Category Archives: Time Management

Freelancers Today Have More Options Than Ever Before

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Freelancers

What’s the first thing that pops to mind when you hear “freelancing”?

Perhaps you think of someone working from the comfort of home with their laptop and smartphone close by. And, how could you not? This is a reality for 21st-century freelancers, thanks to digitalization. And that’s a good thing.

The thing is, freelancing has been around for centuries.

References to the word “freelance” date back to the early 19th century. Thomas N. Brown first used the term in The Life and Times of Hugh Miller (1809). In his book, Ivanhoe, written in 1819, Sir Walter Scott referred to it in 1820. As it appears in the book;

“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

However, as we know it, freelancing really picked up steam in the 21st. In 2017 Upwork reported that freelance workforce growth is accelerating and has outpaced overall U.S. workforce growth by 3x since 2014. It was also anticipated that freelancing was on pace to account for a majority of the U.S. workforce by 2027.

And then you know what happened in 2020. As a result of the pandemic, the freelance revolution has now truly arrived. It’s currently being forecast that by 2028, there will be over 90 million freelancers in the U.S. alone, making up over half of the entire workforce.

Why Freelancers Have More Options Than Ever Before

So, why has freelancing become so popular that it’s considered the future of work? Well, here’s why.

Technological advancements.

As technology advances, freelancing will become more commonplace. Because of this, a wide variety of workers, skills, and jobs are available. Typically, technical skills are needed first, followed by creative skills.

It is almost impossible for today’s businesses to fulfill all their technological needs with just a few employees or with one. To solve specific problems, they must rely on temporary workers. Additionally, freelancers evolve along with technological advances.

Aside from what the World Economic Forum refers to as an “acceleration in the adoption of new technologies,” automation has highlighted a rapidly growing skills gap in the fields of artificial intelligence, encryption, big data, the Internet of Things, and non-human robotics.

Roles that require these specialized skills are hard to fill for many businesses. Besides detracting from productivity, that also adds financial stress. Do freelancing and the future of the workforce differ in any significant way?

As companies struggle to find qualified staff, they increasingly rely on contractors to complete tasks that require specialized skills. Data analysts, big data experts, AI and machine learning specialists, software engineers, and IT security analysts will be in high demand for the foreseeable future. The availability of contract work creates a lot of opportunities for freelancers with these skills to pick up contract work to fill in gaps and choose which companies to work with and how they spend their time.

Freelancing is expanding into other industries.

At the same time, freelancing is no longer just for creative industries, according to Hayden Brown, the president and CEO of freelancing platform Upwork.

“It’s also across every business type,” Brown told Fast Company. “We serve 30% of the Fortune 100. They’re using freelance talent in more new ways and mom-and-pop shops. Small companies realize that this is a workforce they can be tapping into. So it’s cutting across all sectors of the economy, [and] all types of skills,” says Brown.

“Freelancers are in high demand in almost every skill area that can be done in front of a computer.”

People are choosing to freelance.

Getting a healthier work-life balance is the top reason people choose to freelance, according to a FlexJobs survey. Seventy percent of respondents said their desire to be a freelancer is related to seeking a better “rhythm” between their career and personal goals.

But, wait. There’s more.

  • Additionally, 62% of survey respondents said that the flexibility of work schedules was a significant factor in their decision to freelance.
  • It was also found that 56% of respondents said that having the freedom to work on their own terms is a huge reason to freelance.
  • The flexibility to work anywhere and move without fear of losing their job was highly regarded by 55% of respondents.
  • 46% of people stated they wanted to select their own projects.
  • 45% of respondents said family responsibilities were the top reason they freelanced.
  • 38% of respondents said they wanted to stop commuting to work, both in terms of time and money.
  • Among respondents, 36% listed increased productivity as their main reason for freelancing.
  • The FlexJobs survey found that 35% of people are willing to work freelance to save time and be more efficient.
  • 30% cited avoiding office politics and distractions as the main reason to freelance.

Creativity boost and deeper talent pool.

Freelancers have many opportunities to develop their creative skills. Accessing diverse cultures and approaches for all fields is facilitated by exposure to international markets and various industries. Freelancers can therefore adapt their activities and projects to different markets, thereby expanding their business.

Likewise, employers can tap into a deeper and more innovative and diverse talent pool. Best of all? They can do this regardless of location.

Cost reduction.

Unlike having a full-time or in-house team, employers can save money by hiring freelancers on an as-need basis. For example, they can outsource a web designer or IT specialist when building their website or troubleshooting. As a result, they can dedicate this money to other aspects of the business.

On the other hand, the freelancing lifestyle allows freelancers to save money by not having to commute to work or by not buying expensive clothes, meals, and so on. What’s more, most freelancers only require internet access and a computer.

Additionally, starting out as a freelancer is very affordable. For the first few months, you may only have to sign in to freelance websites and platforms and pay for your internet service. As for marketing, you can tap into social networks for free.

Hybrid and remote work is here to stay.

Finally, hybrid and remote aren’t going anywhere even as the world returns to somewhat normalcy. In fact, by shifting their talent model to include both full-time and freelance employees, 90% of companies surveyed predict that they will gain a competitive advantage in the future.

Moreover, unlike in the past, workers have more freedom these days to live wherever they want while still having access to various job opportunities. Further, a number of non-technical workers such as marketing consultants, insurance brokers, and financial workers are demanding permanent work-from-home opportunities.

Additionally, an estimated 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days per month by 2025. With more remote work opportunities, more people will be turning to freelance.

How to Land Your Next Freelance Gig

Make no mistake about it — freelancing is growing. And, it’s also never been easier to land freelance work.

While you could go the tried and true route with referrals from friends, family, and colleagues, it may also be beneficial to join trade or industry associations where you will be able to meet others who share your interests.

More conveniently, though, you can utilize social media. First, of course, there’s LinkedIn. By joining groups, building connections, and publishing content on their platform, you could reach potential contacts. You can also search for freelancing jobs on Facebook and Twitter.

And, you definitely need to tap into the hundreds of freelance job websites out there. There’s Upwork, FlexJobs, Freelancer, Indeed, and Fiverr for general freelance work.

But, there are also niche marketplaces.

