January is notoriously quiet here in Australia. Schools are on their summer break and many parents take extended leave to spend quality time with their families. The roads are quieter and so are the phones.
What that means for SME’s is that we have time to plan. We have time to review the business plans and we can begin to lay the foundations for the year ahead.
As we look at the coming year, it’s important that we have the right tools at our disposal.
Here at NE Solutions we jumped in a couple of months ago and invested in a new CRM. We’re growing at a vast rate of knots and our traditional tools were no longer serving our needs. Now that we are in the New Year we have noticed already a significant improvement in productivity.
Of course you don’t have to invest in a CRM to see improvements in productivity. There are many ways you can do that.
Planning tools that can improve productivity (and we use most of them in addition to the CRM):
- Emails and calendars that sync with your smart phone
- Physical Diaries for Day to Day Notes and To Do’s
- Scribble pads for mind mapping / brainstorming (sometimes it’s just easier to think on paper – though there are online versions of these tools – find the medium that suits you)
- Change your working space if you work from home. Go sit in a park, library or coffee shop. Or if you are having trouble thinking, take your problem out for a walk and think about what advice you would give a trusted friend going through your situation. When you get back, try and take your own advice. If that’s still too hard we can Map the Way forward for you.
The last thing I would like to mention to you is something called the Pomodoro Technique. It was created by Francesco Cirillo who found he was easily distracted – and that was well before Social Media! So he found a kitchen timer (it was in the shape of a tomato – Pomodoro is Italian for tomato for those wondering).
He tested the idea and found the best option for him was this. You work for 25 minutes after which you get a 5 minute “break” after the 4th 25 minute working session your break extends to 15 minutes.
It may not be suitable for you, but it is a tried and tested method for getting work done. Say for instance you really don’t want to do something. You’ve put off the filing for so long its overflowing trays onto desks and floors. Well this technique means you do this job for 25 minutes then you stop. You can do anything for 25 minutes right? Repeat on a daily basis until the job is complete. And that goes for anything else you really don’t want to do – but needs doing.
There are many more planning tools of course and you may have a favourite that works for you. If you do and would like to share, we’d love to hear from you.