Productivity Tips

Ten Hacks to Save Time and Boost Productivity

Every entrepreneur wants to get more out of his or her day. Unfortunately, willpower starts depleting, and will only take you so far. Trying to cram more into an already busy schedule is just going to make you less productive in the long run.

It’s important to realize that entrepreneurs are naturally ambitious people that tend to take on more than they actually have the time or energy for. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t seem to “get it all done.” Nevertheless, it is still possible to hack your way towards increased productivity. Here are several hacks that will enable you to get more out of your day:

 

1. Organize your desk and your environment.

Clutter can be extremely distracting, and even stress-inducing. If your to-do list is already a mile long, a disorganized desk or environment is only going to make matters worse. File away documents, put unused stationery back in your desk drawers, move empty coffee cups and reduce the mess. You’ll instantly feel more organized and less stressed.

2. Quit social media — at least partially.

Roman Grigorjev, chief “yeti” at Guessmate, says he changes all of his friends on Facebook to acquaintances. When you do this, instead of receiving all of the updates your friends share, you will only see the most important ones.

Although you don’t have to do exactly what Grigorjev did, any strategies you can implement to reduce time on social media will give you a lot of time back in your day. Curtailing the number of notifications you receive is a good way to cut down on Facebook time.

 

3. Exercise in the morning.

Exercising in the morning can give you a much-needed productivity boost. Though some might argue that exercise actually depletes your energy, the endorphin release alone seems like reason enough to take a quick jog or walk on a treadmill first thing in the morning.

Exercise can help you eliminate stress, put you in a better mood and increase your overall efficiency and productivity.

 

4. Make your to-do list before hitting the sack.

Think about everything you need to do the next day the night before. Get all of your tools ready and prepare in advance. This shouldn’t take you more than 10 to 15 minutes, and it will help you get your next work day off to a great start.

Thinking about these tasks the night before will also put your subconscious mind to work while you sleep. The moment you wake up, you should have immense clarity around what needs to be done next.

5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Most people don’t hydrate enough throughout the day. Drinking more water should help you to keep your energy levels up, and if your work requires that you sit at a desk all day, you’ll also be getting up more often to take bathroom breaks, which is healthier for you than sitting all day long.

Give your body what it needs, and it will give you the resources you need to stay productive.

 

6. Keep at least one day per week on your schedule clear.

Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder and CEO of Asana and co-founder of Facebook, says he holds “No Meeting Wednesdays.”

It’s important for everyone to have uninterrupted work time to make progress on their projects, so having a day that’s free and clear of meetings is extremely valuable for everyone involved.

It might be worth considering reducing the number of meetings you have in general. Not only do they have the tendency to be derailed and unproductive, you could probably be just as efficient, if not more efficient, by holding fewer meetings and communicating in other ways.

 

7. Take a few breaks during the day.

Entrepreneurs are hard workers, and often don’t want to peel away from their work to have a drink of water, eat a chocolate bar or get some fresh air. However, it is perfectly healthy to take a breather here and there, as your mind isn’t really designed to work at full throttle all day long.

It may be worth experimenting with different techniques, such as the Pomodoro technique, to achieve a healthy balance. It will remind you to take regular breaks, which will allow you to distribute your energy more effectively.

 

8. Create a schedule for your day.

Many people have to-do lists. However, not everyone thinks about mapping out their days in advance. Odds are you already have a pretty good idea of how long each task on your to-do list will take, but you haven’t actually thought about how much time you will be allocating to each.

It’s easy to identify wasted time if you track your activity and actually plan out what you would like to happen on any given day. Certainly, you may need to allow for some margin, but if you’re constantly distracted or procrastinating on given tasks, you may want to rethink your approach.

 

9. Follow the two-minute rule.

Christian Sutardi, co-founder of Lolabox, says he uses David Allen’s two-minute rule to determine whether to finish a task immediately. If it takes less than two minutes, then he does it right away. This creates a simple structure for productivity, since it doesn’t require any tools or software. The moment a task comes in, you decide whether you’ll do it now or save it for later.

 

10. Outsource and hire virtual assistants.

Do you have too much work on your plate? Are you surrendering a good portion of your time to low-level tasks that aren’t making the best use of your skills?

