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Boost Your Business in 2014 – Take a Break

Have a restful holiday and be energised for the new year.

Tracey Foulkes

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Running-on-Empty-Takea-Break-Get Organised

Look around and you’ll realise you’re not alone.  Everyone I speak to tells me they are desperate for a break, It’s been a mammoth year, I’m tired and am guessing that you are too.

Taking a break after every 90 minute work cycle boosts productivity … taking time off at the end of a busy year is vital for your sanity and the efficacy of your business in the long run.

So how do you bring closure when there’s still so much to do?

1. Do a mind-dump: 

Take 20 minutes and literally dump down whatever thoughts and actions are swimming around in your brain. Resist using numbers and rather jot or type them one under each other as they come to mind. This will free up some brain space for taking action.

2. Consolidate your list:

Prioritise your list giving each action a 1, 2 or 3. Your 1’s should be the tasks that are high value, think: what on my list will help me bring in money? While you can’t ignore the 2’s and 3’s, you need to start with the 1’s early in the day when your energy levels are higher.

3. Delete, delay, diminish:

  • Delete off anything on your list that is not essential. Seriously, if no one is shouting for it and it’s not critical to your business, just cross it off.
  • If you are running out of time (and energy), assess what on your list can be delayed for another time. Make a note of this delayed action in  your calendar so you don’t forget about it and take it off your action list for now.
  • Diminishing a task is about making it smaller (check out point 6 below). Break overwhelming tasks down into smaller projects and save your energy for where it is really needed.

4. Crunch the time container:

Productivity levels peak before taking leave. Simply put, when you crunch the time container, you are left with little choice but to stop procrastinating and get things done. Set the timer, and get going.

5. Tie the knots:

See your tasks as a loose thread, if it doesn’t have a knot tied at the end, chances are it will soon unravel. Studies show that it takes as much as 20 minutes to get back to the same level of focus when you drop a task to hop to another, instead of multitasking, set a timer and work like crazy to bring closure to each item, one by one, on your list.

6. 80% is enough:

I can feel your disapproval but there is logic here that you just need to hear. Give 100% of your attention, energy and time to the tasks that are of high value to you and your business, but realise that for the better part, the many tasks still requiring action on your list are of lower value so devoting anything more than 80% would be wasting your time and therefore not quite as perfect as you’d imagined.

7. Organise your desk:

With your action list under control, clear the clutter on your desk so that when you return from leave you are not confronted with a debilitating mess but rather a productive space and a sense of clarity.

8. Declutter your computer:

So you’d cleared your physical space, your electronic files and folders possibly need a shuffle too. While this is usually the type of project that gets delayed for another time, a desktop declutter could take you all of 5 minutes and might be just what you need to bring closure to your year and clarity to your electronic world.

9. Get out of the office:

Taking a break from your physical office environment is not enough, to really recharge your brain batteries; you want to be able to disengage from work. Switch off … literally.

While you might not be able to do everything before you take a break, congratulate yourself for what you did get done. It’s been a big year, rest well, and come back in 2013 refreshed and renewed.

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The Productivity Life Saver You Need to Know About.

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Tracey Foulkes wows audiences with her sharp wit, quick reactions and personable sense of humour. She speaks about procrastination, business productivity, personal motivation and time management. . If you want your team to be inspired to operate outside of the box, contact her for a complimentary productivity assessment, email tracey@getorganised.co or find her on Twitter as Tracey Foulkes or on LinkedIn as Tracey Foulkes.

Get Organised

(Infographic) 9 Productivity Mistakes You’re Making In The First 10 Minutes Of Your Day

From setting goals to drinking coffee, these bad morning habits might surprise you.

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There are a number of things you’re probably doing every morning that are actually hindering your productivity.

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might be surprised to find out that drinking coffee between 8 and 10 a.m can make you more stressed throughout the day. That’s because caffeine early in the morning interferes with the time that the stress hormone, cortisol, is peaking in your body. It’s best to get your fix between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

When you get into the office and try to jump right into the top of your to-do list, you might find yourself confused and not very productive. When you don’t let your brain empty and refresh before starting a project or task, it loses a sense of control, becomes overwhelmed and ultimately, makes you less productive. Something else to avoid is checking email or social media right when you wake up. Typically, after checking your inbox, it takes a person at least 25 minutes to get back into a productive state. If you start your day off reading and responding to email after email, it will take you a long time to get back on track.

Another surprising mistake is setting self-imposed goals. Setting goals and deadlines for yourself might seem like an obvious productivity hack, but it turns out, that’s not the case. Instead, share your deadlines with others and you’ll feel more pressure and responsibility to get things done.

