Today’s topic is all about Three Productivity Tools. Now everyone can use more productivity in their lives, I know that I can. I would rather spend my time doing things that I enjoy, wouldn’t you?
If you’re like most busy people, you’re always looking for ways to increase your productivity.
If you can find a way to:
Limit distractions in this distraction-filled world
Stay focused on a single task at a time
…you’re well on your way to getting more done, but it’s not always easy to get there. Well, thanks to the amazing technology we have available to us today, there are plenty of tools out there that can help.
Abundance of Tools
Here are 3 of our favorite productivity tools to help you limit distractions and stay focused.
Let’s get the distractions out of the way first because even while technology brings us so many great productivity tools, it also brings us tremendous distractions. RescueTime helps you track your time on your computer and your mobile devices and identifies where you’re spending (ahem…often wasting) a lot of your time.
Alert you when you’re spending a certain amount of time on an activity
Allow you to block distracting websites during focus time
Keep track of what you accomplished throughout the day
Identify how much time you spend on a variety of activities, including email, meetings, etc.
You can sign up for a Lite account, which is completely free, or their premium service for added features.
The Focus Booster app is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which is a long-standing productivity technique that uses a timer for focused work periods, usually 25 minutes, followed by a break of 3-5 minutes. After you complete 4 work periods, you get a break of 15-30 minutes. The idea is you stay completely focused on the task during the work period.
There are a lot of apps that can help you execute the Pomodoro Technique, but you can check out Focus Booster. The app is free for up to 20 sessions per month or you can pay a reasonable yearly fee for unlimited sessions and extra features.
The app keeps a timesheet for you and produces a report that allows you to track your productivity and identify ways to become even more productive. And they have a 30 Day PRO Trial also.
Now here’s something very different, but scientifically proven to increase focus and productivity. And if you love music, this is going to be great news for you.
Focus@Will uses human neuroscience and music to help you focus, limit distractions, get productive and retain more information. All you do is answer a few questions and the software will determine the right music to put your brain in a flow state that makes you super productive. Wow!!
Try these Three Productivity Tools and let us know what you think. And hey, if you’ve got a productivity tool you love, can you send me a message? We’d love to gather up your answers and make part 2 for this article with more great productivity tools.
When you work for yourself you will need to be both organized and productive while working, every day. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also get much more done for your clients as well as for your own business. So how can you make sure that you stay organized and productive?
Below are several tips for staying organized and productive. Which ones have made it to your list?
Process your emails
Schedule your calendar
Don’t skip lunch
Clear Out Your Clutter
Your workspace should be clean and clutter-free. By removing distractions, you will make sure that you remain focused on your work. Have a trash can by your desk and use it. If it’s trash, then it isn’t needed so toss it immediately! Add a small container for recycling and put anything that can be recycled into it as soon as you’ve finished with it.
Process Your Emails
Emails are a huge time suck. Instead of just reading them or thinking you’ll read or act on them later take a more structured approach. Set a specific time for dealing with emails each day. Don’t check them in between.
Use folders to organize emails: junk/spam, trash, by project or client, personal and to do. Any emails that require you to take action and that cannot be completed at that moment should be put into the to-do folder. Make it a habit to work through your to-do folder and empty it every day. Have a specific time slot allocated for that each day.
Delete junk, spam, and emails that aren’t important or needed for further action and empty those folders at the end of each day.
When you’re an employee, your break time is usually scheduled for you. But when you work for yourself, then it will be up to you to decide when to take a break. Make sure to schedule regular breaks as these will keep you more focused and productive
If you sit down for a large part of your day you need to take regular time out to get up and walk around. This will keep you fitter and reduce tiredness.
Your body and brain need water to stay hydrated and to achieve optimal performance. Of course, you don’t need to drink plain water all the time but you should limit caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee.
Don’t Skip Lunch
It can be all too easy to skip a meal when you are really busy. However, this won’t actually boost your productivity as you’ll find your blood sugar level will drop and you’ll lose energy and the ability to focus.
Make sure that you’ll always have lunch either ready to go to your office with you. Also, make sure to have a couple of healthy snacks ready to have during the day.
These simple tips will help you to stay organized and productive when you’re working.
Did you know that having an online business has lots of advantages for you? Online business owners can save a ton of money on gas, and they don’t have to worry about dressing a certain way for work. All that is needed is to designate work time for your business. They can even take their work with them anywhere they go, as long as an internet connection is available.
