It is often the case that our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. This is true in our personal lives as well as business. One of the great things about small businesses is the number-8 wire mentality of just getting the job done. But the flipside is that we aren’t always all that efficient, we’re not all that productive. Or put another way, we are working harder and not making as much progress.
And the consequences are serious. A recent report from Xero showed that 37% of small businesses were either only just coping or really struggling with financial wellbeing. While part of the cause identified was the tough operating environment, part of the longer-term fix is increasing our productivity. And as pointed out by the Productivity Commission, we’ve got a long way to go!
There are millions of online articles that give guidance on increasing productivity, and the medicine that they dispense is both simple and obvious. ‘Focus on one task at a time’, ‘set small objectives’, ‘delegate’ and so on. However, when the phone is ringing and the email is pinging, it’s pretty darn hard to stay on task. But one technique that DOES work – albeit with a bit of discipline – is the 20:70:10rule.
What is the 20:70:10 rule I hear you ask? Really simply, it is about how you allocate your time.it works like this:
- 20% of your time should be on tidying up stuff from the past– be it getting invoices out, reviewing work, making sure that the right things have been done.
- 70% of your time should be on the here-and-now. Your ‘day job’ – doing the doing.
- 10% of your time should be on making tomorrow better than today was: reviewing/implementing systems, planning, thinking about how to get better at whatever it is you do.
The stink thing is it’s that even though it’s the 10% that really “moves the needle”, this is the bit that is the first to get dropped when we get busy. So, if you want to do one thing to improve your productivity and aren’t sure how to start? Book some time by yourself at whatever time of day you don’t get interrupted, put your phone on silent, close your email and start working on that 10%.
Know that you want to improve productivity but aren’t sure how to start? Get in contact.
For those who pay tax provisionally with a March balance date, the August provisional tax payment is just around the corner. 28th of August to be precise. Keep an eye out for the tax reminder letters, we will be sending these out over the next couple of weeks. If your circumstances have changed or you’re going to struggle to meet the payment date, please get in contact.