I have always been interested in the idea of productivity. When I was growing up my Dad owned a management training company that had “Time Management” at the heart of everything that they taught. I am not sure if this is where my interest came from or it was just a general curiosity that we all have? However, because of the connection to my Dad’s work I have been exposed to a deep pool of productivity related systems and solutions.
We all want to be productive both at work and in our lives in general. As a salon owner or manager you know exactly what it is like to have more work to do than there are hours in the day. Hopefully we can help to bring just a bit more productivity to your lives with our articles this month. First of all though . . .
What is Productivity?
Productivity means different things to different people. To some it is the idea of simply getting more things done. To others it is the more about getting things done in the smallest amount of time. Both are right, both are involved in the study of productivity, but how can it really help you and your business?
Throughout August I hope to provide you effective methods to help you with your productivity. Whether you want to get your work done in the shortest time possible or to simply get more things done, I will offer you the benefit of my years of reading, experimentation and practice as well as some valuable lessons from others to help you to reach your productivity goals.
But First of All . . . .
Which is better: getting more things done or getting things done more quickly?
The idea of getting more things done could be described as being highly effective. The idea of getting things done in the shortest amount of time possible would be described as being highly efficient . But are they as important as each other?
They are often quoted hand in hand, but the answer is No!
You see to really boost your productivity you need to understand the difference between the effectivity and efficiency and consider both when making decisions and planning your time.
It might help to consider another way of defining efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency could also be described as “getting things done right”. Whereas effectiveness could also be described as “getting the right things done”.
These two statements really are the key here. You could be the most efficient person in the world, able to get ten times more than anyone else done in the same space of time. However, if you are not effective, if you are not doing the right things, then all your hard work, all your efficiency is for nothing.
There is a great old story to illustrate this point . . . .
You can quickly grasp the important difference between [efficiency] and [effectiveness] if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. The efficient producers, the problem solvers are cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.
The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.
The “effective” leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!”
But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.” (Stephen Covey – Seven Habits, p 101)
So to transform your own productivity, you first need to be aware of the difference between efficiency and effectiveness and then keep these in mind as you make your daily decisions on how to spend your time and just how long to spend on a any given task.
Everything that we cover throughout August will help you identify what “the right work” is and then how to make sure you are “doing it right”.
To get you started here are my own two quick tips for improving your daily productivity that you can put in to place today.
1. Use your last 15 minutes of the day wisely.
If you have had a long day then the last 15 minutes can often seem to drag. What if I told you that the last 15 minutes of your day could be your 15 most effective minutes . . . . . of tomorrow! Take the last 15 minutes of each day and use them to actually sit down and plan out your day tomorrow. Consider all the tasks you have on your To Do list for tomorrow. Which of them absolutely have to be done tomorrow? How long should each task take? Are they all equally important?
Note: I have an expanded and more detailed variation of the above which will make this simple process even more effective and this will be covered in a separate article during productivity month.
2. Keep Lists! (. . . and remember to look at them)
Not rocket science I know, but do you keep a real To Do list? Is it organised? Do you actually read over it, cross things out and plan things in? I was guilty for a long time of keeping multiple To Do lists. Usually on the back of pieces of paper, which I might then tick off for the day and then lose or misplace only to find a few weeks later when none of the tasks make sense. Keep a single To Do list, either as an app on your smartphone or in a dedicated notebook.
Then . . .
Tick off the list those items you actually do and constantly review items that have been on your list for a few days. If they have been on the list for a few days and remain not done. Then decide if they are actually important and if the are do them today!
Note: A great system to follow, whether using a To Do app on your smartphone or a list in a dedicated notepad can be found here at BulletJournal.com. (Click on Watch the Video)
As well as your ongoing To Do list, keep an “Ideas or Thoughts” list too. As a busy salon owner or manager you are going to be responsible for any number of areas of the business from your accounts to staff management and from marketing to health and safety. You never know when a good idea is going to creep in to your head. If you don’t write it down straight away it might be lost forever. Having a specific place you keep any and all ideas where you can actually go back and look at them, will pay you dividends.
Now, neither are the above points seem like a revelation, but if you use them . . . I mean REALLY use them, consistently, every day then I guarantee you will get more things done AND you will find you stick to your plans, get things done on time and feel great, because you will be able to look back at your week and see everything that you accomplished. More on this to come!
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of productivity throughout August. Do you have any specific questions about how to improve your general productivity or about a specific area of your business day? Do you have any productivity tips or breakthroughs that you could share with other salon business professionals? Please enter your thoughts, comments and questions in the comments section below or send me an email. I will try my very best to respond to each one!
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Image: Yutaka Fujiki