If so, you may want to consider outsourcing and hiring virtual assistants. You can train your virtual assistant to take over a lot of the necessary but repetitive, mundane tasks so you can spend more of your time engaged in strategic activities.

 

Final thoughts

Remember to stay flexible. Productivity is all about developing effective habits, and habits can take time to implement. Some of your experiments may not pan out, but as you continue to try new and different things, you’ll find what works for you.

If you want to be productive, you’re going to have to get good at prioritizing and eliminating. More than likely, there are a lot of things on your schedule that don’t need to be there, and it’s up to you to figure out what you can automate, delegate or eliminate completely.

 

Original article by Thomas Smale: link

 

 

10 Ways to Boost Productivity

Have too many things to do in too little time? Well, this infographic on how you can boost productivity every day will certainly help. It focuses on to-do lists and making sure you actually complete items on the list. If you aren’t already using to-do lists, you really should be -they are one of the most effective methods of time organization out there and can really help you organize what you need to do and actually track that it gets done.As someone who has a hard time staying productive, I find this chart incredibly useful, especially the part about doing the hardest task first, which I don’t usually do on my to-do lists -although I’m great at knocking off the small tasks and batching things, so at least I’m not starting from the ground up here.

boost productivity

 

Original article by Jill Harness: link

 

10 Reasons Why Every Employee Needs Time to Recharge

When most people think about taking breaks at work, scurrying off into a corner and quickly eating lunch is often what comes to mind. Sadly, this doesn’t scratch the surface of what a break is capable of providing modern employees.

For breaks at work to be effective, there needs to be a refreshing change of pace that allows your staff to escape their work, even for just a short amount of time. This shouldn’t be too much to ask, no matter what their job is. Ultimately, this will motivate staff members to be more productive down the line.

Consider the following, all of which are good reasons for employees to step away from the desk throughout the day.

1. Improved Perspective on What Employees are Doing.

Perspective is everything during a busy workday. It helps your staff make important decisions that can influence the scope and outcome of their work … but it doesn’t come easy.

When employees are constantly working against the tide, it’s impossible to gain perspective … because they aren’t giving themselves the opportunity to see things from the outside.

Encourage them to step away for a short period of time, and they’ll gain an entirely new perspective that will lead them to make smarter decisions.

2. Better Blood Circulation.

Health is our greatest wealth, and improving it should always be a top priority. You and your staff may not think you’re doing a disservice to your health by sitting at your desk all day, but you might be surprised to find out that you are.

Sitting all day long can have a negative impact on circulation, which is why it’s essential to get up and move at least once every hour. This increases blood flow, which improves the functionality of your muscles, and genuinely keeps you from feeling sluggish.

Again, encourage employees to take a break, stand up, and move around a bit.

3. Creativity Boost.

Taking Breaks at Work - How to Motivate Staff

Getting the creative juices flowing is easier said than done, especially on days when nobody in the office is “feeling it.” Even so, many people make the mistake of plugging along … forcing themselves to churn out sub-par work without taking quality into consideration.

If employees are pushing-out boring and mundane results that lack creativity, there’s no way they’ll gain the respect they deserve. Taking a break from the action allows your staff to recharge their mental batteries, thus improving the chances of coming up with a genius idea when they get back to work.

4. Increased Productivity and Staff Motivation.

Increasing and enhancing productivity and staff motivation is something that every professional should focus on, but many people take the wrong path to get there.

A productive and engaged employee isn’t necessarily one who works 80-hour weeks.

Rather, productivity should be measured by the quality of the work. When your staff is taking breaks at work, they’ll return with a fresh head, which means they’ll get more done.

5. Less Distractions During the Day.

Have you or your employees ever been working on something intently, only to find that five minutes later you’re surfing a variety of websites that have nothing to do with work at all?

You are not alone. I find myself doing this all the time.

Workday distractions pop up, left and right, and many are difficult to ignore. Often, this results from needing a break. If you motivate staff members to get up periodically throughout the day, they’ll feel less of a pull towards wasting time at the computer.

6. Reduced Eye Strain.

Staring at a computer all day long isn’t exactly the healthiest thing in the world. One thing that can truly take its toll on your health is eye strain, which occurs rather frequently for those constantly fixed on computer screens.

