Tips to Improve Your Personal Productivity

personal productivityIf you’re a small business owner your livelihood depends on your ability to make business happen. Personal productivity for entrepreneurs is top on the list of skills you MUST MASTER.

If you’ve ever gotten to the office early determined to make headway on an important project but instead got caught up in the daily tasks of the office you know the frustration of being constantly busy without feeling productive.

Lots of people are busy all day but they don’t make any progress on their long term goals.

Returning calls and emails, attending to meetings that further the goals of other people–these may be things you have to do–at least some of the time–but if you’re not clear on your long term goals, you aren’t moving forward in your business.

If you ever feel like you’re stuck or spinning your wheels, take a look at your schedule. How many activities are geared towards you reaching your long term goals and how many are putting out fires and attending to others’ needs?

Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, breaks down schedules into four distinct components.

Important and urgent

Important but not urgent

Urgent but not important

Not urgent not important

Personal Productivity Tip #1: 

When you make your to do list, highlight the ones that are Important but Not Urgent–whether it’s furthering your professional education or getting published regularly in a trade journal you have to take steps to make your goals happen.

Personal Productivity Tip #2: 

Look at your schedule–what can you delegate or delete in your life to make time for the things that matter to you? If you had a boss, and that boss required you to prune back 20% of your weekly activities, which tasks would you rank as your lowest producing time investment?

No matter what your situation you have some options. You could get up an hour earlier to spend 60 minutes a day paving the way to your success. If an hour seems difficult, find 15 minutes a day to move yourself forward in your goals. 15 minutes a day over a 5 day work week adds up to 75 minutes. Those 75 minutes add up to 5 hours over a month. Now, what can you accomplish in 5 hours? Break it down into 15 minute chunks and put it on your calendar.

Personal Productivity Tip #3:

Identify which routine tasks could you delegate to another to free up more time.

Outsourcing is becoming more and more common. Websites like Upwork.com, Guru.com and Rentacoder.com can help you find short term or longer term help for your routine tasks.

Or, maybe, you don’t need to do it at all. Depending on your business, there may be aspects you just don’t need to do anymore, or you shouldn’t be doing right now. Take for instance one of my startup clients. This NYC businesswoman was launching her second company. When she finally asked me to coach her she was pretty exhausted burning the candle at both ends. What we found out was that she was spending a huge amount of time designing her website herself (when she never did this before) and applying for patents. She was frustrated that business wasn’t happening soon enough. During our coaching sessions, she quickly became aware that she was focusing her time on all the wrong areas. She was working feverishly on stage 7 while skipping right over stages 1-6. She realized that if she would first lay the foundation in the sequential order that her time is then truly productive and results begin to happen much quicker and easier.

Personal Productivity Tip #4:

Regularly review your long term goals. Keeping your eye on the prize requires reminders of where you want to go and how you need to spend your time now to make sure you get there.

My challenge question for you is — “how long have you been tolerating low personal productivity in yourself?”  The trap that blinds so many entrepreneurs from losing awareness is the thinking that because you’re so busy every day you are being highly productive.

I put together a free template to help you start focusing on the key result areas in your business. You can download the Millionaire Productivity Time Template here:  https://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/millionaire-productivity-time-template/

QUESTION: What is your best strategy that keeps you focused on working in your key result areas?  Please share your thoughts in the comment box below:

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Superman’s Motivation – Do You Have It?

Note From Yoon

small ant carrying a leaf

Sometimes it’s those little things in life that speak loudly on the big lessons worth learning. 

I noticed this tiny little ant who was carrying a piece of food that was bigger than his own size. He didn’t seem to slow down his pace even though the temperature was scorching hot on this summer afternoon. He didn’t even pause when I watched him occasionally slip into the crevices of my porch floor. He was one motivated ant! 

It reminded me of the immense power that motivation has on us. As business owners we are bound to occasionally lose our footing and slip into those crevices of setbacks.

The right motivation can empower you with the strength to keep moving forward to your goal. Read today’s blog article and please share your comments and questions on how you can stay in peak motivation. 

Here’s to Your Success~

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Superman’s Motivation – Do You Have It?

motivationThe world knew Christopher Reeve as a Super hero. He could leap tall buildings in a single bound as he righted injustices.

Then, in real life, he fell from his horse and suffered a spinal injury that left him paralyzed from his neck down. He could have felt sorry for himself for the rest of his life. But, instead, he confined his sorrow to a good cry each morning and then got on with it.

