If you’re like me, your instagram feed is full of entrepreneurs on a beach with their MacBook opened, new tech products, or software ads. I always dreamed of the day I could work from anywhere. There’s a sense of freedom, independence, and possibility that comes from those images. For any aspiring, or active entrepreneur a Mac is essential. With a computer open, anything is possible. You can make money, grow an idea, share a thought, organize a day or year, create, play, -the options are endless. I’m a real estate agent in Tahoe, so I’ll provide some ways I use my Mac that are applicable to most work-from-home flows.
Regardless of what your choice of technology is, it’s just a thing until you use it as a tool.
Real estate is a business rooted in communication and follow up. Whether you’re generating business through an ad, creating a marketing plan, or keeping in touch with people in your network, everything revolves around communication and follow up. I am currently using a 15″ MacBook Pro 2018. Although the power is overkill for my day-to-day activities, it’s my main hub and I like the larger screen. I’ll usually have two windows open side by side, or if I’m in my CRM, I like seeing as much detail as possible. The immersive retina display is simply a joy to look at.
I’ll use my daily work flow to highlight the apps, systems, and strategies I use while working from home.
When choosing a tool or work flow remember this mantra:
Simple + Integrated
Organization & Planning
Things 3 + Calendar
Things 3 was rumored to be used by Apple’s corporate team, whether it was true or not didn’t matter to me. I wanted to test drive it and see how it worked. Unlike most Task Managers today, Things is simple. It doesn’t try to be a massive team collaboration tool, it doesn’t add odd and uncommon features like chats etc. It’s built to be easy and simple. You have the ability to schedule tasks, which show up on your Today tab. You can easily make them reoccurring, or add notes. My favorite feature in Things 3 is their Project creation.
Essentially you can create tasks in Areas or Projects.
Areas are used to represent categories in my business. For example. Tahoe Investment Properties (my CA brokerage) is an area. So is Stitser Properties (my NV brokerage). I also have a general Reminders area to keep the personal tasks separate from work tasks. No I don’t use a separate task manager for personal! Remember – Simple +Integrated.
Projects are used to track specific creations such as building a website, a marketing plan etc. Projects have a set deadline, and all the tasks you create under it count towards the completion of that project. Things uses a circle that is filled in as each task is completed. It’s very satisfying!
Things and Calendar are usually in split screen to create a focus on what needs to be done. I can swipe from my desktop to get an instant view on my tasks, day, and week. If I’m on a call and need to set an appointment -here’s my availability. If I discover a new feature I’d like to add to a project or area -here’s where I capture those ideas. If I need to recalibrate my focus -here’s where I go to instantly see my priorities.
Research & Data Capture
Safari + FollowUp Boss
Most Research and CRM’s are browser based, so Safari or Chrome will be your one stop shop for follow up. I prefer Safari for a couple reasons:
- I’d rather store my info with Apple instead of Goole (passwords etc)
- Touch ID and ApplePay are integrated with Safari
- HandOff from iPhone/iPad to Mac is a godsend
- Picture in Picture
- Rerouting sound or video to AppleTV / HomePod
With that being said, Chrome does have better integrations for all things Google. I just value the above comments more than any google features I’ve discovered. Regardless of your browser choice, you can set favorites and pin tabs. This is what defines and elevates my browser from a cluster of open tabs, to a tailored navigation tool. Starting from the top left I pin YouTube – Facebook – SmartSheets -Drive -FollowUp Boss. This is organization goes from least used to most used, making FollowUp Boss the easiest to click back to. YouTube powers my binaural beats and study music, Facebook runs ads for me, Smartsheet’s is my working database for Nevada, Drive is my main storage center, and FollowUp Boss is my CRM. I keep less used favorites along the top under the search bar.
I spent weeks shopping and demoing different CRMs. If you’re curious about FollowUp Boss send me an email, I’m happy to take you for a tour. In short, it’s built for real estate, integrates with everything, and the user interface is easy to use.
Thought Mapping & Journaling
Mind-mapping and visualizing ideas can help organize thoughts into actionable items. I use Trello to create vision boards, and map out ideas for projects. Typically I’ll take the visual example of what I’m trying to create in Trello, and break it down into tasks in Things. Trello is an awesome tool for anyone who wants to visualize their work and projects. Trello also has a task manager, however it doesn’t have the same badge system as Things so I find it easier for tasks to get lost or forgotten about if I don’t open Trello everyday.
Trello is free to use, and great for anyone who want’s more of a collaboration spin on project management. You can create cards, and assign people to those cards. Simply archive the card when the task is done, or drag it over to a Done column. There’s a Mac app, iPhone app, and iPad app for Trello and it’s beautiful across all three. You can always use the browser version if you prefer that.
DayOne is by far the best digital journal app on the market. You can create different journals for different things, mine are: Journal, Stream of Thought, Affirmations, Nightly Reflections. There are so many things you can do with Day One, it’s best if you test it out yourself. I love the simplicity in the design, the auto captured data, the prompts each day, and the iOS Widget “On this Day” where you can look back in time to something you wrote that day last year. For real estate, Day One is a detox and personal grounding tool. I’ll often journal in the morning, or if I’m stressed out I’ll take some time to simple write it out.