Taking just five minutes away from a computer screen is typically all you and your employees need to keep eye strain at bay, and it’s crucial to sustaining work for a long period of time.

7. Lower Stress Levels.

Stress is one of the main things that causes burnout and employee turnover. Avoiding stress is extremely difficult when your organization is overwhelmed with work, but getting that work done will be impossible if your staff is feeling an excessive amount of pressure.

Sometimes, the best way to lift stress is to encourage everyone to take a 5-10 minute break every hour. This may seem like a short period of time but it’s enough to allow people to clear their heads and get through the workday unscathed.

8. An Opportunity to Seek Advice.

Many employees feel as if they need to handle tasks and make decisions without anyone’s help. More often than not, this is counterproductive.

There will inevitably be situations where employees need to consult each other, or the manager, before moving forward with a decision … and taking breaks will give them the opportunity to do so.

If you don’t allow them to take a break and engage in water cooler talk, they might end up making poor decisions down the line.

9. A Chance to Refuel.

If you thinks it’s okay to go through the workday with no fuel other than a few cups of coffee, it’s time to re-evaluate things.

Food is essential to keeping you and your employees’ energy and memory in top form, and there are many different routes you can take in terms of nutrition.

If you and your staff aren’t taking a break to eat and stuff some healthy food in your mouth, creativity and productivity levels will no doubt suffer. This is just another reason why taking breaks at work is essential to achieving success and motivating staff members.

10. Reduce the “Bore Factor” of Mundane Tasks.

Every now and then, you and your staff will have to some mundane and boring tasks. While often necessary, these tasks can take their toll on an employee’s psyche.

This is why it’s important to give everyone some time for refreshment as they plug along. Stepping away for a few moments can make or break the ability to get a group of boring tasks finished … and it’s a far better route to take than trying to bust through things as fast as possible.

Original article by Tim Eisenhauer: link

7 Productivity Tips For An Amazing Life

No matter how hard we wish to deny it or change it, life is short. And each of us has so many things we want to do. Yet, there never seems to be enough time.

In fact, there is more time than most of us realize; we just waste so much of it. Here are seven tips I have observed to make more of your time. Use these for business. Use these for daily life. Or use these for any specific project you want to accomplish.

Start with a plan

The chances of ending up where you want to increase dramatically when you have a plan. A plan is simply a start point, an end point and a list of steps to take to get from start to end.

Write it down. A plan in your head is fine, but it’s like mist drifting through the air. When you write the plan down, it takes on a solid state. You are more likely to follow it. That’s why to-do lists are effective.

That does not mean the plan can’t change. Sometimes, there is a good reason to change plans:

  • you get a brainstorm
  • your situation changes
  • you find out that one of your assumptions is wrong

But altering your plan for a good reason is not the same thing as letting it change due to drift.

Prioritize

You might have 50 things to do today. You might end up doing 35 of them. But will you do the 35 most important things? Or, at the end of the day, will you have still have a few important things to do?

Do the most important things first. Make sure they get done. If you don’t, you might “waste” time on less important things and run out of time to do what you most need to do.

The bigger the project, the more important it is to prioritize. As real estate agent Anita Clark puts it:

“If you take time to prioritize up front, you will not waste many hours chasing homes that are really not right for you.”

Then do the things you tend to procrastinate on. We all have those. If you do those early on, you’ll still be motivated to do the things you like at the end of the day.

So when you write it down, group items in such a way that you can tackle them most productively.

 

Block out time

Do one thing at a time. Sure, we can all multitask when we need to, but we are less efficient and less productive. Saying otherwise is pure bravado.

Focus and concentration on one project at a time will make you more productive. You will end up with more hours in the day.

 

Marginal gains on everything

Imagine if you could make very small improvements to everything you do. For instance, what if you could reduce your commuting time by five minutes every morning? That would save you 20 hours per year.

Let’s take this one step further. Let’s suppose you use those five minutes each morning to do exercise. That’s 20 hours of exercise. How many calories have you burned?

What would be the huge benefit of changing all the plates and bowls in your house to slightly smaller ones?

What would be the huge benefit of eating lunch while you worked or while you went for a walk?

What would be the benefit of increasing your freelance fee by just 25 cents per hour?

