Connect with us

Business News

5 simple tips to skyrocket your work productivity

Any professional can use these five tips to save time and boost productivity, and they’re quite simple means to improve efficiency.

Published

on

The critical nature of efficiency

Whether you sell real estate, run a home staging business or own a restaurant, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Between running your business, doing everything that you can to provide quality customer service, and marketing your business to its fullest potential, you could probably find something that needs to be done ’round the clock if you didn’t need to sleep.

Virtual assistants typically work with multiple clients at once, and they’re expected to execute all marketing efforts flawlessly for each one. Time-saving tactics are a lifesaver in our industry, and they’re a must-know skill for anyone who has to run their own business or brand. Here are a few tips that have proved helpful for me over the years:

Tip one: organization

The key to getting everything done as quickly and efficiently as possible is organization. Start with a to-do list and prioritize. What absolutely, 100%, must get finished today? Start by tackling those things and give them your full attention.

The rest can be done on-the-go, during your lunch break, or right before you go to sleep at night. Stick to this priority list unless an emergency comes up. You’ll find that you’re much more efficient, and you’ll get all important things done right away.

Tip two: technology

Sure, we can’t work all the time, but that brings me to my next point: use technology! Today’s technologies are designed for people who are on-the-go all day long.

Take for example tablets – they are productivity boosters for any professional. You can check and respond to emails, update your social media sites and prepare presentations while you’re between meetings, on your lunch break, or waiting for an appointment.

No longer is it a requirement to be sitting behind a desk to get your entire internet marketing out of the way. You have the technology available to you, so you should use it to maximize your time.

Tip three: time blocking

Another time saver is blocking out portions of each day for “paperwork time” or “email time.” If you say, “Every morning between 7:30-8 and every night between 8:30-9:15, I’m going to check and reply to emails”, you’ll find that you can avoid the distraction that comes with it throughout the rest of the day and focus on other, pressing tasks.

We’re all slaves to our inboxes, and if you see an emergency email come in, respond to it, but if you block out times each day that are dedicated to addressing emails or signing off on paperwork, you’ll be less inclined to let it distract you throughout the rest of the day.

Tip four: track ideas

Some of the biggest time-wasters that exist at the moment are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and blogging. You could spend half the day alone perusing and updating all of these sites. My suggestion? Carry a notebook or tech tablet and keep a running list of possible post ideas. Much of the time on these sites is spent trying to figure out what to post or how to word things in a witty, clever or professional way.

If you keep a running list of ideas that come to you throughout the day of things to post on social media or your blog, you’ll have a list of ideas to refer to when you sit down to do it. If you stay focused, write in your natural voice and use your handy “idea book,” you will accomplish things in half the time and focus on doing your day-to-day business tasks.

This is another marketing task that you should really “block time” for each day. Whether it’s a half hour or forty five minutes, pick a time each day, stick to it, and don’t exceed it.

Tip five: take a break

Oh, one more thing: if you need to, take a break. Nobody can work quickly or efficiently if their mind is running 500 miles per hour with thoughts about what needs to be done. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or distracted by the daunting list of to-do’s on your list.

Stand up, take a drink of water, go for a walk, stretch, call someone for a quick chat…anything that you can think of to take your mind off work for a few minutes, do it. You’ll go back to work refreshed and ready to focus, which will only allow you to work more quickly and efficiently.

You can do this

These trusty tips might sound simple, and that’s because they are! You don’t have to do anything fancy or over-the-top to save time. It’s as simple as staying organized. If you put some of these suggestions to use, you’ll probably find that you’re getting more work done each day, which might even give you some time to do the unthinkable: relax.

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. Market Leader

    May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Great tips!

  2. Jasonmartinezrealtor

    July 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Kiss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business News

How the Lean concept can have the biggest impact on your bottom line

(BUSINESS) Using the Lean business concept and asking the non-sexy question of “What’s dumb around here?” your business will outpace your competitors in no time.

Published

on

remote work

Entrepreneurs love solving problems. That’s what they’re good at doing. In fact, the more complex, difficult and messy the problem, the more the entrepreneur will enjoy the challenge. Entrepreneurs are especially good at solving problems that nobody knew were there. Think about Steve Jobs: He knew that we needed a pocket MP3 player before we even knew what it was.

