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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Focus to Boost Business

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How many times have you wished you had more time to promote the business? We can always find the time, provided that promotion is the top priority. But is it just a case of prioritising? Trouble is, whenever you prioritise, something else is demoted. So how can we make more time for key tasks?

One solution I've heard suggested is to tap into that "just before holiday" frenzy.

We all work like crazy before a holiday to clear the desk - all we need is to do that every day to increase our output... And when you're tired? Just imagine someone pointing a gun at your head - if that was real, all tiredness would vanish. Well yes. That's great in the short term. But how long would most people's health last, piling on the stress like that?

We can do a prodigious amount of work when we have a powerful motivating reason - saving lives, helping charities, going on hols, turning the business around, moving office or house etc. But we know it's for a finite period.

Sure, build a bit of rush time into a week, but there is another way: work smarter. And I'm not thinking about rushing out to buy the latest gadget. I had a harsh but valuable experience that taught me to focus on the important stuff only.

Recently I lost the use of my right arm for 8 weeks - a frozen shoulder. Agony. And I'm right-handed. Painkillers and a good physio sorted it out. I now use the free program called WorkRave to enforce breaks so I don't get another frozen shoulder. But boy, did I get a really good set of lessons in how to work efficiently. I didn't have any choice.

I addressed emails twice a day. I only looked at ones from clients, friends and family. And I painstakingly typed one line answers to clients. Anything else was done by phone. Guess what? I slashed my email time by half and still had time to cancel or block a load of email that was not immediately useful, saving more time in future.

Speeches, case studies, articles and releases were handled with speech to text software (Dragon-Dictate) and took less time to write than direct keystrokes as speech is generally more concise than the written word (I'd previously trained the software to recognise my voice).

And I rigorously recycled text to ensure our online marketing remained on course by questioning everything I created - how can I use it again for maximum impact? A blog headline becomes a tweet and a Facebook posting via Tweetdeck pointing back to the blog. Or use to cover lots of social media and bookmarking sites with one post. And if the subject is strong enough, it could edited into a e-newsletter and pushed to your permission-based e-mailing list.

I expect you can suggest more ways to streamline your working day: let's hear them!

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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