Many small changes can make a big difference in your life.

 

Move

If you sit all day, don’t expect to be productive. Especially in the afternoon, you are likely to lose energy. Too much and too little exercise have a similar effect on us: they tire us out.

The key is to make sure you move every now and then. Get up from your desk. Stand at your desk sometimes, if you can. Especially try to move when you feel the ebb of energy.

 

Harness your afternoons

Afternoons are the toughest for many people. It’s siesta time! Energy is low. Find out what you do best when your energy is low, and what you do worst.

For instance, I get easily distracted in afternoons. If I try to multi-task too much, I end up getting lost in social media and reading the Huffington Post. I do much better working on large writing projects in the afternoon.

Save for the afternoon those things that low energy effects the least. Here is the “ideal” daily schedule.

 

Keep track of your progress.

What you can’t measure, you can’t change. As long as progress is positive, keep going. When it stalls, look for more ways to become productive or revisit the steps above. Make whatever changes you need to keep growing more productive, or to avoid becoming less productive. Make sure you are moving toward your goals.

It’s your life. It’s your time. You can use it or waste it. You can do as much or as little with it as you wish. These seven tips are not the only ways to become more productive, but they should work for you if you apply them to your situation.

 

Original article by David Leonhardt: link

Cultivate These 5 Attributes to Turbocharge Team Performance

Organizations both large and small have assets of varying value. Whether it’s intellectual property, exclusive sales territories, large customer contracts, proprietary locations, access to financing instruments or any other asset, by definition there’s an inherent value.

However, the asset that supersedes them all is your people.

That’s because every other asset your organization or company possesses has to be managed and utilized by individuals. The wrong people can squander all of those resources. The right people can amplify those assets and use them to convert the organizational vision and strategy into a reality.

Leadership and strategy are all necessary, but they’re not enough without the right team of people. The fact is that superior strategy will never overcome poor execution but superior execution can succeed despite poor strategy. That is only possible by having the right people doing the right jobs at the right time.

People matter. Teams matter. As such, it’s worth considering five attributes of a high-functioning team.

 

1. Trust

Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, author Patrick Lencioni observes that “Without trust — teamwork is all but impossible. The most important action that a leader must take to encourage the building of trust on a team is to demonstrate vulnerability first.”

Not only is that vulnerability critical from leaders, there has to be a climate on the team itself that allows the members to feel vulnerable with each other. That will sensitize those individuals to the needs of others and spur them to have each other’s back.

It takes time. There’s no shortcut to trust.

 

2. Intentional communication

Members of effective teams need to be able to state their opinions clearly, listen actively and provide helpful suggestions to others.

An analogy I frequently use to demonstrate the importance of intentional communication is comparing an organization with a car. Consider the revenue, grants, cash inflows or interest income an organization generates as comparable to the gasoline that moves the vehicle forward. Conversely, intentional communication is comparable to the motor oil that keeps the engine lubricated and functioning. Without that oil the engine will lock up and not run, no matter how much gas is poured into the tank.

The same holds true for the functioning of an organization or team absent intentional communication.

 

3. Shared purpose and performance

A team’s immediate goals must correlate with its overall purpose. In his book Wisdom of Teams, Jon Katzenbach writes that if your short-term objectives don’t match the organization’s long-term picture, team members will be confused and discouraged.

Teams work best when management gives them a broadly defined job to do and lets them do that job their own way.

 

4. Ability to handle conflict

Every team faces conflict at some point. Whether it’s an NFL team bound for the Super Bowl or a husband and wife discussing curfews for their 16-year old daughter, conflict is an inescapable part of every team dynamic.

According to Lencioni, teams can engage in productive conflict resolution when they understand the only purpose of conflict is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time.

That’s worth repeating. The purpose of conflict is to reach the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. It’s key that leaders demonstrate restraint when their people engage in conflict and allow resolution to occur naturally among the team, as messy as it can sometimes be.

A leader’s ability to personally model appropriate conflict-resolution behavior is essential.

 

5. Inspire each other

Lastly, on the best teams the members inspire each other. They raise the performance bar for the individual team members, for the group and for the broader organization.

Ancient history holds a useful illustration with the biblical story of David and Goliath. About 950 years before the birth of Christ, Saul was the king of Israel. At the time, Israel had been fighting on-and-off with a particular tribal group called the Philistines for years.

