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Upping the Productivity Level

As a small business owner, one of the most difficult tasks is setting aside all of the ‘busy work’ and concentrating on the bigger task at hand. It’s so easy to waste time, procrastinate, and get distracted with everything going on.

When I started clocking my time, I decided to implement the following three tactics:

1. Define work hours. When working any other job, you would take a break every 4 hours, so why not do it when self employed? I’ve found I work so much better when I stop to take a quick walk around the block or make myself a cup of coffee. Working from a home office, it’s easy to feel the guilt of needing to work all the time, so setting defined “work times” helps to create a work-life balance.

2. Start with the least enjoyable. It’s easy to say “oh, I’ll get to that” or “ugh, I’ll do that later” about tasks you really don’t want to do, that’s why I start with those first thing in the morning. I feel so satisfied when I finish tasks I’m dreading, feeling energized and excited to get on with the day.

3. Control the e-mail. For many entrepreneurs, checking e-mail obsessively is the biggest time waster. Think of all the different places you’re inundated by email: BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod, and most of all the computer. I used to get e-mail forwarded to the mail application on my desktop with a loud “ping” when I received a new e-mail, which I checked each time I received a new e-mail. I’ve moved my e-mail to be received on-line and set times during the day when I check and respond to e-mail. I’d say that this task has cut down on the most time wasted during the day.

So, how are you improving your productivity? Any tips you want to share?

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