  • Contena and Freelance Writing Gigs for writers.
  • For designers, there are 99 Designs and Behance.
  • Developers should check out Codeable.
  • The Creative Loft is perfect for photographers.
  • What about marketers? Remotive and People Per Hour are worth exploring.
  • If you’re in sales, check out ZipRecruiter or CommissionCrowd.
  • Belay is a sold choice for virtual assistants.
  • Customer support jobs can be found over at We Work Remotely

One final piece of advice. Regardless of your field, you need to have your own website. Nowadays, you can easily do this yourself for only a couple of bucks. But, it’s worth the investment as this gives you a chance to highlight your freelancing skills.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

Freelancers Today Have More Options Than Ever Before was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

Get It Together – Ways to Use Google Calendar for Remote Teams

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google calendar

Remote teams can take advantage of online calendars such as Google Calendar to better manage their time. If there was a way to keep your team on track and improve their focus, wouldn’t you give it a try?

Google Calendar has several great features that remote teams can utilize to stay organized and plan ahead. Additionally, it can increase your team’s productivity and help with collaboration.

When your remote team has the tools to work as efficiently as possible, you instantly notice results. Google Calendar is one of the most popular and accessible calendars available for teams worldwide.

In this guide, we will show you several ways you can empower your team by using Google Calendar. This includes using features such as appointment slots for better scheduling. You can also create an advanced search to help you track down any specific event on-demand.

Let’s dive in and explore how Google Calendar can help your remote team thrive.

Empower Your Remote Team with Google Calendar

To thrive, remote teams need to be equipped with the right tools. After all, remote work wouldn’t even be possible without the technology we have today.

It’s time to step back and consider which tools you’ve given your remote teams to date. For example, do they have a reliable planning tool like Google Calendar? What collaboration tools are they using most frequently? By understanding their needs, you’ll be able to help them move forward.

In the sections below, we’ll explore Google Calendar’s best features for remote work. You’ll learn how each of these features can benefit your team and what their best use cases are. Let’s begin!

Set up appointment slots

Appointment slots are a powerful Google Calendar feature that lets you block off specific periods for appointments. Instead of having someone send you a meeting invite and accept, these time slots make things much easier.

When you create appointment slots on your calendar, these become “reservable” blocks of time. Anyone who has access to these slots will be able to book a time to meet with you.

This has been used by professors looking to create reservable office hours for their students. It’s a great way to let others know your availability each day and allow them to choose a time.

Appointment slots were created as a way to offer teams maximum flexibility with their schedules. Instead of being required to schedule events wherever they “seemed” to fit, it provides a better solution. Your team can see the exact blocks they can reserve, take action and reserve them, or ask for time modifications.

If your team hasn’t been using appointment slots up to this point, let them know it exists. This excellent Google Calendar feature gives you a good amount of time flexibility.

Use calendar meeting rooms

While remote work is gaining in popularity, hybrid work is also increasing. A hybrid employee is defined as someone who works several days in the office and the remainder remote.

If your team is only remote a fraction of the time, setting up calendar meeting rooms may be worth setting up. This feature in Google Calendar lets your organization create and label meeting rooms. Every room you create can then be added to calendar events and meetings and is shown to all participants.

Based on who you invite to an event or meeting, Google Calendar will help you choose which room fits best. This is established on the data you’ve provided about each member of your team.

Find anything with advanced search

Google Calendar’s advanced search functionality makes it easy to find any event or meeting. If you’ve never used this search feature before, it can be accessed from the magnifying glass. Once you click on the magnifying glass, a menu will drop down with multiple parameters.

Based on what you’re trying to find, enter the appropriate search parameter and wait for your results. For example, even if you’re trying to find a meeting years ago, if the record still exists, Google Calendar should find it.

This is a feature your remote team should consistently use to find past communications quickly. We see duplicate efforts being completed fairly frequently, meaning someone did additional work. You can save both time and money with your remote team by teaching them to use advanced search effectively.

Online and offline notifications

When team members are working remotely, it’s essential to know when each of their coworkers is available. This is made remarkably easy with Google Calendar and the Google Suite of tools.

Whenever a member of your organization is online, they show up as available. This lets other team members know they can finally reach out and ask a question.

When somebody is busy in a meeting or away from their computer, an appropriate status will be shown. If you want your remote team to be as effective as possible, don’t forget to enable online/offline notifications.

While it may not seem like a big deal at first, remote teams can have trouble communicating effectively. If you’ve just recently put together your remote team and begin to run into issues, these notifications help facilitate communication. There’s no faster way to save time and get your questions answered straight away than making the most of notifications.

Zoom out with a year view

Most of your planning will be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but not an entire year. Has your team ever sat down and planned an entire year ahead, time blocking important events and activities?

Google Calendar features a year-long view of calendar events, helping you see where you spent your time the most. You’ll also be able to look further ahead and make better decisions based on how projections change into the future. If a holiday or critical event is coming up, you’ll have everything you need to plan around such events with sufficient time.

Your remote team should understand your company’s vision and the value your company is providing by the year-long view. Scheduling events in this manner ensures nothing gets missed and makes sure you plan around major holidays far in advance.

Concluding Thoughts

Google Calendar can be an excellent tool for remote teams, improving both their productivity and efficiency. If you have a team that needs to collaborate and work together, ensure you give them the right tools.

We’ve walked through several ways to use Google Calendar within a remote team for maximum effectiveness. This includes setting up appointment slots, where anyone interested can schedule a time to meet or chat.

We discussed using the meeting rooms available in Google Calendar for ease and simplicity. Additional features were the advanced search function, enabling online and offline notifications, and zoom out to a year view.

All in all, Google Calendar is an excellent tool for remote teams to utilize to maximize effectiveness. It can help remote workers become more efficient and improve productivity substantially over the long run.

Image Credit: Caio; Pexels; Thank you!

Get It Together – Ways to Use Google Calendar for Remote Teams was originally published on Calendar by .

3 Time Management Tips for New Businesses

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Time Management

There are a lot of factors that go into starting a business. You need enough capital to begin operations before you can hope to turn a profit. You need a good idea that can sell and the systems to back it up. The most important factor of all, however, just might be your time management.

You could have a million-dollar idea or a million dollars to start a business, but you won’t get very far if you’re not managing your time properly. With all the hats you’re wearing as a business founder, you need to make the very best use of your limited hours. Wasted time is wasted money, and the lack of efficiency can even hurt your business image.

Here are some ways you can get your time management skills in the right place when starting a new business:

1. Maximize Time Management during Training

Even if you start your business by yourself, eventually you’re going to need some help if you’re trying to grow. This means hiring employees and training them in their positions. In order for training to be effective, you need to set aside time for it and have a good plan in place for carrying out training while maintaining business operations.

