. Working Long Hours

19:42 The Pros and Cons of Productivity Tools

30:06 Productive Apps Are The Ones That Work Best for You

  1. Trello
  2. Todoist
  3. Evernote
  4. Excel/Google Sheets: Vertex, spreadsheet templates: https://www.vertex42.com/

37:24 7-Day Social Media Detox Journal
https://womenconquerbiz.com/social-media-detox/

39:43 YouTubey Tweaks

  1. Update on scheduled YouTube Livestream trailers: Live-stream creators will be able to add trailers via YouTube's Live Control Room, with the option available to all channels with at least 1,000 subscribers and zero strikes.
  2. We recently redesigned the YouTube Studio mobile app from the ground up. With a new interface that allows you to navigate with fewer taps, and a ton of new features that make it easier for you to manage your channel on the go, we think you’ll love it! A few of the exciting updates:
  3. A new navigation bar to help you quickly access the Dashboard, Content, Analytics, Comments, and Playlists tabs
  4. More data in YouTube Analytics, including a personalized summary of your channel performance, additional revenue data, and additional audience metrics to give you insights into who is watching your content
  5. New search filters for comments that make it easier to find certain types of comments you want to reply to
  6. The ability to appeal a “yellow icon“ monetization decision using your phone. If you already have the Studio Mobile app all you need to do is update it to ensure you have the latest version. If you’re new to the Studio Mobile app please download it to start managing your channel from anywhere.

42:49 Ulysses and Plausible

  • Ulysses: https://ulysses.app/ Focused (distraction-free) writing experience (Mac only)
  • Plausible: https://plausible.io/ (Google Analytics alternative) Plausible Analytics is built for privacy-conscious site owners. “surveillance capitalism”

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Jen McFarland

Obsessed with creating solutions that help businesses make exceptional decisions faster. Marketing pro. Leadership nerd. Project innovator. CoFounder, Epiphany Courses. Women Conquer Business Founder.

Shelley Carney

Livestream host, coach, and author. Podcaster and blogger for Messages and Methods and Women Conquer Business.


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