It’s easy to equate time spent in front of a keyboard or on the phone with productivity. That just ain’t the case. You can spend all day long ‘working’ and achieve little to nothing by the end of the day. Here’s how to avoid that!
Group Similar Tasks
Humans are far more efficient when they do similar things at the same time. So don’t pick up your email every 20 minutes. Pick up once mid-morning and again mid-afternoon. And that’s it. You and your business will be far more efficient as a result.
2. Take Back Meeting Time
Business meetings are important, and often essential. However they rarely ever need to be long enough to require breaks!
Firstly – kill off any meetings that are just ‘regular catch-ups’. Unless they have a specific topic and purpose they are a total time suck. Keep the number of people to a minimum – lots of people means lots of opinions, and more chance for off-topic wandering. Try and make meetings a ‘quick huddle’ rather than a seated event – you can often achieve everything in 5 minutes stood in a group. If information is lacking, break up the meeting early, come back together when the information is available.
3. Information Is Powerful
Make available and publish whatever information you can for your team. Find out what they need regularly, and make sure it is available before they need to go looking or asking for it. Information that comes from another team should be available before it’s needed – make sure those teams know how important their information is to you. Productivity soars when people have everything they need at hand.
4. Share Everything – Cloud Access Where Possible
Don’t have people digging around to get access to data or files. If it isn’t sensitive or doesn’t need to be protected, make sure it’s stored for the whole team to share. Ideally use reliable cloud based services particularly if your business has multiple locations, people on the move, people who work from home or outsourcers.
5. Let Your Team Be Autonomous
Micro-managing makes for staff that question everything and feel crappy on a daily basis, because they never know what’s good enough. Give them room to breathe and innovate. You’ll soon learn who needs managing a bit more closely, and who can be left to run with things and outperform everyone else.
6. Track It
If you’re not tracking performance you’re just guessing at everything. You need to know what metrics are key, and how to track them reliably and ideally automatically. Then when you make changes, you can see how well they work.
7. Always Leverage Expertise
Sometimes your team will have skills you won’t even be aware of. Get to know them and what they can really do – then reward their abilities with responsibility and more interesting tasks that they are unseen heros at! If you don’t have internal knowledge then think carefully – buying in expertise may be the best and most effective solution (such as getting a proper website designed). Internal training is only the right answer sometimes.
I kept this short because you’re busy, but these quick productivity tips can make a big difference to any small business owner. Use them and profit.
P.S. Here’s a bonus 8th tip…
8. Develop Your People
People want to do a good job. Saying thank you for good work is easy and a bit of a given. What really motivates your people though is showing you have the faith in them to develop them and give them more responsibility. This need not mean more pay – people like to be rewarded with trust and faith in their abilities.