Start by creating a timetable for training your new hires. How long should training last, and what skills and company knowledge should new employees have acquired by each milestone? Now you can create an actual plan to make that happen instead of pushing back certain trainings indefinitely.

There are two specific tactics you might consider to make training more time-efficient. E-learning modules will enable new hires to self-schedule training during what might otherwise be downtime in their days. They can even do their learning remotely on the go. And because the training takes place via an online module, it doesn’t require other employees to step away from their usual work to train new hires.

That said, there is some employee education that is better accomplished in one-to-one fashion. Sometimes there’s no good substitute for seeing for yourself how something gets done. To help show your newbies the ropes, allow them to shadow an employee with the same role or one who performs similar duties. The veteran employee can share knowledge the rookie employee needs without having to sacrifice their time management in their day-to-day responsibilities.

2. Get on the Same Page — In Your Calendar

Part of your training plan might include making sure you have enough staff on hand to complete necessary tasks while training is taking place. While e-learning and shadowing will minimize the amount of time current employees have to spend training new hires, they’re still likely to spend some. You’ll need to ensure that your customers are still being taken care of and no one is feeling overwhelmed while attention and resources are temporarily diverted toward training. Proper scheduling will make this a lot easier than it might sound at first.

A team calendar will help ensure that all your bases are covered with collaborative time management. Participants in training sessions will get automatic calendar invites, alerting them to where they need to be and when. Veteran employees will know when they need to find a colleague to cover the phones, for example, and the team calendar will show them at a glance who is available. This simple tool will help you keep everyone on the same page every single day so long as you keep it updated. Using a team calendar will help cut down miscommunications and help everyone stay on top of everyday responsibilities.

Beyond the training phase, a team calendar can be used to organize team meetings, coordinate individual schedules, and outline project deadlines. Managers can even look at scheduling links as a way to effectively plan meetings with their direct reports. This tool eliminates the back-and-forth emails and helps prevent accidental overbooking.

3. Allow Hybrid Work Options When Possible

Effective time management is about getting as much done in as little time possible. Sometimes that means rethinking where the work gets done. You can save your team a lot of time by enabling hybrid work options for positions that make sense.

If you hired a web designer or a social media manager, almost everything they do will be online. They can do their job just as well from home as they can in the office. By allowing them to work from home, they can save time and money on commutes and lunches out. The time they regain can allow them to get some extra projects done throughout the week.

The ability to work from home also means that employees can still get tasks done; even when they’re home with a sick child or waiting for the dishwasher repair person. The work-life balance that hybrid work provides can also make your employees happier and more fulfilled, causing them to use their time on the clock more productively.

Time management isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right planning tools, and flexibility, your new business will be in a great place right from the get-go.

Image Credit: Anete Lusina; Pexels; Thanks!

When Time Management Can’t Help

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When Time Management Can't Help

The concept of time management is often misunderstood and generally unsuccessful in minimizing overload and stress. Although the emphasis on efficiency is admirable — true overload is self-defeating and futile.

Initiate clear time guidelines for selecting what types of activities you won’t do, and develop processes like establishing a day when managers conduct no meetings. There is a zen to taming time, not confronting it.

Remember, there is no such thing as time in the metaverse.

The persistent sensation that there is never enough time causes much stress. We do need to learn time management to tame and manage our time. We aim to convert hour-long sessions into half-hour sprints or schedule more minor activities to reduce wasted time.

But we want to use time management as a stress reducer — not an anxiety producer. As we improve our efficiency, we may add more duties and begin to feel a more significant strain. Attack the core causes of worldly stressors: the sheer amount of work, choices, and diversions.

But time management should be used to reduce stress by freeing up time to take care of yourself. Maybe get to the gym, take a walk or have a massage. Think time management for freedom — not time management as a whip.

Time Management’s Trap

The shift to remote work after the Covid-19 epidemic created a fascinating natural experiment illustrating the time management problem. Working from home saves time (commuting and business travel), and approximately half of remote employees say they are more productive.

A study by Atlassian found that self-reported time savings and productivity increases are ineffective. The average workday has grown by 30 minutes worldwide — the reverse of results from individuals spending their time more efficiently. Complicating matters, the extra 30 minutes of work have mostly come at the price of evening leisure time.

Time management assures us that we can easily accommodate all of our tasks by being more efficient. But, like digging a hole at the beach, time management requires a lot of water to fill it. An hour on your schedule is like a signal flare proclaiming your ability to take on another project or position. So keep thinking about your ability to now claim the freedom to take care of yourself.

Time management has never been useless—productivity matters. But in a society plagued by burnout, we need techniques to reduce the anxiety producers rather than accommodate the volume.

You will want these three options to escape the trap.

1. Reduce task volume

“I’ll handle the budget update for next week’s meeting,” “I’ll pick up something for supper on the way home,” and so on.

As soon as you agree to take on an extra task — the pressure to deliver starts. Any agreement to be broken or renegotiated adds stress and guilt to the situation. The way you hold the line depends on whether your to-do list grows from assigned duties. Or does it grow things you choose to take on?

Prioritize tasks instead of time. When a supervisor asks you to accomplish something, answering with “I don’t have time for that” may seem overly abrupt. Instead, ask, “Where should I prioritize this task versus x, y, and z?” Answering in this manner achieves two goals. In the first place — this gives your superior a glimpse of what you’re working on — and sometimes lets you off the hook. Nevertheless — they set the priority, not you.

2. Reframe the dialogue from a binary option to a collaborative debate

If you want to add tasks, calendar-block first. We typically overestimate our capabilities, leading to over-exertion. Our calendars show some daylight, so we believe, “I can certainly do this by Friday.”

Then comes Friday, and we have to renegotiate.

Best advice — get your self-care actions and family obligation on your Calendar first. If others are synced to your Calendar, and you don’t want them to see your plans, frame the verbiage differently.

My weekly massage appointment says, “On point meeting with Sarah H.” I do combine the massage time with my lunch hour and pound a boiled egg down on the drive over. The point is, we’re not trying to get out of our intense, crowded, stressful work — we come back refreshed and work harder and faster. Putting in time for yourself makes it so that you don’t resent the extra half hour, hour, or longer you stay after work.

