I think we can all agree that it would be nice to be more productive. In the mad rush of the week, it can feel impossible to get anything done, and when you look back at what you’ve achieved, there’s nothing worse than feeling you’ve dragged your heels.
But being productive isn’t simply a choice – if it was, more of us would be executing all of the time and deliberating less. To work optimally, you need the right state of mind, but also a system in place that allows you – you, with your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes – to get as much done as possible.
And even if you are working optimally, is it valuable work? You see, in the end, productivity isn’t just about doing stuff. It’s about doing stuff that will stand the test of time and move your business forward.
Without further ado, here are 5 techniques that many entrepreneurs (myself included) use to get quality work finished.
1. Complete a project one step at a time and get feedback every step of the way
One of the big mistakes people make is to have an idea and then try to build it to completion. Big, successful companies didn’t come to life like that.
Focus on doing things in small increments, and then get feedback on a day-to-day basis. If you’re looking to become a hotshot party planner, throw a small gathering first and find out what worked, and what didn’t. If you want to own a media empire, write the first story and design the first cover.
Too many entrepreneurs want to go from point A-Z without filling in all the blank spaces in between. Plus, it’s important to remember to consult with people about your work.
That brings me to point 2.
2. Find out what your customer wants
The best way to be unproductive is to think you’re creating magic, and a year later, realise no one needs your product.
There are a lot of good ideas on paper that don’t work in real life. And bringing one of these ideas to life is a very effective waste of time and money (or, as if often the case, someone else’s money. In this situation, an investor has backed you without doing the proper research).
No matter what your business is selling – a service, time, a product – there’s no point investing time into the work until you’ve worked out if there’s an audience that responds to it.
Even if you think your idea improves upon the faults of an existing product, so much so that people will flock to buy it, the reality might be different. The reason for your product’s downfall might be as simple as: No one particularly finds fault with the existing product.
3.You don’t need a lot of money to get work done
Ever heard the saying, fake it until you make it? For every entrepreneur operating out of a swanky office, there are dozens working out of their bedrooms.
You don’t need a lot of money to get work done. In fact, having a small budget is often better, as it’ll force you to get creative.
An uber-successful entrepreneur once said: “If you want to make it, live at home as long as you can.” The principle behind it still rings true: Cut unnecessary costs and don’t worry about appearances while you’re finding your feet.
You shouldn’t expect to handle every aspect of your business alone. Not only will you be juggling commitments you’re not equipped to execute, but you’ll be diverting your energy away from the tasks you’re actually good at.
In response, consider outsourcing work to good people you can rely on. Marketing is one good example. Here, you should leave the work to people who can do it better on your behalf.
Negotiate a good rate, keep conversation channels open, and put trust in the abilities of others. It’ll save you a huge amount of time every day.
5. Do what you’re good at and enjoy doing
It stands to reason that if you enjoy your work, you’ll spend more time at it, and be more productive as a result.
Who wants to invest time and energy into a task they don’t enjoy?
As an events planner, I help put together a big shows like the South African Music Awards. It’s a big collaborative effort, but in my capacity, I always concentrate on the aspect of the event I’m best at: LED screens, projectors or both.
To get this done, I use Watchout 6, my go-to software, to create eye-catching multi-displays. It’s what I enjoy doing, and it’s what I’m best at.
On a day-to-day basis, I’m involved in every aspect of the production, but come showtime, I’m concentrating my energy on the discipline I have most experience with.