7 Ways to be More Productive with your Time


shutterstock_265399955We have all read books that tell us how important our time is, but most don’t simplify it in one page with vital tips. Well, I have.  I teach, praise and live by these techniques.

These tips may not work for everyone, but they are a key to how I got to where I am today.

  1. Organization: simplify things. Stay organized. Label files using logic that makes sense to you. Keep important, frequently referenced documents in a folder. The less time you spend searching for items, the more time you have to focus on important tasks. We all get inundated with and submerged in work, but we need to remember that by taking the time now to organize, time saved hunting for important information in the future will add up.
  2. Multi-tasking: We live in a fast-paced environment where people are continuously taking on more work than they can do. By multitasking you can accomplish a lot more. Let me be clear – it is very important not to multi-task to the point where you lose focus.  If you are on the phone with a client, you probably shouldn’t be typing an email. For instance, I get a lot of work done while at the gym. I get on the elliptical and spend the hour working the lower half of my body and sending emails at the same time. I’m still getting an incredible work out and I feel less stressed after the gym knowing I was able to get work done.
  3. Write your to do list the night before: This tip seems pretty intuitive, yet a surprising number of very successful people share this habit. Knowing what your workload will look like the following day will help you rest more easily. You’ll also be able to refer to it if you realize you’ve forgotten something overnight, and part of you will be thinking about the following day’s activities, helping you feel more prepared to meet unique challenges or new situations.
  4. Read this book: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. This is one of the most inspirational and informative books I’ve ever read. Ferrazzi details, in an entertaining story fashion, the best tactics to networking effectively, with generosity, and in a way that ensures everyone wins. Our lives, in business and outside, are largely dictated by the health and strength of our connections.
  5. Personal time: When you’re done at work, be done with work. An unbalanced life isn’t healthy. Just like our bodies and minds need the rejuvenation that happens during sleep, our “work muscles” need time to rest, recuperate, and ruminate on new information. Remember to commit as much time, effort and love into your non-work relationships as your work relationships (including time with yourself!)
  6. Turn off the TV: Invest in yourself. Instead of submitting to the urge to tune out in front of the tube, read. Whether you’re reading something that will directly help you improve your performance, strategy or outreach at work, or you’re reading a book strictly for pleasure, you’ll be doing yourself a great service. Our minds need new information, and from varied sources, to continue growing.
  7. Listen to audio CDs driving: There is so much to learn. Audio books are readily available, both on CD and for download (try www.audible.com for a wide, high quality selection) and that long commute could work in your favor. Start your day with a motivational CD to get you pumped up for work,  or listen to an industry specific talk to gain insight and new tools.

Remember, time management works a little bit differently for everyone. If you remember to take notes, streamline, and use your time wisely (multitask, take time for you!) you’ll see your time management, and outlook, improve.

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Are You Actually Productive When Working Remotely?


I have worked remotely since I launched my career out of journalism school, working in editorial and marketing strategy roles with big brands across tech and media. Remote work is growing in popularity, and spans a wide range of demographics. From the independent solopreneur to the employees of global corporations.

Telecommuting grew 79% between 2005 and 2012, and makes up 2.6% of the American workforce, or 3.2 million workers. If you’re eager to join the tribe of un-tethered productivity leaders, here are seven tips to be successful at working independently:

For the independent Solopreneur

Create a space you love and minimize distractions:
Running a successful business requires you to focus on top priorities that will push business forward. Make sure that your remote workspace is designed to allow you to do just that. If you’re bootstrapped, you may be working out of whatever space is available in your home. Not a problem – but do set the ground rules for a no-distraction zone. While you’re at your craft, you are on the clock.

Get out of the remote studio and connect with your tribe.
A lean team of one can be isolating. Networking is an essential part of building connections, relationships, and ultimately growing your business. But, don’t fall into the networking trap of simply selling what you do. Seek out communities in your industry that host events, speaker series, and other workshops. A fresh perspective and new insight can make all the difference between inspiring work or fizzling out over time.

For the remote employee

Use virtual communication tools to your advantage.
Use the right tools for the right task. If you’re presenting a new idea or managing a project with multiple stakeholders, it might make sense to host a video conference while you walkthrough your pitch.

Do you need to brief a team member on a project due by end of the day? Pick up the phone and make a call instead of instant messaging back and forth. People are today seem to be afraid to pick up the phone and dial someone, but when you do, both sides give full levels of attention which avoid miscommunication.

For the remote manager

Your process, not technology, is the key to productivity
Your job as a manager is to keep your team motivated, in-sync, and productive. Technology can help you get there, but it is the process you put in place that means the most. Encourage key members to hold informal meetings (think of it as a hybrid coffee chat and Skype call). These interactions replicate the office watercooler and can facilitate course corrections when required.

You may also want to ensure project timelines are met, status updates are provided, and objectives are clear to all team members. Teams that work remotely need to take a few extra steps to be on the same page. Ultimately, the most successful managers get the job done with explicit, singular-focused processes in place that others can adopt into their own work styles and tactics.

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