According to the story, David was a teenage boy during that period in history who tended his father’s sheep while David’s older brothers went to fight in Saul’s army against the Philistines. David’s dad subsequently had the youth take food to the brothers at the frontline.

The story goes that David arrived at the battlefield and heard the giant, Goliath, mouthing off against Israel and God, which provoked the youth to volunteer as Israel’s “champion” in a mano-a-mano, winner-take-all throw down. When David beat Goliath, he took the fallen giant’s sword and cut off his head, inspiring the rest of the army to chase the Philistines and secure an incredible victory for the nation of Israel that day.

The takeaway lesson for the story is that anybody in that army of Israel could have been a giant slayer, but only an interloping teenager took inspiring action. Who on your team can Inspire its members to become giant-slaying problem solvers? If you can’t think of anybody else, then perhaps it’s you.

If your team doesn’t have all these attributes in place right now, work with what you have. If it’s a new team and you don’t know where to begin, driving intentional communication is probably the easiest place to start. But the key is to start somewhere because your team depends on it.

 

Original article by Tor Constantino: link

5 Productivity Lessons Painfully Learned From Running Marathons

A few years back, I decided I wanted to run a full marathon before I turned 40. I downloaded a training app, closely followed it and subsequently completed my first 26.2 mile distance within the top half of finishers for my age group, all with beaucoup energy and very little muscle or joint discomfort. I followed the same plan for five months and had a similar outcome with my second full marathon. In hindsight, those two experiences were analogous to successfully finishing a large project or initiative on time, under budget with the desired optimal outcome. I then decided that “marathoning” would be my hobby. Things changed six months later when I ran my third marathon. It took me nearly seven hours to finish that race. That was more than three hours longer than my fastest race — a productivity loss of more than 40 percent. I was one of the very last people to limp across the finish line. Every joint and muscle in my body ached. Further, I was 20 pounds heavier running that third race than the previous ones. What happened? My early successes undermined my future objectives, resulting in diminished performance. Here are five productivity lessons learned from that experience.

1. Past productivity gains don’t guarantee future results.

I mistakenly believed that simply committing to running the third race, coupled with my “proven” past success, would be enough. That was simply untrue.  As a result of that flawed thinking, I didn’t engage in the necessary strength and interval training to improve my pace and performance, which significantly hindered my abilities. No matter how successful you’ve been how many times before, it’s important to conduct the necessary due diligence and preparation to acquire the correct skills for the desired outcome.

 

2. Adaptability is important but often overlooked.

From the elevation to the terrain surface to the weather and number of runners, every marathon is different. My modest success completing two marathons had lulled me into the idea that 26.2 miles is the same everywhere. The hills of Baltimore shattered that myth for me. It’s critically important to remember that each project is distinct, offering different productivity opportunities packed with its own challenges.

 

3. Desired outputs require the proper inputs.

For most of my adult life I’ve been 10-20 pounds overweight when compared to body mass index charts for my height. During the training for my first two marathons I ate more and healthier fuel than normal to sustain my higher energy output. When it came to the third race, however, I had started eating more empty calories and processed foods which hindered my training to the point that I had gained almost 20 during the six month “training” period leading up to the marathon.   Honestly, I didn’t notice the weight gain and attributed it to “Runger” or runner’s hunger — a false belief that my running output exceeded my feeding inputs. That wasn’t the case. The takeaway here is that every project, job or initiative requires the best inputs whether it’s data, information or resources to ensure the best outputs and chance for success.

 

4. Honest, ongoing assessments are critical.

Most marathon training programs include, from beginning to end, two or three runs during the week of less than six miles. These “maintenance” runs keep the body primed for the long runs that build a mile or two on the weekends, usually maxing out at 20 miles per run right before the actual marathon. Training for the third race, I shrugged off most of the long distance runs on the weekend. I had deceived myself into thinking that I didn’t need to adhere to the program so closely since I’d already run 26.2 miles — twice. That was foolish, and my body paid for it for several weeks following that third race. This showcases the need to be honest with yourself and your team the moment problems start arising on a project or job, as you work to identify corrective measures and implement them as soon as possible so as not to jeopardize the final results.

