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    This is a business demon

    A lot of people jump into business after reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” and assume that it’s all going to be roses and butterflies; sipping umbrella drinks while lounging around on the beach (or riding a horse?) while your money rolls in. Of course, if you actually read the book (shocker!) you’ll find that there is actually some work to be done.

    The book itself is great and has tons of lessons. The problem is that this “business is easy” myth is perpetuated by the unfortunate spread of online scams like the Empower Network (yes, I’ve been on an Empower Network hating streak lately).

    Let’s get something straight: business is not easy.

    It can be simple. And we often tend to over-complicate things. But it sure as hell isn’t easy.

    There can be a whole series of books about issues that businesses face, but this is a blog post…so I’m only going to talk about one:

    Business Productivity 

    Unlike what some people may have you believe, business success requires work. You have to be productive.

    There are is no magic software or app. There are no magic networks. There is no magic pill.

    Sure, there are tools that will help. But in the end it’s up to you. So how do you improve business productivity?

    This is the biggest issue that business owners face because if you’re not going to do what needs to be done yourself, you better make sure that someone does.

    That leaves a lot of people in the “I have to do everything myself” camp. That can be overwhelming, to say the least. And when you have so much on your plate, it’s easy to not do anything at all.

    This is a topic that has been covered plenty in this past. But I don’t think it can be talked about enough because this can truly make or break your business.

    So how do you improve your business productivity?


    Before we get started (no pun intended) check out this video made in partnership between ASAPScience and Gregory Ciotti of Sparring Mind

    25 Responses to Business Productivity: The Business Demon Lurking Over Your Shoulder

    1. Vanquish Your Nemesis: A Guide to Conquering Small Biz Evils | Word Carnivals says:

      [...] Farber of Content Strategy Hub The Business Demon Lurking Over Your Shoulder: Stab Him in the Eye @EugeneFarber [...]

    2. Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      Eugene, there is so much awesome stuff here that it’s hard to know where to begin. Great tips on getting started with getting started and I love the content inventory – I definitely have to browse your back catalog. :)

    3. Tea Silvestre says:

      Love all the bits and pieces you’ve brought together in this post, Eugene. And it ties in so well with my own post this month, LOL. Being productive (or not) is definitely tied into our feelings of doubt and perfectionism. And if we let our minds loop around in those dangerous spaces, we’ll never accomplish anything.

      Here’s my tip: Ten years ago when I quit smoking, I found that I had to continue to take “smoke breaks” or my productivity suffered. Getting up out of your chair and taking a very short walk every couple of hours does wonders for the brain and keeps your creative juices flowing.

      • Eugene Farber says:

        That’s definitely something I’ve been trying to do to give my brain a rest every once in a while. Admittedly I’m pretty terrible at it though. Surprisingly taking breaks takes practice…then ending the break also takes practice :) .

    4. Carol Lynn says:

      Ah, productivity! A topic ripe for tips, tricks and brain games of the “just start” sort. My brain works best when it is tricked into doing so :)

      This post comes at a good time for me because my brain is scattered in a billion places and I’m in a constant state of “not getting things done” which spirals into “crap I’m bad at this” and usually ends with cheeseburgers and cake.

      Thanks for the resources, too, I can probably procrastinate a little more and avoid getting things done if I read more about getting things done ;) No seriously though, good stuff. I love my to-dos and I especially like breaking them down into their most minute components. “Go to the bank” is really a whole project with a dozen steps, from sign checks to record amount in books to get in car and drive to actual bank. It’s a little bit of a brain game, too, because its a lot easier to do a small thing and it feels good to cross it off the list!

      • Eugene Farber says:

        It’s amazing how complex our brains are, and yet how easily we can trick them. Years ago I wrote another post about lists and the psychology behind keeping the short. If you have a list of 3 things to do and you do them all, you’re on top of the world. But if you have a list of 10 things and you accomplish those same 3, now all the sudden you’re down on yourself for being unproductive. It’s funny how sometimes we have to trick ourselves into getting the best results.

    5. Laura Petrolino says:

      What? Business is not easy??? I’m so confused? My bubble was just totally burst!

      No, but honestly all of these posts this time around I want to send to all of my clients, but I’ll have to spread them out. Great tips and advice, and especially love the last one

      • Eugene Farber says:

        Thanks Laura! That last one is a big one for me, and one I struggle with a lot. I’m an “analyzer.” So it’s hard to just jump in and do something. Although that’s often what success requires.

    6. My Business Nemesis - Ooh, Look, Something Shiny! | graphics (and more!) by evan austin says:

      [...] Eugene Farber of Content Strategy Hub The Business Demon Lurking Over Your Shoulder: Stab Him in the Eye [...]

    7. Nicole Fende says:

      Preach it Eugene! Productivity is KEY to profit.

      Your sentence, “The key is to hire the right person and train them to do the right thing.” resonated strongly with me.