The issue is that your Calendar typically only displays synchronous work (tasks you compete with others simultaneously). Then you include meetings, phone calls, etc. Your to-dos are a list of agreements with others for asynchronous labor (tasks you do alone, not in real-time with others).

The answer? Merge your Calendar and to-do list by scheduling time for each task. Getting the complete picture of your obligations (and self-care) allows you to assess your capabilities before taking on more.

3. Decide on principles

We’ve spent the last couple of years making decisions: Do I send my kids to school? Can I visit them? Is it safe to go to work? Constantly facing difficult decisions with limited information can lead to cognitive overload. The overthinking and unknowns in cognitive overload are where mental work demands outpace our coping ability. Cognitive overload raises the chance of mistakes and leads to feelings of overwhelm.

You might start by replacing choices with absolute principles. For example, the science of weight loss management teaches us that “I won’t eat after 7 p.m.” is more successful than “I won’t nibble after 7 p.m.”

Can I have this cup of yogurt? How about some fruit?

The ultimate guideline of no eating after 7 p.m. closes the door. The choices vanish — the result is less overload.

Author and podcaster Tim Ferriss calls the overload scenario “finding the one option that eliminates 100 decision.” Ferriss set a goal of not reading any new books in 2020 — he would finish the ones he’d started. Since writers and their publicists bombarded him with dozens of new or impending books every week, this blanket principle relieved him of hundreds of book-by-book choices.

Steve Jobs famously wore the same thing (a black t-shirt and jeans) every day to avoid morning clothing selection weariness. Jon Mackey is a managing director of a Canadian business. He built his establishment with “No meetings on Fridays.” After failing to safeguard time for serious work by choosing which meetings to accept or refuse, Jon Mackey devised a weekly concentration day.

4. Minimize Distractions with Structure Not Will

Diversions prevent us from completing activities and making critical judgments. Interruptions contribute to overwhelming by preventing us from feeling like we are making headway against the causes of the pressure.

Trying to ignore digital platforms with fortitude puts you up against an army of our generation’s brightest brains. These most brilliant brains focus on exploiting what Facebook founder Sean Parker calls “vulnerabilities in human psychology” to grab your attention. When it comes to distraction, structure always wins.

Several company executives set aside time throughout the day to switch off their laptop’s Wi-Fi to concentrate. Others have scheduled 30-minute meetings for their staff to ask questions and obtain guidance. Then fewer individuals ask, “Can I grab you for five minutes?”

Cathy Engelbert, past Deloitte CEO, banned back-to-back conferences. So instead, it was a 10-minute break for SMORs or tiny minutes of reflection. This fast recovery break meant she wasn’t distracted by the following meeting or carrying over the previous meeting’s agenda.

Conclusion

The answer isn’t to become more efficient and just accept more work, choices, and diversions. Instead, reduce your workload, make choices based on principles, and create a structure to prevent distractions.

Have your new mantra be, Simplify, and make your time management choices reflect a renewed determination to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your life.

When Time Management Can’t Help was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

Image Credit: Tara Winstead; Pexels; Thank you!

How Remote Work Is Changing How We Think About Productivity

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How Remote Work Changing How We Think About Productivity

It has been over two years since we first learned about COVID-19. There are a lot of things we will remember about those first months of the pandemic. The weird Netflix specials we binge-watched and the toilet paper we panic-bought are burned into our memories.

However, one of the most impactful things to come out of the pandemic isn’t our collection of homesewn masks or the rush of curbside pickup services extended by local businesses. What will continue to live on long after COVID-19 is remote work.

In order to keep businesses running and incomes alive, numerous companies experimented with having their employees work from home rather than in the office. This experiment ended up being incredibly successful and is a trend that many workers want to continue. Here are just some of the reasons why many are fighting to retain remote work and what we’ve learned from the experience thus far.

Happier Employees Work Harder

One of the most important points to touch on when talking about remote work is employee well-being. Simply put, working from home makes it a lot easier for workers to maintain a proper life balance. Taking away the commutes and morning prep times allows employees to spend more time with family, pursuing hobbies, or even getting the rest they need to clock in again the next day.

Happier employees tend to work harder. A positive attitude makes it easier to put your nose to the grindstone. In addition, employees who are pleased with their company’s work conditions will be more likely to give their all to the organization that has made this balance possible.

A study of employees who moved to remote work during the first six months of the pandemic showed that productivity was up considerably when compared to the same time period the year before. This came during one of the most stressful and uncertain times in modern U.S. history, so you can only imagine how beneficial remote work can be now that stability is returning somewhat.

Less Is Sometimes More

To grasp the full impact of remote work, let’s turn our focus away from the employees themselves for a moment. Productivity is part of cost management. Every task, product, and project comes with attendant costs. A productive workplace is also an efficient one, and remote work enables that more than nearly anything else.

For starters, companies can spend a lot less on daily expenses when employees work from home. Utility bills are lowered, less paper is consumed, and expensive office spaces with large floor plans are no longer necessary. Even if your employees are only working at 90% capacity in a remote setting, the significant savings you can get from making the move might be worth that and more.

With lower overhead costs, your company can sustain the same bottom line even if it brings in fewer sales or produces fewer deliverables. Yet if you work on keeping your remote workers motivated and productive, which is entirely doable, you’re likely to maintain — or even exceed — previous revenue numbers.

Convenience Is King

Another example of how less can sometimes be more is in the simple convenience of working from home. Employees often feel more comfortable working in their own space, which leads to higher productivity. A Stanford study estimated a 13% increase in productivity for remote workers when compared to productivity in the office.

A quieter, more familiar atmosphere and the ability to continue getting work done when feeling too sick to show up at the office are some of the biggest reasons for the productivity boost. It’s also nice not having to wear dress pants to every meeting and having easy access to the kitchen whenever you want a drink or snack.

Companies around the world spend billions of dollars trying to create ideal workspaces for their employees to get them excited about coming into the office to work. Even if you have a state-of-the-art coffee machine and an expansive lounge, oftentimes the same results can be replicated simply by letting employees work in their own homes.

KPIs Don’t Have to Be So Rigid

Most organizations use a collection of key performance indicators, or KPIs, to measure employee productivity. Unfortunately, many of these KPIs are a bit outdated. The shift to remote work is an opportunity to reevaluate the metrics you track in an effort to improve organizational productivity.

