Aug. 10, 2021

Save 20 Hours a Week With These 7 Free Tools

Save 20 Hours a Week With These 7 Free Tools

Learn how to reclaim up to 20 hours a week with the 7 free tools you need to be using in your online business to spend less time on social media and increase productivity!

As a business owner, you KNOW you’re the one holding it all together, and maybe even the idea of automating or delegating seems too daunting to fathom starting down that road... But what if you could start small?

What if you could reclaim minutes (remember, we’re starting tiny!) in your day every single day? 

Trust me when I say these minutes add up to a LOT of the time you’re wasting in your business — an average of about 20 hours a week! Just imagine all you could do with that time instead!

Even better, what if you could reclaim these vital pieces of time simply, painlessly, and for FREE?


  • The two biggest time sucks of every entrepreneur (and what you can do about them!)
  • 7 free tools that WILL save you 20 hours a week
  • Why starting small and saving these minutes will save your sanity as a business owner

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.





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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer  0:11  

Welcome back to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. I’m your host, Courtney Elmer. This is Episode 82 and it’s all about your email autoresponder and productivity tips. And today's episode is going to be short and sweet. This is part of our summer series of systems designed to help you stop doing all the things in your business. So you can focus your time and energy in your zone of genius. And one of the reasons many online business owners get stuck doing all the things in their business themselves is because they're trying to save money. 


Courtney Elmer  0:37  

What they don't realize is that in trying to save money by doing it all yourself, it's costing you your business growth and your productivity. And worse, it creates an income ceiling, because you get bogged down in minimum dollar per hour tasks. And the real reason that this happens, and that many online business owners fall into this cycle, is because chances are, they've got some work to do on their relationship with time and money. And chances are, if you find yourself in this cycle right now, that means you have some work to do on your current relationship with time and money. You have to do some work improving your productivity tips as well as finding the right email autoresponder. And perhaps no one has ever taught you how to value your time. Because when you value your time more than you value money, you'll find yourself having plenty of both as a previous mentor of mine used to say. Figuring out the right productivity tips is the key to success here. 


Courtney Elmer  1:32  

Now back in Episode 38, I teach you how to value your time, so you can start making more money. And in Episode 31, I teach you how to raise your prices without feeling guilty so you can attract more ideal clients and get paid what you're worth. Those two things can be incredibly helpful when it comes to having more cash flow in your business. So that you can begin to start buying your time back, and outsourcing and delegating and focusing on the activities that make you money. And even though everything I shared in those episodes is going to blow your mind and completely change the way you're valuing yourself and your time right now. 


Courtney Elmer  2:18  

I've found that some online business owners are so overwhelmed that sometimes getting hours back in their day through systems or processes or delegation and automation seems almost too good to be true. They just lack the right productivity tips and tools. They lack the right email autoresponder. And I get it. You're used to doing it all yourself--how can you begin to imagine running your business and holding it together otherwise because you are the glue that is holding your business together right now? But if you're the glue holding your business together, then you're also bottlenecking your own growth, and it will continue to limit your business until you understand this. But if that's you, and if getting hours back in your day feels impossible right now, let's not talk about hours. It’s about learning the right productivity tips and using the right tools such as an email autoresponder.


Courtney Elmer  3:02  

Let's talk about minutes. What if you could reclaim 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there? That might not sound like much. But if you have ever checked your phone stats at the end of the day that tells you how much time you spend on your phone. There is zero question that the minutes really can add up. So today's episode is about helping you reclaim minutes every day, which when added together can equal up to 20 hours a week or more. How do I know this? 

Look at social media and email alone. The two biggest time-sucks for every entrepreneur, people spend an average of 15.5 hours a week on email. And 145 minutes on social media every day, which don't worry, I did the math. That's almost two and a half hours a day on social and three hours on email. Five and a half hours of your day on average times seven is 35 hours a week. That's almost a full work week for crying out loud. I mean, come on. It's no wonder we feel like we can't get anything done. So what are the best productivity tips to get more done in less time? 


