Happy New Year from the Service Autopilot team! Now, let’s kick off the New Year the RIGHT way.
It’s Christmas Day. You’re chilling with your family, having a great time, throwing back a couple drinks...and then one of your family members asks you the ONE question you always dread every year.
“How’s your business doing?”
Suddenly — You stop right in your tracks, because things haven’t been going so well. You’re embarrassed, but you don’t want to admit it. So instead, you shrug it off (AKA lie your ass off).
Don’t worry. We’re here to help. If you follow the tips in this blog, you’ll be one step closer to accomplishing your dreams and having a kickass New Year!
12 Ways to Boost Your Productivity
Productivity not only saves you time, but it also saves you money.
While our automations are single-handedly the #1 way to increase productivity, there are several other additional ways that we recommend to increase your productivity.
1. Create a Contract for Yourself
Most of the time, we spend more time procrastinating than if we had just done the job right the first time.
Create a contract with yourself REAL consequences. Also, give yourself incentive to get the job done.
Let’s give an example…
- Consequence: If I don’t hire 2 new employees within 3 months, then I have to switch the keto diet for a month.
- Incentive: If I finish inputting next month’s specials into Service Autopilot by friday, then I’ll finally go on that trip I’ve been trying to make time for.
Often times, we live in the future rather than the present.
We live our lives saying we’ll do something tomorrow...and then we never do it.
Think about what you can do TODAY rather than tomorrow.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
— Tony Robbins
Legendary Motivational Speaker
2. Practice Making Something New
No one can predict the future, but we can certainly plan for it.
...Which brings us to innovation.
When you innovate, you’re changing the way something has been previously established and done in the past through new
You can become an innovator by…
- Questioning the way things are done. If you think there’s a better way to do something, then try it. Innovators don’t stick to the status quo. They think outside the box.
- Being a leader. Innovators are leaders. They hire likeminded, passionate people. They make their employees feel respected through a productive, high-value work environment with clear roles and responsibilities.
- Being collaborative. Innovators understand that nothing will change, if you don’t hear out new thoughts and ideas. They use this as an opportunity to form a SWOT analysis.
- A SWOT analysis identifies your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Being diverse. If everyone thinks the same and acts the same, then nothing will improve or change. New personalities, thoughts and ideas are vital to hearing new, innovative ways to do things.
- Letting go of the reigns a bit and trusting their employees. They manage their companies through the center by allowing their employees to thrive at what they do best. They allow them to be creative and develop skills to advance their career path.
- Taking on complex solutions to problems. Innovators don’t take shortcuts. They’ll take on the complex solution, if it’s the better way to do something...even if there’s a higher risk.
- Being a manager of change. Innovators understand that you have to constantly embrace change, if you want to compete with your competition. This means innovators are constantly striving for excellence in everything they do. This also means they sometimes have to be willing to push their ideas — even when there’s resistance to those ideas.
- Avoiding the status quo. They understand that customers don’t always know what they want. They have to be willing to push boundaries and think outside the box.
- Thinking outside of traditional business metrics. They know that sometimes traditional business metrics can inhibit the growth of companies. There are times when a business’ success will speak for itself.
- Thinking of unconventional, new ideas. Innovators don’t just rely on other people for new ideas. They come up with their own.
So. That was a lot of information.
Where should you set your focus?
Here's a quote from The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life:
“When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, their host at dinner, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life. Gates and Buffett gave the same one-word answer: ‘Focus.’”
Try focusing on your #1 problem and figure out how to tackle it now.
An example of this is…
#1 Problem: “My team is drained from working so much overtime...but I just don’t have enough people to finish my routes. I can’t seem to find job applicants.”
Innovative Solution: “I’m going to change the way I’ve been looking for new employees. I’m going to start an employee incentive program to reward my employees $500 for every new hire they bring in. I’m also going to start a door hanger strategy with hiring ads.”
In order to plan for the future, you HAVE to be an innovator.
3. Minimize Distractions
If you’re distracted, then you won’t be working as productively. If you’re not working as productively, then you’re wasting time. If you’re wasting time, then you’re LOSING MONEY.
Check out this video from SimpleGrowth:
Other ways to minimize distractions…
- Practicing time and space management. Schedule a time for work that requires concentration. Use your first 90 minutes to focus on your hardest projects. If possible, ask your employees for quiet-time during this period.
- Limiting your tech disruptions. In the service industry, it’s unrealistic to say you should turn your phone off. With that said, you should consider withholding personal calls and texts for personal time.
- Keeping an organized workspace with minimal visual distractions. Try placing a tray on your desk for inbound work, and keep the project you’re working on in front of you. Although, if your workspace is typically hectic — it may be a sign you’re a visual organizer, and common organizational tips probably won’t work.
- Self-managing. Everyone has a different work style. Learning how to self-manage will help increase your focus and reduce your stress. Some people are naturally more easily distracted, social or restless. Instead of beating yourself up or trying to change it, learn what works best for you.
- Planning for minimizing distractions. Pick your top 2 distractions and work on them for 2 weeks. Pay attention to these distractions, and try to fix them during this time.
- Letting others know about your plan. Tell someone at work about your distraction, so they can help you stay in check. Try having a quick weekly meeting about it to see your progress. This will help you strategize minimizing distractions.
- Taking action. If people like dropping by your office to meet you throughout the day, try sending out a friendly reminder that you’re setting office hours.
- Maintaining your health. Be sure you’re sleeping enough. The average adult should sleep about 7 hours a night. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more susceptible to fatigue, irritability and a weaker focus. Adult men 19+ should intake 131+ fluid ounces of water a day and women need 95+. Although, this number does include the water intake you get from other food and beverages.
- Making time for reflection. At the end of each day, reflect on what you need to focus on the next day. Write it down. Then, you can look at your list the next morning.
