Creative Yet Profitable

It is imperative that a creative business be creative yet profitable. As a creative entrepreneur it is sometimes difficult to build a business that is respected for its creativity while generating profits. It is however absolutely necessary to do so and build a highly regarded brand. So how does one go about being creative and at the same time, build a profitable business?


YOUR LABEL IS A BUSINESS


Approach your label as a business right from inception. You must have a business plan with strategies for the short term, the medium term and the long term. This is the first step towards being creative yet profitable.


What is your vision and mission for your label? Why is your label different? What do you want to be known for and what are your goals for your business in the short, medium and long term?


In creating your business vision and mission, research businesses similar to the type of business you envisage to help you drill down:
• The options available
• How to carve out your own niche and be different.
• Which products/services to offer your target market.
Develop strong business skills and acquire a very good understanding of budgets and retail concepts.


BUILD SOLID RELATIONSHIPS


Start sourcing suppliers and identify potential collaborative opportunities in the industry and with industry influencers.

A good example of an industry influencer for Afrocentric products and services is www.bellafricana.com. The website is a marketing tool for Afrocentric businesses. The site will provide your business with visibility to a wide international audience at no cost (save the small fee for verification as a genuine business).

Explore industry meet-ups in your locality and join the conversation. Connect on social media and get a mentor. Establish a presence on social media and find ways to confirm that there is a market for new products as part of your product development process. These are low cost methods to build a business that is creative yet profitable.


DISCIPLINE IS ESSENTIAL


Be consistent, honest and reliable and be determined in the face of all odds. Be disciplined about your schedule. As a creative, your natural inclination is to put off the parts of your business that are not particularly creative in nature.

However, to be creative yet profitable, you need to plan ahead – get a planner. Be intentional and detailed a month and a week ahead of time as to what needs to get done. Remember also that you will need to innovate to be a step ahead in the game, so your creativity will come into play in the business aspects too!


ORGANIC GROWTH


Don’t launch your label with too many products. Grow organically as the label becomes more established. Don’t expand too quickly – lay down a strong commercial foundation and build on that foundation. Try out your ideas on a small scale and if you get a positive feedback you can escalate to a larger scale.


CREATE A MARKETING PLAN


Educate yourself about the intricacies of merchandising from sourcing to manufacturing to retail. Do your best to get your pricing right. How much is the customer willing to pay? (Your target market research comes in useful here.) Knowing this will help you determine how much you can spend on your materials and manufacturing and still turn a profit after all the costs have been taken into consideration.

You must offer products and services that are unique but still offer value for money. A great part of being creative yet profitable is to have a good balance when it comes to expenses and income.


BE RELEVANT


Pay attention to the feedback from your customers. Remember that although you need to express yourself creatively, you must produce items and offer services that your target customers want to buy so that your business can be successful.

Every product in your collection or service package must have commercial appeal. (Again the target/customer research is very important).


FINANCIAL AWARENESS


Have a proper understanding of your finances. It is impossible to be creative yet profitable if you cannot determine or understand your financial status.

Determine how to obtain the funding needed for your business and also how to control your cash flow. You may have a high turnover in terms of sales but poor cash flow, which will harm your business.

Poor cash flow occurs when more money flows out of the business than comes in. This could be either from high overheads or because revenue is yet to come in from retailers and customers.

It is very easy to fall prey when selling wholesale, on consignment or on credit. Keep an eagle eye on your overheads. If your overheads are too high, your business will continually struggle to break even. If a business does not break even it cannot proceed to make a profit.

3 Ways I use my hand painted silk fabrics

My favourite thing to do with my hand painted silk fabrics is to make bags with them. I make bags and have an accessories brand ( ETILOI ) so I guess it makes sense!


I rarely use the silk fabric on its own though. I usually pair it with either Ankara fabric, Damask or Aso One fabric for a nice contrast in texture and design.

Below are a few clutch bags I made from some of my free hand painted silks


Another thing I love to do is to make wall decor. I have the silk mounted and framed and then sold as wall panels. Folk seem to like them a lot, so I guess I need to do some more and take better pictures too.


The third thing I do with my hand painted silk fabric is to make throw pillows or boudoir pillows as some call them. Folks like those because I always use free hand designs on them so there are no two pieces exactly the same. People always want exclusive stuff, No?

Unfortunately I have no pictures but promise to start to do better with my picture taking.

Adventures in Silk Painting

I love painting on silk. The way the colour flows on the fabric and the vibrant colours are so delicious.

The image above is of a scarf I painted using pre-designed silk from Artys. I love using the pre printed scarfs but they do take its toll on my neck and back. But, they are so so beautiful!

I prefer using iron fixing silk paints for my work as opposed to steam fixed dyes. I find the iron fix paints to be easier to work with while steaming the silk dyes can be such a hassle.

Steam fix dyes are always a gamble for me to be honest, although the vibrancy of the colours are unparalleled. I have stopped putting myself through the aggravation though and now stick with iron fix paints.

I have a selection of some of my old work below. Unfortunately I rarely took pictures of my silk and the pictures I do have are not very nice.


PAINTING DONE ON PRE – PRINTED (GUTTA) SILK


PAINTING DONE FREE HAND ON SILK WITHOUT USING GUTTA


PAINTING DONE FREEHAND FOR WALL PANEL HANGINGS (TO BE FRAMED)


What kind of paints do you prefer – Steam fix dyes or Iron fix paints? I intend to get some empty marker pen containers and fill them with iron fix paints. I will get an assortment with different nibs and see what magic will happen on my silk fabrics!