For example, many establishments rate their employees based on how punctual they are for shifts and how much overtime they are willing to put in. While these certainly can be signs of a good employee, they often miss the bigger picture. With remote work, time logged can be much less relevant, so measuring other KPIs will give you a better look into how your team is performing.

Instead of monitoring how much time your employees are sitting in front of a computer, track how many tasks they’ve completed or sales they’ve closed. If they’re accomplishing their regular workload and more, does it really matter when they started work or how many hours they clocked in?

Remote work certainly isn’t for everyone. Some people thrive in an office space, but many others are benefiting from remote work and the productivity boost it has delivered. Modern businesses should seriously consider remote work or hybrid work options for their teams. These flexible arrangements are likely to produce happier employees who work harder and stick around longer.

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!

Should You Have Full Meetings or a Quick Slack Chat?

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Should You Have Full Meetings Quick Slack

Before COVID the question of whether you should have a full meeting or a quick slack chat would not even have been on the radar of issues needing to be addressed. One study showed that 55 million meetings are held worldwide each week. Another study discovered employees spend two hours a week attending unnecessary meetings. This is not only a massive waste of time but $541 billion in resources as well.

In light of the studies — it is not surprising that most of us question each and every meeting on our Calendar. And, certainly, the seeming craziness has gotten more ridiculous following COVID-19, but what action to take is less apparent.

Virtual meetings used to take up two hours a week, but now they take up more than ten. In other words, we spend one-fourth of our work week in virtual meetings, whether through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and the like.

However, it might be possible to replace your full meetings with a quick Slack chat to save you and your team time, money, and sanity.

Not All Meetings Are Quality

“Meetings have become a necessary evil in the post-pandemic world,” notes Howie Jones in a previous Calendar article. “Many, if not most, can be done remotely. On Zoom, or some other remote platform. And there are ways to keep them from becoming too annoying.

Meetings are not completely effective even in ideal circumstances, say people from all levels of a company, including the CEO, he adds. The pandemic, the current turbulent labor market, and the pressing needs at home make today’s corporate climate a challenging one.

“Executives and teams simply cannot afford to squander time and resources,” says Howie. Meetings typically squandered people’s time and rewarded grandstanding and egomaniacs before Covid-19. “In 2019, Korn Ferry reported that 51% of workers thought the excessive time spent on calls and meetings hampered their effect at work, while 67% stated excessive meetings hindered peak performance.

Only 11% of respondents thought all meetings were useful. Sometimes, though, a meeting is the best approach to bringing everyone together.

It’s About The Medium

Meetings can be very productive. Others can be awful. No matter what, they play an important role in the work of every organization. What separates them, however, is the goal of each meeting, as well as the medium.

For example, meeting one-on-one for a performance review has a more formal vibe than the laid-back atmosphere of catching up over lunch. There’s also a different feel to a scheduled meeting at a conference table compared to an impromptu chat at someone’s desk.

Electronically, emoji-filled texts convey a different mood from emails. What’s more, Slack notifications are handled differently than a distracting ringing phone. Regardless, use every channel at your disposal to reduce or prep for meetings. And, don’t overlook tools like Calendar which allow you to streamline schedules.

Whatever you meeting you choose, make sure you have everything you need for productive interactions. And, to ensure that, you can answer the following questions;

  • Are you going to need to refer to your documents during the conversation?
  • Can this conversation be conducted over the phone while you walk?
  • Does it matter to you that you can see each other?
  • Would a file-sharing program be better suited for this particular collaboration?

After you’ve established the best method of communication, make sure you formally document those guidelines. In the case of a chat function, it might be perfect for exchanging short ideas. On the flip side, it’s not ideal for sending documents or important dates. After all, a long conversation can lead to too many details being missed.

It’s probably best to send information via email. As for collaboration, you can’t go wrong with Google Docs — particularly when real-time evaluation is needed. When you need to talk privately or have a two-way brainstorming session, the trusty phone should suffice.

Providing these guidelines lets your employees know what to expect from a phone call or an app notification. Additionally, creating clear expectations makes communication more effective, avoids misunderstandings, and reduces stress.

Meetings That Go Great With Slack

Generally, video chat, phone, or in-person meetings are some of the best methods of handling meetings. However, Slack interactions can be used to replace certain types of meetings.

The daily status meeting.

“One of the best candidates to be replaced by activity in Slack is the daily status meeting,” states the Slack Team.

During these meetings, team members share what they are working on today, what they finished yesterday, and any issues holding them back. But, the facilitator may find it difficult to enforce and prevent discussion creep even if you limit each update to 60 or 90 seconds. For example, if you have a dozen people on your team, you would spend at least 15 minutes every morning in these meetings, which would amount to three person-hours per day, they add.

If you want to avoid this problem, you should set a start time for this kind of meeting so everyone can submit an update on time. By using Calendar, you can easily manage this.

Brainstorming sessions.

New ideas are the lifeblood of businesses. Meetings to brainstorm are essential if you want the river of ideas to flow.

“Brainstorming meetings are designed to generate a lot of ideas over a short period of time—and they’re critical if you’re trying to solve a problem or achieve a goal,” says David Chaudron, an organizational psychologist and the managing partner of consulting firm Organized Change.

How can brainstorming meetings be successful? Don’t focus on the outcome of the meeting, but on the ideas.

According to Chaudron, brainstorming sessions should be open to ideas “without having to judge them right then. Figure out what works and doesn’t work after you do the brainstorming. It’s important you have a separate [meeting] just for the brainstorming itself.”

When using Slack for brainstorming sessions, you should integrate it with collaborative tools like Dropbox or Google Drive. You should also set up a dedicated brainstorming channel in Slack. And, whenever you brainstorm, always create tangible materials such as sheets, documents, or even doodles

Reviews and approvals.

‌‌Another type of meeting that might be handled better through text is a project review and approval meeting. It is possible for these meetings to lack focus, resulting in lengthy and ineffective gatherings.

As an alternative to meeting face-to-face or video conference, upload any relevant images or documents to Slack. Once completed, you can ask for feedback from everyone involved. Depending on the culture of your workplace, some people request emoji responses here.

Furthermore, Slack can also be used to discuss how to improve the current project or how it might be structured in the future. By doing all of this over Slack, participants can think about their responses at their own pace, as opposed to feeling like they’ve been put on the spot in a face-to-face meeting.

Team building activities.

During team-building meetings, members gain a better understanding of each other, develop trust, and strengthen their cohesion. Increased productivity and employee satisfaction can be achieved by improving employee collaboration as well.