Courtney Elmer  4:12  

Now, as a business owner, you don't have to veto email and social media completely. You can't — that's part of the lifeblood of your business. It's one of the ways you build relationships and communicate and get leads. But you can implement specific systems and automations to help you buy back some minutes. That will add up to hours. And that's what we're focused on in today's episode. 

That and ways to save time on team communication too, because between not having an email autoresponder, not having the right productivity tips, social media, and team communication, those are the three biggest chunks of time that online business owners like you and me give to their business every week. And so the more time that you give to those things, the less time you have to do what you started your business for in the first place. Help people and make money so I'm going to give you a list of seven tools that we use daily in our business to save minutes and add up over time.


Courtney Elmer  5:10  

It has bought us hours back. Here’s what we use to do it: 

  1. Your Email Autoresponder
  2. Boomerang App 
  4. Creative Market
  5. Facebook Creator Studio
  6. Slack
  7. LastPass

Don't worry, I'm gonna give you the rundown on each of these. We're not going to go into a whole bunch of depth, but I will give you a quick summary and show you how each of these can help you save more minutes, which in turn, will save your sanity and improve your productivity. First setting up an email auto responder — this has to do with saving time in your inbox. Back in Episode 79. I go deep into how to set it up, what to put in there, how to write it, and what to say.


Courtney Elmer  5:53  

You want to answer frequently asked questions for people in your email autoresponder, set it up to go out to every email that comes through so that you can spend less of your time responding to emails, and that you only have to respond to the emails that actually warrant a response. The second thing is Boomerang. This is an app that you can install, it works for Gmail, it works for Outlook, it works for your email apps on your mobile phone. Go back to Episode 78 if you want a more in-depth look at that. But in a nutshell, Boomerang helps you spend less time in your inbox by pausing it all together. So that email doesn't even become a temptation, you can sit there, stay focused, and get your most focused work done. These are the best productivity tips I can share with you. 


Courtney Elmer  6:34  

The third tool that we use for email is an app called This app is amazing. every couple of months we go into this app, we log in with our email address, we spend about five minutes unsubscribing from everything we don't want stuff that we've signed up for over the past couple of months, that's just clogging up the inbox. And that frees up time and mental energy from sorting through your inbox. So go into and enter your email. It's going to pull up a list of all the lists that you are subscribed to, you're going to be so surprised when you see that there is an unsubscribe from anything you don't want. And it will free up space in your mind. 

And it will free up time from having to sort through your inbox for the good stuff, right so you don't miss stuff from people that are actually emailing you. And it's gonna help you stop having that negative feeling when you open your inbox, seeing it overflowing with all those nuisance emails that you don't want, but not knowing how to clean it up or what to do or where to even begin. 


Courtney Elmer  7:31  

So you just ignore it. it's gonna change your life. So forth, fourth tip, the fourth tool that we use is called Creative Market. Now this is really great for social media for saving time on social media. At Creative Market, they have a ton of stuff that you could just get lost in for hours. It's a lot of fun to look around at what they have there. But one of the things that we love are their template packs. This makes content creation on social media so easy. So if you don't have a marketing team, or if you don't have a social media manager or graphic designer who creates graphics for you, you will thank me later for this, go on Creative Market, purchase a template pack for 20 or 30 bucks that suits your brand. upload that to Canva. pop in your quotes and images into these templates when creating your content. It is so quick, it is so easy. 


Courtney Elmer  8:23  

It makes you look like a cohesive polished and professional brand. And it will save you time on your content creation every week. Fifth tool is some kind of scheduling software. We like Facebook Creator Studio, it has come a long way from back in the day when they first introduced that you can schedule to Instagram, you can schedule to Facebook, there's all kinds of things that you can do in there. And this really boils down to batching your stuff, baby batch, and scheduling out your content. These are good productivity tips. I will go into more detail in an upcoming episode on our batching process so that you can take that process and plug it right into your business for your social media content creation. 


