When I opened my first business, I had no concept of time. I had just quit my job and I was in heaven, looking forward to a lifetime of doing what I loved.
All. Day. Long. (Stop laughing …)
And when I wasn’t doing what I loved for a living, I would simply do whatever else I wanted to do.
My fairy tale lasted about three weeks. That was when I realized there was more to running a business than doing what I loved to do.
It caught me quite by surprise. (Don’t laugh.)
One day, I looked around and realized that people were not going to come to my store because it was awesome, and I was awesome, and I sold awesome stuff.
I was going to have to figure out how to attract people into the store, and then I could do what I loved all day.
That was going to take time, which I didn’t have a lot of because I was busy doing what I loved all day long.
Fast forward to today. After 14 years in business, I’m not the “Productivity Queen,” but I’ve gotten pretty good at being productive in my particular business. Here are some of the things I do to maintain my productivity, and maybe some of them will work for you.
Don’t just do what seems right at the time
It takes a lot of time and energy to decide what to do, so you want to spend as little time as possible doing it.
Instead, decide what needs to be done regularly, and then systematize it. This way, you don’t spend energy thinking about doing anything. You just do it.
For example, if you publish your newsletter every Thursday at 2pm ET, you never have to spend time thinking about publishing your newsletter. You know your publication deadline, and you meet it. No wasting time each week wondering what day you’ll publish, or if you’ll publish, or what time you’ll publish, or if you published last week, or last month, or whatever. Invest the least amount of time and energy necessary to get it done. Do it, and then move on to the next thing.
Don’t argue with people about the price of your products and services
Someone walks up to your trade show booth and questions your wholesale prices.
Someone comes to your website and wants to pick a fight about your hourly consulting rate.
Someone joins, sees that your “Get Fit” program costs a few grand, and they take to Twitter to cry foul.
Once, someone told me in an email message that the fee for membership in the Indie Business Network was “highway robbery,” and that it was just a big fat “cash cow.”
For a minute, I was offended. Then I remembered that I didn’t have time to argue with her. She clearly did not want to have a conversation. She wanted to insult and upset me. I emailed her back, thanked her for having a look at what we offered, and told her that if she ever decided to have a second look, we’d be right here waiting. I was back to doing what I loved in the blink of an eye.
Don’t argue with people about your price.
Don’t play around with and on Facebook (and other social media)
Many small business owners spend entire too much time chatting it up on Facebook for no particular reason.
I suppose that, like me, you’ll spend some time socializing on social media. But when it comes to your business, each status update must feed somehow, directly or indirectly, to your business.
Find your customers. Meet your customers. Ask your customers questions. Answer your customers’ questions. Engage with your customers. Post ideas and links and pictures that your customers will enjoy and relate to.
But don’t play around with the business time you spend on social media.
Create certain times of the day and week when you will be present for your business on the different social media outlets you use. Enter the room at those times, to post specific things that engage your audience or share what you have to offer with them, and then leave.
Go and do something that more directly relates to your business, like make sales calls or create a new product or write the marketing copy for your next brochure, or teach yourself how to use free tools to make your own promotional graphics.
Get off of Facebook or whatever. Schedule your business time on Facebook and use that time for business. Make it a part of your system. As you do this, over time, you’ll find that your business will be easier to manage and you’ll have more time to do the things you love.
You’ll get more done.
You’ll be happier.
Your productivity quotient will soar … and so will your business.
What are some of your easy tips for increasing productivity?