Top 5 Apps for a Productive Summer

Increasing your productivity will allow you to spend less time in the office and more time soaking up the sun. Here are five of our favorite productivity apps for summer.

Summer is the best time to increase your productivity while running your small business.

Why?

Because it’s the time of year that everyone is either a) taking a  vacation, or b) wishes they were taking a  vacation. Increasing and improving your productivity will allow you and your team to spend less time in the office and more time soaking up the sun.

Here are our top 5 apps to make this your most productive summer ever:

1. Twibble

Twibble is a social sharing application that can shave hours off your social media time each week.

Connect the Twibble app with any RSS feed, and your Twitter account will automatically publish fresh content every time the RSS is updated. This can work with your own blog and content, but you can also submit the RSS feed of top blogs and websites your customers love.

Many social media experts recommend an 80/20 ratio when it comes to sharing content (80% other’s content, 20% your own content), making Twibble the perfect social productivity solution.

2. POP

Your web designer and your clients are going to LOVE the new POP app, which lets designers create an interactive web mockup in just minutes. Designers can create the old fashioned way using pen and paper, then add web-based functionality using POP.

This means epic amounts of time saved during the design process, allowing you to update your website faster than ever before, and/or create websites for clients faster than ever before.

3. MakeMe

MakeMe is an app that makes productivity into a fun game, complete with peer pressure! The app lets you and your team gently (or not so gently) encourage each other to get more done.

This app is fantastic for procrastinators or those on your team who’ve fallen victim to Lazy Summer-itis.

4. Fancy Hands

What are you supposed to do during the summer when half of your team is on vacation?

Don’t spend the entire summer chained to your desk. Use a service like Fancy Hands to outsource the work that needs to be done while everyone’s lounging in the sun.

You can call or email Fancy Hands with all sorts of tasks and jobs that need to be finished asap, and a lot of the time their virtual assistant team will have things taken care of in just a few hours.

5. Trello

Trello is an intuitive, interactive task manager that not only tells you what needs to be done – it helps you decide what to work on next. The app can be used alone or with your team, and can help you organize everything from individual projects to your business’s five-year plan.

Summer is the best time of year to get a head start on the upcoming fall season, but don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit lazy.

With these apps to take away some of your workload and reduce the amount of time spent chained to your desk, you’ll be able to get back to the beach in no time flat.

Starting a Side Business This Summer?

A summer side business is a great alternative to leaving your day job completely and a good transition for potential future full-time entrepreneurs.

Opt for One of These 4 Environmentally Friendly Start Ups

With summer starting up and weather getting warmer all around, employees in their cubicles everywhere are thinking of ways to stretch their legs as well as their creative muscles. If you’re not quite ready to leave the corporate world behind to start your own business, a summer side business is a great alternative and a good transition for potential future full-time entrepreneurs.

For many entrepreneurs, the answer to starting up is to go green where’s an opportunity to give back to the community and enjoy serious seasonal success. One of these four environmentally-friendly side businesses may be just what you’re looking to start up!

1) Eco-friendly landscaping

Especially in times of drought, eco-friendly landscaping always tend to do pretty well during the summer; as studies have shown that 888,426 landscapers are currently employed and the growth rate per year is at 4%.

To cut back on landscaping maintenance expenses, offer alternative gardening solutions like synthetic turf or rocks to help break up the amount of watering a yard needs. Additionally, your landscaping business can offer drought-resistant plants (like succulents), and solar-powered lighting fixtures to add a special touch to each residence or property you work on.

2) Summer camps

Not sure if you can commit to a side business fully, but have enough time to act as a part-time camp counselor? Joining the staff at a summer camp might be your best bet! The American Camp Association reports that in the United States alone there are over 12,000 day and resident camps with 7,000 resident and 5,000 day camps. With more than 11 million children and adults attending camp in the U.S. annually, this is a great opportunity to encourage kids to learn more about the environment and seek out adventure as well as help build up their confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills.

3) Green fashion

Be a fashionista with a green thumb by making and selling fashionable apparel using recycled fabric! Business News Daily suggests getting creative with your materials; you can use old fabric swatches, organic cotton, burlap, hemp, and even recycled plastic or metal – the possibilities to create eco-friendly apparel is endless. Be sure that you’re sourcing your fabric from reputable organizations and once you have some looks created, put them out for show at a booth at your local farmer’s market.

4) Small-scale farming

You don’t necessarily have to be a farmer, or live on a ranch, to participate in being a part of your local farmer’s market. All you need are a couple of properly tended to fruit trees, berry bushes, or a few healthy plots of soil for vegetables and herbs. Pick one thing to learn about and hone in your skills on growing that fruit, vegetable, or herb.  Gather what you can each week and sell them for a fair price at your farmer’s market. It’s a win-win; you’ll get to be especially active in your community for the summer, and make a little money on the side.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Image via Flickr 

How to Combat the Back to Work Blues

After a summer filled with holidays, vacations, and lazy poolside barbeques, getting back into a work mindset can be tough. Your employees may still be sporting swim trunks at the office or leaving work early to catch the last beach volleyball game of the season. So how do you get your team focused, motivated, and excited for the rest of the year? Here are a few of our favorite ways to beat the back-to-work blues.

After a summer filled with holidays, vacations and lazy poolside barbecues, getting back into a work mindset can be tough. Your employees may still be sporting swim trunks at the office or leaving work early to catch the last beach volleyball game of the season.

So how do you get your team focused, motivated and excited for the rest of the year?

Here are a few of our favorite ways to beat the back to work blues.

Throw a Party

It sounds counterintuitive, but throwing a back-to-work bash is a great way to help everyone transition back into work mode. A party can serve as a way to demarcate one season from another. In addition to sharing favorite memories from the past quarter, your team can set goals for the remainder of the year and brainstorm ways to achieve them.

Get Busy

The best way to beat the blues is by having something to do. As you assign tasks to your team, feel free to fudge the deadlines and ask that work be completed sooner than it’s actually due. Challenge your employees to work swiftly and offer a nice incentive for doing so – a killer deadline with Lakers tickets at the finish line is a great way to snap out of summer lethargy!

Mix it Up

It’s hard to ditch a lazy summer mindset when you’re doing the same old things you’ve always done. Reassign tasks and responsibilities to get your team thinking in fresh new ways. Create new positions, make subordinates team captains, or partner your lead salesperson with the lowly intern. Even tiny changes can be enough to shake things up and grease the wheels of productivity!

Dangle that Carrot

A big end-of-year prize can be a great motivator after the Labor Day lull. You could pledge a percentage of team sales toward the company holiday party, or offer a cash prize to the quarter’s leading sales person. If your team increases revenue by 20%, you’ll take them to Disney World; if they increase revenue by 50%, you’re all going to Fiji! Get creative with a carrot that benefits the entire team to maximize motivation for the entire group.

Listen

Meet with your employees individually and as a group to get their opinions on the way you’re running your business. What do they love about working for you? What could be improved? If they could change one thing, what would it be? Once you’ve truly listened to their thoughts and opinions, implement whatever you can. There’s nothing more motivating than feeling not only listened to, but truly heard.

Move the Furniture

If all else fails, make changes to your workspace. Having a different vantage point can completely change your mindset, so don’t be afraid to put the marketing department upstairs and move the accounting office to their old spot.

How do you beat the back to work blues?

Image via Flickr