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What are the basics of productivity when you are a business owner (in terms of personal productivity rather than the productivity of a manufacturing process)? It is often talked about but can mean different things to different people. In this context, I define productivity as:
Doing planned tasks and projects in the most efficient manner, allowing you to get more done in less time.
A Set of Goals
Where are you trying to get to? The tasks and projects you do should be aligned with your goals. If they aren’t then you are not working towards one of your goals and that’s not very productive.
Goal setting is a whole subject by itself, but as a business owner, I am sure one of your goals is to keep your business running profitably and as stress-free as possible.
Know Your Commitments
You need to have a straightforward way of viewing all your commitments so that you can meet them without surprises sideswiping you. This includes all your tasks, projects, meetings, appointments, and anything else you have undertaken.
Have you ever read your notes from a meeting and can’t remember the details of any tasks you’ve agreed to do? Even worse, have you spent valuable time doing what you thought was needed only to find out that it wasn’t what was asked for?
Avoid confusion by clarifying what task completion looks like. What’s the output or state change required? I also find it’s good to clarify what the reason for the task is.
I will write more another time on the anatomy of a well-crafted task. It seems simple but taking the time to get the task definition right aids productivity and reduces wastage.
The Right Tools
Using the right tool to do a task is critical to productivity. Cutting down a tree with a nail file will take you forever! Equally, keep your tools in good order. A blunt axe will not cut down a tree as efficiently as a sharp one.
As a business owner, what are the tools you use? Are they supporting you in your work or frustrating you?
However, be aware of chasing the next shiny new object. Change tools only when the investment in them (time or money) pays back in a short time. Don’t change tools if you will not get payback before you jump to the next shiny new object!
The Right Environment
Where you work is important. Is your working space suitable for your type of work and your personality? Do you prefer to work in an open space or an office with a door?
Another important aspect of the environment is the mood and behaviour of the people around you. Most people find it easiest to work in a calm, supportive atmosphere with few interruptions. How, as the business owner, can you influence this for yourself and your team? This is an aspect of leadership that cannot be ignored. I will write more about leadership soon.
We create plans for all sorts of things. A project plan is often critical for the successful implementation of a complex project. However, for tasks and commitments, people tend to work on the fly, prepping for a meeting at the last minute etc.
Devote some time each week to reviewing the work you have on your plate. What meetings and appointments have you got? When are you going to prepare for them? What tasks are becoming critical? Which tasks are no longer relevant, or such low priority that you can park? Have your team delivered on the tasks you’ve delegated?
Plan things in your calendar but remember to leave time for the unexpected (always expect the unexpected).
How is your own personal productivity? Which area would benefit most from a bit of attention? Is there anything you can simplify?
I have a programme which helps you develop the three pillars of a successful and stress-free business.
Book an appointment with me to experience how this works for you.