While entrepreneurs are coming up with the next “big” thing, we need the non-entrepreneurs in our organizations focused on solving the small problems in our company with the same enthusiasm. Imagine if every one of your team members were consistently looking for opportunities to improve your systems, processes and service delivery. Those subtle changes made in the non-sexy parts of the business usually have the biggest impact on the bottom line.

This is a business concept called Lean, in which a company changes their processes to create the most benefit to the customer using the least amount of resources possible. Lean is commonly used in the manufacturing industry, but its principles can be used in any business to change the way of thinking and doing things.

I recently witnessed a great example of how Lean principles were used to improve one of my clients, LuminUltra – a leading provider of microbiological testing hardware, software and services. The company serves industries that need to know quickly and accurately what’s living in their water. At a recent quarterly planning session at the LuminUltra offices in Fredericton, Canada, COO Charlie Younger shared a powerful story about the company’s manufacturing facility and challenging the status quo.

During the expansion of the company’s manufacturing facility, one of the team members was lamenting to Charlie about how much time it took to complete a lengthy step of the manufacturing process – one specific quality check that was very time-consuming. He remarked that in the history of the company they never had a single machine fail the test. Charlie’s first thought was, do they even need to perform this specific test again?

After more discussion with colleagues, the team realized that the other quality checks performed earlier in the manufacturing process would always identify a defective unit. With this knowledge, the manufacturing team asked for permission to perform minimal testing to still provide assurance with less work. When presented with the information, the company leadership agreed that it was a great idea and would save time and money as well as improve the employee experience. But the bigger question was: Why hadn’t anyone ever questioned this lengthy step of the manufacturing process before?

Charlie, having run Lean programs in the past, has seen this issue before: People continue to do what they’ve always done even if they think there is a better way. He thought this would be a great opportunity to use a fun, simple but elegant technique to capture other status quo breakers – in other words, he decided to use the same principles for changing the company’s production process to make other company decisions.

With that, he posted a whiteboard in the manufacturing room with the title “What’s Dumb Around Here?” and encouraged team members to capture possible “dumb things” to add to it. These topics are discussed and vetted during their Lean process meetings to determine if they can be improved.

When I discussed the new process with Charlie, he noted, “First, you have to create an environment where people are willing to question the status quo. We have always been highly focused on quality and accuracy, so the team thought it was outrageous to openly question a quality check we had been performing for years.”

He continued, “You have to help your management team be open to receiving ideas that might seem crazy and not overreact to the suggestions. Instead, simply ask them to explain their logic. More often than not, the front line knows a better way to do things but does not know how to navigate the change. The beauty of using Lean techniques is that you now have an easy navigation path to discuss, approve and roll out changes. Suddenly, you have an energized front line solving problems with minimal involvement from management – how great is that?”

While LuminUltra continues to grow their product line and expand into new markets, it expects that its implementation of Lean principles will help it make subtle but important modifications to processes that will positively affect its bottom line. The CEO, Pat Whalen, remarked, “If we can produce our products faster and more cost effectively and get them into the hands of our customers faster, we can have an even bigger impact on the water sector with our microbiological monitoring products. I need all of our team members thinking how we can improve every single day. The water sector needs us.”

Every visionary, big-thinking entrepreneur needs a team that challenges the status quo. How are you encouraging your team members to identify, “What’s Dumb Around Here?”

Continue Reading

Business News

How to temp test to see if a Master’s degree is really right for you

(EDITORIAL) Pursuing a Master’s degree is often part of advancing a career, but are you sure you’re ready to sink time, money, and energy into more education?

Published

on

pluralsight computer desktop working master's degree coding

Higher and further

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are,” wrote poet Nikki Giovanni. “Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.”

Whether or not you’re looking to make a transition to embrace yourself and what it is that entails, or simply need to boost your career opportunities by dusting off your skill set, going back to college can simultaneously seem like a great idea and a risky bet.

bar
And both vantage points would be right. Jordan Weissmann, writing at Slate, notes that for the non-traditional student, graduation rates are nearly 20 percent lower. Completion rates are lower still for non-traditional students who are taking classes on less than a full time schedule.

So, for those of us who are intellectually curious, yet conscious of not wanting to sink an investment of time, money, and energy into an unproductive and unprofitable opportunity to improve, what are our options?

Timely ways to investigate are at hand

If you’re just in the preliminary exploration phase of what might be of interest, listen to or watch a lecture on the topic. With hundreds of sites that offer such lectures, it can be overwhelming to find a place to begin that’s both reputable and interesting.

