Updated: Dec 12, 2019
I, like many others, unplugged from work throughout the long October month of Chagim to spend time with family and friends and now it's time to get back into the "shvung" of work.
This time let's all get back into a work routine with a better set of productive work habits. Here are 10 my favorite effective ways to make your work time more productive. While I am primarily talking to small business owners running their businesses from their homes, many of these points are valid for those working in an office as well.
1. Make your life easy! Stop writing To Do lists you will forget, ignore or use as scratch paper for your grocery list. Learn to schedule each To Do task as an event on your online calendar (such as Google calendar or Outlook calendar). Schedule a time, a notification time (10-15 minutes before the event) and a full description of the task. Then carry out the task and go on to the next one.
2. Treat yourself! Take a break after completing two to three tasks. If you worked in an office, you would get up for regular coffee and potty breaks, talk to coworkers and in general move around the office. In a home office, you don’t have these distractions and I believe you per-hour at-home work time can be worth, in productivity terms, two or even three work hours in an office. The most effective way to work is to schedule two to three back-to-back tasks and then take a 15 to 20 minute break to stretch your legs, make yourself a snack, drink a cup of coffee, anything. You need to take a b-r-e-a-t-h-e-r so you can refresh your mind and body and begin the next task with renewed energy.
This is also the place to tell you to never, ever, NEVER eat your meal(s) at your desk. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be eaten in a separate area - never at your desk or while you are working on a task! Give yourself an hour to eat and relax!
3. Be explicit! You don’t live in a vacuum and you certainly can’t run your business in one. You coexist in a world with clients, family, coworkers, partners, friends, neighbors and maybe even assorted pets. Tell people what you want, what you can and cannot do – what you will and will not do. No one is a mind reader.
4. Put it in writing! If you have agreed upon a point with a client – put it in an email and send it to the client – this ensures that you are both on the same page and no one has to remember “What did we decide/discuss/arrange?”.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you are not sure what the client wants – ask. If you are not sure what was agreed upon (if you follow point 4 above, this should never happen) – ask. Ask, question, query and look into – never assume!
6. Learn to turn away business! Not all business is suitable to your business. Not all projects are beneficial to your business. One of your hardest lessons any business owner will learn is to walk away from business; this will be one of the most valuable business lessons you should learn.
7. Reevaluate what you enjoy and are good at. Maybe this should be at the top of the list, but in the everyday world of our businesses, you need to make the time to analyze what area(s) of your business you truly enjoy and at what activities you excel. These are the areas you should further develop, because I truly believe these are the areas that will be the most profitable for your business.
8. Creativity and new ideas are overrated! Unless you are an advertising agency, you should not be running after every new and creative whim that blows through town. Your business has a core strength; find it and then work hard and work persistently towards honing your skills, gaining confidence and creating a strong business and solid clientele base.
9. Start your day off with a laugh! Start the day off with a silly YouTube video that makes you laugh. Invest ten minutes a day in laughing and your productivity will soar! I love silly cat videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Sn91t1V4g. Find what makes you smile!
10. Call someone you love every day! Take a break and call a loved one or friend. Reach out and touch someone. It’s too easy to lose yourself in your never-ending marathon to build your business. Make yourself a cup of coffee, pick up your feet and call someone today!
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