Courtney Elmer  9:08  

But I will say this right now, the more you can get in the habit of batching out your content, even if it's just week by week you don't the batch out a whole month at a time as great as that would be your whole six months are what some of these people out there do just a week at a time. Sit down once a week, on a Friday afternoon for the upcoming week or first thing Monday morning. Create your content for the week, schedule it out. And then you're freeing up that mental energy and space to be able to focus on the other more important stuff without ghosting your people on Instagram or on Facebook and losing touch with them there you can stay visible without having to physically post every single day. 


Courtney Elmer  9:50  

The sixth tool has to do with team communication. We use slack and we keep our team communication exclusive to Slack. Why? Because it keeps me out of my inbox, it keeps everybody out of their inbox, and nothing gets lost. Because we have multiple inboxes. Here at The EffortLESS Life® , there's a general inbox, there's a podcast inbox, there's my own personal inbox, we have people managing all of those inboxes. And if we were to add team communication there to back and forth via email, stuff could easily get missed. So we keep our email for our email, and that is external communication only. All internal communication amongst the team is through slack. What I love about this is that it separates communication, and you control when you check Slack


Courtney Elmer  10:42  

If you have ever hired anyone and have started growing a team, you know how challenging it can be when you're in the middle of something. And then all of a sudden, someone emails you or someone sends you a message from your team with a question. Well, in order for them to move forward, because you don't want them to be waiting on you, you stop what you're doing, you go answer their question, get them taken care of, so they can keep moving forward, then you have to go back to what you're doing. And those distractions, when that happens multiple times in a day, the context switching can drain your energy faster than if you were to go out and run around the block four times. It's the mental energy, you got to learn how to protect your mental energy as a visionary leader of your company. 


Courtney Elmer  11:27  

So by having all of your team communication on a completely separate app, and by turning those notifications off, you get to control when you go in and check it and you can simply communicate that to your team. Hey, guys, I'm going to be online between nine and 10. This morning, I will look at all of the questions that you've sent me. And I'll get back to you then. So that you can move forward for the day, whatever your system for that is that you get to be in control, that it's not constantly pinging you and distracting you from focusing on doing what you do on serving your students on the money-making work. And then the seventh and final app that we use is called LastPass


Courtney Elmer  12:07  

This is a site that allows you to share your passwords securely, so that you never have to stop what you're doing to help your team members log in, again, to platforms because they've misplaced the password or whatnot. This happens to everybody. This has happened so many times until we started using LastPass. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've stopped to help someone log in like it just got ridiculous. So this saves a ton of time and headache. And you would be surprised by how much people lose stuff. And it's innocent. You know, it's not malicious like, “Oh, I'm gonna purposefully lose this password.” 


Courtney Elmer  12:42  

So I can stop you from what you're doing to come out and know that anyone on your team is working like it's not intentional, of course. But it happens. And so when you have to again, continually stop what you're doing to go help somebody else so they can keep going it interrupts your flow. And so when you share through LastPass, not only does it share it securely, they don't even see the password, they're just able to log in, thanks to the way LastPass works. You can also revoke access whenever someone leaves your team when one click makes it really easy. So you don't have to remember, like, Who did I hit? Who did I give that password to, oh my gosh, I gotta go change all the passwords. And then it takes 30 minutes of your time. And it just drags on. 


Courtney Elmer  13:19  

Really, really easy. LastPass simplifies that process. All of these seven tools are free, or they have a free version, including an email autoresponder. And it's going to help you get more done in less time, especially using an email autoresponder. Now, there are lots of other tools that we use in our business. We use project management software, email software, there's a lot that we use, but my goal today was to keep this really simple and to buy you back some minutes so that you can get moving in the right direction. We hope you found these productivity tips helpful. 

Speaking of social media, next week, I'm going to hand over our weekly social media content workflow. Yep. Coming up next week. So until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®. I'll see you back here next time.