But every type of business has its pitfalls, and online businesses are no exception.
One of the biggest challenges that online business owners face is staying on task. The internet is a big place, so to speak, and it is full of distractions. There are forums, chatrooms, and blog conversations to participate in. Then there are friends and family to send instant messages to. And don’t forget about those emails to check! The list goes on and on. And I’m sure you have a big checklist of things to do for your clients as well!
It’s very easy to get sidetracked when you work online. But it is important not to let distractions affect your productivity. Even if you’re not getting paid by the hour, time is still money.
So how do you designate work time for your business? Do you set aside so many hours a day, so many hours a week or do you just play it by ear? This last one gets you nowhere by the way!
Set Hours and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours. This is particularly true when you have an online business because you don’t necessarily have to keep hours that are convenient to your customers. But it is important to actually set working hours instead of just working when the mood strikes you.
During designated work time, avoid using the internet for non-work-related activities as this is essential to your productivity.
Here are some ways you can help yourself do that:
Segregate your email
Use one address for personal correspondence and another for business purposes. Set your email program up to automatically check the business one only.
Write notes to yourself
If something pops into your head that you must attend to online, don’t let it interrupt your work. Write it down and take care of it during non-work hours. A good app for that is Keep and you can get that right in your Gmail account.
Are You Open or Closed?
Write yourself a note reminding yourself that work time is for work only, or put up an “Open” sign. It can serve as a gentle reminder that business is the only thing that should be taking place.
Use Flexibility Wisely
Another great thing about working online is flexibility. If something comes up and you need to attend to it right away, you can drop what you’re doing and attend to it. But it’s crucial to only use that privilege when absolutely necessary.
When you have an unexpected interruption, you lose working hours. If you were working at a regular job, you would have to either take sick or vacation time or lose pay. When you work for yourself, you can make the hours up at a time that is convenient for you. It is, however, important to make them up at some point.
An online business is one of the most convenient and flexible ways to work from home. It also presents more opportunities for distraction than many people imagine.
Online business success requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards are many.
One thing that works really well is to have a daily schedule you can look at to make sure you’re on track for your day. So here’s one you can use to keep you on track.
Creativity can be elusive. It’s not something that you can summon at will. But, I certainly wish it would sometimes don’t you? Today we’re discussing how to cultivate your creative muscles to further your business success.
When creativity happens, it strikes like lightning. Like an explosion! Yet, like lightning, it can be maddeningly unpredictable. However, because creativity is an essential element of a successful business mindset, it is necessary to understand the creative process. And how you, the business owner, can cultivate your own creative juices. So how do you do that?
Creativity is all about taking in a lot of influences and letting those influences combine, ferment and morph in your subconscious. Together, they form a sort of mental potting soil where new and different ideas have a chance to germinate and grow. The more things you learn, read, see and hear the more creative soil you are able to produce. Kinda sounds just like gardening, don’t you think?
Why Be Creative?
Be clever, innovative, and definitely think outside the box. As a business owner who wants to be creative, the best thing you can do is get out there in the world and open yourself up to new experiences. Be curious about many different things. It’s very natural to do this.
Do the unexpected.
The more you push your own personal envelope the more you are charging your own creative batteries. When those batteries are charged, it is much more likely that inspiration will strike. Be inspired by what you create.
Creativity Pushes You To Think Outside The Box
What other types of creativity can you think of to become successful? Maybe work on your content for your business. Make pretty graphics in Canva or whatever you use to make graphics. Stretch your imagination and create some unique items for your business.
There are so many things you could do, you just need to try things out. Use your imagination, daydream but most of all, just try different things out.
If you cultivate your creative muscles, you will find yourself energized and enthused to continue creating your successful business.
Someone once said: “Your life will begin changing the moment you decide that you want it to.” And so it is with organizing too! Organizing your marketing efforts will help you succeed, just ask other business owners.
I’ve found that the same is true for growing your business. If you want to see different results than what you’ve seen in the past, you must make a heartfelt decision to do things differently. You need to start with making over your mindset and start organizing.
Mental blocks can hold you back and keep you from achieving your goals. When you sit down to work on your business are you clear and focused, or is your mind cluttered with ideas, client requests, overdue items and more?
