Sometimes, I just don't know how I do it all. I run multiple websites, have a financial planning practice, and have a bunch of boys running around that keep me plenty busy.
Productivity tips for me are a must. There's no way I can get through my day without implementing some kind of productivity hack.
And oh boy, in the summer?
I definitely need to utilize these tips.
It can be tempting to spend too much time outside having fun instead of focusing on work. Sure, you need to make time for things like your children's baseball games (I most certainly do), but you also need to be strategic with your time.
Every moment of work time matters as a small business person. Here are some important summer productivity tips I've found helpful and I think you will too.
1. Start Your Day With the High Five™
To-do lists are vitally important for any entrepreneur. They help you get stuff done and keep you on track with your goals.
I'm a little scatterbrained throughout my day without a to-do list. It's horrible. I jump from one thing to the next, and eventually I get everything done, but it's pretty inefficient.
That's why I started the High Five™. What's the High Five™? Buckle your seat belts people, you're about to get a whole lot done.
The night before each day begins, I write down five tasks I want to accomplish the next day. These are the most important tasks for me to get done. I've tried a lower number of tasks but it just didn't seem like enough. I've tried a higher number of tasks, but it was just too overwhelming and I'd freeze up. Five is just right for me.
Now, do I do more than five things in my day? Of course I do! The High Five™ are the tasks that are non-negotiable – everything else can be put on the back burner if necessary.
The Office Depot Business Solutions Center has bunch of tips similar to this that can help you stay on track during the summer. Even little tips like this can make a huge difference in practice.
Start your day off right with the High Five™ and you'll get the most important things done and feel better about your summer accomplishments. Try it out and tell me if I'm wrong.
2. Take Breaks to Avoid Overwhelm
I work hard. Really hard. But that doesn't mean I don't need breaks.
Take a vacation or two this summer. I already went to Jamaica with my family had a blast. I still worked during vacation, but not nearly as much as I do when I'm home.
Listen, you need breaks. Whether that's a week-long vacation or mini breaks during your work day, you must recharge your batteries.
If you're exhausted midday, there's a problem. You're probably not taking enough breaks.
Some people find it helpful to time their work using a windup kitchen timer. For example, you can work 30 minutes and then take a five-minute break and repeat. After several cycles, take a longer break – perhaps 15 to 30 minutes long.
Don't allow yourself to burn out before your day is over. Take breaks throughout the day and discover lasting energy. And don't forget to take longer, vacation-style breaks to enjoy the summer sun!
Here's a great infographic with tips on how to stay productive when you're away from the office:
3. Grab the Gear You Need to Thrive
You need supplies to thrive as a small business person. At my firm, having paper and ink is a must – we have to print out documentation for our clients from time to time.
Ask yourself: “What am I lacking that would make my small business more productive?”
Many people have found that Post-it notes are essential. They're highly visible, you can stick them to your computer monitor, and you can even color-code them to represent various priorities or areas of your business.
Spend a couple of hours this summer thinking through the gear you need to have a more productive summer. Head over to the Office Depot's Business Solutions Center for more organizational tips and ways to have a more productive summer! I think you'll be impressed by what they have to offer.
4. Transcribe Everything Necessary
If your business involves having to type out a lot of information, you may want to consider a voice-to-text application. The latest Macs, iPads, and iPhones have it built in!
But sometimes voice-to-text applications don't do a very good job and you might have to go back and correct a lot of information. If that's the case, and you want something that yields a higher degree of accuracy, you might want to try MobileAssistant.
MobileAssistant is the company I use to transcribe:
- Blog posts
- Letters to clients
- Reminders I want emailed to me
- Responses to emails when it's easier to talk than type
- Letters I'm going to mail
Just imagine the possibilities and how much time you'll save this summer! Typing takes a long time – even if you're fast at it you could probably talk faster than you can type.
Try using the coupon code “financialcents” (no spaces) and you can save 25% when you sign up for a plan at MobileAssistant.us.
5. Have Your Phone Remind You
You have a lot on your plate. The last thing you need is to forget an important meeting, forget a trip to pick up milk at the grocery store after work, or forget to get your High Five™ done for the day.
Back when I upgraded my iPhone to iOS 5, I noticed a new icon: Reminders.
Oh my, it's a lifesaver. I can set reminders on my iPhone to remind me at a specific time to do something or to remind me when I arrive at or leave a location. It's incredible.
If you have an iPhone and haven't taken advantage of the Reminders app, I highly recommend you do so.
The last thing you need is to remember all the little things you have to do throughout your day. It's distracting to keep all those tasks in your head. If you don't write your tasks down, don't you find yourself reminding yourself multiple times throughout your day to do those tasks? That's seriously distracting from the task at hand.
One of the lessons I learned when I started my first business was that it's important to dedicate some time to being efficient and create processes. Utilizing technology like phone reminders can help you accomplish that and more.
For more summer productivity tips, check out the infographic below by The Office Depot Business Solutions Center. Go enjoy your summer and get stuff done!