Tag Archives: productivity

How to stay productive throughout the workday

You’re not the only one who reaches a certain point in the day where you “just can’t” anymore. Everyone experiences it. Some people just know how to deal with it better than others. Obviously, it’s important to stay productive throughout the entire workday. So, if we manage our workday routines, we’ll be able to be more consistently productive throughout the day.

Start a new work week with these practices and see what difference it makes to your productivity levels. You may need to change things up frequently in order to maintain productivity, but first, you need to find out what works. Here are a few things you can do to stay productive throughout the workday.

Have a plan for the day

It’s easy to go with the motions of the day and tackle workloads as they come in. But wouldn’t it be more motivating to get things done if you start the day with a list of things you want and need to complete? This way, you’re setting deadlines for yourself. And, in most cases, when there’s a deadline, it’s easier to push through work and make sure it’s done in time.

At the end of every day, you should be creating a to-do list for the next day. Then, when you get into the office, you check your list, organise yourself and get straight to work. Tick things off as you go along, it’s good to track your progress because you can then see and feel how you’re achieving goals and being productive.

If your tasks can’t be easily quantified onto a list, then the next best thing you can do to plan for the day is set some goals and make sure you reach them by the day’s end. And by creating a plan for the day, you’re also less likely to becomes overwhelmed by the work the day brings in as you can prioritise your list of things to do and not forget about anything. As long as you’re realistic about what you can get done within a day, it will be easy to motivate yourself and maintain your productivity.

Take that coffee break

While you’re working through your to-do list for the day, you mustn’t forget to take a break every now and then. Stretch your legs and make yourself a cup of coffee. Get your company to invest in a Nescafé Alegria coffee machine where all it takes is a touch of a button and, voilá, you have a cup of caffeine ready to give you that much-needed boost. If your office has an outdoor section, ask your employer if they could consider adding some plants and outdoor décor to help employees relax their minds for a bit.

But don’t underestimate the power of a mini-break. Just give yourself five minutes to step away from the computer, get some fresh air from outside and move your body. After those five minutes, your mind will be ready for the next round of hard work. Don’t forget to drink water too. You can’t live off only coffee in the office. Your body needs the hydrating, energetic, flushing and nutritious properties of water as well.

Have a “power hour”

If you want to be incredibly productive in the day and tackle as much of the workload as possible, you need to fit in at least one “power hour” at some point of the day. Now, what exactly is a power hour, you ask? It’s a full, uninterrupted 60 minutes of work. And “uninterrupted” means no email checking, no Skype or instant messaging (internal office communication and personal communication included), no talking to anyone else in the office, no internet browsing or using your cellphone, just working.

Put your earphones in if necessary, mute all your conversations and put a “do not disturb” sign up if you really have to. Set a timer so that you don’t end up checking the time every 10 minutes and risk being distracted. It’s only one hour of an eight-hour workday, you can afford it and you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually get done.    

Know when you’re in over your head

There is such a thing as too much work for one person and it’s important to know what your limit is. You can’t keep saying yes to work that you know you’ll either never get done on time or do to the best of your abilities within the time constraints. The key to productivity is witnessing your progress, but when you’re in over your head and feel like you can’t get anything done, it’s easy to lose focus and motivation.

There’s no shame in asking for help or saying no when client service sends a new, non-priority project your way. For the sake of your productivity and performance, you need to learn when to say no. Master the management of your daily tasks before you try to undertake any ad hoc tasks.

It is possible to stay productive throughout the workday, you just need to set your realistic goals, give your body the caffeine, hydration and break it needs, and put your head down for an hour at a time.

Vital leadership skills every small business owner needs

Being a small business owner means that, other than entrepreneurial spirit, you will need to have leadership skills to succeed. You will need to be able to lead your team with ease and have an understanding of all aspects of your business, including financial accounting and marketing. If you are not sure what, exactly, being a leader entails, below are just some of the vital leadership skills you will need as a small business owner.

Organisation

Arguably one of the most important leadership skills you will need is organisational skills, and this pertains to every aspect of your business. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will help to calm your mind, and keeping your business data in order will help to make your work more streamlined.

Keeping everything organised will help you to quickly access information and make quicker business decisions. You will need to be able to organise your contact information, tasks, sales information, and all the other moving pieces involved in bringing in new business, as well as understand your financial situation. This can be done by taking a diploma in financial accounting. An organised business is one that performs well and provides customers with outstanding service and experience.

Effective communication skills

Being able to communicate with your employees and your customers is essential to the smooth running of any small business. Communication is equal parts talking and listening, with listening being vital for meeting with employees and clients.

As a business owner, you can build your success by being able to communicate your goals clearly to your team so that they are able to implement them. Listening to the opinions of the people on your team will also enable you to become a better boss, and it can improve your business operations. Without the ability to communicate your value to potential clients, you are unable

Confidence

Confidence is more of a personal attribute than a skill, but it is important nonetheless. Without confidence, you are unable to inspire trust and respect in your employees and customers. Leaders need confidence in order to make decisions and stick to them.

Self-confidence is important for small business owners as you will need to convince clients to use your skills and buy your products. If you are not confident in your business and in yourself, this will shine through in your business and will increase your profits. Confidence is an attribute that is inherent in entrepreneurs and can be built on with courses and conferences.

