Personal Productivity, Process Improvement

Top Ten Productivity Tips

Highly productive people use techniques like these to get more done every day. Give one or all of them a try!

1.  Review your goals daily.
Post your goals in plain sight or refer to them daily when you plan. Take one step every day toward your goals and you WILL achieve them!

2. Start or end your day with planning.
Take a look at your calendar for the next day and the rest of the week. What do you need to do to be prepared for upcoming activities? Add those items to your task list. Now prioritize the most important things you need to spend time on.

3. Schedule your day.
Now that you know what you need to do, decide when you’ll do it and schedule it.

4. Group similar tasks. Save time by working on one kind of task at a time instead of jumping from task to task. Phone calls, email processing, errands, computer work, desk work, and faxing are some easy tasks to handle in batches.

5. Keep your list short and in front of you. Limit your task list to the top 3 to 5 things you need to accomplish and keep it in plain sight. You can always go back and add more if time allows AFTER you have finished the most important things.

6. If the task can be done in less than 2 minutes, JUST DO IT! Often little tasks that we put off or avoid doing can be done in 30 seconds or less.

7. Use a timer to stay on schedule. It’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when you’re on the computer or in the middle of a project. Allow time to wrap up your task before starting the next one.

8. Use a timer to help you stay focused. Timers set for short periods of time, 5 to 15 minutes, can help you stay on task. Set your timer, work until it goes off, then take a short break or move on to something else. This works well for kids, too.

9. Use your voice mail. Don’t answer the phone when you’re in the middle of your important work. Let the call go to voice mail and check it when you’re finished.

10. Clear off your desk at the end of the day. Allow time to wrap things up for the day, plan for tomorrow, and leave a clean desk. This closes out the workday and helps you shift easily into personal time.

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Nine Hacks to Work Effectively from Home

With the work-from-home or shelter-in-place mandates, many people are working from home for the first time. Here are seven hacks to work effectively from home.

Establish a dedicated workspace. This can be a chair, office, part of a room, or whatever you can find in your home. If it’s nice where you live you can even work outside! Make sure you have the space and tools to do your work. Having a dedicated workspace also gives you and your family the signal that you are working.

Tweak your routines. Structure is important to maintain a feeling of control. Modify your daily morning, after work and evening routines to reflect your new reality. What needs to change to support you and make your days run smoother?

Focus. Define and prioritize what is really important now. You are also giving yourself permission to NOT do the things that aren’t important. Take care of the critical things that require your attention and let go of the trivial things that get in your way.

Minimize distractions. It’s easy to get distracted, especially if you share the space or don’t have a dedicated office or workspace at home. Turn off the TV, get noise-canceling headphones, close the door and focus on your work. A simple red/green or yes/no sign on your door can indicate to children when you need privacy and when you can be interrupted.

Respect the bandwidth. With most people restricted to their homes, internet usage is extremely high, especially with streaming and people working from home. Streaming on a company VPN stresses the system and slows everyone down. Do as much as you can offline.

Take care of yourself. You can’t cope well or help others who need it when you’re tired, cranky, dehydrated, and malnourished. Get a decent amount of sleep, eat as well as you can, and get some exercise. Turn off the TV and computer an hour before you go to bed to give your brain a chance to rest.

Go outside. Get some fresh air and get your body moving. Even a short walk can refresh and energize you.

Stay connected. Social isolation is difficult, especially for extroverts. Check in with your team or co-workers and help out if they need it. Seeing friendly faces on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or Marco Polo can brighten your day and help you feel less alone. Send a text, make a call, or email – whatever works. We are all in this together!

Be patient. We are all in this together, managing the situation day by day. Kids, dogs and other distractions will interrupt conference calls, throw a wrench in your plans and disrupt your flow. Be kind and understanding, laugh, take care of the interruption and get back to work. It’s okay.

Now get going! Take one small step every day to take control of your life and save time, money, and stress.

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Take Control to Survive in Uncertain Times

The quarantine of the COVID-19 virus and the expected downturn in the economy have created a lot of stress and uncertainty. People are looking for ways to live simpler, save money, and make the most of what they already have. Here are six ways to focus on the things you CAN control and start reducing your stress today.

Get educated about COVID-19. Knowledge is power; ignorance breeds panic. Know the symptoms to watch out for and when to seek medical care. Take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy and keep the hospitals free to treat those who need it.

Express gratitude. No matter what challenges you face, there is always something for which to be grateful. Take a moment to express and feel it. This simple practice can help ground you and put things in perspective. What three things are you grateful for today?

Simplify. Pare down to the essentials and get rid of the clutter. Simple routines and systems are easier to maintain and help you stay focused. Get rid of the things that don’t add value to your life or work, whether physical or mental. Give yourself a KISS – Keep It Super Simple!

Tweak your routines. Structure is important to maintain a feeling of control. Modify your daily morning, after work and evening routines to reflect your new reality. What needs to change to support you and make your days run smoother?

Focus. Define and prioritize what is really important now. You are also giving yourself permission to NOT do the things that aren’t important. Take care of the critical things that keep your home and work life going and let go of the trivial things that get in your way.

Take care of yourself. You can’t cope well or help others who need it when you’re tired, cranky, dehydrated, and malnourished. Get a decent amount of sleep, eat as well as you can, and get some exercise. Turn off the TV and computer an hour before you go to bed to give your brain a chance to rest.

Go outside. Get some fresh air and get your body moving. Even a short walk can refresh and energize you.

Learn about payment deferrals or changes. As businesses and the government navigate this unprecedented crisis, many are already taking steps to defer payments, extend deadlines or even cancel fees. Find out how your own bills will be affected and what action, if any, you need to take. The federal tax filing deadline has already been extended to July 15, 2020. Many banks are also deferring payments and offering special loans to small businesses.

Get help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask for help from your family, friends, or coworkers. Maybe you can work together, take turns, or delegate tasks to others who can pitch in and help. Take turns bringing lunch from home instead of eating out.

Stay connected. Social isolation is difficult. Check in with your family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers. Seeing friendly faces on FaceTime, Skype or Marco Polo can brighten your day and help you feel less alone. Send a text, make a call, talk from the next balcony – whatever works. We are all in this together!

Now get going! Take one small step every day to take control of your life and save time, money, and stress.

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Let’s Get Better Together

Thanks for joining me! I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a business to help small business owners improve their processes and systems for a while. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to take quick action to reshape our businesses to ensure they can survive and perhaps thrive amid the turbulence.

I’m starting with a few posts of tips and strategies you can use to improve your processes right away. I hope you find them helpful and take some time to action making something better today.

What are your biggest challenges right now? Generating cash? Changing products and services? Adapting to you and your team working from home? Deferring payments? Let me know in the comments section.

Wishing you good health, calm, and patience as we weather this journey toward the new normal.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton