Tips from our productivity masterclass

Can you improve your business’ productivity in one afternoon? Attendees of our recent event were given the tools to do just that, and for those of your who were unable to make it I’ve included some of the highlights below. Gildas Jones opened the event with a summary of Small Business Saturday. As one of 2015’s Small Business 100 Dial a Geek are proud to represent the 5 million small businesses in the UK, and hosting an event for small business owners seemed the perfect way to show our support.

Photos of the Dial a Geek productivity event

Our first speaker was Jen Gill of Jen Gill – Virtual PA’s who delivered an information-packed talk on the importance of managing your time effectively. If you are anything like me you love writing to-do lists, but sometimes those lists can become a distraction from the bigger project. Jen had some advice for us list-lovers:

Quote from Jen Gill on productivity: If you to do list isn't helping you achieve your goals, bin it.

Jen also told us to eat our frogs (getting the unpleasant jobs out of the way first) and had some advice for those tasks that can’t simply be erased from the to-do list. The ability to delegate is an important part of managing your personal productivity, and something that small businesses owners are often reluctant to do for either financial reasons or because it can be hard to trust someone else to do the job.

A quote from Jen Gill on productivity: If a task is holding you back from running your business, give it to someone else.

Alison Larkman, our second speaker, focused on the bigger picture of office productivity. She asked is to think about the people in our teams, starting with ourselves. What kind of people are we, and what kind of people aren’t we? Alison’s tongue twister ‘you can’t know what you don’t know, if you don’t know that you don’t know it’ might be a mouthful, but it encouraged all the attendees to consider their role in their business and the gaps in knowledge, experience, or style of working, that could be filled.

A quote from Alison Larkmanon productivity : You don't know what you don't know until you know that you don't know it.

Alison used shapes to describe the different types of people you find in a business and talked us through the importance of hiring slow and firing fast to make sure you end up with the right person for the job. You don’t want a team of visionaries she said, because you would have a lot of good ideas and no one to make them happen.

Quote from Jen Gill on productivity : You can't have a business full of ideas people, you need some details focused people too.

Gildas took the floor for the final talk and took us through software that can revolutionise a business. His talk focused on Google Apps as we find ourselves setting up an account for clients almost weekly, though he also spoke about the benefits on Office 365 as an alternative for PC users, and if you’ve switched to Windows 10 it can be a required upgrade.

Gildas Jones speaking at Dial a Geek's productivity themed event

One of our favourite parts of Google Apps is Google Calendar, which allows you to view the daily tasks of your colleagues and to plan effectively. In a business like Dial a Geek where an admin team manage everyone’s diaries, a shareable calendar is an essential.

LastPass is another invaluable tool for businesses. Gildas has previously written about how LastPass can make your life easier and protect your business from security threats.

Other tools Gildas mentioned were Trello, Asana, or Process Street, that all allow teams to assign tasks to each other and to track the progress of work being carried out.

Guests at the Dial a Geek productivity event

The afternoon was a big success and we can’t wait for the next one. Keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin pages for more news.