You ever heard this quote from Albert Einstein? “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Clear your desk be more productive seems to belie that quote, but it had us wondering, “Do you have a cluttered mnd?” Are you leaving thoughts on the “table” because they are running around, unfettered, through your brain?
How many thoughts, half-formulated ideas, plans and tasks do you have cluttering up your brain? With these thoughts fluttering around, how is that impacting your ability to formulate new plans and thoughts? Do new thoughts go unexplored because you’re spending too much time and brain power and mental energy on those that you haven’t taken the time to corral?
How can you clear the clutter — in your mind and on your desk — to be more productive?
Clear Your Desk Be More Productive
Write your tasks and thoughts down. Whether you use paper or electronic means, when you remove the clutter you are clearing your mind and desk to allow new thoughts and ideas in.
Don’t rely on your memory for your daily to-dos or your larger life goals.
An organized workspace (and mind) helps you get items done. The time you save looking for something is time you can be productive.
Take a physical break to clear the clutter. Taking a short walk or going up and down a few flights of stairs is like hitting the refresh button on your internal computer.
Write your to do list for the following day before you leave the office at the end of a work day. When you do this you give yourself a jump start on the following day and you also help prevent the middle of the night freak outs about something you’d forgotten to do or write down.
Clear your mind of mental clutter and you can be more productive. Do you have a clear cut plan for clearing your mental and physical clutter? Has it helped you get more done?
Conscious business ownership is a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. What does it mean? It means that the business takes up causes and that the way they operate the business, treat their employees and customers and the environment support their mission and vision. Is your business promoting your values? Maybe it isn’t even something you’ve ever thought about. Chances are you haven’t. I didn’t, until recently. Once I did take time to think about my mission and vision for my business, though, I did realize I run my business the way I run my life — I follow specific missions in my life and they carry over to my business dealings.
Is Your Business Promoting Your Values?
Whether you’re a solopreneur or if you’re looking for a business partner, you need to know your mission and visions and to make certain they mesh or you will be butting heads. You may or may not pronounce to your clients and your employees that you are running a conscious business, or you may just be living your mission and vision without the pronouncement.
I’ll bet you are living your mission and your vision and that it is carrying over into your business interactions, but if you’re not clear about the concept, here are values to consider:
Be authentic. Be true to yourself every day in every business and personal relationships
Be ethical. Just as you wouldn’t work with someone whose ethics you questioned, you don’t want your potential business partner to question your ethics.
Be trustworthy. If you’re trustworthy, you will more quickly build trust with prospective clients. It’s been said that new clients want to work with a business owner they “know, like and trust” and you want to be the person they have those feelings for.
If you work with a team, do they understand your core values? If not, why not? Have you articulated the mission and values to them? More importantly, have you shared with them HOW they can carry those values into their interactions with clients on a daily basis.
Filter Short Term And Long Term Tasks as a way to get more done and be more productive in your business.
In order to be your most productive you need to know when you are most productive. Some people are “morning people” while others are “night owls.” Know yourself and know when you are operating at peak mental capacity and efficiency and focus on your hardest or most challenging work then.
What makes you feel productive? Is it crossing a lot of items off a to-do list? Is it chipping away at a major task, bit by bit, even if you can’t cross it completely off a to-do list?
Here are some ways to amp up your productivity by knowing when to focus on long term and short term tasks. Look at your day and decide what is the priority item. Is it calling clients? Is it writing a chapter in your book? Is it getting out of the office for networking events?
Are the tasks you’re considering long term or short term? Are they items you will do once and never have to think about again? Are the tasks those that recur throughout the month or week or year? Make note of that so you can better schedule your time to address these tasks.
Take some time and write down a list of your long term tasks, list your short term tasks and make note of which of these tasks on both lists are one and done or are recurring.
