All Articles Tagged "productivity"
When you go to work, you go there to do well..work. However, sometimes getting all of your work done in a set amount of time can be difficult. From distractions to randomly called meetings, there are all sorts of things that throw off our work and productivity balance in the workplace. However, if you want to become one of those ultra-productive employees, there are some tips you’ll want to keep at hand, like these.
Know when your day ends
Instead of coming in at 7:00 am each morning and leaving at whenever pm, you’ll want to give yourself a specific working schedule each day. If you arrive at 7:00, make it clear to yourself that you must be out of the office by 4:00 at the latest. Having a time when you know you need to be leaving work puts a bit more pressure on you to get your work done in a certain amount of time. Otherwise you can slack off all day and not head home until 7:00 pm.
Wednesdays get a bad reputation during the workweek as being the “hump day” of a long Monday-Friday schedule. While Mondays are known for being the start of a productive week and Fridays get the credit for being the introduction to the weekend, Wednesdays usually gets no love, being the one workday that is stuck right between the two.
If you find yourself unproductive, unmotivated and even a little unresponsive come the middle of the workweek, you are not alone, but there are a few ways you can make Wednesday one of your favorite days of the week (no, really!). Read on to find out!
How many of us are guilty of feeling overwhelmed in life? If only there was more time in the day. If only I had a second me to finish my tasks. What are your “if” statements? The truth is, we may not have control over each and every situation in our lives, but can do things to better manage our days.
Being productive not only makes you more efficient, but can relieve stress. It’s really important to have a plan of action in both your work and personal life that allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment when you scratch something off your to-do list. If you have been struggling to become more productive, here are some ideas to make your day work for you.
Welcome to the “Work It!” column, where we take a look at business innovation of every kind.
When we think of the workplace, the cubicle is probably the most common template that comes to mind: high walls that block us off from world, lit by fluorescent lighting, surrounding us in neutral colors. Forward-thinking companies are changing the way they approach the spaces that surround their employees.
Innovation is accepted as the key to an organization’s growth and business minds are paying more attention to the link between environment and creativity. Human creativity, the heart of innovation, just isn’t cultivated in the cubicle. Even the creator of the cubicle, Robert Propst, admitted at the end of his life that his invention was “monolithic insanity.” Research shows that we need to collaborate to mix ideas and come up with new insights and ways of thinking.
Organizations looking to update their offices are creating open floor plans that democratize the seating chart, placing executives in wall-less offices just a few paces away from the new intern. The arrival of millennials in the workplace is also causing a shift toward spaces that encourage socializing. Other trends include:
- Themed Areas - Work zones or neighborhoods that are set aside for tasks like special projects and brainstorming. Having a designated area for innovation helps get employees away from their desks and in a creative mindset.
- Windows and Lighting - The only thing windowless rooms glowing with white fluorescent lights inspire is thoughts of escape. It may be cost-effective, but companies are turning away from this dull design for warmer lighting and floor to ceiling views.
- Communication and Technology - Communication is vital to the sharing and creating ideas. In addition to creating spaces and opportunities for departments to mingle with another, firms are clearing out the cords and integrating wireless technology into desks and workstations.
Of course there are downsides to this take on workplace design, particularly open floor plans. Workers have voiced displeasure with the decrease in privacy and the increase in noise associated with the change. What fosters innovation for one company’s office may not work for another.
Whether you’re redesigning an entire office or just your work area, a successful redesign requires first figuring out how you use the space. Then think about what equipment you use most often, and what business activities take place in that space. From there you can figure out the best arrangement to meet your needs. Here are some tips for creating a space that helps you do your best work:
- Establish Activity Center – Take a cue from the work neighborhoods trend and set up various activity centers for your most common tasks. A reading area that is separate from where you work on your computer can help you focus on the task at hand.
- Bring in Some Color - Bright colors keep us awake while darker colors offer a different, more relaxed stimulant for our creativity. Pick colors that attract your attention and inspire you.
- Cater to You - Do you need a blank canvas with no distractions or something stimulating to motivate you? Design your space with your work style in mind. Don’t forget to surround yourself with work and words that inspire you.
- Embrace Nature - Natural lighting and greenery will ward off any feelings of claustrophobia that creep in after a long project.
- Clear Out Clutter - Use creative storage to make the most of a small space.
- Make Space to Create and Communicate – Chalkboards, white boards, and wall calendars are great tools that allow you to jot down ideas, or let family and coworkers communicate with you without disturbing your flow.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Do you find that some days, you just don’t get anything done at work? And by the time you get into gear, it’s time to clock out? Distractions can thwart productivity. And one of the biggest distractions is technology.
