But what if your productivity system is having a tough time getting itself moving? There are easy steps to climb back on the productivity wagon and feel like you are in control. Follow these steps to get productive.

1. Sort your office / your desk.
Go through each item in your inbox one at a time. If you don't have an inbox, collect all the piles from your work area into one mission control center. Group like-actions together. For example, use sticky notes make labels that read email, file, review, business development, and website. Also keep your garbage bin, blue bin and shredder close so you can easily throw things out.
The new piles will be the beginning stages of order and won't need to be sorted again. Once you’ve named everything, you’ll get rid of that fear that an opportunity will be missed or that something unknown is going to blow up unexpectedly.

2. Get some help.
When you can delegate, do it. Don't let work that doesn't need you pile up around you. Move it to someone else's desk - perhaps someone who is looking for a growth opportunity (along with your expectations of what to be done and by when). This will help them (and you), to keep the momentum and get that project done. Don’t be the bottleneck that causes the last minute, late night emergencies.
Before you delegate, be sure you track what you are waiting for with a date stamp, the person's name and what you need from them. You want a record of whom, what, and when, in case you need to remind them to get what you need before the upcoming deadline.

3. Give yourself more time.
Reset any deadlines that can be moved so the work quality does not suffer. Manage other people’s expectations – help them prepare and plan their deliverables. You’ll have piece of mind and your employees, suppliers and (most importantly), clients will not feel let down at the last minute. If you communicate when you need more time, you give everyone time to adjust.

4. Focus on one task at a time.
Focus on only one task at a time. Turn off all of your flashing reminders, your phone and all the other gear that rings, sings and vibrates. You'll be surprised how much you can get done in 1 hour. You need less time than you think of solid uninterrupted focus to get back to the present. You’ll see - your productivity will soar.

5. Schedule your Priorities
Review your daily & weekly schedule every morning. Know what’s planned. This will help you succeed and reduce the stress you feel from surprises.
Schedule the major things you want to accomplish, like writing a proposal, updating your website, completing a training seminar, going to the gym, planning a vacation. Then schedule the smaller tasks like picking up the laundry.
Productivity isn’t about doing a lot of stuff. It’s about doing the important stuff. But if you’re running around doing all the little stuff you likely will not reach the success you strive for. When you look back on your day or week be proud of the important tasks that are completed and all of the small tasks as well.

6. Freshen up your work environment
Chances are you can put your finger on something you’ve been postponing that could increase your productivity – but have been putting it off. Take this opportunity to paint your office, lay new carpeting, get a new filing cabinet or update / upgrade your computer systems.
If you have staff, ask them what you could do for them specifically – and around the office to improve their productivity. They feel empowered and are more likely to implement any new processes or electronics because they were part of the decision making process. Let them choose the new colour for their office (as long as it is inline with your brand).

7. Business development
Go through all of the networking meetings you have attended, conferences, trade shows and consider what you learned, what interested you, and who you met. Put great ideas into a folder called business development ideas. Put the business cards you have collected into another pile for future action, follow-up.
Take another hour to send a personalized email to each person you might have met – met again during the summer – no matter if it was a friend of your cottage neighbour or a potential client. Keep it warm and inviting and do not sell to them. This is relationship building time.

8. Update your marketing materials
Use the KISS principle in all your marketing materials. The KISS (Keep it Short and Simple) principle applies both to the amount of content and its presentation in your marketing materials. Ensure your message is short, and your Unique Value is easy to understand.

These are not usually Unique

  • “Exceptional Customer Service”
  • “Quick Response Time”
  • “Ability to Listen”
  • “Low Price / Best Rates”
  • “High Quality”
  • “Moist, Juicy, Hot, Cold, Flavourful, or Robust”

Collect testimonials, update your website, re-establish past relationships, write email and letters to people, create an article for a local paper, host an open house for suppliers & clients.

9. Spend your investment wisely – hire professionals
Let's face it; everyone's productivity system ends up buried sooner or later. Your ability to get organized will create peace of mind and profitability that comes with having a system in place.

Want to learn more about our services?

If you want to learn more about how you and your organization can benefit from our services, call us at 416.617.0462.

We work to build long-term, collaborative relationships that maximize your overall success and earnings.


Copyright © 2015 by Bruce Mayhew.


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