5 Fashion Design Styles for Accessories Designers

When planning a collection, what style are you planning around? Who are your target customers and do you take their taste into consideration when planning your collection of accessories.

Let’s look at these five styles and the images will show how different they are and how the colours used are also distinct: Sophisticated, Indie Chic, Fresh, Romantic and Comfort.








So what is the style of your target customer? You will notice that even the fabrics used for each style is different.

As a bag designer, I would use lace and satiny fabrics for the sophisticated and romantic styles. I would also use floral fabrics for the romantic styles.

Get our Free Brand Goals Guide to assist you in your design process

I would use denim, leather and corduroy fabrics for the indie chic and comfort styles and then use Ankara fabric for the Fresh style.

Let’s take a look at some of my designs for the different styles below


SOPHISTICATED STYLE

ROMANTIC STYLE

FRESH STYLE

COMFORT STYLE

INDIE CHIC STYLE

Do you observe styles in your collections? Another way to design is to have a collection that has more than one style in it but which can be tied together by the season colours and workmanship.

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What are your preferred styles? Do you have customers who lean more towards one style than another?

One Key Trend Forecasting Hack for Designers

A key part of creating a good collection is to look at and forecast the trends for the coming season.

The season colours are a very important part of this exercise.

Take a look at the Season Colours research done in Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 by drilling down into the runway collection of two brands.




Is this a hack that you use frequently in your design process?

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Most times I go through this process, but I must confess that a lot of times, I come across some fabric or a piece of leather that I fall in love with and I start to design around it, regardless of what the seasons colours are! Oh well!

Comment below and let me know what works well for you.

5 TIME PRIORITY HACKS

How many times have you caught yourself saying you don’t have enough time or there isn’t enough time in the day? Is this really the truth? There are many books on the subject of how to be highly successful as well as how to achieve happiness. 

time

If you’re like most people, you probably think these notions are for other people, who are super extraordinary, and you feel that you don’t fall into the mix. Today, the demands of work, career, education, family, and homeownership seem to take priority over enjoyment. Relaxation time may be scheduled as a once-a-month outing or even an annual vacation. However, even those pleasures seem to be filled with work.

For many people, it seems like life has two options: achieving goals and enjoying life. Neither one of them seems as if they are one hundred percent fulfilled. There seems to be a broad spectrum on the scale of go-getters and over-achievers to those who slack in all departments.

There’s planning and scheduling and not enough time – or so it seems – for down time. Are you waiting for retirement to enjoy your life? Many workers feel as though they are waiting for life to happen rather than creating life they want.

Do you wish you had more time to achieve goals and even more time to enjoy life? If so, you are certainly not alone. 


Finding Balance

If you think about life being balanced, you might envision a seesaw in the position of being directly balanced in the middle with no ups, no downs, and simply managing to stay in the middle ground.

Of course, life doesn’t work like that. There are ups and there are most certainly downs. Sometimes you might feel as though you just want to jump off the seesaw and lay on the ground for a little while just to gain your equilibrium back.

What does it mean to be in balance, if life has its difficulties? When you are in balance, you maintain your equilibrium while life’s ups and downs come to visit. Of course, you go through the various emotions as circumstances both good and not so good work their way through your life.

However, being in balance means you get to choose how long you stay in the down position. Of course, realistically, you can’t always stay up on the seesaw of life, but you can choose how you feel and what your action steps are going to be while you’re down.

Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance.

Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance



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How do you really achieve balance? You can achieve balance in several ways:

· Feel your emotions and move quickly through them – it’s perfectly fine to become emotional when the roller coaster of life gets too fast and too furious. Feel what you need to feel but move quickly on to the next step. The next step after feeling is action. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t right. The  logical step that follows is to create more space in your life for fulfilling goals and time for enjoyment is action.

· Choose an action step to recreate the scene. If you’ve lost a job, fire up your resume and create a LinkedIn page or update your page if you already have one.. If your home needs a repair, start asking family and friends for referrals on contractors. Don’t just sit and stew about what happened, but take the appropriate time to recreate what happens next. The faster you barrel through the downs of life, the sooner you can get back up. It’s simply a matter of gravity. Put those feet on the floor and bounce that seesaw up once again.

· Don’t regurgitate facts and stories repeatedly – the more you talk about what happened, how unfair it was, and what a nuisance it was, the more energy you expend. This energy could be used for better purposes. You can create an answer to the problem and you can spend that much more time enjoying your life, setting and achieving goals.

· If you find yourself faced with a problem, take the energy needed to create some sort of answer rather than dwell only on the issue at hand. We all use energy to get through the day's events. However, we get to choose how much energy is spent on each project. Look at your life, what is going well? Do you have an amazing successful career or education? If so, then you might be spending all of your time and energy in that one area and the rest of your life is completely out of balance from family to personal relationships.

Sometimes, the unexpected can throw you off. How do you hit the reset button when life throws you a curve and knocks you off balance? A-times, truthfully, no matter how hard we try not to dwell on something, we fall back into patterns of thinking and talking about something. What do you do when you can’t get the needle off the record and you are stuck?

Call a friend and get an accountability partner. Ask someone you know to reroute you when you are stuck. Tell them not to let you dwell on what happened or what you cannot control and help you return to present moment status.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to remind you that, in this present moment, you are fine and all is well. You might not have the answers to what will happen in the future, but anything is possible.

