7 Productivity Tips For Professionals And Business Owners

 

producitivty-tips-for-professionals

Today, you’ll discover the 7 productivity tips for professionals which have helped me become more productive. Including, the how I would cope working 60+ hours during tax season.

These tips helped me get more than 90% billables throughout the year. Which means that I would get more work that was making money vs other people in the office.

If you install these tips in your business and your life — you will increase your productivity.

Plus these are insanely simple tips. When I first heard them I thought, “this is stupid. This won’t work in my business.” So I decided to use them and make a fool of the person who initially suggested these to me.

Well — turns out I was the fool, for doubting him in the first place.

Some of them I learned from other authors, who I’ve long forgotten. Others I picked up in the dingy back alleys of business.

(Heck! I don’t know whether they will work for you or not — but I’d like to challenge you to prove me wrong. I’m that confident these will work for you.)

But that’s empty fluff… so here’s my promise to you.

Why You Must Use These Producitivity Tips

When you use these productivity tips in your business (and life) you will be able to get more work done. You will do more in 4 hours than most people do in 8.

But that’s not all. When you use all of these tips together you will become the go-to person in your industry by a wide margin.

You will excel in your profession. Your business will flourish. And your clients will love you for all the work you do for them.

On top of this, you will increase the amount of money you make because you will spend less time doing the work. Your work-life balance will improve.

And you will be able to spend more time with your family and friends.

Here are

The Top 7 Productivity Tips For Professionals And Business Owners

Here are 7 Tips that will keep you productive at work and keep you sane at home.

1. Get to work 30-60 minutes before you need to be at work

Yeap. Getting to work earlier will make you more productive.

I know you already spend too much time at work and getting to work early will be a stretch. But you must do this.

Here’s why.

When you get to work early by half an hour to an hour there will be no one in the office. You will get some peace and quiet to get some work done.

You will be able to attack your most important tasks without anyone telling you that they are waiting for a meeting. Or to return a call to another client.

You will have that hour to yourself.

But that’s not all — when you leave for work an hour early — you will beat all the traffic. I’ve tested this.

When I first moved to Canada my workplace was about 25 kilometers (18 miles) from where I was living.

Each morning If I left at 7:50 — I would barely make it to work at 8:30 in the morning.

I would be rushing to work. Trying to beat the green lights. And pretty much being in road rage at the slow drivers in the fast lane. Sometimes I would show them the birdie — but not always.

Then I implemented this. I choose to test this out. Instead of aiming to get to work at 8:30 — I thought I’d aim to get to work for 7:30. Which meant that I would have to leave at 6:50.

Holy sh*t!!!

What did I get myself into? But since this was a test, why not.

Lo and behold I did this the first week. I left at 6:50 and was at work by 7:10. What? That can’t be right.

I wasn’t speeding. I wasn’t rushing through lights. I wasn’t screaming at anyone. Nothing.

Reality — there was no traffic, and all the lights were green. So I got there pretty quick.

I tried leaving at 7:10 and still made it to work by 7:30. Not too bad. I moved the time up and kept doing this until I noticed a trend.

So long as I was aiming to get to work more than 35 minutes before time. I’d get there in 20 minutes.

Any more delays and I’d be sitting in traffic for 40 – 50 minutes.

Which led me to conclude that everyone else was still sleeping.

Now I choose to arrive at work 45 minutes before scheduled.

I beat the traffic, and I get some uninterrupted time to get some work done. (I’ll tell you more about what work to do in a few minute — keep reading)

2. Don’t check email before 12pm

Yes… this too…!!! Nothing new here — but I implore you to test it out for yourself.

Don’t open your email until finishing half your workday. After 12 pm.

I do this usually before I break for lunch. Which means that if I get stuck in some email, my stomach prompts me to get to it, finish it and eat something.

But that’s not all.

Email is a disease. If you open it the minute you wake up, or the minute you get to work it will infect you. You will get on someone else’s agenda.

They will control what you do. You will be responding to them.

This is what used to happen to me (still happens from time to time, when I fall off the wagon).

Wake up. Check your email. Then obsess the rest of the morning figuring out what to do about the email.

