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Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

2017 has already started but you are not really too late to reflect about what has worked for you and what is not really cutting it. And, after much soul searching, if you have arrived at the conclusion that you need to be more organized in 2017 once and for all, then take my words you are not the only one. But the million dollar question is: how?

When it comes to making life more organized, there is no one-size-fits-all so you have to find out what works best for you.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey, Famous American Author

Here is a list of 15 free productivity resources that can get you more organized in the coming year.

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1. Google Drive

For those who swear by Google, Google Drive, which includes Google Spreadsheet and Google Docs, will make your life easy by sharing and editing a range of files. You can even share notes from within a document. It’s absolutely awesome to use. Give it a try!

2. IFTTT

IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That.’ For those who are hooked on to social media, this cool resource allows various services and apps to connect and work together. You can create your IFTTT recipe to automatically upload your Instagram photos into your Google Drive account. The awesomeness of this resource is that it can be utilized in endless combinations! 

3. Rescue time

You can install Rescue Time on your computer to track down which websites and programs you use the most. For those who want to track their time, it is one of the coolest tools that not only shows which program or website you are spending most of your time at but also shows in which hours you are least productive.

It will also show you the best and worst days of the week. If you buy the resource and become a premium user, you will have the ability to block out distracting sites. Use this tool to stay productive and organized in the New Year!

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4. Toggl

Toogl is a time tracking resource that is extremely easy to use. You just need to click on the Toogl button and the timer will begin. You can easily track the time you take to complete various tasks. It also gives you a weekly report on your performance. 

5. StayFocused

StayFocused is an extended and free version of Chrome that blocks distracting sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc while you are working. This tool can be customized – you can choose websites you want to block and the time for which you want it to remain blocked.

6. Chrome to Mobile

This unique extension of Chrome allows you to directly move the web pages and other things that you are surfing, to your phone. It helps you to stay organized and keep browsing the internet easily when on the move. 

7. LastPass

It is an innovative resource that comes in handy for those who struggle to remember their passwords. For those who have a hard time handling too many accounts, this amazing resource remembers all your passwords, so you will not have to panic about remembering passwords anymore!

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This tool can be used across several devices. It stores and audits passwords in your vault so that you can create more secure passwords. It is a secure tool to use. It uses multifactor authentication for your master password. By using this resource, you can definitely stay more organized in 2017! 

8. Pocket

Have you ever come across an amazing content or video but you don’t have the time to check it out at that instant? For those who love blogs, Pocket is an easy-to-use resource that helps you save videos, images, songs, contents, etc to check out later. When you have some free time, you can open it on your mobile or computer and check them easily. This way you can keep your list and life organized!

10. Podkicker

If you are one of those podcast addicts, this is a must-use resource that will help you organize your subscriptions. It has an easy to use interface and above all its free! But you can also update to Podkicker Pro to get rid of unwanted ads. 

10. ELance

Sometimes it can be really challenging to concentrate on jobs but imagine if you could make use of a resource that will do the job for you? If you want someone else to write your blogging content, Elance is the place to visit! You can sign up with the site for free. You have to pay them 10% of what you earn per project. You can try this resource once in a while when you want to hang out with friends or watch a movie without having to lose a client!

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11. Hemingway

Do you have anyone to proofread your blog content after you are done with it? No? Don’t worry, here’s a cool resource that will check the grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation and sentence fragmentation of your content and highlight the errors so that you can rectify them. Give it a try and stay more organized and focused! 

12. SaneBox

For those who need to keep their email organized, SaneBox has qualities like Sherlock! Yes, it can analyze your past and current mail activity to figure out which mail matters to you and which doesn’t. This resource helps in moving the less significant emails to SaneLater folder which you can retrieve when you have spare time. Unlike some other tools that completely banishe the unimportant emails, here they stay hidden. A perfect resource to stay organized!

Remember that merely signing up for these 15 free resources will not solve all your organization and productivity issues in an instant. Try picking one these resources and stay true to using it every day! If these apps are not of much help then check out the 5 minutes hacks to solve all your woes.

Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 68.media.tumblr.com

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Anuradha Sarkar

Digital Marketing Manager

Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

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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

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