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3 Apps and Starbucks Coffee Shop Help Me Manage the Workload of My Job and Business

3 Apps and Starbucks Coffee Shop Help Me Manage the Workload of My Job and Business

In the 21st Century, the human race has travelled far from an ape to a primitive man to a well-civilized human being. The journey wasn’t easy but we, as humans, have achieved things which are simply majestic.

Today, with access to the latest technology and tools, our lifestyle is in the most comfortable zone it can be in but at the same time today, one of the biggest challenges our generation is facing is low productivity and managing the workload. Also many of us have multiple interests and to fulfill those interests there are multiple options and tools and it’s all just too overwhelming.

If you have multiple interests, businesses or if you are managing a job and a business at the same time and you are finding it difficult to manage your workload and schedules, then you are not alone. I too was sitting on the fence until I figured out the right technique.

In this post I’ll tell you exactly which three apps I use and how to manage the workload. I’ll also show you the exact technique I use to decide which tasks to put in the calendar and which ones to discard for now in order to get the most out of my available time and to increase productivity.

Three Apps and Starbucks Coffee Shop

The apps I use and hware required (you can use any app that does similar functions) in this technique are:

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  1. DO
  2. Calendars by Readdle
  3. Dropbox Technology

Sometimes I work from home but most of the time I work from Starbucks and there are a few reasons for using Starbucks but I’ll share two of the most important ones. Firstly, it is a great place for having a coffee and networking because there are many other fellow entrepreneurs, freelancers or like-minded people who come and work there. And the second – you can get free WiFi!

Let’s dive in to see why I only leverage these three apps and the detailed workings of this technique.

Growth Three Times Technique

Using this technique, I managed the workload of my business – GrowthRabbit – which helps entrepreneurs and bloggers grow their audiences, businesses and blogs and my involvement in a London based start-up, build a holiday where I oversee their business growth and user experience which helps them achieve their viral growth.

So, we have three apps, let’s start with the first one called Any.DO as well as step one of this technique. I call this technique “Growth Three Times” simply because I use three apps which help me increase my productivity and help me grow.

Step: 1

Any.DO is a to-do list app. This is a great app within this category and it has both free and paid versions but the free version is enough to get you started. I use this app because of its simplicity and easily creatable categories, plus it’s free.

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We are going to use this app as a task planner. We need to create four categories within the app. The names of the categories could be anything as far it is accomplishing our goal. Our goal at this stage is to write down all of the tasks we need to do and then segment them into three different categories.

anydo-task-planner
    1. Big Pot – Generic task pot. Dump all the tasks or work you have to do in here.
    2. Smooth Tasks – Pick and place the tasks from the ‘Big Pot list’ to ‘Smooth Tasks’ list that are urgent and mandatory to do.
    3. May Be Later – Pick and place the tasks from the ‘Big Pot’ list to ‘May Be Later’ list that are not urgent or mandatory. In short, tasks which don’t require your attention right now.
    4. Discard For Now – Pick and place the tasks from the ‘Big Pot list’ to ‘Discard list’ that are not important at all and can be done at any time or at your own leisure.

    Step: 2

    In step 2 we are going to use another app called Calendars by Readdle. This app is basically a calendar/scheduler and it can be easily integrated with other calendars if you wish to do so. There are both free and paid versions but the free version is enough. I use this app because it’s simple, user-friendly and it’s free.

    The first thing to do in this step is to schedule all of our tasks listed under the “Smooth Tasks” category on our app Any.DO into the Calendars by Readdle app based on the task deadlines, urgency and their importance.

    Next, pick tasks from the “May Be Later” category from Any.DO app and schedule all of these tasks into Calendars by Readdle based on their urgency and task deadlines.

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    calendar-schedular

      You see, using this technique of organizing and managing tasks is super easy without being overwhelmed and workload management becomes simple. This is why it’s very important to segment your tasks first and then schedule them into the calendar rather than scheduling the tasks directly.

      An important point to pay attention to: Organize your calendar on a monthly basis and optimize on a weekly basis. I organize my calendar on 29th of each month and then optimize every Thursday using the exact same technique. Thus, any new task that comes up first goes into the ‘Big Pot’ category and after the segmentation process, it goes onto my calendar.

      Step 3: Give A Boost To Your Productivity

      Lastly, I keep all of my files and folders in the cloud – Dropbox technology. I do this because not only it enables me to work remotely but allows me to access and share all of my files and folders from the Dropbox mobile app.

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        So, if anything urgent comes up that requires sharing files, I don’t have to remember to do that when I reach my PC or laptop, I can do that straight away. In fact, using the technology you can cut roots and complete the small tasks here and this can relieve you from stress and ultimately boost your productivity.

        Conclusion

        Productivity is all about your input to output. So whatever you are doing always make sure that you put less effort, which is possible using your creativity, techniques and tools, and get at least 3X the output. One thing is clear, with today’s access to technology we are able to leverage this technology smartly and creatively to manage workloads, schedules, multiple businesses and jobs altogether.

        Which other techniques have you used to manage your workload and schedules? Please let us know in the comments below:

        Featured photo credit: Tortoon Thodsapol via Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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        Chintan Maisuria

        Growth Marketing

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        Last Updated on January 6, 2021

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

        In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

        For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

        For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

        Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

        Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

        Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

        How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

        1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

        Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

        For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

        2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

        Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

        Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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        Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

        3. Create a System

        Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

        This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

        You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

        Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

        4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

        We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

        If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

        Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

        Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

        5. Use a Ratings Scale

        Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

        Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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        It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

        6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

        This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

        You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

        You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

        7. Offer Feedback Forms

        Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

        First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

        Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

        You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

        8. Track Cost Effectiveness

        This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

        Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

        Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

        9. Use Self-Evaluations

        Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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        Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

        10. Monitor Time Management

        This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

        Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

          The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

          While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

          11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

          We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

          Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

          For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

          Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

          Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

          From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

          12. Utilize Peer Feedback

          This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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          Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

          Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

          It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

          13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

          When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

          Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

          Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

          14. Use an External Evaluator

          Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

          They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

          While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

          Final Thoughts

          These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

          The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

          The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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          Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

          Reference

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