You do stuff to make sure clients are efficient, jump through hoops to ensure your clients are productive, go the extra mile to ensure clients don't have a glitch in their day. The result of all this? MSP burnout. Or rather, managed service providers ending up being not so productive.
We asked some of the MSP experts you and I love to let us in on their expertise. And boy, did we get some golden nuggets. From time boxing to calendar blocking to outsourcing, every bit of advice will ensure one thing— help you stay productive!
Ready? Let's get started!
1. Blocking time - Chris Wiser
What's the productivity hack? Calendar blocking
In his own words, here's what Chris Wiser says.
"The biggest thing I've done is I block time on my calendar. And I focus on those specific things when I block that time, and I block two full days a week to work on my business, not in it."
Founder and CEO, The Wiser Agency
Chris runs 7 Figure MSP for the uninitiated, helping managed service providers reach the magic number in revenue. And productivity tips like these seldom don't work when it comes from someone as busy as Chris.
2. Pomodoros — Richard Tubb
Too distracted? How about a couple of Pomodoros? I started applying the Pomodoro technique after I heard it from Richard Tubb on our podcast. I've seen an instant jump in the number of things I finished in a day.
"So the number one productivity tip I would give is that I use something called the Pomodoro Technique. So the Pomodoro Technique, and if anybody recognizes the word Pomodoro, they might think of a slice of tomato in Italian. And that's exactly what it is. A Pomodoro is a slice of time. So whenever I find myself procrastinating over getting started with something, I set a timer for 25 minutes, I put a bit of music on in the background. I just get started knowing that even if I hate the job, I only have to do it for 25 minutes, and I can't stop."
IT business growth expert, Tubblog
3. Timeboxing — Ryan Morris
Timeboxing — the concept of timeboxing is so easy to confuse with calendaring. But there's a subtle difference between the two techniques. Ryan Morris, who has been using this to be productive as an MSP consultant, says
"The philosophy of timeboxing, and the idea of being able to classify the work that I need to do into certain categories, and then proactively schedule those things. And then complete the work within the time allotted, as opposed to allotting the time based on the amount of work that needs to be done. That philosophy, it's one of the internal principles of agile development and operating."
Principal consultant, Morris Management Partners
This is an excellent technique if you're a perfectionist. And Ryan agrees to this. He says timeboxing has allowed him to "not be a perfectionist," and it forces him to get things done and move on. Remember, perfection is the enemy to shipping more stuff!
4. Hiring the right people — James Vickery
Why should you do everything when there are people who do it more efficiently (and productively) than how you do things; why take all the headaches?
And that's what James Vickery lives by.
CEO, Benchmark 365
Before you decide to do it all, always ask yourself, "Am I the best person to get this done? Is this the best use of my time?" And you would be surprised with how much time and energy you would end up saving.
5. Saved time is earned time — Maddy Martin
Maddy filters out most of the calls that she gets. How? With a virtual assistant or a receptionist, filter out calls that don't warrant her time. When it comes to productivity, every minute saved is 2 minutes earned. (Psst. I made that up! But you get the hang of it!)
"It's got to be having the receptionist answer my own phone."
VP of marketing, Smith.ai
6. Outsource — Dave Sobel
Saving time on things that you're great at can prove to be a life-saving hack. Dave ruthlessly outsources things to folks on Fiverr and other platforms. The reason? There are people far more passionate about the task you might be struggling with!
"If I'm spending more than about an hour on something and I'm not getting forward progress, I'm the wrong person to do it. That's the way I that I look at it So if I'm spending more than hour, I outsource stuff on Fiverr or one of the freelancing website.
Owner, MSP Radio
7. Templatize and automate — Andrew Moore
How can I automate this? This is a question Andrew keeps asking if he has to do something more than twice. Why? If you shave off a minute in doing repeated tasks, it leads to less 'task fatigue' and more productivity.
"So I typically find that if I have to do something that I might have to do, again, I tried to take a couple of extra minutes and create more of a template or a process around it."
COO, Iron Edge Group
8. Have a to-do list — Vera Tucci
It's not about the tools you use; it's about the discipline of getting things done! And Vera Tucci sticks by this principle. She starts off her day by having a good-old 'to-do' list of things she wants to establish and sticks to it!
"I'm crazy about to-do lists and listing all the tasks of the day, from the one that I hate the most to the one that I love the most so that I can tackle the worst one right at the beginning of my day.
Co Owner and CFO, T-Consulting Srl
9. Focus on one thing — Colin Knox
Do one thing at a time, and do it well. And understanding this is key to staying productive. Doing ten different things a day is never a great idea. There's one key ingredient to productivity in MSPs — focus.
"It's creating kind of a focus area a day. So I can't focus on 18 things every single day. So I kind of break my weeks up into four-hour chunks of this when I'll focus on product, operations, etc. It gives me the chance to focus down and be as effective and productive for that even shorter period of time than so much distraction throughout the day."
Founder and CEO, Gradient MSP
10. Sleep well — Andrew Moon
Sleep more. Rest more. Need I add more, considering how burnt out managed service providers are? The next time you're feeling unproductive, ask yourself — did I sleep well?
"Get some sleep."
Founder, Orange Nomad
Which is the best way to be productive? As with everything in life, "It depends". Choose, experiment, and find out what works best for you.