Sometimes you need to step away from your business in order to work on your business. Productivity … [+]
If you work in a small business, own a small business or work inside the department of a large company, you want to contribute to the performance of the company and improve your overall performance as well. And yet, as you get caught up in the never-ending day-to-day, you never really stop and assess what you should actually be doing. It’s not that you don’t want to improve; it’s that you just keep running on the never ending treadmill of work. At times, you just need to get off the treadmill for an hour or two each week and reflect on how you can play a better role in running the business versus being run by the business.
Rather than thinking about work in relation to time, reflect on the quality of what you are doing. I used to tell my employees that they were being measured on the quality of their work not the quantity of hours. Also, ask yourself if you are really learning your craft or just filling hours. Maximize your work productivity so that you can research, reflect and read about things that would make you a better employee, manager or owner. You can’t fill each and every day with tasks and no learning. Review the list below and see how you can make small improvements to your workday that will actually increase your productivity.
What’s really important and what’s not. Most of us work what we consider to be a norm of hours each day that are consumed mostly by tasks. Are all of your tasks really necessary or are they a function of habit or worse, your inability to delegate or automate? Review what’s really important and you should be able to easily see what tasks are vital to your job or business and focus on those tasks.
Find out what your team is good at and delegate. For company managers or small business owners with one or more employees, you will want to consider which tasks can be delegated from your task list to your employees. Which tasks to delegate? The tasks that are repetitive or that keep you from making customers happier, generating revenue or cutting costs.
Understand the value of your time. When you have tasks that would be better suited to a skilled expert, but you’re not ready to hire a full or part time employee, then outsourcing to a freelancer, contractor, or other professional might be a good alternative. If your biggest objection is price, consider this: how much money could you be making if you fully focused on the things you do best for your business, and leave the rest to others?
Like sheep, learn to huddle. It does not matter if you are a business owner or marketer, you can’t possibly know the answer to everything and have the experience to assist you in problem solving. So, find some other professionals to “huddle” with. Look for experts you can add to your network that you can consult when you have tough decisions and you want an expert point of view. Also, make you sure you have at least one mentor or advisor who cares about your success.
Reduce multitasking, learn to say no. Multitasking seems like a great way to get things done, but productivity researcher John Medina realized multitasking could increase task completion time by 50% and cause people to make four times as many mistakes as they would while doing single tasks. To avoid multitasking, start firmly but politely letting individuals know about an existing schedule and emphasizing how it’s not possible to fit other duties into it. In other words, learn how to say no more often.
Hire like-minded people to help you accomplish your goals. To attain your goals faster, it is necessary to form a team of hard-working people who are dedicated to achieving the businesses goals and have the enthusiasm to work as a team. Their goals must match your goals which in turn matches the goals of the organization. Sometimes, it’s not about hiring the best person but the person who will actually help you and the team. Avoid adding people who will disrupt you and your team, no matter their skill set or accomplishments.
Create multiple profit centers. This is probably one of my favorite pieces of advice and one I have shared several times over the years, and for good reason. If you are a manager, think of additional services you could offer your clients and if you are a small business owner, think of new products or services that would complement your business without adding too much work or risk. Having multiple profit centers mitigates risk and evens out your business cycle.