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Minimize Distractions and Focus on Clients: 12 Small Business Tools Show Us The Way

TrustRadius Community Contributor
January 19, 2021
Productivity

Minimize Distractions and Focus on Clients: 12 Small Business Tools Show Us The Way

Many people are prone to distractions, but entrepreneurs—small business owners in particular—are more susceptible because they typically have a lot of things on their plates. In addition to serving your clients, you likely have day-to-day jobs to do, along with personal responsibilities. 

For example, if you’re running a service-based business like a salon or spa, you could be wearing many hats, from esthetician and creative director to HR manager and social media specialist.

All that can diminish your focus and prevent you from fully serving the people who matter most in your business: your clients. 

Here’s the good news: there are several low-cost and business-friendly tools in the market that can help you manage tasks and keep distractions in check. 

We’ve compiled a list of these apps below, along with quick descriptions and pricing details.

These tools include

  • Site blockers for small businesses
    • SelfControl
    • Freedom
    • Forest
  • To-do lists for small businesses
    • Any. do
    • Todoist
    • TickTick
  • Scheduling software for small businesses
    • Genbook
    • Mindbody
    • Calendly
  • Social media management tools for small businesses
    • Hootsuite
    • Kill Newsfeed 
    • Remove YouTube Recommended Videos, Comments

Site blockers for small businesses

The internet is an immensely useful business tool; it helps you find the information you need, allows you to market your services, and connects you with clients and business partners. 

However, it can also be a major distraction. From social media sites to stuff on shiny side-hustles, political websites, and cat videos, it’s all too easy to get distracted by websites and links. 

If you’re on “work-mode” you need to make sure that you’re only using the web for business-related purposes. Effectively doing this means blocking out websites and apps that aren’t related to your work. 

Here are our suggestions.:

SelfControl

SelfControl is a free and open-source site blocker app for Mac. It’s a no-frills, lightweight solution that lets you block access to certain websites. Simply create a blacklist containing sites that you’d like to block, specify the duration of the block, and SelfControl will do the rest. 

Price: Free

Freedom

If you’re looking for a site blocker with more functionality and works on multiple devices and operating systems, then give Freedom a try. This application lets you block websites, desktop apps, mobile apps, or even the entire internet. 

Freedom also has premium features for paid subscribers that include recurring scheduled sessions, advanced scheduling, and device syncing. 

Price: $6.99 for a month-to-month subscription. A yearly subscription comes down to $2.42 a month. You can also purchase a “Forever” subscription for $129.

Forest

Forest is a mobile app that increases your focus while doing good deeds for the planet at the same time. 

Here’s how it works: you set a period of time for which to put your phone down. You then select a sapling to plant, which will gradually grow as time goes by.

Your tree will continue to grow as long as the Forest app is running. If you navigate away from Forest to use another application, your tree will wither and die. If you successfully get through your allotted time without using your phone, the sapling will grow to a full-fledged tree and you’ll be awarded coins for each successful planting session. 

What’s great about Forest is you’re not just planting virtual trees. The Forest team has partnered up with the non-profit organization Trees for the Future and donates funds whenever users earn enough coins through the app. 

 Price: $1.99 with in-app purchases. 

To-do lists for small businesses

To-do lists are widely used among professionals with industry data indicating that 63% of people use them at work. Studies also show that to-do lists help reduce stress. According to a survey by Kelton Research, to-do lists serve as a stress-management tool and have a calming effect on 73% of U.S. respondents.

There are plenty of reasons people benefit from to-do lists. These lists add structure to your day and can keep important tasks top of mind to prevent distractions. What’s more, the act of completing a job and crossing off a task on your list can create a sense of accomplishment, which can further fuel your productivity.

To that end, it’s essential to equip yourself with a solid to-do list app for tracking your tasks. Ideally, the tool you use comes with prioritization capabilities, reminders, and calendar integrations so that all your tasks are completed on time and without a hitch.

Consider the following.

Any.do

Any.do is a simple but powerful to-do list app that helps you run your life. In addition to listing tasks, Any.do has features for organizing your to-do lists and projects. You can create color tags for categories and priorities, and you can even add notes, subtasks, and attachments. Any.do ensures you don’t miss a task by letting you set reminders and due dates. The app also has collaborative features. You can share lists, assign jobs, and chat with others on the app. 

Andy.do is available on all major operating systems, browsers, and devices so you can take your lists anywhere. 

Price: $5.99 for the month-to-month plan. You can choose to pay $4.49 if billed every 6 months or pay annually at a price of $3.99 per month. 

Todoist

Another popular to-do list app, Todoist makes it easy to add tasks to your list thanks to its “Quick Add” feature. The app also has a recurring due dates feature, so you don’t have to repeatedly add the tasks you perform regularly. The app makes it easy to delegate tasks to collaborators and it can notify you when team members complete jobs or add comments. 

Todoist works on various platforms and operating systems, so you can use it no matter what browser or device you’re on. It also integrates with numerous solutions, including Dropbox, Monday, Zapier, Amazon Alexa, and more. 

Price: Free for its basic offering. It’s Premium and Business tiers start at $3/mo or $5/user/mo respectively.

TickTick

TickTick is another cool to-do list app that has powerful capabilities for pros and collaborators. In addition to common features like adding tasks, sharing to-dos, and setting reminders, TickTick has some unique offerings that make it easy to add and complete jobs. 