“In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry,” he said. “To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, “This really sucks”…to really allow yourself the feeling of loss…still needs to be acknowledged.” But after his long, hard cry each day, he would tell himself, “And now, forward!”

Reeve operated his wheelchair by blowing through or sipping on a straw. Yet he still traveled around the country speaking at Commencement addresses, directing movies and was a spokesperson for finding medical cures for quadriplegics.

He was determined to not to let the very real obstacle of being paralyzed keep him from living a life worth living. He can be an inspiration to all of us. (more…)

Harvard Business Review’s Insights for Motivating Your Employees

Management books will tell you recognition, incentives, support and clear goals are essential to motivating employees. But a recent study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) says otherwise. (Read about it at HBR’s 10 Breakthrough Ideas for 2010.)
Tracking daily activities, emotions and motivation levels of hundreds of workers, over several years, researchers found that good, ol’ fashioned – progress–not cash, not bonuses, not paid cruise vacations– is what motivates staff and keeps them engaged.

In the study, HBR asked participants to maintain and send daily email diaries. The analysis of nearly 12,000 entries combined with the writer’s own ratings of their moods and motivations showed a consistency that throws traditional management philosophy right out the window.

Here’s a typical scenario. In this case, an information systems professional was thrilled that she’d finally figured out a solution to an ongoing problem. Her daily diary entry stated, “I felt relieved and happy because this was a minor milestone for me”.

Across the board, the excitement of making progress–even baby steps–was cause for joy. As many as 76% of participants’ reported they felt happiest when they’d accomplished something.

As a business coach I can certainly vouch for that! I hear it all the time. In fact, I heard those exact words at a conference where I was the keynote speaker for a regional group of Law Firms. They unanimously felt unhappy with their productivity because there’s so much thrown at them everyday that they rarely feel as if they’ve completed and accomplished something.

Compare this response with the typical management philosophy that feeling supported or collaborating with colleagues is more important. The study showed 53% ranked their best days when collaboration occurred and only 25% ranked interpersonal support as happening on their best days. Even more surprising, only 19% ranked their “best days” as when they had work they considered important.

In a start up environment, progress is crucial to getting the project off the ground, to turning profitable and even to having a business or job a few months down the road. But more stable environments may not have that same ferocity of pace and sometimes may not seem to change all that much. A lawyer’s office may have a consistent tone from the perspective of some staff, new clients come in, cases are handled, cases are closed. But you can still help keep your staff’s motivation high by ensuring they have the support they need when learning a new skill.

When your employees encounter setbacks–and they will, it’s an inevitable part of life–find out what the obstacle is and how you or someone else can help them.

What work concerns do your employees struggle with? Ask them. Here’s an innovative approach:

Ask your staff “what are the challenges that affect your productivity and performance? … and how can I better support you to circumvent those challenges?”

At one time the response from support staff at a younger 3M replied that clutter, filing and emails were a constant challenge for the people to stay on top of their performance goals. So, what did 3M do? They instituted a company wide practice to dedicate every Friday morning for all company employees to devote to filing, decluttering and cleaning out email inboxes. Wow! So, what can we all learn from the example of 3M?

1. They asked
2. They listened
3. They demonstrated support

Some of the top challenges I hear about in both my small business and in my large corporate clients is technology — especially understanding how to use specific software programs.

There are many ways to motivating your employees. Focus on making them feel they’re making progress. According to the HBR study, your job as their boss is to offer solutions to setbacks. The other part of your job is to be decisive when you set goals or make a decision and stick to them. Being indecisive frustrates employees.

Often, a fresh, outside perspective can do wonders for diagnosing the reason for low employee engagement and offering the road map for motivating your employees. If you are struggling with developing high performing leaders in your organization, I invite you to connect with me to discuss how I can help you. Reach me at (215) 292-4947 EST.

QUESTION: What has worked the best for you in motivating your employees? Please share your comments below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 

 

© Copyright 2016

Taming Email Overload for Busy Entrepreneurs

Mary got to the office early one morning determined to tackle her end of the month reports early. It was quiet because she was the only one there. Pleased with herself, she logged onto her computer and thought she’d check her inbox “for just a second.” After all, she had a whole hour to get a head start. In her email there were a couple of items she could respond to quickly, so she did. Oh, here was one that was urgent.

Before she knew it, an hour had passed and her coworkers were filing in and she still hadn’t started her reports.

How much time do you spend a day on email? How many times a day do you check it? If you’re like many Americans, you check it throughout the day and respond accordingly.

