Productivity—Organization & Work/Life Balance
Productivity is defined as the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services. We all have those days when chaos pokes it’s ugly head into our business and it isn’t pretty!
You know what I mean, the drawer stuffed full of pieces of note paper, disorganized emails, a computer desktop that has so many icons and files on it that it looks like one of those Where’s Waldo cartoons—All those little things that distract us and eat into our precious time.
Easy Tips To Step-up Your Productivity
There are many ways to increase productivity without sacrificing your sanity. It doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. Even a few simple changes can make you a more productive superstar (well, perhaps only in your own mind).
Flotsam & Jetsam
Let’s begin by tackling all those little bits of paper floating here and there. The notes you cannot bear to throw away, the odd piece of code or hundreds of tiny to-do’s that you never seem to get done. You have several options of organizing your notes so you can easily find what you’re looking for. I personally love Evernote. It lets me sync notes on any two computers and also on the web. I’ve got the free version and have yet to reach my usage limit.
There are other options such as Microsoft OneNote, Notepad++, Cherry Tree or even Open Office or Word. I also keep a regular old notebook with me so I can scribble ideas as they come, then transfer into Evernote or one of the others mentioned above. It’s also handy to have a digital recorder–either your cell phone, computer, etc. would work well.
Organize those emails in a way that makes sense to you and declutter that inbox. I like to have folders for each client–with sub-folders for receipts, responses, project info etc. This can really save time when you know how to find what you’re looking for. I also keep personal emails separate which helps me see at a glance, what my priorities are.
One more thing, if you’re not using IMAP over POP3, you should consider it. IMAP leaves all of your messages on the server making it easier to view mail from home, work, and other locations.
Having a library of common code snippets is a great time saver and something you can refer back to again and again. Snipplr, Google Docs or even something as simple as a folder on your hard drive can keep you productive. I like that Snipplr gives you the opportunity to save your own code pieces, but allows you to view others snippets as well. It also has a great search function.
Create keyboard shortcut common tasks. Anything that can save you keystrokes and time clicking through menus is going to make you real happy. In fact, shortcuts can save a ton of time each year! You can find some Windows shortcuts here as a start.
Give Yourself a Break
Small breaks taken throughout the day can help you stay on top of your game. You know what they say about all work and no play…so take a break every once in a while. Sitting in front of a computer all day long can be mentally and physically taxing. Almost all of us know that taking regular, short breaks from physical activity is needed for recovery and injury prevention. However, taking frequent short breaks from our intellectual workload is just as useful and can be an important aid to our creativity as well. You can use your favorite app or software to help remind you to take that time-out.
Don’t be a Slave
If you are in business for yourself, it’s crucial to establish regular company hours. It’s so easy to end up working sixteen hour days or more, especially when you work from home. Time away from the grind is as important as being on the job. So, stop every once in a while to smell the roses. Your family will thank you.
These are just a few ways you can make your day a bit more productive. There are many more things you could do to increase productivity, the important thing is finding out what works for you and your unique working style. How do you keep the chaos under control?