For example, TickTick has voice input so you can add tasks by speaking to the app. Or if you’d rather use Siri or Quick Ball for Android, TickTick supports that as well. You can even turn emails into tasks.

Pricing: TickTick has an annual plan for $27.99 or less than $2.40 per month.

Scheduling software for small businesses

Meetings are commonplace for small business owners. Whether it’s scheduling appointments with your clients or setting up meetings with vendors, partners, and team members, you need to have a system that enables you to manage your calendar with ease. 

This is why having a scheduling app suited for small business needs is critical. The back and forth communication required when getting your schedule in order takes up valuable time and mind space that could be better spent in other areas of your business. 

Don’t let yourself get distracted by these low-level tasks. Do yourself (and everyone else a favor) by getting an online scheduling app/tool that can automate the tedious work that comes with booking appointments and meetings.

Below are some of the top scheduling software for small business to consider:

Genbook

Genbook is the perfect scheduling app for service providers like salons, spas, and barbershops. Genbook lets people book appointments online or on mobile, streamlining the scheduling experience for clients and businesses alike. Say goodbye to phone tag and manual calendar sync; Genbook takes that tedious work off your hands. 

The app also makes appointment scheduling easy on all platforms. In addition to an online booking portal, business owners can set up booking buttons for Facebook, Instagram, and Google, allowing clients to schedule online appointments in the most convenient ways possible. 

Pricing: Genbook’s Solo plan costs $25 per month or $300 if billed annually. The Team plan, which works for 2-5 users, costs $49 per month or $588 if billed annually. Then there’s the Company plan for 6-12 users, which costs $83 per month or $996 if billed annually. 

Mindbody

Businesses offering health and wellness experiences (e.g., gyms, trainers, coaches, etc.) should look into Mindbody, a platform that allows facilities to manage their schedule and operations. 

Mindbody makes it easy to set up your class schedules and post them to your website, app, and other channels. You can manage all classes, appointments, and events from one screen to get an overview of what’s going on in your business. Mindbody also reduces back-and-forth with your staff by enabling team members to manage and update schedules themselves.

Pricing: Mindbody has a number of plans, depending on your business type or industry. There’s the Starter plan which costs $129 per month; the Accelerate plan which costs $259 per month; the Ultimate plan, which costs $399 per month; and Ultimate Plus, which costs $599 per month. 

Calendly

Calendly is perfect for professionals who are constantly scheduling meetings or calls. Whether you need to hop on a call with a vendor or want to set up a Zoom session with an existing client, Calendly has got you covered. Simply set up your availability preferences then share your unique link with guests. 

Calendly integrates with common calendar solutions, including Google, Outlook, Office365, and iCloud calendar. And depending on your plan, you can also send customizable notifications and reminders via email and SMS. 

Pricing: Calendly has a Basic plan that’s completely free. For additional features, you can upgrade to the Premium plan which costs $8 per user per month, or the Pro plan, which costs $12 per user per month.

Social media management tools for small businesses

For many small businesses—both solo and team— social media is an essential marketing and customer communications tool. This is particularly true in industries like health and beauty where image and aesthetics are prominent. Salons, for example, commonly utilize platforms like Instagram to showcase their work with clients. 

But as valuable as these platforms are, they can also be highly distracting. How often have you logged into Facebook and Instagram to post business-related content only to get distracted by your friends’ posts?

If you’re struggling with social media distractions but still need to use it for your business, the following tools will help you keep your social media usage in check. 

Hootsuite

If you’re regularly publishing content on social networks, get yourself a social media management tool like Hootsuite, which lets you post content to multiple platforms without having to launch the sites or apps themselves. 

Hootsuite lets you manage Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, so everything can be done from one system. Plus, you can customize the views or streams that you see on your dashboard, ensuring that you don’t get distracted by irrelevant content. 

Hootsuite has a host of other offerings  — including analytics, social listening, and audience engagement features — all of which can further improve your productivity and encourage greater focus in your business.

Pricing: The Professional tier costs $29 per month, while the Team plan costs $129 per month. There’s also a Business plan that costs $599 per month. 

Kill Newsfeed

Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through Facebook? Consider installing Kill Newsfeed, a Chrome extension that removes your News Feed but still lets you check your messages and notifications.

It’s a simple app that “kills” your feed without removing your ability to access Messenger and view your page. 

Pricing: Free.

Remove YouTube Recommended Videos, Comments

YouTube’s algorithms do an excellent job recommending content based on your viewing history. Unfortunately, the feature works a little too well, and people often end up spending more time on YouTube than they originally intended. Industry data shows that 70% of what people watch on the site is determined by its recommendation algorithm and visitors spend an average of 11 minutes per day on the site. 

If you want to avoid getting distracted on YouTube but still need to post videos or watch work-related content, this browser extension will do the trick. 

Remove YouTube Recommended Videos, Comments does exactly what it’s supposed to: it cleans up video recommendations, comments, and end screen suggestions, so you can focus on official business content. 

Pricing: Free.

Ready to Free Yourself from Distractions?

Minimizing distractions doesn’t have to be an arduous job. The right apps and tools can eliminate unwanted elements from your workday, ultimately freeing up time and mind space for you to focus on your clients. 

Hopefully, these tools put you on the right path!


About the Author, Taru Bhargava

Taru is a Content Marketer at Genbook and combines her expert skills in content strategy and SEO to drive more high-intent organic traffic for the company. When she’s not working she’s busy cooking and raising her tiny dragon. Mindy Kaling is her cousin. You can connect with her via Linkedin.

About the Author

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