Successful entrepreneurship is about more than sitting at a desk and turning out the work. It's about using tools and strategies that help boost productivity and efficiency. Tap these tips to make yourself a model home office or small business owner.
I admit it! Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the seemingly endless streams of paperwork. Emails I want to keep, Ezines or sections of them, ideas I found on the Internet, school papers, notes of ideas that popped into my head as I was waiting to have a tooth filled, newspaper clippings ... EEEK! I would file and file and file and then forgot where that article was that I needed to complete the project that was due last Thursday! I have been an avid list-maker all my life out of necessity, juggling a 9 to 5 work life, family time, a home business and taking care of two houses; as well as having a number of hobbies such as cartooning and fine art, clothing design and creation, crafts and ballroom dancing (at one point in my life even being a competitive ballroom dancer for 5 years as well as an assistant disk jockey for parties). (no stress!) For all of you super-busy people I have put together some handy hints on getting your life in order and keeping your sanity.
- Notables: Keep a small notebook and pen handy, wherever you are, to jot down ideas or appointments or things to do instead of trying to remember them later on.
- Telephone: Set a time limit to each phone call and make sure you tell your caller. That way you save yourself the stress of trying to end the phone call and it also helps the caller to condense the information they want you to hear.
- In Waiting: Use waiting time at the dentist, meeting with your boss or while waiting on your roast to cook to catch up on reading or planning, or use the time to tidy up, filing or other tasks.
- Help Wanted: Be sure to offer praise to a subordinate, co- worker or to a member of the family for any effort you've noticed - they'll be happy to help you when you're bogged down.
- Don't Put It Off! If you procrastinate you'll only get stressed out when you think about that hateful "to do" item on your list. You'll blow it out of proportion in your mind and it'll become almost impossible to accomplish. Make sure you tackle the largest or most disliked job first, dividing it up into manageable tasks, then the other jobs will be a breeze!
- Control Bug: Delegate the tasks you have no time for or team up with someone who can help you. (see tip #4!)
- Group Effort: Save time and footwork by collecting everything to bring with you to complete errands or to distribute in each room of the house instead of making too many trips. Make a fast list while planning out your route and be sure to plan each stop along the way so you don't have to backtrack and lose time.
- Schedule Fun Time! Make sure you include some personal time for YOU. Allot some time in your agenda - make an appointment for yourself and keep it, even if it's only a leisurely 20 minute bubble bath or a 15 minute walk in the fresh spring air!
- Space Freebies: Go through any old unneeded files to free up space in your filing system. (Click here for records retention guidelines)
- Once and Only Once: Each piece of paper should be handled only once. Read it and either file it, redirect it to someone else, schedule it or toss it. Don't add it to an ever-ending pile on your desk in hopes that you'll get to it eventually.
- Post-Master: Use sticky notes to write errands needed to be done. Stick them to your front door to remind you as you're headed out.
- Systems Engineer: Too much time is wasted everyday on searching for things. Find a system that works for you and your lifestyle and apply it. Use it religiously and you'll find new time slots you thought you never had!
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