Then respond to it when you get to work. And before you know it — it’s time for lunch.

Oh well. I’ll get to work after lunch. Then after lunch, I would have the post-afternoon sluggishness. Get a coffee and then finally get some work done before it was time to head home.

Not anymore.

Now I don’t open my email until 12pm. Even if my boss came in to ask me, “Did you check the email I sent”.

I’d say, “No — I was finishing this client deliverable for Mr. So And So… anything important?”

Usually, the answer was, “Oh nothing really… let me know what you think about ‘this and this’ whenever you get a chance.”

(Nothing important! NOTHING IMPORTANT! Then why the f**k are you telling me about it…) Pardon, my French!

Breathe!!!

I know sometimes I want to say that when I’m in the middle of something and the buzzer goes off. Don’t mind me.

Try it for yourself. Don’t check your email until after 12pm.

Before then — work on getting things done.

And when I say ‘email’ — I mean don’t check anything that has ‘notifications’. Not Facebook. Not your phone. Not SMS. Not LinkedIn. Instagram. Pinterest. Not even your ‘Salesforce’ reporting.

(I’m looking at you…)

Don’t do it. Those notifications will be there even after you’ve done a few hours of work. You can get to them.

Now what do you do in that time when you’re not checking email, and you’re early at work.

First things first

3. Clean Your Desk

“Clean my desk…? Riz, you’re not my mother.”

I hear you. Or the more creatively inclined might be thinking “But Einstein had a cluttered desk!”.

In which case… (Albert stop reading this. And come up with a solution for faster than light travel… everyone else keep reading.)

A clean desk is the sign of an organized mind. The benefits of keeping your desk clean are many. I’ll give you three here.

– It will keep your files organized
– You won’t waste time looking for information
– You won’t become distracted when you look away to think about something.

These three alone are enough. Look at your desk. Only keep the things that you are currently working on. Nothing else.

All other files put them in a folder, and then in a filing cabinet.

All stationery in a drawer.

The only thing on the desk should be your calendar. This should have today’s appointments printed out. (more on this in point 6) And the work / client you are currently working on.

Everything else in a filing cabinet.

Often our desks become a holding pen for all unfinished business. Especially as professionals and business owners.

Everything that we were working on…

The newsletter we were reading…

That article from inc.com that we wanted to get to…

The email that we had to reply to from 3 months ago… but still, haven’t…

Agenda for an upcoming meeting…

Receipts that need to filing…

All this mess gets the mind to think about the mess as opposed to the task at hand.

Put all this in a drawer. Go ahead you have my permission. Take tomorrow off, and clean your desk.

Anything that needs filing — file it.

Things that you’re waiting on for more information, schedule them in the calendar and then file them.

Newsletters you haven’t read — trash them. You won’t read them later either.

Clean up your desk — and when I say desk, I mean your office. If you have lost papers sitting in your office that aren’t in the printer, put them in the shredder — or file them.

4. Leave Work 30 Minutes Later

“This is plain DUMB… first, you ask me to come in 60 minutes early. Now you’re telling me to leave 30 minutes later… What is wrong with you!!!”

I know. I know.

(Coming in early is against every millennial fiber in my body also. I want to leave 30 minutes early, thank you very much. And I should be paid just because I exist. )

But hear me out…

The same benefits of coming early apply to leaving late also.

You don’t have to deal with the morons running late for their doctor’s appointments. Or busy executives half asleep at the wheel.

You get 30 minutes of extra time to do something important. Instead of sitting in traffic, cursing at the congestion. You will spend these 30 minutes of your time, planning for tomorrow.

Yes. Planning.

What this means is you will look at your calendar today. Then take a look at what you got finished and what needs finishing tomorrow.

Schedule any calls you have to make in your calendar. Look at the tasks you have to finish tomorrow. And look at the appointments that you have to do.

If there is anything that you were unable to finish today, schedule it in. Put it on the calendar, tomorrow or at a future date when you can deal with it.

If there is an email that needs replying to you can do it now — but ideally schedule that in also on your calendar.

Plus, you’ll take this time to do one more important thing…

5. Clean Your Desk Before You Leave

“You just told me to clean my desk… I gotta do it again?”