 

5. Ongoing productivity gains require mental toughness.

Statistics show that less than 2 percent of the population will ever complete a marathon, mainly because endurance running requires a lot of physical and mental discipline. For my first two races, I was more mentally prepared than I was physically. That’s the only way you can get your body to continue moving through the fatigue and aches of long runs. However, my mental toughness dropped for the third race because I had adopted a lazy “been there, done that” mentality. That hurt my performance. I was not prepared mentally or physically for that race. Avoiding this problem requires a conscious effort to focus your will, attention and effort toward the completion of a project or program. Without mental toughness, productivity gains suffer. The post script to this story is that my botched third marathon served as a painful wake call. Since then I’ve gotten back on track to complete four more full marathons and at least 10 half marathons, and I’ve kept off those pesky extra 20 pounds of excess race weight. Although physically painful to learn, I’m living proof that these productivity lessons can help you “run the good race” – both figuratively and literally.

 

Original article by Tor Constantino: link

10 Tools to Help Automate Your Small Business Tasks

As a small business owner, you’re probably looking to save as much time, money and labor as you can. Saving is the name of the game. However, while it might save you slightly to do certain things yourself, your time is valuable. Certain processes are cheaper, more efficient and effective when automated. Here are 10 helpful tools to get your processes rolling so you can focus on what’s important: growing your business to success.

1. ChattyPeople

As so many firms are starting to utilize Facebook Messenger and in their marketing and sales process, ChattyPeople is looking to help make integration into Messenger seamless. ChattyPeople acts as a one-stop shop for all your Messenger E-Commerce needs. Their platform allows for you to put up products, track metrics, and even integrates with all major payment systems. If your small business is looking to sell online, then ChattyPeople is definitely a great tool to have.

 

2. Deluxe Payroll

If you aren’t already automating your payroll services, then I highly suggest you start now. Not only do companies like Deluxe take the stress out of handling payday, they additionally have the support staff to help keep with regulations as well. Plus, using a platform like this add an extra layer of security to your payroll services, leaving you with a sense of comfort that there won’t be any discrepancies.

 

3. MailChimp

MailChimp has been an absolutely dominant player in the automated marketing world, and rightfully so. Their platform not only makes email marketing easier, but they’ve now expanded to allowing for social media automation as well. This is a savior for any small business looking to help make their marketing efforts more efficient.

 

4. Buffer

If Mailchimp helps automate the design and posting process of your marketing efforts, then look towards Buffer as a great support. Buffer allows you to schedule out your social media posts to the most efficient times, letting you set up and let the rest do the work. Plus, this gives you the opportunity to plan out your weekly/monthly social media at once rather than constantly having to be reminded of it.

 

5. Leadcrunch

Coming up with quality b2b leads can be a tedious, mind numbing task, but that’s the exact process Leadcrunch is trying to eliminate. By using Artificial Intelligence, they’re able to compile quality leads that accurately predict who you would be most successful at doing business with. Not only is this a huge time saver, but it’s going to completely change the way we think about sales in the near future.

6. Slack

Most people know Slack for its ease-of-use in terms of communications for teams, but that barely scratches the surface. Its capabilities stretch far and wide in additionally automating processes such as communicating deployment for development teams. Yes, Slack can do much more than meets the eye, as well as can help synthesize a lot of your efforts into one place.

 

7. Hootsuite

Hootsuite takes the pain out of going through your different social media accounts by aggregating them all to one place. It additionally allows you to assign different tasks to your team, as well as gauge the success rate of posts. In trying to design a one-stop shop for social, Hootsuite knocked it right out of the park.

 

8. Quickbooks

When it comes to keeping track of expenses, Quickbooks is the clear winner. Not only can it perform tasks like mileage tracking, expense reporting, and automating your taxes, but it additionally displays it all in one place. This is a huge time saver for most businesses and definitely something you should consider if you’re looking to ease up on the time you spend handling logistics.

9. Quip

Quip is a great tool in helping teams automate tasks and assignments. This helps make workflow more productive and efficient, saving your team a ton of time. Plus, it helps keep everyone on the same page in being able to communicate in a streamlined channel. Think about using Quip if you’re looking to improve your team’s processes.

