As efficiency is increased, there is a proportionate increase in productivity. And as productivity increases, employees stand out, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. To carry this cause/effect chain one step further, employees who stand out get the raises and the promotions; and as their businesses grow, entrepreneurs realize more profit. No one is opposed to becoming as efficient as possible, but actually mastering the art and science of this skill means giving up old habits – habits that die hard.
What follows is a short list of some realistic steps you can take to become more efficient and thus put more money in your pocket. We’ll get the millionaire part later.
Manage Your Time
This is so easy to say, isn’t it? Most of us think we do a pretty good job of this, but here are some things to think about.
- Are you setting priorities so that what you spend your time on makes sense? To become more efficient, you have to decide what is the best use of your time right now, in this moment? The other side of this coin is this: What can you efficiently do yourself, and what can you not? If you cannot do something without a lot of new learning (a big time drain), who can you get to do it efficiently? The new learning can come when you really do have the time for it.
- How much time are you really wasting? Are you reading blog posts that don’t really relate to your tasks at hand? Are your rummaging through social media too much? Is your time and energy being drained by others who are pretty unproductive and who just need a “listening ear” or who need to talk about all of the drama in their lives? You have to find ways to fend them off!
Use Technology Smartly
Get apps that are going to increase your efficiency. Here are just a few:
- Producteev – Here’s a great app that allows you to assign tasks to yourself and others, to prioritize them, and to manage and track them. You don’t have to make phone calls, send memos, or have a face-to-face to get a progress report – it’s all accessible at once.
- Dropbox – Store all of your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. No more forgetting to email a file to yourself so you can access it at home later.
- Boomerang – This great little tool lets you keep track of your emails. You will be notified as to who has responded and who has not, and you can automatically re-send it to those who have not. You can also compose an email when you have time and set a time for delivery. If you know our recipient checks emails at a certain time every day, set delivery for that time.
- Smartphone Dictation App – You don’t have to have your laptop or tablet with you anymore, nor do you have to scramble for a piece of paper to write something down when you are not near another device. Just dictate it all into your phone and you have it. No more forgetting those great ideas or those tasks you suddenly remember have to get done soon!
There are many more great apps and tools – find those that work really well for you and use them.
Stop Seeking Perfection
Only a few things really require perfection, and you will waste a lot of time seeking the unattainable. You can review and edit a report, a sales email, or a business blog 50 times, and that 51st time you will still find something to change. Stop it!
- Learn How to Focus: If you let your mind wander while you are completing tasks, or, worse, if you allow interruptions, the task will always take much longer to complete. Turn everything off, and concentrate on the task at hand and only that. You’ll finish much faster!
- Make Your Own Deadlines: Most of us work more efficiently when we are facing a deadline. Set deadlines even when there is no need to do so. If you live by those deadlines, you won’t procrastinate and continue to allow yourself to be interrupted. The reward is more time for something not work related that you might enjoy!
- Stop Multi-Tasking: A lot of people state they can do this well; in reality, very few really can. A wise woman once said, “You can only plant one potato at a time,” and she was right. Focus on one thing at a time, and everything will get done faster.
- Delegate: Some people do this well; other simply cannot bring themselves to “let go” of the control of every single task that must be accomplished. If this is you, you have to break this behavior. Start with very small things and work your way up. Gradually, you’ll get used to it, and you’ll discover those upon whom you can count to get things done.
- Create Standard Routines for Recurring Tasks: Procedures are beautiful things! If you have them in place for all tasks that occur on a regular basis, you do not have to re-invent a process for completion.
- Schedule Downtime: You cannot be efficient if your brain is “fried” or you are over-stressed or tired. Think of something else – anything – will renew you, and you will get things done faster.
These are 9 little hacks that should really help. The 10th relates to this “Millionairism”. With all of your efficiency, your income will increase, so the question becomes, how do you turn that into a million?
If you have never read the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, you must get it now. Even if you have read it, find it again. This is you new “Bible.” Written in 1926 by Gerry Clason, this is a fable of 3 friends, only one of whom had accumulated great wealth. The wealthy one finally gives his “secrets” to the others, and they are as valid today as they were in 1926. You have to get efficient with your money, by following these “rules.” Just to entice you a bit, he states that you must always pay yourself first, and that you must live below your means as your income increases. You have to be as efficient with your money as you are with your time!