Make a choice and make some change. If you really want to achieve your goals and enjoy life to the fullest, you must choose where your energy will go. Choose what seems best in the moment and follow through with it.

If it doesn’t work out, don’t hold yourself to task because in human nature, there is always a choice. You may not like all the choices, but staying stuck won’t ever work. Make a choice with the information you have in front of you and take action steps toward that choice.

You will find yourself balanced, until a more optimal choice presents itself. At least you are not standing still and you are taking action steps toward a solution as compared to constantly focusing on or talking about the problem.


It is okay to be out of balance. Sometimes there’s a big project at work or a special event at home. You are out of balance because that event or project takes priority. A special event, like a wedding for example, takes a lot of time, but it will eventually be over. A home repair or project will come to completion, as well.

An annual meeting at work will soon be nothing but a distant memory. Sometimes it’s your season to work like a dog to get the job done. It’s okay to be out of balance for a while on occasion. Remember, however, it only takes a few minutes every day to get closer toward a goal. One small action step is better than no action at all.

It’s perfectly fine to be out of balance due to a special meeting or function or life event. You can still create a daily habit of taking one small actionable step toward a personal goal, dream, or desire.


Achieving Goals

Create reasons not excusesEven during those times when you have no choice but to be out of balance, for example a work project is taking up most of your time, there’s no reason why you cannot set aside a mere five minutes toward a goal.

If you want to author a book, you can write a paragraph in five minutes. You can edit it later on but you can’t edit a blank page. Do you want to start your own business ? you can write down one paragraph or several notes of a business plan in five minutes. By the end of the month, all those five minutes will turn into something bigger.

It’s like a snowball effect. You start small and continue rolling that snowball down the hill. Before you know it, you have a boulder of success coming your way.

Being goal oriented is good, up to a point. Some people are obsessed with getting things done. People who obsess about getting things done, put everybody and everything before their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Then, suddenly, they look around and their life is moving faster as time goes on. They’ve reached a certain age and all of their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are nowhere in sight.

Don’t be addicted to getting things done for everyone and everything. Put yourself on the schedule and put your dreams on your to-do list. Be addicted to getting things done for you, and more importantly for your dreams.

Put it down on paper. There’s no better or faster way to achieve a goal then to put it down on paper. Have you ever noticed how the items on your to-do list get done when you write them down and refer back to them? Now is the time to break out your Life Design Journal and your Business Growth Journal

If you have goals, dreams and aspirations or you simply want to enjoy more of life’s simple pleasures, put it down on paper. When you want to spend more time in nature, put it down on paper. Decided you want to walk down by the beach, write it down. Believe it or not, it becomes more tangible and real if you put it down on paper. You can now look at it as a goal or an item, which is incomplete, if you don’t follow through. Putting things in writing makes them more effective.

Break it up into smaller sections. When a task looks like a mountain, it will feel that way until you break it up into smaller stepping stones. If you have a task to complete, break it up into smaller chunks. Take the project apart from start to finish and spend a few minutes each day breaking it down.

When a task looks like a mountain, it will feel that way until you break it up into smaller stepping stones. If you have a task to complete, break it up into smaller chunks



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If you want to rent your basement out, for example, and you go down there and look at how many days and hours it will take to achieve the goal, don't simply throw your hands up and walk away, break it up into smaller chunks. Give yourself 15 minutes per day, each day, where you clean out one box or one corner. Before you know it, the basement is cleaned out and you are ready to move on to the next step. It’s important that you do not exceed the 15-minute time limit. Once the 15 minutes is up, go on to the next task.


Take one small step each day even if you don’t feel like it. This is probably one of the most important tips. Take one, small actionable step every day. If you want to achieve goals, you must realize the thoughts in your head will create your life to show up as it is. 

When you feel that a dream is unreachable or unobtainable, then it will be. However, if you take one small actionable step each day, you will soon realize your goals and dreams and you will be living life to the fullest.

You might even ask yourself how you got there so quickly. Our dreams are so important to us and when we think about how they show up in our heads, they are these grand visions. Maybe yours is of a mansion in California or an acceptance speech at the Oscars. Then we check out and tell ourselves those dreams are too big and too unrealistic.

If you want to become an actor, take on extra work to pay for some acting classes. Do you want to author a book, write one paragraph per day. Small actionable steps can add up to large measurable results.

Take one small step each day even if you don’t feel like it.



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Get an accountability partner . Grab a partner and share the experience. For example, if want to lose weight ask someone who is dependable, honest, and capable to help keep you on track. Don’t do it alone. You may also want to consider the following ideas to help you focus on being accountable to yourself.

Record your progress. Pay a fine. Join a mastermind group. Put a timer on it.


Focus on Your Goals

Meditate on your goals. If you’re like most dreamers, your dreams are so big and so vast, you think about them and just as quickly, you put them aside because they are too big and too unrealistic. Rather than look at the big dramatic picture of your dreams, meditate on your goals.

If you wish to be a successful entrepreneur, meditate on the goals you need to put in place in order to achieve the dream. Sit quietly with the goals you need to achieve, one at a time and meditate on them.

Create an emotion associated with your meditative practices. Meditate on how it feels to be exhilarated once your new dream comes to fruition. Meditate on how good it feels to be financially abundant and successful.

Visualise your goals. Once you’ve chosen vibrations such as excitement, exhilaration, satisfaction, and success, now it’s time to visualize your goals. See yourself at a book signing as you visualize, envision what it’s like to work on a remote beach somewhere as a successful entrepreneur. Get into the visualization and the feelings.

