Tag Archive: tools



office-620817_1920There are way too many productivity tools out there to mention, making it even more important to choose the one that’s a perfect fit for you. The tool you use to support you on a daily walk through your to-do list should fit you as well as your favorite pair of shoes. After you’ve done your homework to learn exactly what the tools you’re attracted to can do and determine which is the best fit based upon your Productivity Persona™, you can’t stop there. Once you have the perfect tool for you in your hot little capable hands, you’ve got to work it if it’s going to support you. There are three major things you’re going to want to do:

  1. Set Yourself Up For Success-It’s important to use all the features to support you daily. When you get your tool, invest the time in setting it up completely, and no half-stepping! Add your contacts, and for electronic tools, sync it with your calendar, and add your business email so that you have access to it. It’s convenient to have it all in one place, not to mention the time you’ll save.
  2. Develop Habits– Once it’s set up you want to build the muscle of using your tool every day . If you haven’t been using something to support you on a daily basis, you’ve got to allow yourself the time to get into the swing of things. Use reminders to help you build this muscle if you need to. On a regular basis, add new calendar items, contacts and any updates, and use it to plan and to guide you daily.
  3. Back It Up!- Sync and back up your electronic device regularly—at least twice a week. It’s a good practice to set reminders in your calendar so that you don’t forget to sync and back up. There’s nothing worse than losing or having something happen to your electronic device and not having that back up. I’ve helped clients work their way back from that disaster and it’s not pretty. If you’re using a paper tool, maintain it the same way and share your calendar information with your assistant or another trusted party. If you’re a one-woman show, keep a second copy in a safe spot for easy retrieval in the worse case scenario.

Lotus PoseOne reason most solopreneurs start their own business is because they want freedom and flexibility.  They want to be able to run the show and at the same time be able to take time off when they choose for fun and family.  This sounds ideal and it can be, but one big challenge that solopreneurs face is that they’re doing everything themselves.  They start out that way and things tend to stay that way, which doesn’t allow much time for the fun and family, so they end up without the freedom and flexibility they were looking for when they started.

If you really want that freedom and flexibility that you were looking for when you started your business, your business has to run smoothly and it has to be able to run without you in the mix.  Can you say that right now if you chose to take a few days off that things would keep moving along?  If not, there are three things that you can do starting right now that will help you keep things up and running.

First, create systems that will help you streamline things.  Most people cringe at the thought of creating systems because they think systems have to be big, complex and cumbersome.  Truth is, they really don’t.  A system has three components: processes, tools and people.  That’s it, and the components can be as simple or as complex as you like.  Place your focus on determining the processes within each, the tools that will be necessary to perform those processes and the people who will use the tools to carry out the processes.  Creating the systems that you need to keep your business running smoothly will cause you to invest some time, it’s not something that can happen over night, but it’s not something that has to take an extended period of time either.  Invest the time in yourself and in your business to take the steps necessary to determine and then set up the systems that will support you on a daily basis.

Once you have the systems created and up and running, document what you do and how it’s done so that you end up with standard operating procedures manual that anyone can follow to get the job done.  If you keep the procedures updated, anyone should be able to review a procedure and perform the designated task without a problem.

Another step in taking on the challenge of doing everything yourself, is to begin to delegate.  Let’s face it; you started your business not only for that freedom and flexibility, but to make money.  You can’t make the money that you want to make if you’re occupied with tasks that aren’t making you money.  Look at the things that you do on a regular basis and determine whether or not you have to be the one to do each.  Ask yourself if you are the only one who can do this and if the particular task is the best use of your time.  If the task at hand doesn’t require your knowledge or expertise, it belongs in the hands of a capable, trusted individual so that you can focus on the revenue generating things.  Delegating for some is not an easy thing to do.  Letting go can be a process in and of itself which is fine, the important thing is to let go of the things that don’t require your time.

If you haven’t invested in a virtual assistant, consider doing so.  If you don’t want to go that route, find a college student looking to fulfill an internship requirement. Make sure that whomever you choose has the skills to perform the job that you’re asking them to do.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that the time that it will take to train this individual will be time that you can spend on doing the things that you’re teaching them to do.  Use the operations manual that you create during your systems set up to guide them through the processes you’re introducing them to and make adjustments in the procedure where necessary.   The time that you spend teaching is time invested in your business and your bottom line.

 


Tool BoxPart of how you deal with time is to make sure that the tools you use, and ultimately the system you set up to support you, are a fit for you personally. The tools have to fit your personality, or as I say they match your Productivity Persona™.

Quite often, people don’t think about tools to help them in their day-to-day process of getting it done. Think about tools that you can get from the hardware store. There are tools for many different things and each is uniquely suited for a particular task. Productivity tools are exactly the same, but people really don’t view them like that. When it comes to electronics like smart phones, it’s usually about the toy aspects of the device or toys altogether and not about how the device can serve.

