Our lives (and our businesses) are run on a valuable commodity that runs in limited quantity...time! When time is money and family and stress and health (did I mention money?), it matters how we spend it. Productivity is maximizing the amount of time we have to create a valuable result. Take a moment to "learn" from these bad habits to keep your productivity running strong:
Habit #1 - Touching emails more than onceYou’ve got mail! What you do with that new message matters. Open it. Read it. Act. The faster you can deal with the email message and file it away - the less time you will spend re-reading, re-thinking and re-adding it to your to-do list. If you don’t have time to “act” - don’t read the message until you can. This also keeps you from checking your messages constantly throughout the day.
Habit #2 - Meeting without an agendaWhether this applies to a staff meeting, a follow-up with a client or meeting with a new prospect...you need a plan. This might be a goal, a formal agenda, or an outline but by the end of the meeting, you should be able to clearly identify if the meeting was successful. Make sure you also stick with a time limit. This keeps the meeting moving forward and allows you to stay on schedule.
Habit #3 - Letting Mistakes Go UnnoticedMistakes are going to happen which is okay because it’s part of risk taking. However making a mistake over and over is just bad business. It’s much better to take the time to acknowledge a mistake, identify a way to correct it and establish a go-forward plan than to wait it out. You will end up wasting more time making the mistake repeatedly than if you take the time to respond right after it happens.
Habit #4 - Allowing app distractionsIn the world of smart phones and tablets, you are probably surrounded by apps. If you stick with the default settings (which allow alerts called push notifications) on these apps like social media, news, email and more then you are also encountering the constant flow of distractions. “A new message is waiting,” “Sally left a comment,” “You might enjoy this new article.” These alerts cause you to look at your phone/tablet and might even tempt you to stop what your doing and click. Make sure your notifications don’t make sound or buzz or remove them altogether. Check your apps when you want to - not when they want you to.
Habit #5 - Prioritizing everyone elseWe’ve all heard the saying - “the customer is always right,” but if every time someone complains about something, you change your business plan or if you drop everything to meet a client whenever they call...you’ll end up ruining your business. Yes, you want clients to be happy but don’t sacrifice your business to literally make everyone happy. That’s impossible. Listen to what is being said and evaluate if the complaint is valid and should be fixed or if it’s just one person’s point of view. One bad review won’t kill your reputation like an inconsistent business strategy will. And if that client who calls you and wants to meet asap threatens to go to a competitor if you don’t comply - let them go. You can’t make everyone happy but you can certainly make yourself miserable trying to.
If you found that you have one or more of these habits - don’t worry. Take it one habit at a time and make 2015 ROCK!