Through the use of games or team challenges, team-building meetings are meant to create a fun and interactive atmosphere. Leaders and organizers have a great opportunity to connect with their teams and build stronger bonds.

Virtual team-building meetings are becoming more and more important as more people work remotely. These programs engage and connect remote workers who may feel isolated from their teammates and organizations. It is important for companies to engage with remote employees to prevent morale and the company culture from deteriorating.

Post-survey meetings.

Because there are so many types of surveys, each of which serves a different purpose, you can use surveys to improve virtually all aspects of your team.

In low-trust environments, anonymous surveys can assist with tracking team morale, employee feedback can be collected and analyzed, and there are also team feedback surveys. Moreover, running surveys in Slack saves time and stores historical data for future reference. And, Slack threads are perfect for follow-ups.

Are Slack Meetings Better?

In a nutshell, no.

You can easily conduct daily check-ins, brainstorming sessions, and review meetings using a text-based application, like Slack. It’s also handy for team-building and surveys. The majority of other meetings, however, are better conducted by phone, video chat, or in person.

You can enhance your team’s connection and relationship with face-to-face meetings. Even when people are many miles apart, phone calls can help them feel connected. Both make teams more productive.

In others, use Slack for quick chats or collaboration. But, for more complex and detailed conversations, a full meeting still serves a purpose. Furthermore, you can use Slack to prepare for one-on-ones and full meetings. For example, you can send attendees the agenda, prep questions, and a log to track progress.

When appropriate, use Slack to save time and energy so that your team’s meetings can be as productive as possible. And, more importantly, quick Slack chats can improve efficiency and preserve your and your team’s energy.

Image Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom; Pexels; Thanks!

Should You Have Full Meetings or a Quick Slack Chat? was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Reduce Stress by Reducing Procrastination

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Reduce Stress Reducing Procrastination

Everyone is told time and time again that stress is bad for you. Unchecked stress can lead to many physical health issues. The month of April is dedicated to stress awareness. How are you handling your stress these days?

We all know that stress can cause issues like high blood pressure, obesity, and even heart disease. While unchecked stress has many adverse physical health conditions, stress leads to many mental health issues.

These mental problems include depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. The psychological and physical issues all stem from prolonged amounts of stress on the body. Further, these conditions can worsen over time as tension and stress are left untreated and ignored. Therefore, with the possibility of these issues, it is essential that we find ways to resolve stress.

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to reduce procrastination. Procrastination is the process of worrying and delaying what needs to be done. The constant effects of procrastination can build up high amounts of stress and anxiety. This article will discuss some easy and actionable ways to reduce stress by reducing procrastination in your life.

Create a Daily Task List

Before you start your day, sit down and write the tasks that need to be done. When we take a step back and organize our thoughts, we make a better plan of action to get things done. Create a schedule for your tasks. For example, you could set up time blocks to focus on each task.

Scheduling time for each task throughout the day will help structure a plan of action. Put the most essential and draining tasks first on your list. For example, you may put thought-intensive tasks like writing and emailing ahead of a meeting with a coworker. Getting these tasks done earlier in the day will not only make you feel accomplished but also makes the rest of the day easier.

Make the task list as simple as possible, while still being specific. For example, you might say “read 30 pages” instead of “read the book.” Being specific will help keep you on track and know precisely what you need to do. The list should not have more than ten items on it at one time, but if it does, you may be using the task list as a tool for avoiding work rather than getting organized.

Set Aside Time to Take a Breather

Set aside time to take a deep breath and relax on your Calendar or schedule. For example, you could plan a quiet, relaxing walk after finishing an intensive task. The breaks can help reset your mind and re-energize yourself for the next task at hand.

While taking a break, try to remove work-related thought distractions. This time should be a way for you to relax and escape work entirely, not sit and think about all your to-dos. Also, avoid using social media and other online distractions. For starters: Scrolling through news apps and refreshing your social media feed during your designated break time will not be relaxing, especially if negative news shows up.

Lastly, use breathing techniques. Try taking a deep breath in for ten seconds, holding it for a few seconds, then slowly letting it out for another ten seconds. Practicing breathing techniques effectively can help slow down our intrusive thoughts. Your clearer mind will allow you to come back to work full of energy and focus.

Remind Yourself of the Consequences

Make a note of the consequences of not completing a task. Understanding the consequences of not getting something done can help you understand why it was necessary in the first place, in addition to serving as a motivator to complete it. For example, if you’re a student, you might make a list of consequences for not studying for a big exam. The list could include repercussions, such as failing the class or not learning the material.

Or, if you do not want to go as far as making a physical or digital list, make it a habit to remind yourself mentally. For example, if you were finding yourself struggling to start a project, you could ask yourself, “what would happen if I did not start the project.” Having that consistent mental reminder of why the task is necessary can make it much easier to get started.

Set Reasonable Goals and Deadlines

Create reasonable goals and deadlines for your work. Setting up a marker to aim towards helps us realize the bigger picture of each individual task. It also prevents us from continually moving something off into the near future. When a hard deadline is set, you are set on finishing the project on time.

Make your goals SMART:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timely

The SMART acronym helps you identify all components of a great goal. For example, the goal “read a book” could be developed into “read 25 pages of Harry Potter: Death Hallows by Wednesday night.” As a result, the goal becomes much more attainable. In addition, thinking about the acronym can help you find the weak points of your goals.

Making your goals more exciting can also reduce the probability of you avoiding what needs to be done through poor goal setting. Take this a step further by making the goals visible throughout the day, like perhaps adding your goals to your weekly Calendar. Crossing off completed goals helps you achieve a sense of accomplishment. A visible goal list will not only motivate you but will also make accomplishments a habit.

Eliminate Potential Distractions

Scan your work desk for things like a clock, extra desk clutter, fidget items, and anything that can potentially distract you. For example, for some people, a clock on the wall might tempt them to continuously check the time — for others, a clock on the wall saves time and motivates them. Figure out and know which person you are. Desk clutter might tempt you to organize. Clearing your desk of anything that is not necessary to have to accomplish your daily tasks will help you be more productive.

As with clocks and desk clutter, fidget items like writing utensils, Pop-Its, desk decor, and more – are also a distraction, even though they are valuable items. Do yourself a favor while trying to hone in on a specific task and get rid of the distraction. Removing them from your view is a great way to set yourself up for improved focus and success.