Tools are part of the time management puzzle. You know how when you were a kid and you would be putting together a puzzle and you always ended up with extra pieces that didn’t seem to fit or you couldn’t figure out where they went? That was frustrating, and so is this, so things have to be broken down in a way that makes the pieces create a clear picture instead of leaving you with extra, strangely shaped pieces of the puzzle. Which is why part of my signature system involves choosing the kind of tool that’s a fit for you and then choosing the tool.

What tools are you using right now and what are you using them for? How are they serving you? Do you find that something doesn’t work so well? You might also see that you’re not really using what you have at your disposal. People choose tools and have the best intentions, but then don’t use them or they don’t max them out, meaning that they don’t use everything that the tool affords them to the point of making it pointless to have it. Something else to consider how you went about choosing those particular tools. You might not even remember.

Review your tools and ask yourself those questions and make sure you ask why you’re using that particular tool. Does it fit? If not, it’s probably part of the reason you find yourself challenged right now. You have to be sure that what you use fits you like your shoes. Once again, it’s personal!

 


Apple & Report CardIt’s time to talk about your mid-year report card. You might not want to approach the topic at all because you know that you’re nowhere near where you want to be by this point in the year, but it’s necessary. You can’t get where you want to go without looking at and assessing the situation.

I know that it seems like it was yesterday that you created your goals and mapping your way through the new territory of this year looking at what was possible for you. Now we’re at the midyear point, which is July 2nd.

This is like half time in a football game, so it’s time to review your fumbles, touchdowns, dropped passes, and diving tackles. You have to look at the good, the bad and the ugly, so that you can regroup, then move forward to win the game.

Things might be moving so fast for you right now that you might be thinking, “I don’t have time to look to see where I am.” Well, if you keep moving at that speed things will inevitably fall apart. If football coaches can look at the current situation and regroup in just 12 minutes, you can make the time to stop and assess the situation and figure out what to do. Step to the side to see how you’ve done so far. Looking back at the last 6 months what do you see? Where have you fumbled the ball or dropped passes? Which goals had you anticipated completing by this point in time? Are you on point with them? If not, you have to ask, “Why not?” Maybe you’re not allowing enough time for the tasks that need to be completed, or maybe they aren’t making it to your daily agenda. You might need to develop a few new habits or incorporate new tools to shore you up in your day-to-day activities. Be fair with your assessment and above all else, honest with yourself. Look at what’s incomplete, reassess the process and determine what to do to move forward.

Grade yourself based on your incomplete items, the resources—what you used, how you used them and whether you missed anything. Be sure to grade yourself when it comes to the good stuff too. It’s important that you celebrate your accomplishments. Those celebrations will help fuel you forward.

Once that’s done, create your plan for the rest of the game. For each of the things that you haven’t yet completed, be sure you’ve asked yourself what happened and why they’re not complete. Measure where you are based upon the milestones that you initially created and determine what you need to do to fill any existing gaps. For other projects that aren’t due to be completed yet, which milestones should have been reached by this point in the year? You’ll also want to take a look at the things that you’re going to begin working on soon. Is there anything new you want to add to the mix and are you going to be able to start on time? Use this midyear point to assess where you are, determine what’s necessary, regroup and move forward into the rest of the year focused on winning the game. Oh, and if you didn’t create that initial plan with the milestones at the beginning of the year, now is the perfect time to create it and get the ball moving.

 


WomanandGearsTypically business owners don’t think about getting their business in order, which is unfortunate because in order to run a successful business, you have to be organized.

For ultimate success, a business should run like a well-oiled machine.  There is no way around it, there have to be systems in place.  It saves time and money, has you making fewer mistakes and keeps you from constantly reinventing the wheel.

Look at the human body.  It’s the most magnificent machine there is.  It is comprised of a number of automatic systems that support proper function.  Each of these systems has a process that and all contribute to the function of the body.  The body continues to function properly until one of those processes or systems is disrupted.

The same is true with your business.  If you have established systems and processes for every area of your business, it runs like a well-oiled machine.  Use of time is maximized and productivity levels are high.  If not, things don’t run so smoothly and time is wasted and there are gaps that cause mishaps and poor customer experiences.  All of which negatively impact your bottom line.

If your business doesn’t have systems and processes in place, there’s no time like the present to create and implement them.  Start by assessing the current situation.  Get rid of the things that aren’t working, and then take a close look at what is working and be sure there are solid systems around those things. Next, create the new systems that are missing.  Typically you want filing, accounting, client and time management systems. Each one of these systems is an integral part of running a successful business.  Having them in place can make or break you.

 

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