Everyone looks for improved productivity, but how many of us know what to do to achieve the productivity we want? Here are five simple things you can do to bring your productivity to the level you want.
If you didn’t have big ideas you wouldn’t be in business for yourself or growing your career in a business. That’s exactly what’s needed there – your ideas have to be big or they won’t inspire you. But that’s not how you implement ideas. When you implement the idea it works best if you break the overall project down to its component parts. Let me give you an example.
Imagine you are building a new house. It cannot all be done at once – it is obviously silly to think of raising the roof before the walls are in place and yet we often try to do exactly that in our business projects. The first sub-project might be to prepare the ground work – dig the foundations, put the water and utilities in place, build the foundations, then move on to the framework of the house, then the floors and walls, then the roof and so on. Your business projects can be broken down in the same way.
That gives you a number of easy stages versus one perhaps overwhelming lump, and that means your projects start finishing on time and on budget, just the way you imagined them.
The second productivity boost is to delegate all tasks that do not directly generate income. This just means to consider what is the best use of your time – shopping for stationery or prospecting for clients? Walking around delivering leaflets or delivering product?
Consider everything that you do – are you the only one who can do it? If not – delegate it. Let someone else do it and concentrate on the things that only you can do. Establish the same discipline with your staff. If everyone is doing what they are best at then the chances are that a better job, less supervision, and a happier workforce will result.
The third productivity boost is to manage the time you spend on emails. Stop checking your emails every ten minutes! This is another case of best managing your time – do you make more profits by signing up a new client or reading your emails? Yes, sometimes the order comes in via email, but it will still be there when you come back – and that’s why it was sent via email, there was no urgency at the client’s! If there was a hurry the client would have called.
So get away from your emails and get back to your business. Spending more time doing what you are best at must bring more to your business.
Business rules haven’t changed much since the first trader opened their doors (or tent flap?) for business. What has changed is how we do things. It all used to be face to face, then mail and telegraph allowed us to do business at a distance, then the telephone, fax and internet accelerated that trend. Now much of what we do on the internet can be automated.
Every day there are more and more technology shortcuts that allow us to generate more income and profit from the same amount of time. Think of a repetitive task and almost certainly there is a computer, tablet or smartphone application that does it. The truth is that there is probably an application for all platforms and if there really isn’t then check back tomorrow! If you think you need it then someone has figured out that you are their market.
Productivity tip number six is to share this with your staff. Let them know that they will be given tasks that suit their skills, responsibility and authority where appropriate and clear instructions with a time limit where it isn’t. Let them know that you will train them in the latest developments in their industry, and that they will be given the opportunity to put that training into practice.
Now here is an extra tip, one that will add value to all of the first six – put them into practice. Change the way you do business. You may not agree with some of what is written here, and that’s OK – the real question is: what are you going to do with the stuff you do agree with? Every tip will add value to your business, given the chance. And that’s your next job – to give them a chance.
Good luck, and let us know how they help.