As a business owner, you are always looking at ways to improve your business processes, activities, and productivity. Whether you are a home-based, online-based, or small business owner, the nagging question of ‘How to be more productive’ is one that never goes away.
Here are 5 ways to work more productively and all can be achieved to an even greater extent with a Virtual Office! Not sure what a Virtual Office is? Check out the article, What is a Virtual Office. Or not sure if a Virtual Office is right for your business? Check out 10 Benefits of a Virtual Office and 10 Businesses that Benefit from a Virtual Office!
How to Be More Productive in Your Business
Before we jump into the 5 ways to be more productive, you need to understand how your time is spent currently. Start by looking at each day in a typical week and tracking what you spend your time on. Then try to group those activities into 3 groups:
(a) Most Important – directly drive growth for business. This may include product development, creating marketing strategies, calling prospective clients, filling orders, completing client services.
(b) Important – indirectly drive growth for your business. These are activities necessary to maintain your business but do not bring in sales necessarily. For example, this could include accounting, reviewing emails, posting on social media.
(c) Unimportant – suck up time, but do not drive business growth. Examples of this include commuting, chatting with colleagues, looking at other social media accounts, or other activities that do not have a positive return on your investment (time or money).
Once you have these 3 lists, move on to these 5 Ways to evaluate them and work more productively.
1. Cut Out the Unnecessary
Before you can focus on what is most important for your business, you should start by cutting out what is least. So, let’s take a look at the unimportant group that you created above. What can you cut from this list? The easy ones to cut include time spent on rabbit hole activities. These are activities that suck you in and distract you from what is important. Emails and social media are two of the biggest offenders and the deepest rabbit holes. For example, you check your email and see a customer inquiry. You think it will be a quick 2-minute response, but an hour later, you find that you have researched an answer and found 3 articles that drew you in. Ahhhh! CUT OUT time for these activities. Try setting a timer giving yourself only 15 minutes to scan emails, prioritize and respond to the most critical ones.
If commuting, distracting colleagues, or chatting with colleagues made the list, then a Virtual Office may be for you! With a Virtual Office, you get back the hour+ that you are spending in cars, buses, or trains. That could mean 10-20 hours back each week! Just think of the things you could do with that kind of time for your business. Besides saving on commuting time, a Virtual Office means less coworker distractions. You don’t have someone else’s conversation to disrupt your focus. You don’t get pulled into an hour catch up about the weekend. Instead, you can focus when you need to focus.
2. Follow the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 Rule contends that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of inputs for a given event. For example, it’s widely known that 80% of your business sales roughly come from the top 20% of your customers. It’s also true that 80% of your business growth comes from 20% of your activities. So, now that you have your activities tracked, take a look at the Most Important and Important categories to determine which 20% are the most productive in driving business growth. Those activities at the top of your list are now truly your MOST IMPORTANT and Most Productive. They are the activities you must prioritize.
On the flipside, looking at costs can be done in this same way. Likely 80% of your business costs are coming from 20% of your payees. Often times, right at the top of the cost list is the cost to lease office space. If this is the case for you, a Virtual Office is your cost-saving solution! Check out how in this article, This One Change can Reduce Costs for your Business.
3. To Do or To Delegate
You now know the most Productive Activities, the top 20% driving 80% growth for your business. The next step is to determine which ones you should tackle and which should be delegated. One way to do this is to determine which activities fall within your expertise, which may not, but you love to do, and which you could outsource or delegate to an expert. Set up the top activities into 3 columns and once you have activities listed in the Outsource/Delegate Column, jump to number 5 below.
4. Schedule Tasks to Minimize Multitasking
Wow, you now have your short, but most important and productive activities to focus on. At this point you have the following lists:
- Most Important
- a. You do
- b. Outsource/Delegate
- a. You do
- b. Outsource/Delegate
- a. Outsource/Delegate
- b. CUT OUT
Even when you prioritize activities, the urge is there to tackle multiple things at once. When you think about how to be more productive, you think…doing more in less time. Right? Wrong! It’s not about doing MORE. It’s about doing more things efficiently and effectively.
Picture this: You are speaking to a client on the phone, while checking emails, answering a text message, and eating your lunch. Then you realize you completely missed what the client just said. Sound familiar??
Scheduling time for each individual task allows you to focus on each one. For some people, this could be in hour chunks. For others, it may be 15 minute activities. Whatever works for you, get into a rhythm of focus.
5. Find the Right People to Outsource to
Learning how to be more productive means learning how to outsource and delegate. A Virtual Office means no boundaries or limits on finding the right people for the job. Whether it’s data entry, financial planning, or a developing a marketing plan you can find someone to do the job in the next town, state, or even country.
A Virtual Office also offers services that can take the burden of some activities. For example, many Virtual Offices, such as Starthub, offer Virtual receptionists to answer your calls and help you to prioritize the most important ones to return. Mailbox services are another incredibly helpful Virtual Office opportunity. Having a physical address to have mail sent to where mail can be scanned in and forwarded to you can save you time and hassle. Check out more on a Virtual Receptionist and Mailbox Services.
At Starthub, we offer comprehensive virtual office solutions We’ll even give you your first month FREE. Just click here to get started. You’ll receive a prestigious mailing address in downtown Miami, dedicated mail handling services from a talented team, and an innovative digital platform to receive and direct your mail. Plus, 24/7 customer support. For more information on why Starthub is the best choice for your virtual mailbox, click here.