Speak about your goals in the present tense. If you want to live the life of your dreams and be the person you wish to be, it’s time to speak about your goals in the present tense. When someone asks you what you do for a living, you can tell them you are an accountant or whatever it is you do, but don’t forget to mention you are on your way to building your own business at the same time.

Get excited about your plans, dreams, goals, and accomplishments. When you speak about your goals, speak about them with enthusiasm. If you are ashamed, embarrassed, or uncomfortable with your visions and desires, then so will others. It’s all in the delivery. It’s all in the excitement. If you are enthusiastic and excited, then others will jump on board. Have you read the post on Productivity Boosting Methods?

Create momentumOnce you have built up enthusiasm and excitement, it’s easy to get so high there’s no place left except for down. You come crashing down and don’t want to get back up again.

The best way to achieve goals and create a life you love is by creating momentum and keeping it up. How do you create momentum? You create momentum by staying in action, every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme, just simple action steps whether it is talking enthusiastically about your business or creating and generating excitement through marketing. Keep a steady flow of momentum and watch the magic happen.

The best way to achieve goals and create a life you love is by creating momentum and keeping it up



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Managing Life Areas

In order to live a whole, full, and complete life, you need to break your life down into categories. What are the categories that are most important to you? Which ones are you most successful in? Where is there a breakdown and you need to recreate?

If you look at one of the categories and see how successful it is, you can rest assured that this area is one wherein you are fully accountable and available.

Have you noticed an area that is falling by the wayside? You might have to repurpose some time and energy from a super successful area, in order to create a life you love that is full of balance and success in all areas of your life.

Create a worksheet for each category in your life. For example, consider beginning with areas of your life similar to the ones listed below.

· Cooking

· Cleaning

· Food shopping

· laundry

· Organizing

· Scheduling

· Finances

· Social life

· Sleep

· Healthy eating

· Fitness

· Prayer

· Physical activities and adventures

· Travel

Keep the list fresh by adding other categories as needed as well as removing any that are not suited to you or needed. Don’t forget to include dreams, wishes and bucket lists.


Time Management

At the end of the day, it’s all about time management. When it comes to time management, we don’t want to admit we don't have it all together. It’s one of the hardest issues to face and can be a challenge. However, the good news is it’s very doable.

What’s the hardest task? Do that one first. For some people, filing is the worst administrative task there is and for others, it’s filling out paperwork and making phone calls. Whatever you identify, as being your hardest task, is the one you should do first.

You will find this practice to be difficult at first; however, as time goes by you will be grateful you stuck with it. If you do nothing else in time management, this is the best tip you can follow. These tasks will become easier and quicker the more you practice.

Write It Down

Writing things down is very important. "Forgetting" tends to waste a huge amount of time and effort. When you write things down, the mind/body activity helps you to remember the task. Plus, you also have a built-in reminder you can refer to when or if you forget the details or specifics. Seeing things on paper also helps you to prioritize.

Prioritise Tasks

In order to prioritize tasks and events, you must know what must be done, what needs to be done, what you want to do, what is important to you, where your priorities are, and what’s falling by the wayside.

Put things in order of what should be done first. Putting things down on paper is the key to getting your life prioritized. Don’t simply make a to-do list. Write everything down in order of importance and priority. If you have to, you can number the items. This will drive home the point of how important one item is over another. Continue to write down what needs to be done.

Defer Tasks

Don’t be afraid to carry things over to the next day. If you were unable to complete a task, don’t be afraid to carry it over to the next day’s to-do list. Please don’t view it as a failure. View it as a fact and keep on moving. Moving forward is what’s important at all times no matter the day’s successes or failures previously.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don't get to do everything? Can it wait? Will everyone survive? These questions may seem as though you are making excuses, but you are learning to prioritize. Once you learn how to prioritize, you will be in flow with what’s important to you and your life.

Avoiding Procrastination

The most highly successful people don’t have to deal with procrastination often. It’s not even in the cards for them. However, for the rest of us, it’s a reality. Here are a few tips to deal with procrastination when it strikes:

· Allow a few minutes for guilty pleasures but put a timer on it

· Set a schedule for checking social media

· Work on a computer that does not allow (blocks) social media and email

· Time yourself when checking emails or answering them

Balance Work and Play

If you’re all work and no play, you are sure to be successful; however, the down side to this is burn out. When you do anything for too long, burn out will surely follow. Here are a few tips to keep the scales balanced:

· Choose your time to work and stick to it.

· Decide, how much if at all, time you will spend on work after hours (for example reading emails at the dinner table, taking calls during family time, etc.)

· Leave work at work.

· Prioritize your work schedule and your home life will run more smoothly as well.

· Learn how to delegate.

· Learn how to say no.

Just like children, we need to schedule free time or play time. We need to be intentional about our time but to understand that while it’s over, it’s time to let it go. Playing for too long can lead to procrastination and loss of structure.

Take 5-minute play breaks; walk in fresh air, hydrate yourself, do some deep breathing or write in a journal. All of these help to energize your spirit.

Use Technology

There are absolutely no excuses for not being organized and achieving goals. Gadgets and technology can help you stay on track and help you meet your goals. There are calorie counters and even counters that track your steps. Take advantage of technology.

Declutter

If you feel as though your life is chaos, look at your environment. You are only as productive as your environment you are in. Take a weekend and throw everything out or donate it. If you haven’t used it in six months and it’s not season, then it’s time to let it go.


