Members share top productivity tips (guest blog)


Anything that increases our productivity and helps us operate more efficiently has to be good for business, right?

One of the bonuses of being a member of Business Choir is that every so often you get to do a member takeover! In a nutshell this means that you get to take 20 minutes of the networking section of the evening and lead an activity or discussion.

Bristol member Emma Spillane runs Spillane Consulting, a company that provides planning and administrative support to small businesses in the local area. She ran a member takeover which encouraged members to share top tips and advice around productivity. Here, Emma shares some of what came out of the 20 minute slot.

Member takeover on productivity

As increasing productivity and helping small businesses to avoid overwhelm or focus on growth is key to a lot of the support we carry out at Spillane Consulting, this seemed like good subject matter for me to explore with members in my member takeover. It’s not often that we, as small business owners, get the chance to sit and share productivity hacks, tips or advice between ourselves.

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After a very brief introduction to what we do at Spillane Consulting, I gave members the following short brief:

Talk with the person next to you, and share at least 1 system, process, habit or app that you find helps with your efficiency and boosts your productivity…

Here is a summary of what came out of the resulting discussion:

Productivity/time-saving strategies:

  • Pomodoro Technique
    time management technique which uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks

  • ‘Make Time’ Book – marketed as ‘A friendly approach to finding focus and energy in your daily life.’

  • Give yourself small rewards for completing tasks – keeps you motivated!

  • Find and make use of an accountability buddy – find another business owner who is a good fit and committed to partnering up - check in with one another at regular intervals throughout the year to see whether you’re on track with what you said you were going to do.

  • Use travel time to capture ideas and do strategic planning – sometimes the down time spent on a bus, coach, plane or a train trip can be the perfect time to take a step back from the day-to-day business and plan your ‘what ifs?’ or ‘what nexts?’. Keep a notebook and pen on you, or record and save voice messages.

  • Make use of inspiring stationery – when only pen and paper will do! A very popular move within the group, maybe not too surprising as we’re a network of business owners who choose to sing together (so maybe we are all inherently creative!), but choice of paper or calendar to plan with (for those who were not fans of solely using online tools) was deemed very important, as the consensus was that the more pride that went into creating something workable and visually appealing, the more likely the plan would be appreciated and implemented.

Useful tools/apps:

  • Canva – for generating images for just about anything – social media posts, leaflets, letterheads, posters, CVs, invitations…

  • Quickbooks or Xero or Freeagent (plus other accounting systems/apps) – for management information at a glance and keeping on top of your invoicing, expenses etc. – keep all your accounts in one place – this is becoming more important as we move towards Making Tax Digital.

  • Dropbox/Google Drive/Google Docs etc. – any system that means you can easily share documentation with others in your team or family as appropriate. Saves confusion as multiple copies of things get pinged back and forth – everyone looking at the same thing at any one time. Various free and paid packages are available on the market depending on your needs.

  • Google Keep – an app that helps you capture your thoughts and tasks in one place - location and time-based reminders can be set.

  • Shared online calendar (various) – saves duplication paper diary/calendar and easy to share with others in team or household. You can also colour code different calendars to see at a glance what activities you have for each day/week/month/year and whether your work-life balance seems about right.

Don’t get me wrong, this obviously doesn’t even scratch the surface in terms of productivity tips and hacks available to us in all forms these days (this is a summary of what we came up with and shared in 15 minutes between us), but if you get the chance to check out any of the above and it just even leads you to review your current systems and habits with a view to improving productivity, it’s moved you one step closer to a less cluttered path with more focus!

To find out more about how Spillane Consulting might help you with your business support needs, see our website. In the meantime, if you’re considering signing up to Business Choir I wholeheartedly recommend putting your name down to do a member takeover as you get to both share your experience and showcase your expertise!


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