We’re rounding the corner into the final quarter of 2016 in a couple weeks … and in my opinion, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate how your year has gone — still with some time to make changes by December 31.

So I hope you do look at your financial statements, your cash flow, and the management reports to see what you can do better for these final last months of the year.

But here’s the thing: if you aren’t excellent about how you manage your time — and how OTHER people use your time — it won’t really matter.

Because, frankly, it’s often poor productivity at the top of the food chain that causes poor growth in a small business.

What I’ve put together here, is for busy executives of any stripe. These are the Productivity Vampires… and they are to be avoided at all costs.

Valerie McLaughlin’s
“Real World” Business Strategy Note
The Productivity Vampires
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” -Jim Rohn

Just because you work harder doesn’t mean that your business is going to grow.

In fact, many times it’s the opposite.

Sometimes, you find that you’re “working harder” because you have fallen into a pit of poor productivity and efficiency.

What I have found to be helpful is recognizing how there are certain habits and practices that are very likely sucking all of the life-force from your day’s productivity.

As an idea starter, here are four things that very well might be killing your momentum. For you, these might not be an issue, so I urge you to consider what your Productivity Vampires really ARE …

App Addiction
If you’re constantly checking Facebook, answering or originating random text messages, or have any social media account alerts turned on, you’ll never be as productive as you could be.

Email Addiction
Turn off your alerts here, too. Whenever you click on the “Get Mail” button, your brain drip feeds small doses of Something-Important-Is-About-To-Happen-Juice. Except, it’s not true. Try this out for just one week and see if you don’t accomplish more than you thought possible.

Other People’s Emergencies
Emergencies aside, send your calls to voicemail first and return them only during set times (and state those times on your voicemail greeting). This has three instant benefits. First, it tells people you are a focused person, which they will respect and even appreciate. Second, it makes you a focused person–keeping you on task and freeing you from interruptions you can’t anticipate. Third, you can determine if you’re the right person to handle the call or if it can be delegated.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Want to know where you’re just “busy”? Keep track of everything you do every 30 minutes, every day, for one week. Then take all the items that aren’t moving you toward your goals and stop doing them, delegate them to someone else, or hire someone to do them for you.

What will you do with all that extra time? Concentrate only on activities and processes that make money or move you ahead.

The key to more productivity is not more work. The key is more focus. Creating your “Not To Do” List will reset your priorities, refresh your morale and could even remake your career.

Don’t let your best energy be sucked out of your day.

I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your business, — and we are dedicated to its success. Which means we want to protect you from all of what could tear you down…

Feel very free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.


Valerie McLaughlin, EA