5 Unusual Productivity Tips

I Wish I’d Known When I Started My First Business

As a serial entrepreneur, time is important. Isn’t it to everyone? Yes, just that as a small business owner, you’ll know that time really is money. And I wished I’d known what I know now about time management, back then. I have been training people in time management for 15 years and there is only one common truth – Without effective time management, the ceiling of what you can achieve, is a lot lower. These are my 5 unusual Time Management Skills because researching the web you’ll come across the same time productivity tips. These are different. Plus, as a fellow sme owner I know what is important to you.


1. Get Your Head Around that You are Worth More than £15 an hour

You’ll try to do everything yourself. I understand that. It’s your business, you want it done well because no-one cares like you do. There is a but. The but is, you are worth £x per hour and I bet that it is more than £15. If you want to know how much you are worth per hour, simply divide your profit by 2,000 hours. I know, at the start you can’t afford to employ anyone. I agree. Don’t. But as soon as you can use a personal assistant. Someone local. Someone that is able to do some of the ‘donkey work’. Not necessarily scheduling your appointments. Look at your vast to do list. What could they do? Pay them up to £15 per hour, meet them once per week for 1 hour and offload, making sure that you feedback to them each week too. Don’t pay virtual pa’s £45 because I favour the face-to-face effect.

2. Read this Book – ‘Eat That Frog

Brian Tracy, the time management guru from the States, wrote a short book on procrastination called, ‘Eat That Frog’. It should take you about 3 sittings of 20 minutes to read it. I suggest you do, because it significantly changed the way I work. Knowing that they are 3 types of tasks; frogs, medium, and sand, and that doing them in the right order will increase what you get done twofold, is not to be sniffed at.

3. What are Your Working Hours?

A very simple question normally answered with ‘a lot’! It is a simple question, yet very few sme owners can answer it well. Many years back I was working over 100 hours per week. I took a couple of hours off on a Sunday evening. Other than that I worked every day and every evening. I had a small family and regret the excessive time I spent working. What is done is done. I knew I had to change the hours I worked because the connection between hours worked and success is a flaky one. It’s a bit like believing that how well you cycle is just about how hard you push the pedals. It’s important, just not everything. I took a sheet of paper and wrote my hours. It took forever to write a few simple words. They were, ‘6 to 6, 5 days per week’. I have stuck to it. Yes, it’s 60 hours per week, 50% more than the average working week, but it is my chosen week and it is sacrosanct. So, what are your working hours?

4. Turn Your Car into a University

If you drive, use the time productively. I have a few clients in the North of the UK. I am in the South. On a drive to see a client I have burnt 6 hours of my schedule. I could listen to the radio, phone my friends, and make some other calls. And yes, I do this. I also have some journeys where I choose to listen to podcasts, an audio training course, or something that I know will help me to use my time better. I can thoroughly recommend Stephen Covey’s, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people’. I have probably listened to it 10 times over the last 15 years. An absolute game changer.

5. Focus, Focus, Focus…

This is obvious, yet very few sme owners do it. If you know why people will buy, won’t buy, and what you stand for, life at work becomes much easier because you can make those choices on your to do list much easier. Is your business the fastest? The best quality? The most innovative? What is it the best at? Identify this and the world is your oyster. In my training business we aim to be the stickiest. This means that we want our Learners to be using our training for at least 5 months after their training. The decisions became simple once we’d zeroed in on this. Does this task make training stick more? Yes, let’s do it. It doesn’t, can I get rid of it, automate it, or delegate it to someone cheaper than me?

Darren A. Smith, Founder of MBM, wrote this article for Happiness Blog. He spent 12 years as a Category Manager/Trading Manager for one of the big four UK supermarkets.MBM enable suppliers to the big four supermarkets to secure more profitable wins. They are from the UK Grocery Industry industry delivering People Development. Using their unique training method – ‘Sticky Learning®’ – You too can have the best people for the long term. Checkout their Time Management Training. ‘Time Management Training