Remove NVA From Your Work

Non Value Added or NVA is usually a manufacturing term that I heard about at one of my first real jobs, but it really does translate well to the online world. NVA is basically when you put time, effort or money into some part of a product that doesn’t add value to the product. One of the best examples - from my first real job - is manufacturing an item. Say an item starts being built at the front of an assembly line. It makes it way through the line and when it gets to the end it is partially assembled. Each step on the line adds something to the product. At the end of the line someone takes the product and carries it to a different assembly line where more stuff is added onto it. From there it is carried to a test person who checks to make sure it works properly then someone carries it back to packaging and shipping where it is packed and shipped to the customer. When someone puts a part into the product it adds value to it. When someone is carrying it from line to line that is effort and time spent where no value is being added to the product. Carrying it around does nothing to increase the value of the product. Manufacturing companies spend a lot of time and effort eliminating as much of this type of NVA as possible. Taking this same approach with your online business can yield you some nice results.

One of the slickest, most impressive assembly lines you will find is located at your local fast food restaurants. You pull up to the drive through and order. Inside your order comes up on a screen and people at their stations begin making your food. As they finish it slides right down their line into a holding bin where someone puts it in a bag and hands it to you. In many of the cases the drinks are even automated with a computer dropping the right size cup onto a belt, filling it with the correct drink and all the employee has to do is put the lid on it and hand it to you. There are very few wasted steps and motions and everything runs like a finely tuned machine.

Now think about your websites and how they compare. When you sit down at your computer to work what do you do? If you are like I used to be you check and respond to ICQ messages, check and respond to any emails you may have, read a few webmaster boards, check your stats, check some sports scores and eventually an hour or so later you get to work. When you do get to work you hop around. You start by writing some blog posts then you make a new header for a new blog then you submit a gallery then do a few more blog posts then make a free site and so on. During this time you respond to new emails and ICQ messages and you cruise the boards and check out your favorites sites. Not to mention watch some TV, make a few phone calls and then get bored and go to the store or something like that. All in all, you get some stuff done, but if you are like I used to be, you have a lot of NVA in your daily work and it makes your day longer and less productive.


The first way to help eliminate NVA is to take a broad look at your day and ask yourself, “Does (insert name of activity) add value to my sites?” If the answer is no then cut that out our change it around. I understand that ICQ and email are part of our daily life, but you can minimize them by setting aside time each day just to focus on that. I spend about 20 minutes in the morning responding to email and ICQ and another 20 minutes or so at the end of the day doing the same. If an urgent email or ICQ comes in during the day I will handle it, but if it is something I can put off, I wait until my designated time.

Take a look at the things you do and decide what can go and what can stay. If you like reading sports sites or blogs or whatever set aside non-work time for those things. Treat them as a non-work item like you would going to a movie or watching TV or reading a book. If you spend time posting on boards set aside time like you do with email and ICQ to do those tasks as well. If you focus your time and energy on those things instead of just doing them sporadically throughout the day you will get a lot done in a short period of time.

I found I was killing around 3 hours a day just on boards, blogs and email and stuff like that. I was able to prioritize it and cut it down to around 1 hour. I used an email alert system, monitored my ICQ for urgent messages and used an RSS feeder so I could see blog titles and decided if I wanted to read them without having to go to the blog itself. That freed me up a couple hours a day to work on things that make me money.


Once you have identified and eliminated the big problems now it is time to check out the smaller things. Here is a great example. I run a handful of blogs and am building new blogs all the time. I used to spend hours picking out the correct theme and customizing the header and layout and colors. Then I did a little test and found that my ugly blogs were producing just as much traffic and making just as many sales as my nice custom blogs. Once I realized that I decided that there was no need spending all that time on the custom stuff if it doesn’t make a difference. It got cut out.

Another thing I would do is make custom boarders on thumbnails to make them look kind of cool and interesting on my sites and galleries. After some research I found that those galleries didn’t perform any better than my regular galleries so that time was being wasted. It got cut out.

I also found that I jumped around from project to project and that would hurt me. I would do something for a while then leave it and come back to it. Now I have a schedule for each day and I stick to it. I have found I get a lot more done and in less time because I know exactly what to do and how to do it and when I start a project I focus on it and get it done. Now I don’t get to the end of the day and realized I forgot something that I was really needed to do but lost in the shuffle. With my schedule I saw it and did it.

Being organized is key. For my blogs I have Wordpress and all the plugins I used all in one directory that I can simply upload right to the server when I get started so I don’t have spend time downloading it each time I want to start a new blog. I also have the themes I use most in that folder so I can quickly pick a theme and get it upload. Before it might take me half a day to upload and customize a blog, now I can get it down in less than 30 minutes and get to work on writing posts and getting traffic to it instead of fretting over the color or a sidebar or the font on a header.

As you work just ask yourself the question from above. Is what you are doing adding value to your websites? By value I mean does it help attract visitors or make you money or improve the site in a way that increases revenue? If the answer is no then you should stop doing it and move onto something that does increase the value of your sites. As they say, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”

The biggest and most efficient businesses in the world are streamlined to get the product from point A to point Z and into the customer’s hands as quickly and with as little time and money spent as possible. With websites it can be a numbers game. If everyday you waste 30 minutes doing something you don’t need to do and you work 5 days a week that is 2.5 hours a week or 125 hours a year. Think of everything you could accomplish in 125 hours. When you start to reduce your personal NVA you will find those hours and increase your bottom line.

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Charleigh says:
Cheers pal. I do appreciate the wrtniig.
October 29th, 2011
at 10:22am EST
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