Organize

When it comes to organizational skills, you are in luck because you can create a new habit at any given time. You can learn new organizational skills that work for you. If your environment is a hot mess, then chances are more than likely so is your life. Use these tips to get yourself in gear:

· Put yourself on the calendar.

· Don’t sweat the small stuff.

· Let go of what you can’t control.

· Expand on the positive and minimize the negative so you can enjoy life more.

· Start new habits. It takes only a couple of weeks to create new habits and once they are in place, they will stick.

· If you backslide, it’s okay. Let yourself off the hook and start again. Pick up where you left off.

· Don’t look at major projects like a mountain. Climb one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll reach your objective.

· Laugh at your mistakes.

· Don’t beat yourself up so much.

· Make time to meet your needs. Take a catnap, go for a walk, get some fresh air, write in your journal, or chat with a friend.

· Make time management a priority.

· Divide your day into manageable blocks of time.

· Fine-tune your scheduling to meet your responsibilities to others, as well as yourself.

· Work on your dependability and accountability. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.

· Encourage and reward yourself. Use the reward system. For little goals incorporate small rewards. When you meet larger goals, treat yourself to something very special.

There are many challenges we all have to face, when it comes to achieving our goals, fulfilling our dreams, and living a life we love. However, once we step out of blaming our childhood, life, other people, we can clearly see we have the power to create a life we truly love.

We are given every tool and habit we choose to implement and by taking responsibility and looking deep within ourselves and our lives we see how we can step up our game and show up to shine brighter than ever.

Once we look into our own lives instead of looking outwardly and externally we can recognize where we fall short and create self-discipline in our lives. By creating self-discipline, we rest the button for a powerful and productive life. What thoughts come to mind when you think of taking responsibility and being self-disciplined? If they are negative thoughts, you might want to spend some time rethinking this thought.

You are a product of your thoughts. Associate success with taking responsibility and self-discipline and you will soon see, your life will be in priority order and you will have so much more time to enjoy it.

Once you establish new priorities and habits, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.

14 WAYS TO ACCESS EFFICIENCY

14 WAYS TO ACCESS THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF EFFICIENCY

efficiency

People often confuse effectiveness and efficiency. It’s easy to do. However, when we talk about being effective, we are really talking about focusing on the right things.

Whereas, efficiency is more about doing things correctly. It’s important to note, though, that part of the process of producing the results that we want to see is striking the balance between the two.

If you take the time to make a to-do list every single day that doesn’t mean you are being efficient. You can do a lot of stuff and still be inefficient. What you look for in efficiency is the ability to create maximum output. Ideally, with the least amount of input.

You can do a lot of stuff and still be inefficient. What you look for in efficiency is the ability to create maximum output. Ideally, with the least amount of input.



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It’s all about using your resources to their optimum, without wasting your effort or your time excessively. You need to make the right decisions in everything, in order to make the most of your resources.


One helpful way to understand efficiency – picture the word come to life. Who do you imagine? You probably know someone who is ultra-efficient, and you’ve maybe even asked them how they manage it all.

Some people are naturally efficient, they are productive, proactive, and they are brimming with energy for everything all of the time.

You wish that you could also be like that. You will probably find that they do something they love, so they are raring to go. We don’t all have the luxury of doing jobs that we love, but for those of us who do enjoy their work, there’s a drive that others don’t experience. Not everyone is in a position to walk away from their career to do a job they love either.

So, it’s more challenging to motivate yourself to be efficient and productive. Think about your major moments of procrastination. It might be a passing mood because we all experience feelings of procrastination, even if we do love our jobs.

However, generally speaking, you will find that you procrastinate when you want to avoid a task. Whether it’s because it’s more challenging than you want it to be or you just hate the task. For example, no one dives into their ironing pile with excitement. It’s one of those tasks we often put off because not many people enjoy this chore.

Of course, someone who operates at maximum efficiency wouldn’t allow an ironing pile to exist. As, if you are truly efficient you will iron as you complete your laundry thus staying on top of everything, all of the time.


The Art Of Efficiency

Whether you are in a management position and want to be more efficient or you are looking to increase your efficiency at home, we have good news for you. Efficiency is something that you can learn.

As long as you have the motivation and drive to do things properly, and to do the proper things, you can turn yourself (your team, office, home, etc.) into a highly efficient operation.

Whether you consider efficiency to be a science or an art, you first need to understand the method before you can turn around and apply it to real-life situations.

We all want to be more efficient, there’s a want to be more productive. It isn’t just something that we want to achieve in the workplace either. We want to be more efficient in the home and in our personal lives and relationships, too. We live in a fast-paced world and it’s challenging to stay on top of everything. In fact, it’s downright exhausting.

That exhaustion can make it incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to be efficient. So, we shouldn’t look at efficiency as just something that can make us a better employee or improve our productivity. Efficiency is something that you can use to improve your work-life balance and your overall contentment with work and life.


Efficiency is something that you can use to improve your work-life balance and your overall contentment with work and life.



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The world we live in is stressful. You get to work earlier than you used to, leave later, and pick up emails during the evening and even on your days off. Technology is supposed to make life simpler, not steal our attention and drain our time.

So, we now need to be super-efficient all of the time. As we said, you can work on your efficiency and improve yourself.

You know you can improve efficiency by using the correct equipment, choosing the right environment, and training. In addition, you can stop multitasking in its tracks and start focusing on a single task. Don’t forget to encourage everyone else to do the same.