People spend lots of time at work chatting on IM services, checking Twitter or updating their status on Facebook. In fact, a new study found that social media distractions at work could be costing the U.S. economy $650 billion per year — or $4,452 per company.
And even when you log off, it takes time for to get back to work. According to the study, conducted by Mashable, it will take you 23 minutes to get back on track.
Catching up with the latest office gossip and bringing problems from home can also eat into your day.
The Washington Post recently interviewed Robert Pozen about how to boost productivity. According to Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, there are practical lessons to increasing productivity. The general philosophy of these lessons is that you should focus your time on your most critical goals. So first, you have to identify and rank your priorities based on your own skills and desires as well as the needs of your organization. Then you clear away the lower priorities with as little headache as possible. Finally, you perform your high-priority goals more efficiently by quickly reaching tentative conclusions, instead of spending days or weeks researching basic facts, Pozen tells the Post.
In order to prioritize however you need to define your goals, he adds. Determine which are long-term versus short-term, then rank the longer-term goals by importance. Then figure out what you have to do more immediately, taking into account what your boss wants and what the business needs, Pozen explains.
And of course, keep your personal online activity to a minimum. Checking social media on your lunch hour or during 15-minute breaks is fine. But if you’re spending too much time on Facebook, all the prioritizing in the world can’t help.
“A Dollar and A Dream” spotlights low- and no-cost ways to build a better business. The economy may be lagging, but new resources are empowering small business owners like never before. Follow the series to learn how to take your dreams to the next level without breaking the bank.
Your success in business is directly linked to how you produce your product. Maximizing productivity can be difficult for small businesses where manpower is in short supply. Luckily, improving productivity isn’t always about working harder; you may just need to work smarter.
New apps are hitting the marketplace everyday, designed to streamline business systems and help owners and employees get the most out of their time and efforts. The tools below allow for greater efficiency in managing billing, information, tasks and time. This selection only scratches the surface of what is available. Check out “Go Digital: Web Tools for Every Business” for even more recommendations.
When searching for a reliable app, first take a look at how you do business. What tasks or areas are you slowing down? Once you pinpoint the areas where you need to save time and money, the answer is just an Internet search away. It’s hard for a good app to stay a secret for long. Reviews from users and business publications will give you a good idea if a tool has the right features for you.
Here are a few common issues apps solve:
“I’m always late.”
Platform: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Benefit: Analyzes your schedule to provide timely reminders to keep you on schedule.
How It Works: OnTime syncs with your existing calendar and takes into account your current location, the location of your next appointment, and traffic patterns to provide accurate alerts to keep you on time. It will even alert your next appointment if you are running late. Perfect for busy individuals who complain about time getting away from them.
“My team works remotely and has trouble staying on the same page.”
Platform: Web, Desktop (Mac), and iPhone
Price: Free app ($9 monthly service fee / $99 yearly)
Benefit: A central location to create and delegate project tasks and keep project updates from being overlooked in e-mail.
How It Works: Flow is an online collaboration platform. Invite contacts to join a task or project list whether they have an account or not and you can tackle projects as a team regardless of location. The app allows you to delegate tasks, keep track of each team members’ progress, as well as discuss and collaborate issues in real-time. Payment options are available on a yearly basis or month-to-month for special projects.
“My team wastes time tracking me or a client down to sign off on documents.”
Solution: DocuSign Ink
Platform: Android, iPhone, iPad
Price: Free (paid version $14.99 and up)
Benefit: Send, sign and save documents anywhere, on any device.
How It Works: DocuSign is the most widely used eSignature software and provides extra document encryption, authentication of signers’ identities, and tracking of who signed, when, and where. The paid version offers additional features including sending documents to multiple parties and creating reminders.
“We have so much paperwork to keep track of, our filing system takes up too much time.”
Benefit: Turns your iPhone into a multipage scanner.
How It Works: Don’t waste time looking for paperwork. Take a picture of documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards, or other text and TurboScan will generate a high quality PDF or JPEG file that be stored and shared easily. All processing happens on your iPhone, so there’s no need to worry about your confidentiality being compromised.
“I have too many small tasks to keep track of; I feel like I’m always forgetting something.”
Platform: Web, Desktop (Windows and Mac), Android, iPhone, and iPad
Benefit: The classic to-do list, updated with the functionality and portability of modern technology.
How It Works: Wunderlist manages whatever needs to be done, from shopping list, to projects, to to-dos. Unlike a conventional to-do list, you don’t have to keep track of a piece of paper. Wunderlist syncs your lists across platforms, allows you to set reminders or notifications, and lets you share your list via email, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s one of the more elegantly designed to-do list apps on the market.
“I haven’t perfected setting hourly rates for my clients; I think I’m under-billing.”