 

10. Doodle

Scheduling appointments can be a headache, with seeing what dates are available as well as when. Not only that, but missed appointments caused by communication errors can be a huge time waster (sometimes taking up an entire day). However, that’s what the folks over at Doodle are trying to solve. The product is stupidly simple- just plug in the times when you’re available and when someone books it an appointment, it’s already shipped for confirmation to your calendar. See? I told you it was simple.   Original article by Deep Patel: link

The 7 Biggest Time-Wasters in a New Entrepreneur’s Day

Being a new entrepreneur is stressful, and that stress is compounded when you start realizing just how little time there is in a day. You’ll be managing more tasks and responsibilities than ever before, and because you’re enthusiastic about the project, you’ll end up working long hours and weekends — willingly — to get it all done. But, excited or not as you may be, you’ll find that your efforts to fit all those responsibilities into a day’s work are stressful. To be successful, you’ll need to learn to manage your time well, and that will require addressing the main ways that new entrepreneurs waste time:

1. Improvisation

When you get to the office, do you know what you’re going to do, and when, or do you just roll with the punches? New entrepreneurs are frequently pulled in multiple directions throughout the day, by partners, employees, vendors and other contacts for various challenges that come up. Accordingly, those entrepreneurs tend to avoid planning their day in advance. That oversight makes it hard to accomplish — or even understand — your main priorities. It’s far better to take 15 minutes at the start of your day (or the night before) to sketch out what those priorities are, how you’re going to fulfill them and how you’ll schedule them throughout your day.

2. Email management

It’s easy to get caught up in communication, rather than actually accomplish things, especially if you’re managing correspondence with multiple major sales prospects. If you have your email open all day, you’ll be pulled away from your tasks with every new message that comes in. Instead, keep all your communication consolidated, in designated “communication hours” throughout your day, and don’t let yourself get continuously distracted.,

3. Delegation

New entrepreneurs are excited about their work and their ideas, and they tend to hate the idea of someone else taking over that work. Accordingly, they avoid delegating even minor tasks to their other team members. However, as you gain more experience, you’ll learn how important it is to spend your working hours doing what you do best: Everything else can be handled by your other staff members. Hire people you can trust to accomplish the work without your strict control.

4. Unnecessary meetings

Meetings can be helpful, and are often necessary, but they’re also notorious for wasting time when they aren’t strictly necessary. For example, you might be invited to meetings that you don’t actually need to attend — especially if one of your staff members can go in your stead and report back with notes. You may also find that most lengthy meetings — lasting more than an hour — can be easily consolidated to half an hour or even less. Be mindful of which meetings you attend and how you handle them.

5. Infrastructure and process changes

New startups aren’t well-oiled machines. Your original plans for how the startup will run probably won’t pan out the way you think. There will be hiccups, gaps in communication and new, unforeseen developments that interfere with how things operate. Taking the time to analyze, scrutinize and reshape those systems can take hours out of your day. Plus, while you’re working with unfinished infrastructure and process changes, you’ll be operating with naturally limited capacity; your productivity will have a hard cap. Do what you can to make clear, focused changes.

6. Ambiguity

Some of the infrastructure and processes your startup uses will be written down and planned, but it’s more likely in the first year or two of your operation that you’ll run into situations you haven’t accounted for. No new entrepreneur takes the time to think of every variable, every role and every responsibility that needs to be taken care of. So, ambiguity results. And that makes it difficult to determine what, exactly, needs to be handled, when and by whom. To remedy this problem, attempt to document as many processes as you can.

7. New ideas

You started a business because you’re creative, inventive and passionate — and those qualities aren’t going to disappear just because you’ve started a business. As you build your company, you’ll be distracted by and tempted with dozens of new directions that move you in new directions. Most of them will only waste your time, so resist the temptation to follow every instinct you have; instead, maintain your focus on what’s most interesting (or most profitable). There’s no such thing as a perfect day of productivity, and no matter how much you control your own tasks and organization, you’ll probably have a rolling list of things that need still need to be done. Finding a way to deal with that stress, and accepting that you’ll never have “everything” done is just as important as weeding out your time-wasting habits and improving your overall productivity.              Original article by  Jayson DeMers: link

 

Want To Boost Your Personal Productivity? There’s A Guide For That

Here’s the bad AND good news: productivity is not an innate gift. That’s bad news because that means it’s not something that magically happens to you when you need to get things done. It’s good news, however, because it means anyone is capable of learning great ways to better themselves and accomplish their goals. Productivity requires creating process, workflows, and then constantly iterating on those to find what really works for you. Here’s even more good news: we’ve created an ebook with some of the best tips for how to get going. How To Boost Your Personal Productivity: A Complete Guide is now ready for download, and it’s free!