There are a variety of methods that people undertake in a big to make themselves more efficient. One of these is the Pomodoro technique. So, you work for a solid 45 minutes, completely focused on a single task. Then you enjoy a 15-minute break to rest your mind. This is repeated for the rest of the day.

However, there’s also another stream of thought. New York based consultancy firm, the Energy Project, believes in a 90-minute cycle (https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-most-important-practice-i).


So, the ultradian rhythm causes your energy levels to dip and rise on a 90-minute cycle. So, work for an hour and a half and then take time out at this point to fuel up. It might be taking a walk, enjoying a banana, listening to music or having a moment of meditation.

You can become a more efficient person, you can improve your workplace, by fine-tuning methods that work. One of the greatest examples of efficiency is found in Japan. People are retrained in a certain manner, hoping to channel their natural tendencies.

So, if someone is particularly disorganized, you organize them. For example, there are station chimes that ring at every stop to ensure you get off at the right stop. Things are stored in a logical place and manner.

Now, you can look at the negative aspect of this – it’s an unnatural world of perfection in a lot of ways. However, it’s a level of training and efficiency that we can learn from. The point is, there is a balance to be struck between ultra-efficiency and productive efficiency. You can take it too far and create an unnatural world or environment.

However, you can increase your efficiency and productivity without working overtime every single day and expecting everyone else to follow suit.

To answer the question, we posed earlier: efficiency is an art. While there may not be a solid formula that will help you perfect the art, there are some tips we can share with you. The key to increasing your efficiency is application and practice.

The key to increasing your efficiency is application and practice.



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The more you practice these tips, then the more effective you will become in your efficiency. The good news is that some of these tips also play a large role in you becoming a more productive person, so you can become efficient and productive all in one fell swoop.


1. The Hardest Parts First – it’s completely natural to avoid the hardest parts of our day. However, this is just a creative way to procrastinate, you choose busy work and put the rest off. So, if you want to increase your efficiency, you need to make a change in your mindset. Which means tackling the most difficult tasks first. Once you’ve completed the hardest parts of your day, the rest will simply fall into place. The biggest tasks get the best part of you and you have found a way to be more productive and more efficient.

2. 80/20 – you may be somewhat familiar with the 80/20 principle (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2016/03/07/80-20-rule/). The idea behind this is that just 20% of your input should create 80% of the results. While it might not be run exactly 80/20, the point is that there are things that contribute more to the bottom line than others. You should shift your focus to those critical activities. You don’t have to ignore everything else, you just don’t need to sweat them and give away your energy stores to them.

3. Productivity – productivity and efficiency go hand in hand. So, if you want to improve your own efficiency, then you need to empower everyone else to increase their productivity. Whether you are looking to be more efficient at work or at home, it’s all about increasing everyone’s skill sets. That means people learn how to do more and in less time. To be able to do that, though, they need to truly understand the task they are undertaking. That requires practice, practice, practice.

4. Keep Learning – you know the saying every day is a school day? If that isn’t the life that you live, then you are doing it wrong. The world we live in is changing rapidly. It changes the landscape of the workplace. Which means that you need to stay informed regarding all the changes that are happening within your industry. Don’t wait for someone to provide you with information or knowledge, instead, seek them out and feed yourself with all the latest trends and methods. Just remember, there is no point having knowledge unless you use it.

5. Delegation – as obvious as this may sound, you might be surprised by how many people truly struggle to delegate. You want to hold onto all the power, to control everything to ensure that it goes well. We get it. You want to ensure quality, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when you get caught up focusing on every minute detail you are wasting your time. You should be giving certain responsibilities to the employees who are qualified to carry them out. It’s up to you to trust them to get the job done. That doesn’t mean you can’t check in to make sure they are performing. What you do when you delegate is provide your employees with opportunities to increase their skills and provide them with the experience that will benefit you and your business.

6. Skill Matching – when you are dealing with employees, you should know their skill levels, you should also know their behavioral style. This is what’s going to help you increase their efficiency. For example, you aren’t going to want to choose an introverted employee to handle big pitches. Just like you don’t want to give a creative a task that is all about details and rules. You need to match their skills to the tasks you are giving them and play to their strengths. Be honest, you aren’t great at everything, are you? So, why would you expect everyone else to be?

7. Effective Communication – how can you be efficient without a productive team? Moreover, how can you be productive without being an effective communicator? Thanks to technology, we’re only even a click away from contacting everyone. There’s a problem with that, though. Emails eat away at your time and your employees time. In fact, it’s one of the most time consuming tasks that workers face. So, find a new way to effectively communicate with your teams.

8. Clear Goals & Focus – it’s difficult to be efficient when you don’t have a clear goal to focus on. It isn’t even just about having a goal (or goals). Your goals need to be clearly defined for everyone to understand. Moreover, they need to be achievable! When you lay out an assignment it should be narrow, and it should be clear, this will improve efficiency and productivity. The typical standard we follow when setting goals is SMART. Goals should be specific. They should be measurable and attainable. In addition, they should be realistic and timely. So, make sure your goals (and those you set for others) fall into these requirements. If they don’t, then you need to revisit your goals and tweak them accordingly.

