5 Uncommon Productivity Tools To Improve Your Business Performance
Unfortunately, we are often caught up in ‘daily doing’, which is akin to being stuck deep in daily doo-doo (i.e. when our body has stopped functioning automatically as designed…!) All business owners experience these moments, so here are my top five productivity tools for improving your business performance fast (and keeping you out of the doo-doo!).
1. Solve the real problem, not the symptoms.
Ever visited the doctor and been in and out within 10 minutes because the doctor was too busy? An overworked doctor can sometimes treat your symptoms rather than delving deeper to find the actual problem which is causing the undesirable results. How often do you deliver a band-aid fix to your business because you haven’t got time to treat the real cause?
If you are finding yourself fixing the same problem for the 10th time in a row, then you need to recognize that you are treating the symptoms and not the cause! If you have fixed something 10 times, you must be starting to feel a little unproductive… so how do you change what’s tying up your time?
Three quick steps:
1. Write a list of the top 5 annoyances or tolerances in your business.
2. For each issue listed, ask yourself and your team ‘Why does this happen (or not happen)? For each answer that is given, ask ‘Why’ again – eventually your questions will lead you to the core problem!
3. Implement a workable solution for each core problem and observe the results to ensure your issue is fixed.
Most core problems are systems issues (or lack therof!!), however occasionally there will be a people problem at the core – don’t blame or punish the person, simply help them to solve the problem.
2. Stop being ‘everything to everyone’.
Each system in our body has a specific purpose, and they all interact in an orderly way to create life as we know it… You can replicate these systems in your business by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on your team (including yourself, your sub-contractors, suppliers and outsourced staff).
Be ruthless and efficient in delegating responsibilities to the most appropriate person. Be specific about your expectations, the deadline and any requirements re the outcomes or how the task is to be done. Give people the opportunity to perform.
Set up automated systems and processes that take the drudge work away. Be willing to let go of the reins so that your business can grow to the next level. If you had to manage your body functions consciously, you’d never have enough time to think about anything else… are you getting the picture here? Micro-managing your business is very unproductive!
3. Systemise your social media.
If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into the ocean of opportunity that is online social networking (e.g. Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) then now is the time to start! These tools can be massive timewasters or massive business builders. Your results are created by how productively you use the tools and how you align the tools with your business strategy. Whatever the result you want, you choose it by how you use the tools.
To get productive:
• Automate your updates between sites (Google the sites you want to link together and you’ll find ‘how-to’ instructions quite easily).
• Find shortcuts which deliver extra value eg www.tweetburner.com will both shorten your url’s and give you statistics on clickthroughs so you can measure your results!
• Know what you are looking for and set limited amounts of time to scan for relevance to your goals – you don’t need to read and/or respond to everything!
To get strategic:
• Know how that tool can help meet your business goals.
• Focus on connecting with people who can share knowledge, have influence or offer opportunities – build a quality fan base and follow people strategically!
• Use the tools for free market research – observe your market in action.
4. Repurpose your marketing materials.
There are over 30 ways you can re-use a 350 word blog post to create additional profile for your business! For example you can turn that blog post into an article, a press release, a short video, an ezine story or a part of a speech! You need to develop a simple strategy for repurposing your content (start with around five repurposing tactics) to maximize the full value of what you have already produced.
Integrate this tip with the systemization of your social media activities and your business profile will rise fast and furiously! If you want to know the nitty gritty on how to do this – you can ask google or talk to your business coach!
The concept of ‘repurposing’ can be applied across many aspects of your business – in essence it means do the work once and leverage the results many times. What other areas of your business can you leverage in this way?
5. Make you productive first!
Your body works magnificently because it is a high performing system which does exactly what it is designed for. You do not have to know exactly how it works or tell it what to do for everything to happen perfectly! When you design your business to work on automatic just like your body, you’ll make more money, have more time off and be more productive when you actually are working!
The first place to start is with yourself. When you turn into a high performing system, your team can then follow. Here’s seven simple things you can do to become more productive personally:
1. Wake up happy! Before you get out of bed visualise enjoying your day with ease.
2. Start the day calmly and give yourself at least 15 minutes of ‘me time’ to set your intentions for the day.
3. Know which times are most productive for you and do your most important work then.
4. Take frequent breaks and breathe deeply.
5. Focus on one task at a time (multitasking as a productivity tool is a myth!) and finish it!
6. Take at least one major action each day which will improve your business profits.
7. Each day choose one thing to start or stop which will improve your business productivity and action it.
If you implement these five strategies, you’ll find both your personal productivity and your business performance will increase dramatically. Want more time? Start using your favourite productivity tip from this list today!