The FIRST step to achieving your goals is de-cluttering and organizing your mind. When you do this, you’ll be able to clearly define what you want to accomplish and start taking the necessary action to achieve your goals.
It’s a long to-do list. Right? Too many ideas for marketing your business, missed opportunities, and a constant state of overwhelm that’s running your life. Don’t you think it’s time to clear out the old and get organized? When you do this, you’ll find that it’s easier to focus on marketing your business consistently and effectively.
Here are seven simple practices that you can use NOW to help you with your organization:
1- The first thing to do is to document EVERYTHING! Yes, you heard me right…
When your brain is busy trying to keep track of the many details that are floating around your head, you begin to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Write down everything! Get a notebook if you prefer the pen and paper type of note-taking, or use Evernote. No matter how you do it – start documenting every aspect of how you run and market your business. Getting it all out of your head and onto paper is going to relieve a tremendous amount of stress.
Apart from your procedures and to-do list notebook, you should create a space where you can write down all of your new ideas. Entrepreneurs have no problem generating great new ideas. But it’s far too easy to forget about them or allow them to distract you from your profit plan. Keeping your ideas in one spot will make it easy for you to refer back to those ideas often so you can actually implement them. Imagine how you can increase your profits when you start taking action on your great ideas?
If your daily task list is in 7 different spots, you’re going to feel distracted and scattered. Keep everything in one list – there are countless options, so just choose one and stick with it! Once you’ve picked the best option for you, commit to using this one system for your tasks and projects. Using a web-based system will make it easy to delegate tasks to other people and help you organize an effective system.
4- Plan ahead with your content
Many entrepreneurs feel stuck with marketing because they aren’t sure what to do. Just start with one month – plan out what you’ll be doing in the upcoming month. Pick a date to publish each piece, plan out the theme for your content and jot down some ideas for your newsletter, blog posts or social media updates. When you sit down to write your marketing materials you’ll crank out your content quickly and easily. This will also help you to stay organized.
5- Create a Master Schedule Template
If you find yourself looking back at the end of the week and wondering where the time went, you need to implement this right away! Using a weekly calendar, you can designate blocks of time where you’ll work on certain aspects of your business. For example, reserve Monday from 9 am to 12 pm for marketing, 1 pm to 3 pm for writing, 3 pm to 5 pm for email management, and so on. Start by inserting recurring tasks (like client meetings, marketing times, meeting with your coach, etc.) and then designate other blocks of time for your other activities. Don’t leave your essential tasks to chance! Make a plan for when you’ll do them and you’ll boost your productivity. Daily Plan Sample [Click to Download]
6- Set clear boundaries
Once you get this support system into place, you need to follow through and stick with it! Commit to yourself that you’ll honor what you’ve set out to do. Turn off email notifications and other distractions. Make sure that friends and family know when you’re available to chat. You can also create accountability for yourself by working with a coach or mentor to help you.
Marketing and growing your business isn’t impossible – but it does require planning and consistency to work. When you de-clutter your mind and organize your materials, you will be able to see the results you’ve been looking for and fully enjoy a successful business.
So, which organizing tip will you implement first? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments!
YOUR “TAKE ACTION” PLAN FOR THIS WEEK:
1. Plan a “brain dump” – Take time this week to get everything out on paper – all of your “to-dos,” all of your big ideas for growing your business, all of your client projects – everything. When you write it all down you’ll be able to get it off your mind and develop a plan for getting things done.
2. Get organized – Create digital files on your computer for all your important documents. Also, anything you deem important, such as graphics, articles you need to write, backup files for your website, just to mention a few. I’m sure you can think of others as you go through your computer. You’ll save time each day and boost your productivity just by knowing where everything is located.
3. Master your schedule – Set time aside each week in hourly blocks for all of the things you need to do – including marketing your business. You’ll be more productive, waste less time, and get more done.
4. Plan ahead – Write down your content focus for the next month and brainstorm ideas for blog topics, social media conversations, and newsletter articles. Then sit down to write at your designated time and get your content into the hands of the people who need you!
5. Set boundaries – Let friends and family know when you’ll be available to chat and commit to sticking with your master schedule. You’ll eliminate distractions and increase your profitability.
GO…Do it NOW! You will be so thankful that you did this for your growing business.
Remember to contact me if I can help in any way. Your business really needs organization and I can provide that service to you.