Two Fantastic Resources to help you become more effective & efficient in 2011

Written by BT

Topics: Business, Misc

I picked up my copy of The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss from the post office yesterday which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages.
(BTW – if you’re any way into fitness or looking to lose a few pounds the book is worth a read)

There’s two resources I’m continually recommending to people I know and business owners I work with, that everyone seems to get enormous value from. I reread these two at least once a year and find they help me break out of bad habits I’ve inadvertently slipped into and retrain my focus.

I’d confidently say almost all MSPs are in the game because they want to make more money, do less work and have happier clients – building a business on a dollars per hour basis is a one way street to long hours, diminishing returns and no life. Most employees want to get more done, look good to their boss, work less stop working overtime and deal with less client emergencies.

These two are dirt cheap and well worth the small investment of time & money, regardless of whether you’re an employee or are running an Managed Services Provider business.

1. The Four Hour Work Week

Now don’t be put off by the title or what you may or may not have heard about this book, the title is mostly to attract attention. The Four Hour Work Week is less about working four hours a week and more about getting more done with less time.

Some of the key things you’ll learn from the book are:

  • How to write better and more effective emails that save you massive amounts of time & dramatically reduce inbox clutter
    Most people write crappy emails which then require more clarification and a whole bunch of back and forth before the intended result is achieved. Ultimately, this means more inbox clutter and time wasting. The techniques is this book around writing more effective emails has saved me hours each week and made the 20 bucks I spent on the book worthwhile by itself alone.
  • How to identify time wasting & non-productive activities, minimize or eliminate them ultimately spending less time at the office
    Again, I used to find myself burning hours every day screwing around doing unimportant tasks. I’ve a huge tendency to get distracted when I have a heavy workload day and am sitting in front of the PC for 10+ hours. Some of the strategies Ferriss suggests really do help realign your focus and eliminate a lot of time wasting which helps me cut my screen time down by hours every week.
  • How to identify time consuming clients, non-ideal customers and non-profitable accounts along with some strategies to minimize their negative impact
    The change in perspective I got from this part of the was was huge for me. As a business owner quite often you end up taking a client because of the additional revenue they’ll bring in and then they turn out to be a nightmare client. Particularly for MSPs, who are often working on a fixed-fee basis, a time consuming client can quickly become unprofitable. The concept of the “ideal customer” is not new but Ferriss has a different approach I haven’t seen before.

The book is on sale at Amazon at the moment for less than $12 – definitely worth the 12 bucks so go and grab a copy. There’s also an audiobook available if you don’t have the time to consume a whole book.

There’s also a whole bunch of good productivity stuff at the blog for the book, particularly a lot of the older posts which are worth a look.

I’ve you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section.

Link: The Four Hour Work Week on Amazon.com

2. Sourcecontrol by David Walsh

You’ve probably noticed the links in the sidebar to this one and I’ve written about this one before. This is an E-book – don’t be put off by this. The book is positioned as a guide to successful outsourcing and was inspired by The Four Hour Workweek. Although the book is focussed on successful outsourcing I found that its actually a great guide to using your own staff more effectively and working better with remote staff & remote teams.

A lot of MSPs & managers I’ve worked with are terrible at delegating tasks and building and working with process. They’re particularly rubbish at this when working remotely. This book provides a great framework for more effective delegation & management of staff, particularly staff who are working remotely or who you don’t see in person often – perfect for MSPs who may have staff located remotely, working from client sites or working from home.

I’ve done quite a bit of work with Kaseya’s NOC and Zenith’s NOC over the past 12-18 months and some of the things I’ve learnt from this book have saved me a lot of time and headaches.

The book is about 160 pages long all up with a bunch of additional guides & templates, you can grab the first 30 pages free and read more about it at getsourcecontrol.com

Link: Source Control by David Walsh

More Resources & Juicy Stuff

This blog didn’t get much attention in the last 12 months and I haven’t written much about Kaseya lately. I’m planning on mixing things up a bit in 2011 and sharing a lot of tools & resources I’ve been sitting on so watch out for that. I’ll also be adding a Resources page which I’ll be using as the index for all the stuff I share along with an Archives page so you can dig through some of the old stuff on the site so watch out for that.

Any juicy resources you’ve found? Feel free to share in the comments!