5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Productivity
Most companies are chasing the same basic goal: increase sales and the bottom line. How does this get accomplished? There are several paths you can take to reach the same end, but certain habits will get you there faster, and get you better results.
High levels of productivity go hand-in-hand with organization. You just can’t get a lot done if you have to sift through a mountain of chaos every day. Here are some tools that will help your company to get cracking, and stay on track.
1. To-Do Lists
People often underestimate the power of the to-do list. By writing out your daily, and weekly, objectives, you will be able to track your progress. It will also help you to ward off distractions when you can see what you have left to accomplish, and how much time you have left to do it.
With the integration of phone, tablet, and smartwatch apps that can carry your to-do list around with you, there is no excuse not to use tech to remind you of what’s next on your list and push you forward.
2. Planning Your Calendar
This is a simple one, but seems to not get used to its fullest potential. Planning your calendar doesn’t just mean having your weekly sales meeting written down. It means scheduling in all of your tasks. Lunch with Mary? In the calendar. Have to write a blog post? Block out two hours on Thursday. Need to manage your social media accounts? Put down an hour each morning of the week that you will dedicate to it.
Making these simple inputs to your calendar, whether on your phone, or on paper (but, really, go for the electronic version – it’s much easier to keep track of), will help to keep you focused, and organize your list of priorities, so you can accomplish everything.
If you work with a staff, consider implementing a shared office calendar through Google, or iCal, where you can all see important client meetings, sales calls, and staff meetings you all need to attend. It will keep everyone on the same page, especially if last-minute changes are made.
3. Go Paperless
While this tip may sound like it couldn’t be that useful, let me show you why it will revolutionize how your company runs…
Many companies have their own servers to store important documents and customer information, which is helpful. However, if your company doesn’t have every single invoice, set of meeting minutes, estimate, or client record on there, it won’t help you. By making the jump, and keeping everything on the server, filed neatly, where employees can access it, your team will be able to run things with sincerely increased efficiency.
John won’t have to go down the hall to bug Sue about that estimate for Client #23 anymore, he can just pull it off the server and take care of it himself. Additionally, when Sally goes on her three-week vacation to Europe, her team won’t be lost without any of her records, because they’ll already know where everything is, and be able to pick up the slack.
Keeping everything accessible is the key to a smooth operation. Which takes us to the next tip…
4. Embrace “The Cloud”
The paperless company server is great and everything, but what if John is coming back from a conference in Denver, and has a ten-hour layover, during which he could be finishing that presentation he has next week? If you just have a local server, with no outside access, you are cheating yourself, and your employees, out of quality work.
That’s right: keep it in the cloud, and get better work from your team. Don’t see the connection? See, if John can hop onto the cloud, and finish his presentation from the airport, or Sally can work from home a few days a week to save on childcare, and Sue can finish those invoices on her trip to see her parents, you not only have happy employees, but team members who will give quality work because you have given them the gift of flexibility.
Clients will also thank you when they can access their invoices, estimates, purchase orders, etc. remotely, instead of having to deal with paper files, and calling and bothering your staff.
5. Hire Freelancers
The final suggestion here will help you get way more work done than you could imagine! Hiring freelancers is an awesome way to eliminate time-consuming, difficult, or just boring tasks, that you cannot fit into your calendar.
They are especially helpful for projects such as social media management, website and logo design, marketing, and any other specialty that requires special knowledge and training you may not have on your team. Hiring these professionals will not only alleviate your workload, but it will also allow you to get the work done right the first time around, by someone who really knows what they’re doing, instead of having to pay to fix inadequate work down the road.
Additionally, since freelancers aren’t your employees, you will save on taxes, insurance, overhead, and other expenses you would have if they were on your permanent team.
These simple solutions will help you and your team get to the next level through organization and productivity. With extra time on your hands, you’ll be able to focus on the important things, like growing your company.
Abby Yetter is the CEO and Chief Consultant of Bright Ideas Small Business Solutions, LLC. She is a driven, enthusiastic businesswoman, with a talent for organizing the chaotic, and branding the unfamed. Abby strives to use her creativity, and experience, to solve the many problems of small businesses. With a background based in customer service management, social media, technological organization, sales, marketing, and customer experience specialties, she enjoys taking everyday complications, and finding the newest, most productive ways to execute the tasks.All stories by: Abby Yetter