Look at both of your lists and the fact of whether the items are recurring or one and done. If it’s a long term, indepth project it should make it to your to-do list and you should put a time limit for working on it to chip away at it daily. Your short term, one and done tasks are those that you can quickly do and check off — it’s a great feeling to get through those items.
I suggest writing all of these tasks down so you can have a bird’s eye view of what needs to get done and in what time frame. Then you can set a schedule to accomplish those items.
Is there something, or more than one thing you can to do help assure you have a successful day? I think that your morning routineslead to success throughout the day. For those of you who aren’t “morning people” and your “morning” starts in the afternoon, consider these afternoon routines that can lead to success.
Get up early. If you normally get up at 6 am (or noon) get up an hour earlier. Set that time aside to work on your own personal projects or to get a work out in. Look at that hour as a gift you’re giving yourself.
Check the news in your industry. Read through trade journals, listen to podcasts, catch up on the ezines you subscribe to but rarely read. Staying on top of the trends in your niche will keep you competitive.
Strategize. Pull out your calendar — whether paper or virtual — and make notes of the calls you have to take or return, what one project you want to finish today, what three things you can do to move your business ever forward and help you attain higher success.
Organize. Use time blocking techniques to help you get more done. Set aside X number of hours (or minutes) to chip away at a big project. Set aside a couple of hours to tackle regular daily work chores. Writing down what you need to accomplish will hold you to task.
Check your work email after you’ve planned your day and have you’ve strategized. Don’t use the additional hour you’re giving yourself to plunge into email or social media. That hour should be electronic-free (unless you’re using your FitBit to track your steps during your morning workout!)
What routines do you have that help you get and keep focused and keep you moving toward success?
Are you a middle manager? Are you looking for a way to move up the corporate ladder? Middle managers face unique challenges as they are navigating the corporate environment of appeasing clients and bosses and cultivating the talent of the team they supervise. How can you thrive in your position? Here are some ideas that middle management individuals will want to consider:
You need to always have a “leadership mindset.” What this means is that you need to be forward thinking and lead your team through example rather than micromanagement. Increase your influence by focusing on the people, rather than the tasks you are charged with.
Cultivate your communication skills. The nature of your work means you are literally in the middle — between your staff and upper level management — and you need to foster communication between all parties. Ensuring open lines of communication lends itself to moving projects forward, asking for resources and delegating. Work on clear communication to minimize miscommunication.
Coach those on your staff to help them develop their talents. Sure, they may develop their talents to a level where they can move up the ranks, and that only shines a light on you if you worked with them to develop and grow into a new position. If your staff rarely moves up into newer, higher level positions, you may need to look at your management style to see if you’re perhaps not encouraging growth.
Middle management isn’t the easy path to navigate as you’re faced with finite resources in both personnel and resources, but it’s up to you to make the most of them and let your light shine. What have you done in your middle management position to grow?
Entrepreneurs know that there are ebbs and flows when it comes to business income and expenses. A way to play for those ebbs in cash flow is to have a plan in place for them — prior to the cash influx slow down. Here are my tips for financial planning for entrepreneurs:
Define goals. If you know your financial goals, you can set a course to meet them.
Know your current financial situation. If you’re unaware of your financial situation or your income and expenses you may either find yourself panicking when you don’t need to or you might overspend when you don’t have cash in the bank to cover your spending.
Build, and protect, wealth. When you’re in a financial upswing, set aside money to plan for that rainy day. Have a savings account for your business. Put money into your retirement account. Talk with a financial planner to assure your retirement goals will be met.
Speaking of retirement… plan for it. You will want to retire at some point and you need to decide what that point is and plan for it. What will you need to have in your bank account in order to survive and enjoy your Golden Years? Determine that and work with a financial planner to help you make that happen.
What’s your legacy? Do you want to leave money to your children or grandchildren? Do you plan to sell your business when you retire? What assets will you need to divest yourself of, and how?
Being a business owner is an ideal way to live life, just make your plans — early on in your business phase — for your eventual retirement. You’ve earned it!