Yes. You must clean your desk every day before you leave work. Essentially if someone wanted to walk in tomorrow and be able to use your desk — they should be able to.

Nothing on the table. Nothing on the computer desktop. Nothing in the line of sight.

There is one exception that I will tell you number 6 below. But for now, you must clean your desk of everything before you leave work.

If you used a pen — put it back where it belong. If you took out some files or books. Put them back in place. If there is stapler lying around — put it back where it belong.

There is a very good reason for doing this. By keeping the desk clean you are taking away the excuses for your brain to procrastinate.

You are taking away small excuses that might distract you from actual work. Our brain can make the smallest task appear daunting.

Like the stapler. Putting it away can take away 10 – 15 minutes. Thinking about putting it away, then getting up. Chatting with a colleague. Putting it away. Getting a glass of water. Then talking to another colleague. Then getting back to work.

Whew!!!

(That’s exhausting. Maybe I should get some coffee!!!)

You see — the small task became a project of its own.)

So clean up the desk each day before you leave.

With this exception…

6. Print Your Calendar For Tomorrow Before You Go

“An actual print out?”

Yeap. An actual printout that is sitting there on the desk when you walk in.

(If you’re concerned about privacy you can turn it upside down. Most people don’t pay any attention to a blank paper sitting on a desk.)

An actual print out forces you to do two things. First, it’s harder to ignore. Not only by you — but by your colleagues also.

If someone walks in and asks you if you have a few minuted to talk about something. You can look at the calendar and tell them exactly when you have time.

Then they can’t ignore the fact that your calendar is actually booked up. They saw it too. Right there on the desk.

Next — having a calendar printed out for the morning means that you won’t have to get into your scheduling, email, calendar program. You won’t become distracted with other things.

This will keep you on track. It will help you get more things done.

Plus as you finish tasks you can check off items on your calendar. And research shows that the act of checking things off gives us an endorphin kick in itself.

So take the win.

Finally

7. Keep Your Highest Priority Thing For Tomorrow On Your Desk

“Riz, you literally just told me to keep my desk clean… now you’re telling me to put something on it?”

Yes, but only after you’ve taken everything back to its place. AND planned for tomorrow.

After you’ve planned for tomorrow, the highest priority thing might be different from what you were working on today.

But if you don’t take it back — you brain will tell you that finishing this is the highest priority. In some cases, it will be. In other cases, it won’t be.

That’s why we plan for tomorrow. So we know what the highest priority task for tomorrow is. Then we work only on that tomorrow.

And can open that file on our desks and desktops. I go so far as to open the file of the client I am working on, on my computer. Then lock the screen.

So tomorrow when I come in the morning and unlock my computer — I don’t even have to spend that extra time thinking about opening the file. It’s already open.

It’s there. I can get right to work on it.

These are seven productivity tips that you can use in your business and professional life to improving your productivity.

If you do only one — you will still see the returns. But your productivity will double, triple and grow tenfold when you use all of these together.

By implementing these tips in your life you will reduce your stress. You will spend less time on the road and more time doing productive things in your business.

Your profits will increase as you focus more on delivering the right things to your clients.

Plus you will gain the respect and admiration of your colleagues. You will become known as the hardest worker and highest produce.

By following these simple productivity tips — you will enhance your time at work. And your happiness away from it.

Quick Recap

In today’s post, we looked at

Seven simple productivity tips for professionals to increase their output

A simple solution to road rage and how to beat being stuck in traffic every morning and evening

A philosophy to stay focused on your highest output each morning — without interruptions

A tool to keep colleagues from interrupting you and getting them on your schedule

Action steps

I have only one action item for you today — from the above seven tips — pick the one you can install immediately. Whether it is cleaning your desk, or even printing your calendar.

Then do it right now — before you do anything else.

Leave a comment below to let me know which one you picked — and come back to update how you feel after doing it.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn.

Which of these seven productivity tips did you choose to use right away?

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to becoming more productive for you?

Leave a comment below to let me know which one you picked — and come back to update how you feel after doing it.

I’d love to hear from you — and reply to each comment.