How to Increase Personal Productivity

As a business owner, it’s impossible not to get overwhelmed or stressed out from time-to-time. Business and family obligations can consume a lot of time. Information overload and technology can be equally distracting. The secret to surviving in today’s fast paced world starts with personal organization.

Get and Stay Organized

  • Eliminate clutter. A clean and pleasant workspace can help you think clearer, maintain productivity and reduce stress. Have a place to store information you need to work on later and file cabinets for important documents you need to retain. If you spend a lot of time looking for stuff you need in order to do the task at hand, then it’s time to de-clutter.
  • Treat time like a budget. You only have so much time in any given day. You likely use a calendar to schedule personal and business appointments. But what about the other tasks or projects you need to complete? Allocate or block off time on your calendar to work on these as well. The simple act of prioritizing your day will give you a sense of purpose and direction – a key to getting more done.
  • Keep a master to-do list. Ideas and tasks that need your attention arise throughout the day. If you don’t write them down, they are often forgotten. Capture tasks, big and small, in one place with due dates as appropriate. It’s the best way to insure deadlines are met and important tasks are completed. Use the list to schedule the most important tasks first on your calendar.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule 15 minutes at the end of each day to clean up your desk/office and plan your next day.

While organization is certainly a key to productivity, here are a few additional tips to help you get more done:

  1. Stop multi-tasking. You may think that multi-tasking saves you time, but the opposite is true. It tends to cost you both time and quality. To learn more, check out the article, The Myth of Multi-Tasking by Christine Rosen, TheNewAtlantis.com.
  2. Be realistic. Tasks often take longer than we expect. When blocking off time, be realistic in terms of what you can control and accomplish in a certain amount of time.
  3. Kill perfection. Trying to do every task perfectly wastes precious time. Not all tasks are created equal. Give your A+ level of effort to really important projects. Settle for less than perfect on others.
  4. Add accountability. While most business owners are self-motivated and driven, managing a business and yourself may cause you at times to lose sight of your goals or get off track. An easy way to fix this is having someone to remind you of your plans and tasks.
  5. Enjoy some ME time. No matter how busy you are, take some time each day to do something you enjoy. A small break to read, grab lunch, or take a walk will increase productivity. It allows you to recharge your mind and body – so you can get back to the work you need to do with renewed energy.

Personal organization requires discipline. Changing behaviors to create a habit takes some time. But the sooner you start, the quicker you get there.

Significance of Personalizing Products Using Web to Print Technology

Online retailers of apparels, handbags, posters, gifts etc have finally understood the importance of letting their customers design their own products. As they have realized that personalization of products can boost customer engagement, they are putting in efforts to facilitate mass customization using web-to-print technology. Retail giants like Amazon have achieved a lot of success due to personalized shopping experience it offers to its customers.

Let us study the importance of personalization using online product design software in detail.

Driving customer engagement

A survey conducted on 1000 shoppers by Bain & Company proved that even if only 10% of customers have chosen to customize their products, nearly 25 to 35% are interested in following the same path. It is difficult to identify the potential of product customization using web-to-print. But if 25% of footwear sales is customized, it would contribute to a market share of $2 billion every year.

Apart from the above figures, it was observed that customers who had customized their products using a print design tool showed more engagement with the company. Their online behavior included visiting the website frequently, staying on the page for a longer time and showing loyalty towards the brand they chose.

Establishing an edge over competitors

In today’s times, as the internet has made it easy for customers to make price and quality comparisons; enabling personalization of products using web-to-print technology helps retailers to establish an edge over their competitors. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if after some years; products with standard features sell less as compared to the customized ones.

Making enhancements

Due to the influence of social media and online presence of brands, the styles and trends of products keep changing. Keeping updated with the trends in personalization helps companies to fine tune their software and make changes with their products whenever there is a scope of doing so. Also, as online retailers get a real-time insight into shopping preferences of the customers, they can come up with a range of their choice in future.

The magic of co-creating

It is always fun to invite friends and family online and co-create products that hold a sentimental value. Superior quality web-to-print software can offer the option of sharing product designs on social media and collaborate with others during the designing process. For eg. A company named North Face displays a gallery of designs which is created by its customers for their product named “Denali Jacket”. This marketing technique, inspired other customers to create and share their own designs.