Concluding Thoughts

Take positive, consistent actions to start reducing stress by reducing procrastination in your life. This article discussed several actions you can take to begin this process. You can get more organized by approaching tasks with a daily task list. While striving to work hard, you should also remember to set aside time for mental breaks to energize yourself.

Tasks are there for a reason. Evaluating the root reason you are doing a task in the first place can help motivate you to be more productive. Try to view your goals as assistants who are helping you create benchmarks for success. Just be sure that the goals are set properly to be helpful in the long run.

Additionally, clearing your workplace clutter will help you eliminate the sources of procrastination from their roots. By implementing some of these lessons in your own life, you can be more productive as stress and procrastination start to fade away.

Reduce Stress by Reducing Procrastination was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Time Management Hacks That Will Restore Your Work-Life Balance

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5 Time Management Hacks Restore Work Life Balance

The widespread shift to remote work prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has had an erosive effect on the boundaries between work and life. While many have found work-from-home arrangements to be incredibly beneficial, they can blur these lines if you aren’t careful. The result is an “always-on” mindset that can upset your work-life balance.

Whether you’re in the office or at home, there is a solution. It involves consciously separating your work from the rest of your day — and managing your work time well so your personal time can remain free from work-related concerns.

1. Create a More Productive Workspace

The key to keeping work from seeping into your personal life is to do that work as efficiently as possible. That starts with creating a workspace that is conducive to your productivity needs.

Set up your desk with efficiency in mind. If a second monitor would keep you from having to switch repeatedly between scores of open tabs, get one. If jotting down notes sparks your creativity, have a notepad handy. Keeping a store of snacks and a bottle of water at hand will prevent mid-morning wooziness and the resulting productivity dip. Consider your organizational habits and determine how you can refine them for a more efficient workflow.

Most importantly, make an effort to isolate this space from the rest of your day as much as possible. If you have a dedicated room for your home workspace, leave your laptop there and close the door at the end of the workday. If your WFH office is one end of the kitchen table, close your laptop and remove papers and files to a “work box” when you knock off for the day. Whatever approach you take, the point is to help yourself distinguish your work from end-of-day relaxation.

2. Eliminate Outside Distractions

Another way to work more productively — and thus ensure your personal time stays your own — is to reduce distractions as best as you can. Once you put the first tip into practice, you’ll probably have eliminated several attention drains already. But others — outside noises, communications from others, etc. — you can’t simply prevent. You can, however, decide how you and your technology should respond.

When you’re on the clock, silence all unnecessary notifications you might receive and let friends and family know you’re working. If the neighbor’s lawn mower or chatty family members are distracting, invest in some noise-canceling headphones or listen to a speech-blocking noise generator. Anything inessential that you can’t prevent from drawing your focus away from work can likely be mitigated in some way.

3. Use Time Blocking

Time blocking is a method in which you set aside a predetermined chunk of time on your schedule to get particular tasks done. By grouping work by type — say, answering all your email at once or scheduling an hour to knock out the last section of a sales report — you eliminate task switching and enable more focused work.

Time blocking has another advantage that is particularly helpful to the perfectionists among us. If you’re prone to giving a paragraph another pass or running the numbers one more time, the knowledge that the clock is ticking will encourage you to wrap things up in the appointed time. Time blocks don’t need to be long — in fact, smaller chunks may work best if you need some external time pressure to get tasks done in an efficient manner.

Another benefit of time blocking is that it doesn’t have to be a merely personal experience. You can put an hour block on your calendar that announces you’re occupied at that time. If co-workers look to see whether you’re free, they’ll instead see that you’re busy and hold off on reaching out until after your task is complete.

4. Disconnect When the Day Ends

Work creeping into your personal time is common and hard to avoid. By implementing the productivity tips above, you’ll be better able to check critical tasks off your workday to-do list, increasing the likelihood that your evening will be your own.

When your work has set hours, there is no more effective method for keeping it confined than fully disconnecting from all work notifications, communications, and platforms once those hours end. If you work in an office, join the daily end-of-the-day exodus. Otherwise, you’ll be giving away your free time — which is utterly invaluable to your mental health and work-life balance.

If you work from home, you’ll have to rely on yourself to disconnect when the workday is over. Set yourself a timer for when to turn off email notifications and set your Slack status to unavailable. Receiving various notifications may not feel like a problem, but they can keep you distracted from yourself and your loved ones. Allowing them will only damage the quality of your free time, further harming your work-life balance and making it harder to relax.

5. Take Your Personal Time Seriously (After a Fashion)

Now that you’re disconnected, what should you do? Make sure to take this time seriously — by which we mean doing what relaxes you the most. Your personal time is valuable, but that doesn’t mean you should stress yourself out trying to fill it with “meaningful” activity. If all you want to do is kick back and watch TV, then that’s the best way to spend your time.

Your situation will vary depending on whether you have family or other obligations, but it’s important to commit to having time of your own. If that means binge-watching the second season of “Bridgerton” rather than writing the Great American Novel, so be it!

It’s entirely too easy to let your work life bleed into your personal one, but you need to resist that impulse. Taking time for yourself is the best way to recharge so that when you’re back to work the next day, your productivity will be running on a full battery.

Image Credit: Eunice Lui; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier

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4 Things Every Evening Make Mornings Easier

Mornings are supposed to be calm and relaxed, welcoming the new day ahead. And yet, more often than not, they are rushed and chaotic as you scramble to get out the door in time. Add young children into the mix as well as partners, pets, or roommates, and you have yourself a full-on nightmare each day. That’s no way to greet the new day; however, it’s a habit many of us have fallen into.

Thankfully, there are ways to prep the night ahead to set yourself up for success in the a.m. Even if you are exhausted and ready to call it quits, setting some time aside to prepare for the next day is beneficial to your mind and body. It may also shave off a few minutes of the allotted time, allowing you to have a more calm, established morning routine.

Obviously, the pandemic has changed all of our schedules. So knowing how to set yourself up for a breezy morning can be easier said than done. Not sure where to start? Read on for four simple things to do this evening to make tomorrow morning even easier. Your future self thanks you.

1. Check Your Schedule

Before you close out of work for the day, look at your calendar or schedule for the next day. See what you need to get done tomorrow and what tasks you need to carry over from today. Knowing what is ahead can ease your mind. And you can also proactively change or move meetings to accommodate your schedule better.