Technology is supposed to make us more efficient but if you don’t manage it, you risk being managed by it. I can attest to this as email overload is one of those ugly monsters that can easily come back as an unexpected time suck in my own calendar.

Here are 3 ways that have helped me tame email overload in my busy schedule:

1–Eliminate bells, chimes and other sounds that alert you every time a new email comes in. This simple action will reduce your distraction levels.

2–Check email at designated times. If you check your email only 3 times a day–say at 9:30, 1:00 and 4:00, instead of every few minutes you’ll increase your productivity. Research shows that every distraction takes you an average of 24 minutes to get back to your task. So, if you’re writing a report and you check your email 5 times in an hour, well, you won’t get far on your report.

3–Delete your email once you’ve dealt with it. A clean inbox will allow your brain to focus better.

4 — Unsubscribe to all those newsletters you rarely read or are no longer interested in. Of course, I know that does not include my award winning Biz Growth Tips newsletter!  🙂

5 — Get a high quality spam filter. I use Spam Assassin where I can adjust the settings for filtering out spam. I can also go in and blacklist specific email addresses that might still get through as well as white list specific email addresses I want to be sure not to miss.

6 — Adjust frequency settings. If you’re in multiple Linkedin groups like I am you don’t want to get the discussion news every day. I adjust all of my group settings to send me the news on a weekly basis. This really cut down on a lot of mail right there.

7 — Re-route your mail. If there are emails you don’t read every day, but you don’t want to unsubscribe (like those Linkedin Group discussions) you can reroute specific emails to go straight to a separate mail folders that live on the left column of your inbox. (or depending on what mail server you use just another place other than your main inbox location)

8 — Get another email address. If you have large amounts of emails that you want to reference for later reading or your someday reading consider getting a completely different email address — like a gmail address. That way your brain can focus on skimming only those emails you deem as important daily emails to read. This is another strategy that has cut my main inbox dramatically!

QUESTION: What other strategies have helped you tame your email overload? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 

 

© Copyright 2016

Marketing Tips for Helping You Get More Clients Now (Part II)

Last week you received some great news when I told you that you could get more clients for your business – for free! Client referrals are a powerful source of new client generation, and getting more client referrals doesn’t have to cost you a penny!Remember: getting more client referrals for your business isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult if you don’t actively encourage your clients to recommend your business. Here are 4 more tips that will help you get more client referrals:

A great way to motivate your clients to share their positive experiences with your business is to offer an incentive to clients whose referrals bring in new clients. For example, I am satisfied with my bank’s customer service, so when they offered me a $250 deposit to my checking account if I referred a colleague to open a new business account I jumped at the opportunity. Whatever incentive you choose to offer, make sure that it is something of value that will show your client how much you appreciate their referral. You can also team up with clients or other businesses to cross promote and refer new business to one another.

Marketing Tip #5 Get Personal

Asking a client to pass along your business card is a start, but great client referrals involve you building an immediate relationship with the referred client. Instead, ask a client for a colleague’s contact information and contact them personally, or ask a client to introduce you to a colleague at the next industry event. You can even lead by example and connect your client with referrals at your next networking event by saying something like “David, I want you to meet Nancy. She is a goal-oriented sales expert who helped me increase my business’s sales by 200%!” David will be grateful for the referral and eager to return the favor.

Marketing Tip #6 Follow Up with Referrals

When Frank, a long-time and reliable client, tells you that he mentioned your business to his friend’s brother and hands you his phone number, don’t wait a week before calling him. Make contact with a potential client while your business is still fresh in their mind. Then keep making contact. On average, businesses must follow-up with potential clients 8 times in order to make a sale. Be persistent. This does not mean that you have to call a potential client and say “I’m just calling to follow up…”. Say something like “I stumbled upon a great article with tips that I think would benefit your business…” or “I’ve just heard of an upcoming event that may be of interest to you…”. Following up with a potential client by offering useful information shows them that you are dedicated to their business’s success and allows you to maintain contact without hassling them with repetitive messages.

Marketing Tip #7 Follow Up and Get More Clients

Keep Frank updated on the status of his referral and let him know if his brother’s friend becomes a client. Send a card thanking him for sending new business your way. It sounds basic, but you’d be amazed how many business owners forget to thank their clients for referrals. Showing your gratitude for his support will make him eager to refer your business again!

QUESTION:  What great follow up tips can you share that has helped you to actually follow up? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 

© Copyright 2016