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  1. We all know how much energy and focus it takes to startup and run your own business. It usually means long hours, a lot of multitasking, and juggling projects, not only for clients, but growing and supporting our own business as well. I know for many of us, I am certainly included, that elixir of the gods called coffee is a staple in our days. But, there are days coffee just isn't getting it done. This let down has had me seeking an alternative lately, or at least balance. I don't know that I would ever give up my coffee, but I said the same thing about cigarettes too, and now I'm smoke free. I want to give a few tips to use if you ever find yourself in the same boat. 1. Get a routine! They really aren't that boring. Over the past few years there has been a lot of research into the value of routines. Guess what? Us adults need routines just as much as our kids or pets rely on them to be happy, healthy, and enjoying life. Several years ago Charles Duhigg published a book, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business". This book has spurred many into looking at their habits and replacing them with more productive ones. It has also ignited the topic of routines in the blogosphere. I won't go into exhaustive detail regarding all the benefits and the science behind routines, but i will give a couple articles by Danny Forest, a writer on "Medium." In his 2018 article, Danny gives a great example of an effective daily routine. Then this April of 2019, Danny updated his series on routine to give more of the principles for the importance of a routine. Put simply, if you need motivation for the day, want more productivity, and more consistent awesome results from your day, make it routine! 2. Sometimes you just need a nap! In our formative years, we call remember going to our cubby and getting our nap mat, spreading it out as our mom, daycare worker, or teacher turned down the lights. Being a dad, I knew it was not going to be a great evening if my kids didn't get their nap in the early afternoon. So what changed for adolescents and adults? Actually not much physiologically only socially. Our society has come to believe that a nap takes away from being productive and it's childish to need a nap. Oh, wow! Society has it wrong again. Studies show that if everyone would continue throughout life to take those afternoon naps, societal productivity would increase dramatically! lifehack.org published a blog article written by Nicholas Garcia that explains how all that actually works. Oh, and after you read the article, pull down the shade, grab the throw cover on the couch, and take a productivity nap. make it part of your routine, you deserve it! 3. The third tip for today, exercise! I know, I know we have calls to make, email campaigns to develop, invoicing to process, engage with our social media followers, booking flights, hotels, and rental cars...the list is never ending. You can tackle it better when your body is ready it! The Harvard Business Review actually put it this way, "Regular Exercise Is Part of Your Job". Well in our case, it is part of our business! The one activity that you can include in your routine every day that will have the greatest lasting impact on your business success is exercise! Don't believe me? Google it!!!! As a matter of fact, I decided I would do that for you, click here.(I'll invoice you my billable hours!) 78,800,000 results and the first three pages of the results are related to habits and routines. The one thing that is consistently included in the lists, EXERCISE! Did you know that it's not just those articles that support exercise and fitness? VAnetworking.com stronly supports it as well through virtualassitantfitness.com! If you would like to get started in making the biggest impact on your business, get the Healthy Virtual Assistant Fitness Planner. You're not alone either. Be a part of a community that is committed to making their business as wildly successful as possible right here! Have a Fantastic VA Day!
  2. One of the biggest reasons people fail with running their own business is lack of focus. It has cost me a lot over the years. Sometimes it’s good to take perspective and look at how you spend your time. Such a way of doing this is by use of apps. Okay, so no app will be responsible for increasing your productivity, but they are great ways of tracking it. Two of the clear winners, in my opinion, are Rescue Time and Toggl. Both of these apps track your time, but in different ways. Rescue Time sits quietly in the background while you are working at your computer. The power of this tool is that it monitors all the sites you visit and also looks at how many times you're switching between sites. Toggle on the other hand is a stopwatch or a countdown timer that actually looks at how long you’re spending on a particular task. One thing I love about toggle is that when you move away from the computer, and forget to switch it off, it will stop itself and resume when you return. The beauty is that both these tools have a free starter version. The paid versions are very affordable too! When I have an app holding me accountable, I'm also more likely to focus. What apps do you recommend and why? Do you have any secrets you’d like to share in regards to how you increase your productivity? I definitely have found my own secret weapon which I’ll announce shortly.
