Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Your Competitive Edge

Six ways to translate "high-tech" into high productivity

How much of a "techie" are you? Because you know recent technological advancements have given you more ways than ever to improve both your sales (income) and productivity. To make technology work for you, however, you have to control it - not let it control you.

Start by learning to use your everyday tools (computer, fax and e-mail) more efficiently and effectively. Once you know how to get the most out of technology, you can get more out of each workday.

1. Get a voice-mail advantage.
Avoid time-consuming two-way phone conversations by outlining details in your voice mail. Also, if you need the person for whom you're leaving the message to take some action, say so in the message, then say there's no need to call you back unless they have questions or problems. When you do need the person to return your call, provide one or two specific times when you'll be expecting their call.

2. Improve your e-mail habits.
It's hard not to be curious to read emails as they arrive, but that can wreck your productivity. Set aside specific, scheduled times during the day to answer your e-mail, such as 1st thing in the morning, after lunch and as the last thing you do for the day. When you send e-mail, keep messages short and be sure to use the "Subject" line creatively so your messages get read. Pay attention to the amount of time you spend reading your e-mail, and be selective about the messages you read and answer - learn to recognize junk e-mail, and don't waste time on it.

3. Fax casually.
First, try to migrate as much as you can to email instead of fax. However when you get faxes, forget about taking the time to send replies on new sheets of paper and fill out cover sheets. Instead, simply hand write your replies (neatly!) at the bottom of the fax you received and turn it around. Use good judgment with this method - obviously, some faxes call for a more formal reply. If possible, send faxes directly from your computer so you don't need to print your message and send it from an independent fax machine.

4. Get better acquainted with your PC.
Learn what your software can do for you. Outlook and excel can be incredibibly beneficial for you. Take a few minutes and go to a bookstore. Take all the books on the software you want to learn and compare them. See which is the easiest for you to understand, or one that will work well for your PA. Then. take an hour or so before or after work for a week to learn all of your computer's functions and how they can boost your productivity.

5. Make a sound investment.
You rely on technology every day to do your job, so it pays to spend a little more for equipment that won't let you down. Carefully assess your technology needs, then shop around for equipment that meets those needs without a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. Also, remember that taking advantage of the latest technology helps mark you as a saavy individual who keeps up with new developments and isn't afraid of change.

6. Take a break.
Overall increases in the speed of business can leave you feeling done in and burned out. To help you stay mentally sharp and energised, take a short break every two to three hours. By recharging your batteries regularly, you can maintain a higher level of productivity over a longer period of time.

Technology can truly multiply your productivity exponentially - if it's used correctly. Think about the way you use technology now, and make a commitment to make some positive changes in your old routines. With the time you save, you can make more calls, close more sales and stay one step ahead.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! ( and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?

This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink


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