With better tools, what key metrics could you improve in your business?
Productivity is a key performance indicator in most organizations and it measures how efficient and effective employees are at their job.
Such metrics form a part of what ultimately decides winners and losers in the marketplace. That's because clients are more inclined to choose a service provider who can complete more tasks in the same amount of time when compared to a competitor.
Higher productivity lets you provide a greater level of contribution to your customers' business, and you can gain a reputation as a value-added partner. Here are five tools that can boost your performance at the office.
1. Virtual Assistant Services
Virtual assistants (VA) have been around for years and there are plenty of offshore providers based in countries such as India, the Philippines, and Costa Rica, to name a few. But lately, the industry has trended toward specialized VAs who are experts in the technical field such as bookkeeping, database management and IT.
Virtual assistants can save you precious hours and stress so you can focus on core tasks. With VAs, it can be prudent to delegate administrative tasks such as:
- Schedule a meeting
- Organize a calendar
- Double-check a spreadsheet
- Make entries to a database
- Conduct online research
- Update social media accounts
- Book airline tickets and hotels
- Fact-check a presentation
Virtual assistants are well-suited for specific and recurring assignments i.e., "boring" tasks. If you earn $35 an hour and you pay a VA $6 an hour, it can be well worth it to assign projects to such providers. You can find generalist VAs by doing a Google search. Similarly, you can seek specialized help in technical tasks such as web research, bookkeeping entries or updating a database.
2. Clockspot, Clear and Evernote
There are apps that organize your action items as well as track the progress of your projects. One such app is Clockspot which is an online time clock that tracks employee time, manages timesheets, monitors remote employees and calculates payroll. These functions are done in real-time and reflect the importance of keeping a pulse on how efforts are translating into milestones.
Another app is Clear which organizes your to-do list. It lists your action items and reminds you when it's time to work on a specific task. A to-do list is a simple approach to scheduling your workday but it's perhaps the most effective way of increasing your productivity.
A similar app is Evernote, one of the most popular productivity apps, which allows users to take notes as well as upload photos, audio and video files for quick organizing. The cloud-stored data can be synced across various devices. When you prioritize your daily activities, you're forced to constantly ask yourself "What's the best use of my time right now?"
If you work for a big company, you might be lucky to have concierge services that handle various errands such as picking up laundry, making restaurant reservations and arranging décor at a conference room. But for most everyone else, you can use Postmates to shave off precious hours so you can stay working. The service lets you have food, office supplies or any other retail items delivered at your doorstep.
This gives you the ability to avoid costly interruptions at work. Postmates is available in most major cities.
4. Google Now
Similar to Apple's Siri, Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant that promotes efficiency. It can be downloaded to your smartphone as well as Chrome browser. Google Now has a natural language interface that answers questions, makes recommendations and performs other tasks by leveraging a variety of web services. More importantly, the app adjusts to your personal preferences which enable it to work more efficiently on future tasks.
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Here are a few ways you can delegate tasks to Google Now:
- Convert currency
- Monitor stock movements
- Stay on top of developing stories in your industry
- Get updates on a specific news topic
- Obtain product listings
If cash is king, then content is queen in the world of information. Over the past five years, digital has transformed the marketing function into a constantly-changing discipline that's setting up new performance metrics and standards.
Not surprisingly, today's marketers look to best-in-class content and influencers to improve their brand's position. BuzzSumo lets you quickly find the best content and influencers for any given topic. The app identifies which articles gets the most traffic and social engagement so your content developers and SEO professionals can benchmark such content. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, you can study the best content optimizers and incorporate what they do best into your own practices.
Sites such as Fiverr and Upwork (a rebranded site after the merger of Elance-oDesk) deserve special mention because these sites allow you to delegate a wide array of administrative and professional tasks. Fiverr tends to be a better option because of the site's robust rating system which helps you to avoid low-quality providers.
Here are projects you can delegate on these and similar sites:
- Design a logo
- Publish content on authoritative websites
- Create a promotional video
- Implement a new website
- Edit a whitepaper or blog
- Update social media channels
- Design banner ads
In business, only results matter. Productivity is a measure of how you use your limited time to drive key metrics. If your company hired you as an architect or digital advertiser, it'd be prudent to implement the essential tasks of your job and to delegate non-essentials to digital assistants (such as virtual assistants and Google Now) and outsourced providers.
In a hyper-competitive economy, it's about producing better results and helping your business thrive.