  3. Being productive with your time is vital in working towards your goal, professionally and personally. Understanding the importance of time management will help you be more productive with work. There are many reasons why companies put emphasis on their employees to be on top of their game. Understanding the importance of time management will help you to be more productive at work and allow you more personal time to focus on things you value outside of work. There are many examples in which low or no productivity severely hampers the act of completing a task for an individual. And in turn, it is the overall productivity of the company that suffers as a result of many individuals like that. So in order to stop the negative effects take precedence in a company, there are some steps and precautions that can make the situation far easier for any company. Following are just 6 of these steps that I would like everyone to take for being productive and proactive at work. 1.Plan Always start your day with planning with a proper schedule. Plan out your work day and stick it. There are countless examples when we give precedence to a task or situation that comes out of the blue. And this totally ruins our plan for the day as most virtually all of us try to do the urgent tasks which are most of the times very important and can’t be left out. We all have loads of data and tasks to deal with throughout the day and sometimes it becomes impossible for us to remember all that has to be done. Making a to-do list is the most obvious solution. Prioritizing important tasks and managing time effectively is the reason why we should be more organized and structured in our daily professional life at least as most of us live a much cluttered personal life to say the least. Through a to-do list, doing a job perfectly is always achieved as it is one way of become tasks more efficiently, quickly and effectively. We must all get into the habit of making lists which can help us go back and see what is pending. Keeping the list realistic is the secret. Projects that will take weeks or months to complete should be planned well in advance. Planning can only be fruitful if all the stakeholders are on the same page with everyone knows that what is the time or period when an individual will be available or busy. That is one way to make sure everyone can meet a person or consult him in his free time rather than waiting endlessly for his task. To complete. 2. Prioritize Rank your tasks in terms of priority and align them with your job demands and goals. While some of you may argue that is the same like a to-do-list, the difference is a priority gives a particular task an absolute precedence over all the other tasks. Once you have a list of the things that you need to complete, set your priorities and decide which jobs should be done first. We often tend to forget tasks that are unimportant and even sometimes a critical one too. This habit will make sure you don’t that again. Identify the project that is of high value to your organization and find means to proactively put it in your day-to-day task list. Make sure you prioritize it over the tasks which a relatively lesser significance over other tasks. Urgency and importance are correlated as an urgent task is usually important. But it’s important to understand the true difference in order to maximize productivity and quality of work. Urgent tasks have to be taken care of on immediate basis but important tasks are not always urgent. So what you need to do as a manager of a department or an employee in this regard? Just make sure the things from the urgent bucket don’t end up falling into the important bucket. In other words, try to finish tasks that are urgent and finish them on priority so that you can turn to important task which also need to be completed. 3. Take a Break Always give yourself some time off from the hectic schedule as this can boost your productivity. When you will start a task after a short break, you will work with more zeal and commitment as you will have renewed energy levels which often get exhausted in working for long hours. There are many methods in this regard. One of them is to go for a quick walk or a cup of coffee with a colleague. It will reenergize so that you will be able to focus on your work more efficiently. Some people’s habit is to work for long hours and the meantime they tend to skip the lunch to complete their tasks within the office hours. It is a very bad example of time-management as skipping lunch, dinner or other time you can relax a bit can bring worse consequences than you can ever imagine. Your health is the first thing that will be compromised as a result. This 30 minute break is an absolute necessity as it not only provide you food and energy but also give you some time off the hectic schedule and give you time to relax with your colleagues or friends. 4. Track how you Spend your Time While there are many ways to track your performance in an average day, the use of a free task management software is one of the best ways. Make it a habit to track your time through any software like TaskQue so that you can be able to judge your performance yourself. Another way is to mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organize so you know when you need to finish them. Always box your activities and give yourself a timeline to finish the task to ensure you are following timeline. 5. Know What’s the Most Productive for you Not everyone is at their best at 9 a.m. in the morning as some people like to work out seriously only after they have taken a lunch. After having a good meal, many people claim they can work with more focus. There is no dearth of people who think that the first half of the day is the most productive one. So if you don’t know what is your favorite time to work, try to seriously ask yourself this important question so that you can always work in the most productive way all the time. 6. Declutter Declutter your desk, your inbox and the smartphone or handheld device for a better result. Clutter can really influence your day at work and hence it’s important for you to declutter and get organized. A tidy workspace and office environment is better for everyone involved especially for the people working there. So you need to organize your desk and the workplace for a better impact. Final Word If you think you need some extra information about this topic or want to speak up regarding anything that was discussed in this post, feel free to use the comments section below.
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