Business Series Week: Productivity

March 23, 2018


Welcome to the last post of my Business Series! If you've been reading every entry this week then I certainly applaud you and thank you for your support! So, I left productivity for the last topic to discuss because this is actually my favorite part of my business...making the products. I'm guessing it's where you want to spend most of your time doing for your business too. But, with all the other stuff we've talked about that are just as important for success, how do we make time for the actual production of our products/services?

There's not an easy answer for that. Hubby and I plan by the week. He blocks out time every morning to photograph new pictures, editing, and post production. Then, he does his marketing. I come in with website assistance. For my crafting, I spend time in the evenings to work on patterns usually well after my day job tasks are done. I also block out time to write for the blog even if I just save it as a draft to finish later.

If you have team members, you can work with each person to perform certain tasks for your business which frees you up as the owner to work on your product line or improve your service. For example, you can have one team member specifically do social media while another can handle orders and shipping. Another team member can handle sales and customer service questions. These tasks are all important and if they can be delegated so you're not doing it all alone, that would be phenomenal.

However, if you have to take on these other duties then I definitely recommend using as much technology as possible. I've listed quite a bit of apps for marketing, financials, and organization so feel free to go back and read those posts. What's imperative is time management when you're either: (a) handling your whole business alone; or (b) you have one partner. It's really easy to burn out so you want to pace yourself. Allow for only so many hours a day and then quit till the next morning.

When I first was self-employed, I worked 16-hour days for months and it wore me out. There are times when you must work overtime, but if I could have a do-over, I would have worked 8 hours with a 1-hour lunch. Your business is important, but so is your health. Your body needs proper nourishment and sleep.

Take a look at my list of do's and don'ts:

Do:
  1. Eat regular meals and regular times. Breakfast is especially important. I recommend a light meal such as a fruit smoothie or maybe cheesy tomatoes on top of a slice of toast. You want to feel energetic and not sleepy.
  2. Block out time for everything. Making time to work on one project at a time not only helps with productivity but keeps the mind from feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Work so many hours a day and then quit for the day. Leave whatever work didn't get done for the next day. And, if you work from home, try to leave all the business paperwork in a separate room or area and don't bring it anywhere else in your home. In other words, keep the business separated from your personal life.
  4. Remember to be grateful for God's blessings. When I walk in the mornings, I'm surrounded by beautiful nature and I take the time to admire the trees, ocean, and the birds. Wherever you live, look around. Miracles are all around us if we take the time to see them. 
  5. Utilize technology wherever possible. Apps can be your best friend for keeping you on track. Set alerts to send you daily agendas and reminders of tasks and meetings. Keep a planner with you as well for writing down ideas or upcoming projects and events.
  6. Take breaks and a lunch. I think this is really important to break the day up so you're not going, going, and going. Even getting outside into the open air for 15 minutes will do wonders. Sometimes, it's the change in atmosphere you need to get re-energized. And, be sure to take a lunch period and not rush through that nor work through it. Yeah, there are times you have to work during lunch but try to make that the exception and not the norm. Give yourself time to digest your meal so you're not feeling bloated when you get back to work.
  7. Make "you" time. Be careful not to overlook you. There are times where you need to just "re-set" to clear your mind. I like to write in my journal at night and sometimes I'll doodle in it but mainly to write down my feelings from the day. It really helps me unclog my brain and calms me down. I also use this time to read my Bible and pray which always helps me at the end of the day.

Don't:
  1. Skip meals. Very bad for productivity and for the body specifically breakfast. I did that a lot cause I put myself under such strain to meet deadlines but what I wasn't aware of was it caused me to crash out at 2 PM everyday and I struggled to get through the rest of the day.
  2. Forget family and friends. As you're working your business, it is really easy to get caught up in it that the time gets away from you. However, don't neglect your family and friends. They are important not only to see your business succeed but to your overall happiness.
  3. Run off of little sleep. If you need a full 8 hours to be at your peak level, then go to bed at a reasonable hour. You can only "burn the midnight oil" for so long. No one benefits if you're working half tired and half sick. 
  4. Overlook your mental health. Stress is something we all deal with and too much of it can lead to many problems. If you're feeling overly stress, I recommend stopping and walking away. Take a break and go for a short walk. Don't forget to breathe. If you feel you need more help, then try talking to someone you trust. That can often help especially if they're not directly involved with the situation. If you need to see your doctor, do that. Your doctor may recommend a certain diet which can help with emotional issues. The bottom line is don't ignore the signs and symptoms if you're feeling overly stressed out.
  5. Overwork yourself. Even if you decide to work 8 hours a day, I think it's important you set realistic goals. I had to learn to do this for myself because I tend to be an overachiever and a perfectionist. This key here is with every project I work on, I need to look at it as a whole and work within the boundaries I have. I think it's okay to be a dreamer and reach for the stars but if for example, I know I don't have the budget or equipment then I need to table that idea for later. In other words, your business goals should be reachable.
  6. Take on everything in your business yourself. As mentioned before, if you can delegate some tasks out to other team members, I recommend it. I am a big fan of having a controlled workload! If you don't have anyone to help you, perhaps you should outsource.

    You can: (a) reach out on social asking if anyone would be willing to help you. If you choose to do this, be sure to detail what your needs are and make the project requirements very clear as well as your expectations (include compensation) so that there are no misunderstandings (I also recommend detailing all this in writing between everyone); or (b) you can also look into a site called "Fiverr." to find professional assistance.

    If you pick the right people to join you who have specialized skill sets, they will do what they do best while you focus on areas of production where you are most needed. 
  7. Rush to get a new product line or service out. I see this a lot in technology. An app gets an upgrade, lots of people install it and then report that is has bugs. What happens then? The developer comes out with a "patch" or "update". While you want to produce good products, you really want excellent, long-lasting, well-made and crafted products that'll keep customers coming back to you.
I'm wrapping up this Business Series and I know that I've written about a lot of different subjects. There's so much more that I could share, but I didn't want to give you information overload so if you have questions about any of the information I've shared over this week, please comment below and I'll do my best to answer you as soon as possible.

I hope you have been able to learn something you didn't know before and that I've encouraged you that if you really want to achieve success as a business owner, that you can. It takes hard work, commitment, and perseverance but in the end if you stick with it, you will be rewarded. Be sure to listen to your customers and their needs, because they are your driving force to help you know what to do in order to better serve them.

I wish you all the success in the world! Thanks for reading!

original photo courtesy of pixabay.com

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