9. Employee Incentives – want to see a real improvement in your (or your teams) efficiency? Incentives can help. It’s all about providing yourselves with a reason to perform. When you offer employees an incentive, you are simply recognizing them for a great job. You might be thinking it’s their job, but it goes a long way in making them feel as though you appreciate them. It’s also encouraging and motivates them. Now, it’s important that you get to know your employees because certain incentives will speak to certain members more than others. Sometimes genuine thanks is enough for some. However, when you can’t provide them with a raise (or a bonus), you can give them extra time off, buy them lunch, write them a note or even provide them with a coupon for a later start. There are a lot of ways to reward your team without spending money.

10. Reduce The Excess – review your routine and that of your employees. If there are excess jobs that shift their focus away from the greater goal, then it’s time to reduce those tasks and find a new way of working. A good example of this would be, collations or reports that your employees need to write when no one reads them. If something is a formality and serves no purpose, don’t make them waste their time and resources carrying out the task.

11. Develop & Train – do not underestimate the value in developing and training every member of your team. While there may be some tasks well-suited to learning on the job, this isn’t an approach that works for everyone. Don’t think you will save money (and time) by throwing people in at the deep end. It’s more than likely going to backfire. Guidance is key. Once the initial training is over, development should not stop. Provide seminars, offer regular coaching, give them mentors.

12. Feedback – constructive criticism makes the world go ‘round. Whether that means a manager holding regular performance reviews or, you share feedback with co-workers (or family members). We could all use a reminder of the areas we need to work on and improve, as well as a pat on the back for where we excel. It doesn’t always have to be about what others can do better. Sometimes, it might be about what you can do better to improve the performance of others.

13. Telecommuting – whether it’s you that chooses to telecommute, or you allow your employees to do it, don’t be afraid of telecommuting. It’s time-saving and can make your employees far more efficient and productive. There may be certain situations, like an illness that doesn’t prevent them from working but could be contagious, then working from home is a great option.

14. The Big Picture – we spoke about not giving too much time or energy to small tasks that aren’t worth it. However, before you determine which tasks fall under this umbrella, it’s important that you take a moment to consider the big picture. Sometimes, there are tasks that seem inefficient now, but they are advantageous in the long run. So, before you start striking off tasks, be sure to consider the potential long-term benefits. Whether it’s a new software for human resources that will take time and energy now but pay off in the long run. Or, a training process.


Why Is It Important  

So, with all this talk of efficiency… why is it so important? Well, in terms of business efficiency, you might be thinking you’re doing well. Your numbers are fine, your employees seem content enough… but, why is okay enough? Especially when you could improve things so much without expending too much energy?

Efficiency makes everything better, and it will improve the work-life balance for yourself and your employees. It will ensure your home (or office) runs more smoothly. You can improve lives and numbers by taking the right steps to increase efficiency.

As far as business and industry go, there is a lot of competition out there. It really doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you have to be proactive instead of reactive. We are measured individually and as a whole.

So, it’s important that every person can play their part in increasing efficiency. For example, a safety record isn’t just a reflection of the company overall, it’s a reflection of each person that works in the company. It hinges on everyone playing their role in efficiency. If one person lets the ball drop, it reflects (and affects) everyone.

So, what’s your personal efficiency? It’s not an easy question to tackle because it’s difficult to define the standard of comparison. However, there are some simple ways to put your efficiency to the test. What is a task or job that you complete every single day?

How long should it take for you to complete that task and how long does it actually take you?


Challenge yourself to improve your time each day, without affecting the quality. We often go through the motions and waste time by stretching out easy jobs. This just reduces your efficiency and affects your productivity.

To actually work out your efficiency rate, though, you can take the average time it takes you to do this daily job. Deduct 5% of the time from this (this is to account for lost time due to reasonable interruptions and deductions, etc.).

Now, divide your ultimate performance by your average performance, multiply this number by 100 and you have a rate of efficiency to go by. This is a percentage and it’s just an interesting exercise that will help you improve your personal efficiency. If you have employees, you can suggest this exercise to them.

You don’t need to be involved in them completing it, it can be a personal challenge that you lay down to them after you yourself have done it.

As an entrepreneur, the most effective way to determine your team’s efficiency levels, is to conduct a detailed study of your operations. Quite simply, each task within the operation is timed.

This can produce a measure by which each task can be compared. For example, the standard time for payroll might be two hours. The expectation then would be that the task is completed within that two hours. Or less, for maximum efficiency. You can create the standard and then factor in variations.


The point, though, of completing a time study isn’t just to determine the standard time for a task. It’s also to determine the factors that contribute to tasks taking longer and then eliminating them.

For example, if payroll takes longer than the standard two hours… why?

Could it be the software isn’t up to scratch? Or, is it that the computer systems are poor. So, what do you do? Extend the time expectation or fix the problem to improve efficiency? You can choose between cost savings or improving your overall efficiency, which is going to contribute to your bottom line. Thus, improving your operation as a whole.

There is a fine line between creating an efficient environment and creating an over-efficient environment. Creating a standard time measure for each task within an operation is just good sense. However, it can be frustrating and restrictive for employees if they are working to a timer, with no room to maneuver.

So, make sure that when you set these guidelines out you train your employees to a high standard. You want to provide them with the tools they need to complete these tasks within the correct time-frame. It’s unfair, however, to stand by watching, waiting for someone to slip up. This won’t improve anyone’s efficiency, it’s more likely to negatively affect both morale and productivity. So, bear this in mind if you are looking at efficiency in the workplace.

Be prepared to listen to your employees on what holds them back from operating at maximum efficiency. You might want to institute the 90-minute cycle or allow them to try the Pomodoro technique.

