Super Simple Productivity

Productivity triangle imageThe blogger Seth Godin has said in the past that the only thing that matters in any business is shipping; that is, the ability to finish something and ship it to customers.

Another hero of mine, CD Baby founder, Derek Sivers, has an interesting chart that compares ideas with actions and the value of them. In short, the best idea on the planet is worth didly-squat in comparison with the worst idea that has been actioned.

So when it comes to productivity, only one thing counts: action.

There are hundreds of books on the subject, and I have read quite a few of them (mostly when I should have been taking action) but it all boils down to the following steps:


  1. Write a list of your most important projects (do this first and amend as and when)
  2. Write a list of the actions you need to take to progress each project (as many as you can think of, and amend as and when)
  3. Each evening or first thing in the morning (and that is the most important bit), prioritise the top 3 or 4
  4. At the start of each day, do those prioritised tasks before you do anything else (i.e. no email, G+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn).

Productivity is all about doing, and the main thing that stops you from doing is distraction. The question I always use (and ask my staff to think about) is ‘will what you are doing increase sales?’. The answer can be subtle of course. Reputation management may be a priority if someone has placed a bad review somewhere – so whilst it may not increase sales, it will help stop them getting worse.

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Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and which is still going strong today. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business focusing on online growth. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year in 2013. Quentin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.