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3 Smart Productivity Tricks Every Startup Can Learn From Google

3 Smart Productivity Tricks Every Startup Can Learn From Google
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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.”

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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