Of course, if you are a parent, you also need to be on top of your children’s and perhaps your partner’s schedules. For example, if your youngest child has soccer practice after school, you’ll need to decide who is in charge of dropoff and pickup. Or, if your child is on snacktime duty tomorrow, you’ll need to quickly figure out what 30 individually packaged snacks look like.

These are all items you and your partner can discuss the night before. Doing so will help alleviate any unnecessary tension in the morning.

2. Plan and Pack Up

Planning and packing up considers all things that you need to either wear or bring to work tomorrow. This includes figuring out what you will wear by checking the weather forecast. Laying out your clothes or hanging them on one hanger can save precious time getting ready. While you’re at it, put your shoes by the door as well.

You’ll also want to pack your bag, ensuring you have all your devices and chargers at the ready. How many times have you left home without your laptop charger? Guilty. Once your bag is ready, place it by the door, so it’s one less thing to think about. The same goes for any of your children’s backpacks.

3. Do Your Food Prep

The worst time to think about what’s for lunch is in the morning when you’re feeling rushed. Leaving your food prep to the morning is also another way for you to wind up just getting another overpriced takeout lunch again. While you’re cleaning up dinner, go ahead and make your lunch and put it in the fridge. It can be helpful to designate one shelf in the refrigerator to everything that you — or your family — need to grab in the morning. No lunch or water bottle left behind with this trick.

This can also be the time when you prep your breakfast. Smoothies, chia pudding, and oatmeal are all excellent grab n’go morning noshes. If you’re a coffee drinker, now is the time to either pre-set your machine or at the very least pull out your to-go mug and grind the beans. Meal planning the night before can help save you time and money. It can also be a healthy jumpstart, knowing that you have homemade (or at least home prepped) meals waiting for you when you rise.

4. Tidy Up

Ok, cleaning is likely the last thing you want to do after a long day. That said, waking up to a filthy or messy house is the last thing you want to see when you open your eyes in the morning. So doing a quick tidying up the night before can be beneficial to how you start the next day. It helps close out the day and transition yourself out of work mode into nighttime mode.

We aren’t saying you need to pull out the vacuum cleaner, per-see. But doing small tasks like wiping down the counters can mean smooth sailing in the a.m. If you live with others, you can make this a family chore or a roommate task. Ask everyone to go around the house and pick up any loose clothes off the floor or help load the dishwasher. It’ll take less time when everyone is involved, and maybe a chance for the mess to not happen in the first place.

Takeaways

A productive, less stressful morning starts the night before. Whether you are a morning person or not, these four tips will help you feel better and calmer each morning. By checking your schedule and planning ahead, you’ll know what to expect and how to approach the next day.

And by doing all of your meal prep and tidying your space, you will fall asleep knowing you really have to grab and go before heading out the door. So start implementing these tips today and start welcoming more calmer mornings.

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

Image Credit: Lisa Fotios; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Make Sure Your Business Is Running As Productively As Possible

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Make Sure Business Running Productively as Possible

Starting a business entails more than just having a good idea. You could have the best new product of the century, but your business can still flop if you’re not running it properly. Efficiency and productivity are nearly as important as offering high-quality products and services.

There’s also a fine line between being busy and being productive. Learning to differentiate between the two and lean into the latter will be key to growth and success in your business. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your business is running as productively as possible:

1. Define the Needs of Your Customers

Start by assessing whether your customers’ needs have changed since you started your business. Since we live in very uncertain times, consumer needs are constantly evolving. If your current business model no longer fits these needs directly, your operation won’t be able to run as productively as possible.

One way to define the needs of your customers is to simply ask them yourself. They know what they want better than anyone else. You can include a survey link to physical and digital receipts or even send an email to your most loyal customers to request their feedback. You can’t work productively if you have the wrong goals.

2. Implement Changes as Necessary

If you find out that your customers’ needs have changed, your business must change with them. In particular, you should be looking at changes to your operation that will allow you to meet those needs more efficiently. Even without direct feedback, looking for positive changes is something you should always be doing.

This might include implementing new online appointment software that makes it easy for customers to make bookings or getting a new program to aid in online transactions. You might be doing fine enough without these additions, but they’ll only make your business better as you add them to your system of operations. Complacency can be dangerous, especially as other businesses are likely making the changes that your customers are looking for.

Don’t be afraid to try something new in an effort to make your business as productive as possible. In the worst-case scenario, your investment may not yield the improvements you expected. So do away with the change and learn from your mistakes.

3. Learn How to Delegate

If you’re running a top-heavy organization, it will be nearly impossible to reach maximum productivity. Successful business owners and leaders know how to delegate certain tasks to others rather than trying to do everything on their own. More can be accomplished when the workload is dispersed more evenly.

Some task delegation may require new hires. For example, your growing startup might need a full-time marketing lead or accounting expert to take some of that responsibility off of you. With another member on your team to complete those tasks, you have more time to work on other projects and get more done.

The hardest part of delegation is learning to trust others. Not everyone will do things the same way you do, but you have to learn to trust their judgment. Trust can be built through consistent communication with your employees. In addition, providing the necessary training can give you the peace of mind that your employees are well-equipped to take on any task that you assign them.

4. Undergo a Business Audit

There are several reasons why you should consider having a business audit performed. Sometimes all you need is a second set of eyes to optimize your business operations. When it comes to productivity, a qualified auditor can look for inefficiencies in your business and provide suggestions on how to fix or mitigate them.

Other reasons to get a business audit are to review your cybersecurity, scout out potentially fraudulent activity, or obtain certifications required to take your business to the next level. A successful audit will also look good to investors if you’re planning on seeking a funding round for your small business.

5. Automate Processes and Tasks

The true secret for maximum productivity is business automation. If you’re able to automate certain business processes, the tasks they involve can be completed hands-free. Some tasks can even be accomplished outside of business hours without the need for direct supervision.

Let’s say you implement that online appointment software. This will allow customers to look up appointment times and create their own bookings. Those appointment slots will be automatically entered into your business calendar. You no longer need to have someone on the phone to confirm every single appointment your customers make.

Other forms of automation include email marketing, billing, and everything from data analytics to supply chain management. Thanks to automation, your daily to-do list will be a lot shorter, but you’ll still accomplish all of the same important tasks.

Above all else, making sure your business is running as productively as possible requires consistent effort. Never settle where you currently stand. Continue to strive for improvement, and your business will elevate its productivity all along the way.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

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