Strategic thinking

Thinking strategically is important to  the success of any business. This means that not only do you have a vision for your business but the ability and drive to move forward with this vision. You are able to think on your feet and use all the information available to come up with a plan of action to reach your goals.

Strategic thinking is a leadership skill that can be applied to your entire business, such as marketing and finances. Strategic marketing means that you will look at what is trending in the media and use this to your advantage in your campaign. Using strategic thinking financially could mean that you take financial accounting courses in order to better understand your bookkeeping process.

Emotional intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means that you are able to understand and control your emotions. It will help you to understand yourself and those around you, namely your employees and your clients. It also means that you are able to act diplomatically rather than simply following a whim or an emotional reaction.

Having empathy is a part of having emotional intelligence, and empathy is what drives a small business that wants to connect with customers and give them the best customer experience possible. You should be able to effectively demonstrate emotional intelligence and use it to form connections with your employees and clients. Emotional intelligence also means that you are better able to make smart business decisions with your head rather than your heart.

The ability to adapt

Having the ability to adapt to difficult situations is vital for any small business owner. Change in the economic environment is constant, and being unable to adapt to these changes is highly detrimental to your business success. The ability to adapt also means you need to have the ability to embrace change, too.

Leaders are also able to implement changes easily and efficiently in their business. You should be able to do this without disturbing the organisation’s balances and should provide your staff with help as they strive to adapt to these changes too. Adaptability is highly important in this digital world we live in, especially for small business owners.

5 reasons why team building is important

In a world where attention is focussed on making the client happy, businesses often forget about their most valued asset – their employees. Team building and specially planned activities not only boost morale of employees but also increase the success of a business.

Here are a few reasons why team building is important in the workplace.

Motivates employees

Team leadership and team building go hand in hand. The more comfortable your employees are to express their ideas and opinions, the more confident they’ll become. This’ll motivate them to take on new challenges.

Facilitates better communication

Activities that create discussion enable open conversations among employees and between employees and management. You might even send your employees on a communication course to assist with developing this skillset. Communication is a topic that people assume they know a great deal about, particularly because they interact with many individuals on a daily basis via multiple channels – face-to-face conversations, phone, and email, for example. Yet there is much more to the discipline of communication than many realise. This can improve office relationships and in turn, the quality of work done.

Promotes creativity

Taking a team outside of an office setting and exposing them to new experiences will force them to think outside of their normal routine. Working together with other team members can ignite creativity and fresh ideas, which are great qualities to bring back to the office.

Develops problem-solving skills

In public relations, a crisis can happen at any time. Team building activities that require coworkers to work together to solve problems can improve their ability to think rationally and strategically. Teams that are able to determine when a problem arises and know what they can do about it can then effectively take charge when a real crisis occurs.

Breaks the barrier

Team building increases the trust factor with your employees. Often in corporate settings there’s a disconnect between the management team and employees because the employees sense too large of a gap between the two. Team building exercises gives management the opportunity to be seen as a colleague rather than a boss, which can do wonders for employee morale.

Overall, team building enables better communication, better relationships, and ultimately increases productivity.

 

3 strategies to improve productivity

Being productive is essential to any business. We want delivery of our products or services to be a faster process. Yet that is more easily said than done. Every business wants this and, if it was so easy, all would’ve achieved maximum efficiency. To that end, we should begin questioning just where we can improve and focus our productivity.

Use technology

Despite our reliance on technology in every facet of our lives, many business leaders still remain sceptical of going “too far”. We don’t want to face a situation where, for example, all our data is dependent on one computer, database and so on.Yet this is not a problem with technology, so much as management.

We should be using all available tools and systems, examining which works for us.

Some are free or low-cost, helping with a range of issues. As the BDC highlights, online project management tools can be very useful, for example. These allow businesses to “host their own workspaces to manage certain projects and foster improved collaboration among employees. Typically, users need to download and install a program, or simply log in online, to create tasks, participate in discussions or edit, store and share documents. These applications usually include activity streams allowing users to easily find out who changed what and when and share feedback.”

It fosters collaboration and allows for transparency. This reduces tasks’ time, as we don’t need to rush and wait to find out what others have done or will be doing. We can see precisely where our input is needed and what our job is.

Of course all this is simply a matter of proper business process management, which itself can be aided by personalised systems. Businesses should seek out companies to aid them in creating such systems. All this will significantly reduce task times, add transparency and provide necessary tools to help ground employees in their duties.

Review and reassess

We won’t get far if we don’t know what we’re doing wrong. This is why it’s important to take time out to review our processes. This can be from entire systems of workflow to individuals.

Review processes aren’t merely to assert dominance over employees. Instead, as experts advise, we should use this as an opportunity to touch base, find out how to improve. One professor from Harvard Business School tells Inc.com that an employer and employee should use the opportunity reviews provide to problem solve. In this way, the review becomes “more of a dialogue about what an employee can do to improve and what an employer can do to help.”

Look outward

We must use our competitors as springboards, not obstacles, to our success. We must find out where they saw a vision and we did not. It might be helpful to get outside help and scrutiny, so that an objective assessment can provide a full and proper analysis. Removing any emotional attachment we might have means we can make objectively better decisions in the future.

(Image source: Sean MacEntee / Flickr)