This one productivity hack saves me a pile of time every day
The most common topic of discussion amongst business owners is the lack of time we all have on a day to day basis, and it is getting worse. I was the same, feeling overextended, until I discovered a very powerful way to tilt things back in my favour.
Some time back I had a project where I had to give feedback to fifty people taking part in an entrepreneurial program. The task was daunting and likely to take me an entire week to complete. I needed to come up with a better way of giving the feedback so I made the decision to record them and send each person an MP3 file.
Using a cheap headphone plugged into my computer and a simple recording app (there are lots to choose from and many are free) I recorded between five and ten minutes of personal feedback for each person. This enabled me to complete the feedback project in two days as opposed to five.
The feedback was a little surprising. I started to receive emails from the entrepreneurs sharing just how much they loved getting the recorded reports. They really liked that it was so personal, the depth of the feedback I shared, the ability to be able to have complex ideas explained in detail and the fact that they could listen to it, as they needed, whilst driving or exercising.
Initially I did it to save me time but I soon saw just how beneficial it was to the students. Then it dawned on me that I could use this technique in a few other areas of my business life that were causing me grief.
Like most people, I had a pile of special emails that I needed to respond to, but they were all a little complicated or requiring lengthy replies. I kept putting them off until I could find the time to respond accordingly, but it just wasn’t happening. Taking my new approach, I started early the next morning and managed to record twenty complicated messages in about two hours.
Now this felt like the single most productive day I had ever had. It was barely 9am and I had achieved more in two hours than it felt like I had done in the previous week. And once I started to get responses to my emails, from my clients, staff members, suppliers and potential customers, all saying how refreshing it was to receive a message in this format, I was hooked.
I don’t record every message, but I do record those messages that require longer responses than an average email, or those that need a more personal feel or those conversations that are complicated or difficult for some reason.
When I am asked about the benefits of recording letters, emails and messages (and I am asked this often) my response is:
- You can say much more in a shorter amount of time, a 3 to 4 minute recorded message can
- Be the equivalent of a couple of pages of written text.
- There are fewer miscommunications regarding the tone of the message.
- It is much more engaging and personal for the person receiving the communication.
- It is a great way to stand out from others and to be memorable.
- You can record responses from any device, from any location. This means sitting in a park, answering emails by recording messages can now be an enjoyable process as opposed to a dread chore.
- You get to clear your inbox of the “complicated” messages needing a response.
This could be one of the best productivity tools around. It certainly has saved me many hours each week and made difficult conversations much easier.
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About the contributor:
Andrew Griffiths is Australia’s leading Small Business author with 12 books published and currently sold in over 60 countries. He is widely acknowledged as one of the leading minds in the Small Business space. He is a regular columnist on Inc.com out of New York, a Small Business commentator for CBS, a Mentor in the highly acclaimed Key Person of Influence programme and much more. Touting his own unique style of street-smart wisdom and inspiration, Andrew really is one of a kind. Website:http://www.andrewgriffiths.com.au