That’s why the launch of Find Lectures is a boon to the prospective student. In one place, you’ve got a searchable catalog of nearly 26,000 free lectures, many 60-minutes or less, from TED, the Library of Congress, Talks at Google, and more.

For those who want more than just an exploratory conversation about a topic, there are multiple colleges and universities who have opened MOOCs, or massive open online courses. MOOCs, many of which are free, can be found for an almost unlimited number of courses, with some leading to degrees, while others allow you to get the knowledge, information, or skill, albeit with no degree path following.

EdX and Udacity

An example of the different types of MOOC providers can be found by looking at EdX and Udacity.

EdX, a consortium of colleges and universities banded together to offer generally free courses on a wide variety of topics, includes such providers as MIT, Harvard University, Boston University, UC Berkeley, and Dartmouth College, among others.

Founded through a joint effort between MIT and Harvard in 2012, EdX currently sees more than 7 million students taking one or more of the over 700 courses that are currently offered.

In an online environment, the EdX courses feature weekly learning targets, which are taught using a blend of online video content, electronic textbooks, and interactive learning exercises, including collaboration with other peers taking the course through online discussion forums. While the majority of the courses are free, students who choose to take courses to complete an EdX Verified Certificate do face varying fees. All students who choose to audit courses can do so at no cost.

Udacity is similar, yet different, in their approach. As with EdX, students take online courses that feature a blend of online video content and peer-to-peer collaboration, but Udacity courses are aimed towards those seeking skill development in computer sciences. As such, one sees that the courses are developed through partnerships with tech businesses such as Google and AT&T, as opposed to varying universities. Initially created as an extension of free computer classes at Stanford in 2011, the Udacity courses offer a trial enrollment period, after which course continuance costs varying fees per class.

The Udacity brand has focused on creating skill development and certifications that are recognized within the varying branches of the tech industry.

In an attempt to expand the reach of their offerings, in 2014, Udacity partnered with Georgia Institute of Technology to offer a MOOC degree in computer science at a price point of only $7,000, significantly lower than other similar Master’s programs.

A great dip of the toe

As you stop and think about how to take advantage of the new world, it’s okay to be hesitant, and even scared. You’ve got to find the sweet spot in finding or enhancing your career, with skills that are necessary to do so, and realize a return on your investment in time, money, and satisfaction quickly.

It’s important to do the things that we love, that are emotionally rewarding and financially remunerative, but we also realize that we live in a world, especially for the mid-career professional that is hesitant to allow a great deal of time to make that investigation into how to do so.

Using these tools, combined with self-reflection, can help you make the most of that time as you consider what’s out there for you, just waiting.

#Education

Continue Reading

Business News

If you want to hire your top pick, studies say quit stalling

(BUSINESS) Waiting for more than a month to make a final offer may mean that you’re missing out on the valuable candidates you really want to hire.

Published

on

hire candidates

The phrase “Slow and steady wins the race” may describe your optimal strategy in some departments, but according to a study by 3Gem, hiring isn’t one of them. If you’re waiting more than a month before deciding on a new hire, you’re most likely not getting your first pick.

The study, conducted via 9,000 employees, determined that around 67 percent of employees had passed on their first job choice because they didn’t hear back from an employer before a second opportunity arose. Additionally, 70 percent of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t stick around for a job if the hiring process took more than a month from start to finish.

If your ears are burning, it may be time to change your hiring tactics.

This isn’t to say that you should rush into hiring; your recruiting process deserves time and ample consideration. However, taking more than a few weeks to go through the process of starting recruiting, meeting applicants, and making your final offer means that you’re both missing out on top-notch talent and wasting the time of countless potential recruits.

Consider your applicant pool: the majority of your options are either currently unemployed or heading in that direction (volitionally or otherwise). Few people can afford to stay unemployed for more than a month, meaning that any option, regardless of whether your business is the employee’s dream environment, starts to look better than your lack of a timely answer.

From an employee’s perspective, an application is as good as rejected if they haven’t heard back within a couple of weeks, and having no income during that period of time is suboptimal. Waiting for more than four weeks before making a decision, to say nothing of more than that—20 percent of the surveyed employees had experienced wait times of over two months—is unacceptable.

The math is simple: exceptional candidates have neither the time nor the need to wait for a response. If you place hiring over other activities during your recruiting bouts, prioritize the top one percent of your applicants, and make your final offer the second you’ve made up your mind, you’ll see an increase in in-house talent in no time.

Continue Reading

Emerging Stories