Any small business owner (and I would hazard to say employee) wants to be efficient in what they do; dragging tasks out is no fun, and our to do lists will thank us if we take steps to improve our workflow. Here are three suggestions:
Some people call this using shortcuts or cutting corners, and that’s not right. Your goal is to streamline your workflow and make it more efficient. Not to cut out key steps. In any event, you can easily streamline your workflow by using to do list applications (or writing them out on paper), prioritizing these items, and focusing on the task at hand. If you work within software for much of your day, learn the shortkeys and use them whenever you’re using the product – trust me, it will save you so much time. Those seconds add up! Use a project management tool – believe me, it will save you SO MUCH administrative time (because I know I don’t like being stuck in the administrative trenches).
2. Remove Distractions
This might seem obvious, but a lot of people can take a quick break that turns into a 45 minute rabbity hole into the Internet. Pause your inbox, close all irrelevant (to work) browser windows, or even turn off your wifi access! You’d be surprised how effective removing distractions can help when trying to focus and cross items off your to do list. If you have a beagle, don’t schedule important conference calls on garbage day. If you have a beagle, maybe you just need to work at a cafe. Regardless of your beagle status, you should ensure you have a dedicated and quiet workspace.
3. Create a Calm Workspace
I’m guilty of not doing this 100% of the time, but I do find myself to be a lot more productive when I’m feeling relaxed. Ensure you start your day with a clean and (somewhat) organized workspace. At home, I like to brew a pot of herbal tea, use dim lighting (I have a table lamp with 40 watt bulb), and light a scented candle. I tend to vary between Mellow playlists on Songza and ambient sounds as background noise, but I do whatever I can to just zone out and feel inner calm. You already have deadlines, your workspace doesn’t need to be a stressor!