10 Tips to Boost Productivity

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on August 31, 2009 in: Time Management Strategies, Tools & Resources

Over the years I’ve discovered a few helpful hints to boost productivity. Some of these might seem obvious to you, some of them might be new. I hope that you can apply more than a couple and recapture several hours each week.

1.    Keep a notepad of some kind by your desk. When you have an idea, write it down and deal with it later. Work doesn’t get done when we follow rabbit trails. I use Genius Pads from MegaSticky.com. Think: Huge sticky notes. The perfect size for those zillions of ideas that entrepreneurs always get!

2.    Track your time and pay attention to what you’ve done. Successful productivity isn’t just about planning what you will do but reviewing whether or not you actually did it. One great program I’ve used in the past is from Slife. It tracks your time on projects, applications, and you can use it to track non-computer work, too (i.e., meetings, phone calls). Then you get these nice shiny graphs that basically tell you how much you’ve been procrastinating (or not).

3.    While you’re at it (above), take note of times in the day when your mind wandered. Are you daydreaming at 4PM? Maybe that’s your body’s way of telling you to plan a coffee break then.

4.   If you want to have a concentrated burst of work, turn off your email notifications, Tweetdeck, IM, cellphone, and desk phone. Yes, you can live without it for half an hour while you concentrate on something.

5.    Invest in tools that will help you do a good job. You invest in other tools to help your business run, so it’s worth investing in productivity-enhancing tools, too.

6.    Know what you want to accomplish in life and work towards that. Everything else is inconsequential. However, “what you want to accomplish in life” should include some balance: Not just fame and fortune but probably friends, family, and a healthy dose of philanthropy.

7.   If you want a nap, take one. I’ve found that I get more done in 40 minutes if I’ve taken a 20 minute nap than if I force myself to stay awake and work for the entire hour.

8.    Do I need to tell you to eat a balanced meal and work out regularly? I shouldn’t have to… but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded now and then.

9.    There comes a point in every lost cause when you need to cut it loose and move on. Figuring out when that is, is really hard. So the sooner you figure it out and act on it, the faster you can move on to other things.

10.    Let go of the sense that you need to be in control. It’s an unconscious feeling we all desire. However, if you want to delegate or outsource successfully, you need to reevaluate your sense of perfection. It can still be perfect, and can still meet your expectations, even if it’s not exactly how you would do it.

Small business owners struggle with productivity – getting through their to-do’s each day. I know I do. But I’ve learned these valuable lessons and do my best to apply them daily (although even I forget sometimes). Try them for yourself and see if it doesn’t transform your workweek!

Happy Blogging!

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