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3 Smart Productivity Tricks Every Startup Can Learn From Google

3 Smart Productivity Tricks Every Startup Can Learn From Google

Google started out just like you.

It was a small little startup with huge dreams. The thing that makes Google stand apart is just how productive it is.

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Most people on the planet use an application created by the very prolific and productive Google. The magic part of this is that mostly, they do not pay Google for the use of it. So, Google gets a lot of goodwill from prospects as well as a lot of user data because they can serve a vast number of people with all their products. How does Google make its money? As of 2014, approximately 90% of their revenue came from advertising.

How can you copy that?

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How can you become so productive that your startup is able to serve a great number of people and generate lots of goodwill? How can you get people to choose to put their money down and therefore increase your bottom-line?

Lisa Conquergood, the co-founder of PicMonkey, gave an interview where she listed a few of the key differences between Google and the rest of the world. Here are a few smart productivity tricks for every startup

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1. Stay Clear & On Course

Have you heard of the concept of Snippets? This is where employees give a quick idea of what they accomplished the previous week and their intention for the following week. You can implement this, regardless of how big or small your business may be.The key thing to note here is that in taking the time to state what had been done and what is still outstanding, you get instant clarity about what you are up to and whether you are still on course to reach your personal or business goals.Try it and see for yourself. Get yourself a journal (if you are alone at the helm of your business) and take a few minutes to get clear on what your goals are, what you have done, and what you want to do. Are you on course?

2. Stay Up To Date

The second benefit of the Snippets is that all Googlers get access to them, which makes working in Google pretty transparent. You can easily find out how people are progressing on a project and take it over without repeating the same work. In a startup, you can make use of this to ensure you and your team members are able to stay in touch with where you each are on a particular project. Work does not have to stop while one person is off or on holiday, as it is very clear exactly where the project ended. What application can you use for this? Trello is a great option for you, as well as a plain Kanban Board (as shown here on Wikipedia). Depending on the size of your operation, it may be fine just to have a very quick meeting where everyone gives the highlights of what they have done, where they may be stuck, and their goals for a pre-determined time period. Lisa Conquergood and her colleagues do this on a daily basis. Your time period will depend on how many people you have on staff.

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3. Stay In Touch No Matter Where You Are

Googlers have access to a full range of tools that enable them to stay in touch with colleagues who do not work in the same location. This, of course, avoids the need for a high level of travel, which in turn, saves time. Instead, Google Hangouts can be used to have conference calls, which mean you can see each other and read body language. This reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and distraction. With applications like Google Drive also available, you can see real time changes being made to a shared document. This can also streamline content creation, as well as keep a running log of all the changes appearing as they occur. If you have a team that works away from each other, these applications provide a way to stay in touch and keep time wasted down to a bare minimum.

As Lisa Conquergood states (here), “There is less tuning out on video calls, as you are being watched and are less likely to check your phone or have a side conversation. Reading people’s body language and expressions are an important part of communication, and video provides this hands down over a phone.”

Conclusion

Productivity is essential to keep a startup growing and increasing its service to its customers, therefore increasing its profits. Think about what can you implement starting now.

Featured photo credit: Man And Woman Having Business Meeting With Bag, Drinks And Technology via stokpic.com

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Rosemary Nonny Knight

Business & Life Strategist

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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