Benefit: Especially helpful for new freelancers and contractors who aren’t sure where to begin when setting prices.
How It Works: The app helps you calculate rates for a project based on the tools, help, and supplies you will need. Just plug in what you’ll need to get the job done. The app will calculate how much you should charge to turn a profit. MyPrice is also beneficial in helping business owners think critically about the resources and expenses at their disposal for a given project.
Do you have any apps that your business swears by? Help out your fellow entrepreneurs and share them in the comment section.
The Grindstone has rounded up three tips for making the first hour of the day more productive: don’t check email, tackle the big stuff first and reconnect with colleagues and clients that you haven’t spoken to in a minute.
While these are all good things to do at some point or another, they struck us a little strange in terms of increasing productivity. We have five tips that we think will make the day a more productive one.
Keep quiet. Use the first hour of the day to quietly gather your thoughts, write your to-do list, send those email messages that have been waiting to be written and catch up on any research or reading material that frequently gets pushed aside in favor of more pressing matters. Having a chance to sit and think can spur new ideas and get your mind in order. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find yourself powered up and able to more efficiently get through more tasks.
Delegate. We so often take on everything ourselves, even the tasks that are really part of the job descriptions of other staffers. Use some of that quiet time to get assignments to assistants and other colleagues. That leaves you more time to tackle the important issues and tasks that are on your desk.
Don’t forget deadlines. When you assign those tasks, make sure you’ve included deadlines. This will help keep you on track and help others to organize their day. Without deadlines, you can find yourself waiting around for pieces of a project and quickly falling behind.
Take short breaks. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you step away from your desk and come back to your computer with fresh eyes. This is the time when we would suggest visiting your co-workers, grabbing a Diet Coke and lingering by the machine to check out anything new on the company bulletin board, or just taking a walk around the office to see what (or who) is new.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Sometimes we get so anxious about what we haven’t done, we can’t concentrate on what we’re doing. Some days are going to be more productive than others. Accept that. And prepare for the next day when you’ll have to play a bit of catch up. Know when you leave the office that when you come back, there are things that have to get done and carve out a path for yourself to conquer those items.
What are your tips and tricks for being more efficient? Chime in in the comments section.
-The Huffington Post takes a closer look at the deflating situation homeowners in foreclosure find themselves in. Back in February, the Obama administration and the nation’s five largest banks reached a $25 billion settlement to resolve “complaints of unlawful foreclosure practices.” Many say things haven’t changed despite the coming October deadline.
-Mitt Romney and President Obama are appealing to women and the working class during their latest campaign stops. Romney attacked President Obama’s record on welfare.
-Feel like you’re working harder? The Labor Department says worker productivity was up 1.6 percent. That’s a modest figure, but if this keeps up, companies might have to hire. This is a bit of good news following the poor outlook of Monday’s jobs report.
-In Olympics news, Aly Raisman walked away with two more medals, a bronze on the balance beam and a gold medal on the floor exercise, making her the first American to win that individual competition. Gabby Douglas competed on the balance beam, but didn’t medal. Ever gracious, she said, “If it wasn’t my time to shine, it wasn’t my time to shine… I wanted to finish off on a good note. Event finals is something a little extra.” Love her.
Australia’s Sally Pearson beat out her American competitors to take the gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles. Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, both from the U.S., took silver and bronze respectively. Lolo Jones didn’t medal again, prompting these very sad comments. And now this. Ugh. Allyson Felix competes in the 200-meter race today.
-USA Today offers tips to avoid purchasing a used car that’s been in a wreck.
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Every day, we head off to work, mentally creating our to-do lists as we take our commute and grab our first cup of coffee. The next thing you know, it’s 4 p.m. and most of the things on that to-do list haven’t gotten done. Yikes.
We live busy lives. And, with company meetings, lunch dates, social media, email, and myriad other distractions and intrusions on the work day, getting through a set of tasks can be a task in itself.
Black Enterprise has compiled a list of 10 tips that will help you have a more productive day. One example:
Each day, I make a number order for my daily activities and try to follow it as closely as possible, so the most important tasks get done early in the day and early in the week. Less pressing activities can be moved to another day, if my schedule changes.
These tips even include a few moments for a much-needed break. Read more on Black Enterprise…
(Entrepreneur) — Odessa Hopkins knew she wasn’t spending her time as wisely as she could. The owner of a small Greenbelt, Md., marketing and advertising consulting firm called Another Approach Enterprises, was always juggling projects and keeping busy. But she “would work on a lot of things all day long, but at the end of the day I didn’t really finish anything,” says Hopkins, 52. While client deadlines were met, she says projects were sometimes taking longer than they should because she was juggling so much.