Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Increase Productivity in 2014: 6 Ways to Lead Your Business to More Profits

Let’s be serious about growing your business now.

Everyone needs more time and resources.

How can we carve out more time for our business? What do successful businesses do to maximize their resources, including making the most of their employees’ time?

Large manufacturers improve productivity through economies of scale and by systematizing processes that happen over and over. How can small businesses adopt these efficiencies?

An economy of scale means that as you produce more and more, the process becomes easier, faster, and cheaper.

Think of a car company that designs one-of-a-kind cars. It is going to be a very expensive automobile, since the company is just building one of them. Parts have to be custom-made. But if they make 100,000 of these cars, the cost per car becomes much cheaper. That is an economy of scale.

Smaller businesses can take advantage of big company processes, improve time-management, and create economies of scale in day-to-day work processes by using PONDDS.

PONDDS: Prioritize, Organize, No Excuses, Delegate, Don’t Waste Time, Create Economies of Scale.

Prioritize: Prioritize the day by doing the most important things first. This is the most crucial part of strategic planning. Every day, do whatever it is that is going to make you money first. (Yes, you can take weekends off if you do that sort of thing.)

Many small businesses fail because they are not doing the important parts of growing their business. Why don’t small business owners take these crucial steps? They get caught up in the little things that take up time but don’t produce revenue.

Organize: Your whole life does not have to be organized, so relax. You just need to have what you need for whatever project you are working on. Make sure you have all of your research, data, or memos in one place. I often take everything I need for a project and put it into its own briefcase or tote bag and carry it around with me so I can work on it when I am on the go. I have everything I need pre-staged so when I get time, I have no excuses.

No Excuses: I joke that when I have projects due that I don’t enjoy, my house benefits from becoming very clean. I can find every excuse possible not to input data or other jobs I find tedious. I clean the bathrooms, do laundry, wipe down the floorboards – you get the idea. That is when I sternly give myself the No Excuses lecture.

“No Excuses!”

“Git ‘r done!”

Remove the excuses and the distractions and make the conscious decision to tackle and finish the project.

Business writing is one area that many people find tough.

My dad recently asked, “How do you sit down and write a book?”

Me: “Dad, I sit down. Then I write.”

Is it is easy? No.

Do I fumble for the right words? All the time.

Is it perfect? Not the first 10 edits. Maybe never. That’s okay.

Nike was right. “Just do it.” It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. You just have to be disciplined enough to do it.

Delegate: You can create your own staff. Hire someone else to do what you don’t want to do or what you know you are not good at doing. I have the most amazing Virtual Assistant EVER! Find a great Virtual Assistant at Virtual Assistant Association for help with your home and work paperwork management. Here are some resources for you:
International Virtual Assistants Association

You can also use one of the many online resources for specific jobs such as,,, or >>>>? (If you have any other site you like, please, please help us all and leave a note about it here.)

You might be thinking, “But I don’t have money to hire an assistant.” If that is true, and you have still not done those jobs on your list, then maybe they don’t need to be done at all. Or maybe you didn’t know that you can hire someone for just a few hours a month. Delegating is about getting more accomplished and being better at your job.

Don’t Waste Time: You time is THE MOST precious resource you have. You can always make money, but you cannot make more time. Our life is a finite number of unknown minutes so don’t waste those minutes nor allow people you don’t care about to waste them for you. 

Identify situations where you waste time and do something constructive during that time. Work on planes, dictate notes while working out, do calf raises (toe pushups) while riding elevators. Once you start thinking, “What else can I do right now to knock something off my list” you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. 

Create Economies of Scale: If you or your people are doing something more than once, it needs a process and a system to track it. Just as car manufacturers know to develop processes to make what they do over and over and over more efficient, you can too. In the beginning, systematizing what you do is going to take time, but you have to take time to make time so that the task can be outsourced in the future.

1 Comment

  1. Kitty Ambers

    Mary, fantastic advice and great reminders! I work using the PONDDS theory, but it’s always good to be reminded and have the ideas reinforced. We are sooooo looking forward to having you with us as our Business Excellence speaker during the Network of Vertafore Users national conference!


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