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How to improve your productivity whilst running a busy MSP

Productivity hacks & Tips for MSP Business owners & managers.

What’s the problem?

A lot of MSP’s start out the same, often by techies that want to progress and create a service offering they can control and develop. This start in business can often mean the business/MSP owner is spending most of their time working IN the business and not ON the business. In other words, probably still involved with the daily tech, client support and re-active activities of an MSP.

The first challenge of the business owner and management is to transition the business to allow them to work on the business (and not in it). Once successfully transitioned, this means the business owner can spent their valuable time on activities that can have a pro-active result on the business , growth plans and exit planning. These activities may include business plans, marketing/sales, building the team and developing strategic partnerships.

So now you have lots of time and control over your day, right?

A lot of people think that once they have made the move and built a team to allow them to work ON the business, that this will allow them to have control over their time, day and activities.

Unfortunately, not!

With the increased responsibilities and tasks that come along with planning, business activities, growth, HR and partnerships you will find you have less time (and more stress).

At this stage, business owners and managers need to get smarter with their time, they need to improve productivity!

What does it mean to be productive?

A lot of business owners have busy lives, whether that’s in the office or at home. With the hustle and bustle of daily life and the constant firefighting, ‘busyness’ is often mistaken for being productive.

The fundamental difference is the output achieved, or the result. Are you making progress?

When working in a reactive state like firefighting tasks, your head is just above the water, and the day dictates your direction and what you achieve (or don’t achieve). This is counterproductive, and if you have goals for the day, month or life you’re going to struggle to move closer to them.

Switching to a pro-active state when dealing with tasks, projects and planning will allow progress to be made, which is often measurable bringing you closer and closer to your goals.

How can you improve your daily time management, to improve results?

  1. Email

Email is probably one of the biggest time drains in business. Reading and processing email puts you in a re-active state, and you’re basically working on someone else’s TO DO list when your replying and actioning emails.

To Improve email processing:

  • Remove Distraction – Turn off Alerts

  • Gain Control – Have scheduled times during the day when you open, read and process email

  • Pro-active Approach to email – Live by the INBOX ZERO method – Every time you ‘process’ email, deal with the email there and then. Whether it’s a delete, forward, reply or move to a TO PROCESS folder – Each time getting your inbox to 0 emails. This method puts you in a pro-active state and removes the stress associated with a full inbox.
  • Streamline – When sending emails, use specific subjects, keep the email short & snappy, and include a clear action you want the reader to take. This will allow for faster response, and will increase the chances of the recipient using a similar format.
  • Leverage Technology

Were all techies, so leverage Technology to your advantage. Use Apps like EVERNOTE, Basecamp, Trello etc… for task management & reminders.

  • Plan, Plan & Plan

This is an important one – To gain true control of your time, day, week and life, you need to PLAN!. Whether you plan on a Sunday for the week ahead, or the night before the days activities, get yourself a weekly planner and stick to it. Make sure your tasks align with your bigger goals.

  • Routines & Habits

Productivity is cultivated when you exercise regular routines & habits. This also feeds into your planning. Carve out your perfect day, times in the day for specific types of tasks, when will you be working out of the office, when are you going to the gym and healthy habits like eating healthily, all boost productivity.

  • Eat the Frog

Get the biggest, hardest & ugliest task of the day done first – Don’t put it off! Completing this task will ensure you don’t put it off, and will boost mindset once complete to then hit your TO DO list.

  • 2 Mins or Less?

Can the task be done in 2 minutes or less? Just do it, now!

  • Get out of the office

Most offices are full of distractions, and probably more so within an office of a Managed service provider. Whether its for a couple of hours per week, or a couple of days – Get out of the office. Find some where to hot desk, or a home office. You will find you get through tasks a lot more efficiently.

  • Get rid of distractions

The biggest distraction that will follow you around, is your mobile/cell phone. Turn off alerts, put it away… At least when tackling important tasks.

  • Know your ‘WHY’

Why do you get up in the morning and do what you do? By doing a little self-discovery, looking at the bigger picture and understanding why you want to build and grow your MSP this will give you an overriding goal and drive that will support all of your daily activities

  1. Take ACTION

Are you working on the right tasks and activities? If you’re not making progress, analise your past daily planning and work out if your tasks align with your main goals, and ultimately your WHY. During daily planning, ensure you have x1-x3 tasks scheduled that will move you forward and feel like a win.

The results?

When you move to a pro-active state with planning, goal getting and including productivity hacks within your daily routine, you will find results will improve, and tasks will be completed faster. You will also feel more energised, able to ‘turn off’ when not working, and make progress growing your MSP.

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