Minimizing distractions is vital to optimizing your productivity.
4. Utilize Your 1st 90 Minutes
Your best work happens during the first 90 minutes of the workday.
This concept follows the 80/20 principle, which means 20% of your day leads to 80% of results.
This means you’ll get one step closer to your dreams...just by doing your most critical work during the first 90 minutes of your work day.
5. Prioritize High-Value Activities
For small business owners this might be difficult, but you should strive to focus on what’s going to actually earn you money.
Ask yourself: “What type of work am I doing?”
Let’s give an example…
If you’re paying someone $10 an hour to mow lawns, and you’re out there mowing lawns for for with your guys. You’re. Not. Growing. Your. Business.
You’re only making as much money as you’re your business is being paid to do the job. You working the routes isn’t earning you more money than if you hired more help, while you focus on other things...like marketing for example.
Hire other people to do the low-value activities, while you focus on the high-value activities that’ll earn you $100, $500 or even $1,000 an hour.
Hire out help when you need it, so you can delegate the lower-value tasks to someone else.
6. Don’t Waste Time
Phones. Internet browsing. Email. Social media. Office gossip. Games...these are ALL examples of the things we do to waste time.
You can stop wasting time by…
- Deciding what day you’re going to have. Are you scheduling routes? Will you be working on social media? Do you need to lock your office door and focus on a big project? You’ll have a much more productive day, if you decide what you’re going to make of it.
- Dress for the job. We all love our PJ’s and worn-out sweatpants we’ve been wearing since the dawn of time...even if you don’t have any meetings, you’re less likely to get work done when you’re not dressing for the day.
- Create and consume at different times. When you’re creating, you’re in-the-zone. There shouldn’t be any distractions in this stage...but when you’re consuming, you’re open to anything. You’re taking everything in all at once.
- Use timers. This will help you keep track of how much time you’re spending on each task and project. Both focus@will and TomatoTimer are great web tool timers.
You know when you’re wasting your time. Make yourself more consciously aware of it, so you can stop wasting your money.
7. Learn to Prioritize
In order to ensure you’re spending your time wisely, prioritizing is KEY.
You can prioritize by…
- Creating prioritized lists. Rank your tasks according to priority on your to-list. This will help you determine which tasks are higher profitability and deserve more time.
- Focus on the growth tasks. About 98% of what you do will drive growth...but only 2% will exponentially drive growth.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. Entrepreneurs tend to be perfectionists, but sometimes that can hurt your business. Be willing to finish something halfway, so that you’re able to get more done and have a higher likelihood of profitability.
- Finish the difficult tasks first. Do the one task you’ve been dreading at the beginning of the day. Procrastinating it will likely lead to a poorer performance and drive on other project throughout the day.
- Don’t plug a leaky hole — switch boats. When you own a business, there’s always something urgent happening. Don’t forget the important tasks just because something urgent came up. Switch boats and focus on what’s important.
“Don’t spend your time plugging a leaky boat, spend your time switching boats.”
— Tim Chen
Exercise is vital to productivity.
If you’re no longer working in the field, this can be hard to do. But this is critical to your well-being.
Just exercising 30 minutes a day will make you feel happier, less stressed, more energized, healthier and increase your focus.
9. Practice Punctuality
You’re the boss. You set the tone for your business. YOU embody the example of what you expect from your employees.
What does this mean?
Hold yourself to a higher standard, and it will show. Become the most punctual member on your team.
...If you’re punctual, then your employees will be punctual. This will create happy customers which will turn into higher revenue.
10. Learn to Love Lists
Lists are your BEST FRIEND.
Lists are great for…
- Creating schedules.
- You can make lists of who has paid time off, who is on each time, etc. This will make your lists much more organized and specific.
- Making a to-do list.
- We all forget to do things. Write down what needs to be done as situations arise...you might be surprised how much you would’ve forgotten.
- Making a calling list.
- Make a list of all the people you need to contact that day, and it’ll make your job so much easier.
- Creating a conference planner.
- Write down your conferences/meetings in a planner. This will not only help you remember them...but it’ll also tell you how many of them are actually necessary to the growth of your business.
Learn to love the lists, and it’ll be a total gamechanger.
11. Set Goals
If you want to increase your potential, you need to set goals for yourself.
Goals are great for increasing your profit margins. They also help you to be successful.
When creating goals, it’s important to remember the Five Golden Rules...
- Only set goals that will motivate you
- Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound) goals
- Set goals in writing
- Make an action plan
- Stick with it
If you follow these Five Golden Rules, you should be on the right path to being more profitable and successful next year.
...We’ve saved the best for last.
We’ve talked a great deal about saving time and time management.
While there are a lot of ways to do that, the BEST way to do that is with automations.
With our automations you can do just about anything. The best part? They’re ALL completely customizable. You’ll be able to…
- Send automated texts to clients
- Send automated welcome emails
- Create automated estimate processing
- Set automated reminders for yourself and your employees
Of course, these are only a few examples of the nearly endless combination of automations you can create.
What’s Ahead for the Service Industry?
No, matter what we do, change happens so quickly.
If we don’t keep up, we’ll quickly fall far behind. This is why you should consider keeping up with the news, especially when it concerns your service industry.
In particular, the lawn care market is growing…
- In the south, the neighborhoods are getting bigger, which means the landscaping industry is getting bigger too.
- Due to the older American population growing, it is causing an increased demand in lawn care.
These are only a few examples of why the lawn care industry is growing. In order to grow your business, you probably know the current events of your service industry.
If you read this article and follow this advice, we guarantee you’ll have a less stressful, more productive AND profitable 2019!
Growing your business is important, but taking care of yourself is equally vital. Your team is depending on you to stick around.
Now, get out there and start those resolutions.
Happy New Year!