The Residue of Busy Work

It’s there in the back of your mind when you’re on the phone with a client, or working one a big project for another – the handful of “busy work” you have get through.

Maybe it’ll take an hour, or most of your Saturday morning, but you’re thinking about it now, when you should be focusing.

When I used to meet clients in person (remember those days?!), this busy work would be on my mind. I’d cram in some busy work before heading to the bus station. Shuffle emails on the bus ride into NYC. Work a random Starbuck between PABT and the client’s office. Then, during our meeting, I’d be tending to the busy work, the incoming requests, the loose ends.

One way to cut down on the busy work is automation.

FRONT: If you deal with a lot of emails, I recommend adding Front to your work flow. I’ve been using it since August 2019 and swear by it.

I’ve set up a workflow where incoming emails get assigned to certain people based. When they complete those tasks, they add a tag to the email, and it gets automatically assigned to someone else.

In the past I would’ve played traffic cop with those emails, sometimes shuffling around 10-20 emails a day like that.

Front cuts out the busy work.

BASECAMP: I’ve used several other project management apps (Todoist, OmniFocus, Things), but when I started to build up my team, I wanted something that was web-based.

Yeah, Todoist can be web-based, but I wanted URL slugs for the stuff I’m working on. I didn’t want clicks and menus – I wanted to be able to send a URL to someone for a task. Or a file. The ability to add a URL to my Reminders app, or the Calendar app.

So as you grow your team, Basecamp can be super helpful. It’s easy to bring people on board, limit access, and remove people when projects are finished.

Some next level shit? Adding Zapier into the mix and automating emails from Front to be added as tasks in Basecamp, and auto-assigned to your team members. Yeah, it’s magic.

Of course, the other way to reduce your busy work is with people power. Yes, this costs money, but so do the apps mentioned above, and everything else in the world.

I’ve had tremendous luck with UpWork. You might have some people in your network that you might reach out to. Either way, know what you want, set yourself a budget, and just start it.

The sooner you start outsourcing your work, the sooner you’ll actually get good at it. Time is money, and the lessons you learn today – with a tighter budget and fewer clients – will pay off when you have more cash flow and clients.