Related: 5 Surprising Elements That Boost Your Productivity (One of Them Is Colour)

Check out resume.io’s infographic below for more productivity mistakes you’re likely making in the first 10 minutes of your day.

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This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Workflow And Business Efficiency – 5 Strategies You Ignore At Your Peril

Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. You’re not still depending on email, are you?

Toby Nwazor

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An inefficient business can cost you a lot more than just growth – it can affect your revenue, too. According to a report by IDC, your business runs the risk of losing 20 to 30 percent of your revenue due to inefficient systems.

Unfortunately, many companies still struggle to implement the right systems to improve their workflow. Others have it worse, because they have no systems. In those situations, projects take ages to be completed, more time is spent on menial tasks and teams never seem to get enough done during work hours.

If that describes your company, your company’s profits may start to plummet, too.

Every successful business, then, has clearly defined systems to help the business run like clockwork. Improved workflow, better management and business efficiency save time, increase the bottom line and ensure a higher profit margin.

In fact, in an article on ContractZen, Tim Cummins, president of the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management, wrote that, “The average corporation could boost its bottom line by almost 10 percent if it invested in improving the quality of contracting.

For many companies – especially those in more complex, project-based industries – the prize could be much higher – perhaps as much as 15 percent.”

Related: Become A Life-Hacker

Unfortunately, some companies fail to provide systems that put users first, taking a negative toll on those companies’ workflow and efficiency. The good news is that they’re only five strategies away from turning this around:

1. Automate all you can

automated-emails

From email lists, bookkeeping, invoicing and contract management, to social media posts and payrolls, almost everything can be automated. For a business that aims to be more efficient, automation is a must.

Automation doesn’t just save you time, it can be the one strategy that can guarantee explosive growth and higher conversion rates. According to this Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness study, 63 percent of companies polled that were outgrowing their competitors said they had automated their marketing.

Automating monotonous tasks that have to be repeated several times during the day helps you be more productive in tasks that require your personal attention.

2. Invest in customer-relationship management software

It’s not uncommon to find businesses that are barely able to keep up with their leads. Some waste hours hunting the low-quality leads instead of focusing their energy on those ready to buy. Here, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution linked to these businesspeople’s network phone system is a great way to enhance customer communications.

Customers value businesses that provide excellent customer service. A CRM solution increases the ability to keep track of customer information, monitor leads and provide efficient delivery. Businesses can provide for their customers’ needs faster and make effective business decisions. With CRM, businesses can also keep their focus on quality leads that will drastically improve conversion rates.

Related: 11 Ways To Maximise Every Part Of Your Day

3. Set up a task-management system

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Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. Email makes it difficult to carry everyone along. However, setting up task-management software like Slack, Trello or Asana makes it much easier to have everyone’s tasks in one place and ensure that everyone is carried along in the project.

Task-management software helps members of a team track their progress and ensure that everyone is working on their tasks.

4. Sync your calendar with that of everyone else on your team

How many times have you had to reschedule appointments because you didn’t know you had other meetings lined up for the day?

Aside from leaving negative impression in clients’ mind, this error makes you less productive. Having to go back and forth until you have settled on an appropriate date can be cumbersome especially when different time zones are involved. So, do this instead: Sync your personal calendar with your work calendar, and make sure that everyone in your team is synced to the latter, too.

This will ensure sure that everybody is “on the same page” in terms of appointments and deadlines. Google Calendar can help you do just that. Once everyone is synced up, any change in the calendar will be seen by everyone so they can manage their own appointments.

5. Block out chunks of time

time-management

Constant interruptions hamper your workflow. Imagine having to deal with turning over a project on a deadline while you’re stuck in a series of meetings throughout the day. It can get very difficult to focus on completing your most urgent tasks.

Block out chunks of time on your calendar for uninterrupted work. It’s better to schedule a series of meetings in one day than to spread them throughout the week.

If you’re creating content, block out one day to create all the content you’ll use for the week. That way your business will run more efficiently.

Related: 3 Reasons You Should Embrace Change

Wrapping it up

With the right strategies, you can turn your business around to make it efficient and lucrative. Automating your processes, setting up the right software and remaining focused on the tasks at hand will go a long way to help you do this. But just as with every good strategy, you need to remain consistent and give it time to do its magic.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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How To Multitask Like Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg And Other Very Busy People

Nine entrepreneurs tell us how they get it all done.

Entrepreneur

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Think you’re busy? Take a look at Guy Fieri‘s calendar. Or a U.S. Army general’s. Or an in-demand teenage actor’s. Or the CEO of a globally recognised company’s.

Some of the busiest people on the planet took time out of their days to tell us how they get it all done. Take note!

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