Three Tricks for Being More Productive

deskWhether you work from a home office or a conventional office, sometimes staying on task can be a challenge. But what about when you have a deadline? Or when you just keep putting off something that needs to be done?

Here are a few tricks to get the most out of your time.

1.    Get out of the office
Sometimes plunking down in the middle of a semi-busy coffee shop can help you get more done than sticking to the quiet of your desk. According to research, when we’re in public we want to look like we have a purpose. This little psychological need can help us stay focused on a task when we’re surrounded by strangers. To learn more about this, check out Lifehacker’s Why Some of Us Get More Done at Coffee Shops.

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Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

With the year’s end around the corner, it’s time to take stock of everything you accomplished in 2010 and set new goals for 2011. At the beginning of each year, I write out at least three ‘big’ goals (professionally and personally) – something that has been proven to be a huge help when focusing my priorities.

The S.M.A.R.T. method is an effective way to help you set inspiring and achievable goals for the next year.

Specific: If you don’t know whether your goal has been completed or not, it’s not specific enough. The goal must be concise, tangible and simple. It should explain what you want to achieve in simple language – so that anyone else would be able to see your goal and immediately understand it. For example, “Find happiness” is not a very specific goal – but “find a boyfriend/life partner” is.

Measurable: Your goal should be measurable, so determine the numbers that are important to you! For example, “Exercise a lot” is not a goal. “Go to the gym 3x per week” or “Average 30 sales per month” are measurable targets you can benchmark and compare your results against throughout the year.

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3 Top Tips for Dealing With Information Overload

is-information-overload-taking-its-toll-on-our-brainsEmails. Twitter. Facebook. Blogs.

We live in an age of infinite information and perpetual data. It’s easy to waste an entire morning reading Tweets, watching YouTube and checking your LinkedIn. Sometimes there’s just so much incoming material that it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose productivity.

So – how do you get anything done? How do you take action and regain your sanity?

Here are three ways.

1. Check your email just twice a day.

Yes, that’s it. Unless it’s a medical emergency or the Wall Street Journal calling to put you on the front page, do NOT stop what you’re doing to even scan it. Studies have shown that it takes as long as 20 minutes to recover focus if you are interrupted while in the middle of a task.
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How to Keep Your Focus… Start with Your Desk!

2010-03-17-cheesy_salesman2Whether you work out of your home or in a high-rise, most people who work at a computer have the same problem – keeping an organized workspace.

A clean desk contributes to your productivity, and as a small business owner you probably want to maximize your time. Creating a system for keeping your desk clean can help you eliminate distractions and power through tasks more efficiently.

The folks over at Productivity501 have a series of questions to help you “streamline” your workspace. Check out 5 Questions To Help Organize Your Desk to see if you can clear the clutter!