This article is one in the multi-part series entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset.
The U.S. Department of Labor just released statistics regarding productivity and costs for the first quarter of 2015 and it doesn’t look good. Among the numbers provided are that, even though labor costs have increased 6.7 percent, there has been a 3.1 percent decline in productivity. Furthermore, hours worked went up 1.6 percent over the last quarter of 2014. So, essentially, even though we are working more as a nation, we are paying more to do it and still getting less done.
Certainly, we all have days where we struggle with being productive. However, if this is a continual problem for you, then finding a way to combat this and boost your productivity can also help boost your business. What are some things you can do?
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Get up earlier so you can get things done while everyone else is still fast asleep and your mind is most alert
- Create a to-do list every morning so you can direct your activities for the day, enjoying a feeling of accomplishment when you can cross items off
- Do the most difficult and/or least desirable task on your to-do list first so that you can get it over with and move on to the easier things you like to do more
- Delegate tasks that take you a long time to do, hiring even them out if necessary so you can focus on doing the things you do best (and quickest)
- Limit your distractions, since research shows that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus once you’re taken off a particular task
- Remove automatic notifications of emails to your cell phone so you’re not interrupted by its constant chirp
- Speaking of email, only open it 2-3 times a day as opposed to every time you get a new one
- Don’t get on social media sites until later in the day, after your work is done and you’re ready to relax as these can really suck up your time
- Set a timer and force yourself to do a specific task for a predetermined length of time as this helps you do things you don’t necessarily enjoy doing while still seeing an end in sight
- Break larger tasks down into smaller ones so that you can work on them slowly over time, eventually getting them done without feeling overwhelmed
- Set specific and measurable goals so that you know exactly what you are working toward, thus increasing the likelihood that you will achieve them
- Organize your work area, as some studies have found that too much clutter can negatively impact your ability to get things done through decreased focus
- Work in natural light, if possible, as Psychology Today reports that exposure to daylight boosts work-related performance
- Get the fastest Internet necessary to complete your day-to-day tasks so that you’re not spending a lot of time sitting and waiting for pages or reports to download
- Download a productivity app on your smartphone or tablet and use it to help you meet your output-related goals
- Decorate your office or workspace in a way that is appealing to you so that you enjoy spending more time there
- Take breaks throughout the day to give your mind and body a few minutes to recharge and rejuvenate, thus increasing your productivity
- Schedule your most important tasks for times when you tend to be the most efficient, whether it is morning or afternoon
- Surround yourself in hues of red or orange as Sherwin-Williams reports that studies have found that these colors are more stimulating
- Do your best to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night so that you’re not spending your work hours tired and fatigued
- Eat high-protein foods, like lean meats and nuts, so that you give your body more energy and aren’t drained by carbohydrate rich foods
- Engage in regular exercise as it helps increase your stamina and improve your mood—two factors that can affect your productivity tremendously
These are just a few suggestions you can use to boost your productivity and your business. What other ones can you think of? Add them in the comment section below!
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