Setting Effective Goals

It’s common to make the mistake of thinking you’re getting a lot of things done. But the question remains: are they the right things? There is often a disconnect between what people are working on and what managers care about. Do your goals align with the company’s goals? How do you get in touch with the bigger picture? There are a few, key frameworks you can put in place with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Time Management

How many times have you eked away at your day only to glance at the clock and exclaim, “It’s 4 o’clock already?! But I have so much left to do!” It’s important to remember that being busy does not necessarily equate to being productive. Understanding the difference between the two can help you be more effective and ultimately, get more done. There are a few different techniques and frameworks you can adopt in your schedule to manage your time better. Assigning structure to how you attack your tasks can make a huge difference in your output. In this ebook, we discuss a few time management tricks that experts in all fields swear by as ways to eliminate distractions and maximize their time.

Tools Of The Trade

The good news about 2017 is that there is a lot more technology available to help us solve our productivity problems. In the ebook, we’re reviewing software that helps you with all kinds of dilemmas:
  • Getting status reports from everyone on your team.
  • Removing all distractions for a “tunnel vision” view of your desktop.
  • Eliminating the problem of having 38738 browser tabs open.
  • Time tracking apps that actually help you manage your focus.
Original article by Lauren Moon: link

15 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. There are two ways increase your output–either put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter.

Being more productive at work isn’t rocket science, but it does require being more deliberate about how you manage your time. This post will walk you through 15 simple but effective strategies for increasing your productivity at work.

1. Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks.

You may think you’re pretty good at gauging how much time you’re spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.

2. Take regular breaks.

It sounds counterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

3. Set self-imposed deadlines.

While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock.

4. Follow the “two-minute rule.”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the “two-minute rule” to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

5. Just say no to meetings.

Meetings are one of the biggest time-sucks around, yet somehow we continue to unquestioningly book them, attend them and, inevitably, complain about them. According to Atlassian, the average office worker spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or Web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive).

6. Hold standing meetings.

If you absolutely must have a meeting, there’s some evidence that standing meetings (they’re just what they sound like–everyone stands) can result in increased group arousal, decreased territoriality, and improved group performance. For those times when meetings are unavoidable, you may want to check out these 12 unusual ways to spur creativity during meetings.

7. Quit multitasking.

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.

8. Take advantage of your commute.

This goes for any unexpected “bonus” time you may find on your hands suggests author Miranda Marquit. Instead of Candy-Crushing or Facebooking, use that time to pound out some emails, create your daily to-do list, or do some brainstorming.

9. Give up on the illusion of perfection.

It’s common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It’s better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

10. Take exercise breaks.

Using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a studypublished in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

11. Be proactive, not reactive.

Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished. My friend and business partner Peter Daisyme from free hosting company Hostt says, “Set aside time for responding to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like. Have a plan of attack at the start of each day, and then do your best to stick to it.”

12. Turn off notifications.

No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead build in time to check email and messages. This is all part of being proactive rather than reactive (see number 11).

13. Work in 90-minute intervals.

Researchers at Florida State University have found elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. Sounds good to me!

14. Give yourself something nice to look at.

It may sound unlikely, but some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements–like plants–can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Jazz up your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face. For other ideas on increasing your happiness quotient at work, see my post 15 Proven Tips to Be Happy at Work.

15. Minimize interruptions (to the best of your ability).

Having a colleague pop her head into your office to chat may seem innocuous, but even brief interruptions appear to produce a change in work pattern and a corresponding drop in productivity. Minimizing interruptions may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.

If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Looking for more productivity tips? Check out my posts 7 Productivity Hacks Every Busy Entrepreneur Should Try and 5 Things Productive Entrepreneurs Do Each Day.

Original article by By John Rampton: link

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