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Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs

March 23, 2010

In today’s Syracuse Post Standard “Ask the Entrepreneurs” column  I have written with two other women entrepreneurs for five years,  we answered the following question from a reader, “As a small business owner wearing a lot of hats, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused. What are your best tips for being productive?”  My blog entry today features the column for our blog readers who don’t receive this newspaper. I hope it inspires you to higher levels of productivity today.

Tracy Higginbotham

Tracy Higginbotham, President of Women TIESI think most entrepreneurs today would say technology has increased their productivity as Theresa states below. It certainly aids in automating cumbersome business processes, increases communication response time and allows corporate files and information to be shared by employees more efficiently. Even though I use technology, the key to my productivity level has always been the daily, weekly and monthly planning timelines my staff and I use to keep us efficient every minute of the work day. We manage multiple regional events, promote and communicate extensively with over 350 women entrepreneurs state-wide and manage daily business operations. The best way to control our time efficiently is to list and track short and long term tasks. We update lists at the end of every day and week – deleting what has been accomplished and adding new responsibilities. This plan might seem time consuming for other entrepreneurs but I’ve always believed success is in the details. It’s the way I have been productive as an event manager and entrepreneur.

 

Theresa Slater

Theresa Slater, President of Empire Interpreting Services: Utilize technology as much as possible! The obvious tools are smart phones and laptops. Here are a few others that keep me on top of things: * A satellite card for your laptop ensuring internet connection regardless of your location. * Company database programs that allow offsite monitoring of business activity; office correspondence, staff calendars and customer information. * Internet-hosted accounting systems (and online banking) enable immediate access to financial information and reports. * An eReader or Kindle – keeping on top of professional journals and news media giving you instant access to the latest news. This is a great way to be productive while waiting for appointments, grabbing a coffee, etc. Lastly learn how to use the technology and software to its utmost potential! Tasks lists, calendar alarms, message forwarding, – all the best technology does you no good if you don’t understand it! Now take our advice to heart…this may be the most productive thing you’ve done all day!   While I totally agree with Theresa on utilizing technology, it can turn into a distraction if you’re not disciplined. I just read a great article in “Entrepreneur” titled “Email is Making You Stupid”. It was about how as a culture we have become addicted to technology and multi-tasking – to the point where we are becoming less productive. I have long suspected this was an issue for me, so I’m taking steps to tame my inbox compulsion. We get a lot of our orders via the internet so I can’t ignore it completely, but I made a couple key changes. * I turned off the sound alert for new emails. This cuts down on distractions enormously when I’m sitting at the computer working on something. * I’m checking my email just once an hour. Let’s face it – there are very few gift basket emergencies. Being aware of the problem is half the battle, and just by making these small changes I’m already feeling more productive.

Julie Briggs

Julie Briggs, President of The Syracuse Gift Basket Company: While I totally agree with Theresa on utilizing technology, it can turn into a distraction if you’re not disciplined. I just read a great article in “Entrepreneur” titled “Email is Making You Stupid”. It was about how as a culture we have become addicted to technology and multi-tasking – to the point where we are becoming less productive. I have long suspected this was an issue for me, so I’m taking steps to tame my inbox compulsion. We get a lot of our orders via the internet so I can’t ignore it completely, but I made a couple key changes: I turned off the sound alert for new emails. This cuts down on distractions enormously when I’m sitting at the computer working on something; and I’m checking my email just once an hour. Let’s face it – there are very few gift basket emergencies. Being aware of the problem is half the battle, and just by making these small changes I’m already feeling more productive.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 9:32 am

    Thanks to the Post Standard reader for her question and to all three women for some good, sound advice. Taking the time to learn how to make the most of technology we probably already have will certainly be worthwhile. The caution to not get lost in unproductive busy time distractions is also worth taking to heart. And the goal-setting, list-making and tracking with daily, weekly and monthly timelines appears to be one of the vital components for continued success in any business. Again, the initial time investment will be paid back many times over with increased efficiency and results. OK. Time to stop avoiding and start tracking. I’m going to write my checklist now!

    Like

    • March 24, 2010 9:19 pm

      Thanks Mary for your comments. If you ever have a question you would like to ask us, feel free to send it to me and I can forward it to my co-writers.

      Like

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