The new year is all about fresh starts and resolutions, making it the perfect time to get organized and set yourself up for a productive year.
A new year brings resolutions, many of which won’t make the cut or endure the year. From the new gym membership that gets cancelled after a week or two to the fit bit that is worn for a week, the intentions are good, but the follow through is often missing. So, the question is how do we make solid plans for resolutions that stick. For one, we make them realistic and attainable. The same goes for organizing and setting ourselves and businesses up for productivity. To be productive, we must set a realistic structure with goals and objectives that can be easily attained. If your resolution is to get more accomplished in an efficient and effective manner, take a look at the following ten tips for being more productive this year:
- Remove Distractions – From the constant texts, alerts, emails and phone calls, it is amazing that we can get anything done in one sitting. For this reason, make time in your day (or week) for sessions that have no distractions, and I mean zero. Route calls to voicemail, have the receptionist take messages and close email for an hour or so. This is a great time to kick out those pending estimates, finalize design details on a project or complete any other task that requires your dedicated focus.
- Morning Matters – To reduce the risk for procrastination, take care of your most dreaded or larger tasks in the morning, when your energy is up and you haven’t taken on the many other planned and unexpected responsibilities of your day. Rudimentary and less complicated tasks can be handled in the afternoon, when your energy levels are lower and your workload or stress may be elevated.
- Pen and Paper – Yes, it’s old school, but having a pen and pad of paper can sometimes be the easiest way to jot down those “to do” items or spur of the moment ideas that come up throughout the day. Rather than trying to remember everything for when you have a moment to sit down and record it, take notes throughout the day. For a more environmentally friendly approach, consider using voice to text note taking on your phone, the voice recorder option, or an app like Evernote or iCloud Notes.
- Organize Contacts – If you don’t already have a CMS (Contact Management System), now is a good time to put something in place for accessing and updating contacts. As HBW subscribers receive new contacts with every construction data report, it is important to keep contacts and corresponding notes organized so that your team can quickly and effectively follow up throughout the year. Consider using a universal system so that all team members can access and modify contacts anywhere and anytime with the system syncing simultaneously.
- Plan Daily – Most of us have a running “to do” list, but don’t overlook the importance of scheduling your tasks each day. In the morning, set a clear list of action items for the day; this list should be more than just appointments and will include everything from deadline-driven projects to daily responsibilities. As you check off each item, you will not only feel more productive, but you will no longer have the need to think about it later.
- Organize Office – Those piles that are building up on the corner of the desk and side tables are ready to be addressed. Take time to clear out all clutter and stacks of documents in your office. If the documents are important, there should be a place for them to be filed. If they are not important, it is time to purge and shred as necessary. By sorting through the dreaded and avoided stacks, you may just find something you have been looking for, as well as unnecessary clutter that you didn’t even know existed.
- Focus on Results – Much of our day-to-day activity can feel like we are spinning our wheels. For this reason, it is important to make a conscious effort to focus on result oriented activity. Consider the Pareto Principle when it comes to your input and output; in short, the principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results you obtain. This can apply to your own personal efforts, as well as your team members and even customers to revenue.
- Don’t be Afraid to Say “No” – Make this new year a time where you learn your boundaries. We don’t always have the capacity or manpower to take on certain projects, and it is important to say “no” to projects that utilize too many of our resources without enough return. Nobody wants to say “no” to new clients or projects, but be clear on your capacity and ability to meet requirements within specific deadlines. As important as it is to not get too comfortable and to push our businesses to grow, it is equally as important to make choices based on realistic parameters and our team’s current capacity and timelines.
- Speed Up Your Connections – This one is simple… If your internet connection is lagging or inboxes take minutes to sync, you need to upgrade your speed and functions. Think about it – If everyone on your team could save ten minutes each day in page or document downloads, your business could save hours every month for more important items. It is easy to become accustomed to slower connections and processing, but don’t allow it to become the norm. Make sure the speed of your communication services and computer processors are up to snuff to get more out of everyone’s time.
- Trim the Fat – Trim the fat on time-wasting apps and programs. From video games and messenger apps to news feeds and social media, you and your team can go from hero to zero in the productivity sector fast. Down time can be productive if properly utilized, and addictive time-wasting apps are not the best use of anyone’s workplace hours. It’s less about the actual time people use the apps and more about the distractions and additional miscellaneous information that flood work time and space that can hinder productivity. Games and chatting may be an activity of choice after hours, but set the tone with your team to run lean when it comes to social and entertainment apps.
By making a clear and conscious effort to organize and manage your time, you will be able to squeeze a little more out of each day, making 2017 the most productive year yet.
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