As several retailers and brands are giving the ‘design-it-yourself’ option by employing product personalization extension, it is helping them to boost their revenues and connect with their customers at a better level. In order to achieve success through web to print technology, retailers need to know their objectives and understand the type/amount of customization they can offer to their customers.

Understanding the Rise of Personalized Products in Ecommerce

Only a few years ago we knew about personalized products only in the form of a few prints on coffee mugs or key chains from the local printer or photo studio. The market witnessed the transition in the recent years and it was so swift that one could hardly comprehend the momentum. Now, almost every other traditional printer has shifted to web to ecommerce or is thinking of doing so in the near future. But, why? Why was there such a sudden changeover and how is the demand for personalized products on the constant rise? Let’s try to unravel the reasons behind the shift.

Ease of Access

With printers shifting to the online market and offering personalized products with the help of web to print design software, the products are much easier to access as there is no real effort required to go to the printer, explain them the product, and pick up the product. This reason is common to all industries but somehow print industry is slightly different as the availability had always been limited in offline stores as compared to what they can offer online, due to various factors.

New dimension to online gifting

Product personalization software adds a new dimension to online gifting by adding a personal touch to the product in spite of the buyer ordering it from miles away. Other gifts are detached, and merely some item one picks and orders it to another address. But in personalized gifting, the effort of the giver shows as they design the product themselves often with personal pictures and messages.

Cost Effective

Looking at overall expenses the customer might spend over finding a store, placing an order, and picking it up, online shopping for personalized product is much more cost effective. And then, there are so many options available that they can compare costs and buy something within their budget rather than giving up to the whims of the monopolistic printer of their locality.

Extensive Options

The web to print design software that ecommerce businesses offer provides freedom of designing their own products to the customer. They can take up as much time as they need, without annoying the printer and try editing various pictures and graphics until they get what they desire. The range of products is also extensive as compared to local stores. Moreover, with the help of web to print tool, customers can virtually see how the products will turn out in terms of colors, print area, etc.

Social Media Integration

Another unavoidable factor is the Social Media support these products have got. A good Web to print ecommerce software lets the customers to create their own funky products and like everything else, customers love to share their creations on social media which promotes the products indirectly. Additionally, the most popular social media platforms of the current times like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. provide options to directly sell from their respective pages which drive more customers to the stores.

To conclude, it can be said that the rise of personalized products is not unaccounted for. And as the reasons state, the business doesn’t grow on its own. There are many factors that assist it including your business model, marketing strategy, and most importantly your web to print ecommerce software. In a brief, you need to efficiently provide everything for which the consumer is moving to web to print. Only when you understand this, can you grow with the budding industry!

Personal Productivity Secrets – Part 2

In the first article of this five-part series I left you with an action step. I instructed you to track every activity over the course of one week. You should have data that shows each activity and the amount of time it took to do it. So, by now you have five full days worth of information to process.

So how did you do? Whatever your results were, it is simply a snapshot of how you spend your time. It is time for a closer look and spot the time wasters.

The first time I did this exercise, the results were incredibly enlightening. I found out a lot about myself and the habits I kept. I finally grasped just how much time I spent avoiding the high-value, high-priority items. Incidentally, these items were also the highest paying projects on my plate.

The first surprise was to see how many actual billable or on-the-bench work hours I had during that week. I found out that I wasted more hours than I thought. I had procrastinated on projects a lot. I did a lot of low-value projects that could have been given to others to complete. I ran errands as an excuse to get out of the shop, even though someone else could have accomplished them just as easily. Email and text messages flowed steadily, interrupting the momentum I would again, have to build up. Break times were longer than the 15 minutes allotted and more than a few stretched to a half an hour. All the while rationalizing to myself “I’m the boss. I don’t have to be so strict with my time”.

In general, I discovered a lot of bad habits. Bad habits that were preventing me from producing more. I realized that the income I was earning was coming from less than half of time I spent in the shop. The rest of the time was spent doing jobs that didn’t really focus on my unique skill set. Jobs I should have delegated to another capable person.

So now what do you do with the data you collected? If I were you I would identify all the things that you are currently doing that add little or no value to your income and do one of two things. Delete them. Delegate them. Replace that time with meaningful work that produces tangible results.

In the next article, we will take a look at your daily habits. Which habits you should drop, and which habits you can adopt that will make a huge difference to your daily productivity.