      I often see people trying to cut corners and outsource on the cheap. In my mind anyone working on my business is representing my business. I certainly wouldn’t go down to a busy street corner and hold up a sign “Help wanted, cheapest will be hired.” Often people are doing exactly that, but online.

      When I find someone good (it takes time, and I’m going to check out Replace Myself), I pay them what they are worth.

      • Eugene Farber says:

        I just fond out about Replace Myself not too long ago from a webinar I attended. It’s the biggest network for workers in the Philippines.

        John Jonas (the founder) talked about why people there are so much better to work with because they are incredibly intelligent and really care about your business when you bring them on full time (which is often ridiculously affordable). Plus there are a whole slew of tax issues that your are circumventing through outsourcing (funny how that works).

        I’m definitely going to give it a try

    8. Micheal C. Kelly says:

      How to Plan to succeed How can we plan in a way that avoids overloads and enables us to get critical things done on time? A partial solution comes from studying the freeway analogy: plan critical tasks at significantly less than peak capacity so that there is capacity margin for the unexpected. On the one hand, this is a difficult solution to sell to managers. They will usually challenge this kind of plan and pressure us to become fully loaded with critical tasks. These managers prefer plans that look impressive on paper to results which consistently correspond to plans. On the other hand, simply reducing the workload isn’t a complete solution because, unlike a freeway, our individual and workgroup capacities are not really fixed. Capacities, like muscles, increase somewhat with proper nourishment and conditioning, and atrophy when underutilized. Our capacities shrink to fit inadequate challenges. We barely get the critical tasks done regardless of how little we plan to do.

      • Eugene Farber says:

        There’s a very fine line there. Tasks are going to take you as long as you allow them to in many cases. But on the other hand, just having a plan that looks impressive on paper doesn’t always lend the best results. It’s better to work smarter than to have an “impressive looking” plan that eats up unnecessarily resources. It’s often a fine line with managers though, isn’t it? There are a whole lot of human quirks and office politics at play.

    9. Clare Price says:

      Fail quickly! Great advice for getting rid of the business productivity demon. Once you have failed and get over the “doubt demon” as Carol Lynn called it, you can get past it and get productive. Loved the tips on time-project prioritization.

      • Eugene Farber says:

        Yeah, doubt, perfectionism, fear…I think they are all related. It really comes down to having the confidence to try something even if it might not work out the way you thought it might.

    10. Melanie Kissell says:

      Very meaty post, Eugene — thanks for all the resources!

      Productivity does NOT equal “busy”. I find many entrepreneurs do not focus on their business, they focus on busy-ness.

      My to-do list was so long, you know what I decided “to do”? Rip it up! LOL!

      • Eugene Farber says:

        That’s a good idea :) . I do that every so often. And every so often I have an incredible amount of tabs open in my browser which I will accidentally close – panic sets in for a couple of seconds…and then relief. :) .

    11. Michelle Church says:

      Interesting I just started reading the book 4 day work week…only had it for eons…but one of my going to reads when I have time but this task over here got in the way while I was trying to complete this other task that never got done and then there was that other task that oops appeared….Yep need to be more productive, my take away from the video is to NOT multi-task…OMG really! I was trained to do just that by a major corporation for YEARS!! I so think that is a big issue for me…I think I am definitely going to combine the sticking to tasks for specific time and then take a break using a timer! It has helped to straighten my EDD (Entrepreneur Deficit Disorder) and FOCUS!

      • Eugene Farber says:

        Yeah, the timer thing and Pomodoro technique have gotten a lot of traction lately. I know from personal experience that multitasking doesn’t work for me because I start on a million different things at once and then never really fully finish any of them…just kind of keep hopping back and forth. It’s amazing that companies would actually train people to do it!

    12. Annie Sisk (Pajama Productivity) says:

      Well, now you’re speaking my language, Eugene. The bottom line test for productivity isn’t rocket science – it’s “what are you producing, and how fast are you producing it?”

    13. SandyMc says:

      You have really hit so many nails on their proverbial heads with this post Eugene. Having an idea is easy. Implementing it another story. And implementing it so that it succeeds a different beast altogether. Thank you introducing us to the productivity video and Sean’s methodology. It is really clear and makes more sense then many other systems I’ve looked at. I can see why he gets a load done. And the best advice of all. Just start and then if you are failing, fail fast. Thanks for a great post. Another keeper.

    14. [...] Business Productivity: The Business Demon Lurking Over Your Shoulder [...]

    15. Clare W. Barrera says:

      While my search for the perfect Windows Getting Things Done (GTD) app continues, I’m resorting to using Gmail Tasks as an interim measure. While it’s not perfect — it’s nowhere near fully-featured enough for me — Google’s addition, last week, of the ability to move tasks between lists was definitely a step in the right direction for GTDers. You could use Tasks for GTD before, but moving actions between lists was painful, as you had to manually copy and paste the tasks: not fun.

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