Or, you could split the workplace into different groups and have each group try a different efficiency technique. That way you can see what works the best and put this into action. No one knows the day job more than the people who do it, so don’t underestimate what insights they can share with you on how to improve efficiency.

At home, you can improve your efficiency as an individual. However, if you have a spouse and/or child, you can’t increase your efficiency without involving everyone. So, don’t shy away from getting everyone on board with your new methods.

PRODUCTIVITY

101 PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTING METHODS

101 PROVEN WAYS TO INCREASINGLY BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

productivity

For female entrepreneurs there is a really big focus in workplaces and in our personal lives on boosting productivity :being productive - doing more with less. Or, the other catchphrase: work smarter, not harder. The problem is, we all have more to do than we used to.

As a creative entrepreneur you have more deadlines to meet and in half the time. And you’re the one fielding phone calls, replying to emails, and planning the afternoon meetings and creating orders for your customers. So, it’s easy to understand why so many of us are struggling to remain productive in the face of everything.

Here are 101 ways to help you find the right way for you to boost your productivity. I’ve compiled quite the list for you, but only you can determine which of these tips will work for you. Don’t try them all in one day either.


HAVE A PLAN FOR PRODUCTIVITY

1. Strategy
You shouldn’t  just plan your day and week but you should plan your tasks, too. So, take a minute to organize your thoughts and work your ideas into a plan that makes tackling that task easier. Journals are essential for daily life planning. You can check out the Life Design Journal

Take a minute to organize your thoughts and work your ideas into a plan that makes tackling that task easier.



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2. Plan Early
Start planning your day tomorrow tonight! You don’t need to take hours out of your evening to do this. It’s as simple as deciding what you’re going to wear, what your priorities look like, and even deal with your lunch, etc. It will save you time in the morning and help you manage your stress a bit more effectively, too.

3. Schedules
Speaking of to-do lists… you should have one of those because there’s nothing worse than getting caught firefighting. Instead of spending your day putting those fires out, you should be scheduling your day and creating a plan that sees you easily deal with every task on your list.

4. Create A Routine
A routine can train you and your brain to get into the right mindset and flow at the right time. Set a routine that is designed around your power hour, values, and goals to maintain productivity.

5. Break Down Tasks
One of the reasons many people procrastinate is that feel overwhelmed by a set of tasks. So,the impulse is to run in the opposite direction and procrastinate. So, when you create to-do lists, you should break your projects down into smaller steps that feel more actionable and less overwhelming. It’s one task at a time. Breaking down the many tasks you do as an entrepreneur into manageable chunks daily is a game changer and the Business Growth Journal helps with that.

6. Prioritise
We all have them but take a moment to note down your top three (or five) priorities for your life. That’s right, not just the day – your life. Let them be your guiding light.

7. Create A Guide
Everything comes with a manual, so, why can’t you? Why not create a manual or a guide that covers your short-term goals, as well as your mid and long-term ones, and include plans, strategies, and values. It can help you stay focused on your priorities.. Decide to work smart and be efficient. Take a look at this article on efficiency.

8. Targets
When you have a goal or a target, you have something you are working toward.

9. Deadlines
When you set a target or a goal, you should attach a deadline to it. It’s all about making decisions that will push you into action.

10. The Most Difficult First
Tackle the most difficult job of the day first. Once that’s out of the way, you will feel a weight off your shoulders. It should pave the way for a smooth day. Otherwise, that task will weigh on your mind as you go about the rest of your day.

11. The Big Rocks
Once you tackle your urgent and important tasks, you can move on to those important, but non-urgent tasks on your list. These fall into the second quadrant and are also often referred to as big rocks. You know when you take a glass jar and throw in big rocks and it looks full because you can’t fit anything else in it? Well, you obviously can fit other stuff in there, just smaller stuff. The point is, you can get to the small stuff once the big stuff is out of the way. It’s all about effectively streamlining your day.

12. Later Lists
Not everything is important to make the to-do list, but it still might need to be done. For those smaller tasks that aren’t super important or urgent, you can create a to-do-later list.
You can tackle this once you have completed the main to-do list. So, maybe some of those items from point six can fall here.

13. Judicious Multi-Tasking
The biggest favor you will ever do for yourself and your productivity is understanding when multi-tasking is appropriate. Let me be clear, multi-tasking is inviting serious stress into your life, so, don’t do it at work. However, there are times when you can multi-task without much risk. For example, you should feel free to listen to a podcast or catch up on your favourite television show while you iron, vacuum or tackle other chores around the house.

The biggest favor you will ever do for yourself and your productivity is understanding when multi-tasking is appropriate



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14. Travel Time
If you spend a lot of time commuting and you can’t take public transport to maximize your productivity while you do... consider a ride share or carpooling. You can at least get some work done. So you may want to look for another job or look into your options on working from home.

15. Arrive Earlier And Stay Later
Don’t worry, we don’t mean start working for free. If you spend a lot of time commuting, you may find you can save time by changing your travel routine. Leaving a little bit earlier in the morning may help you avoid traffic while staying just a bit later might just get you home quicker. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in traffic and it can seriously mess with your positivity and productivity for the day.

16. Time Your Showers
Time your next shower, you’ll be surprised at how much time you waste. Get in the shower, do what you need to do, and bounce. It will give you more time to get ready and relax before you need to leave. It’s all about setting the tone for your day.


FOCUS FOR PRODUCTIVITY!

17. Full Attention

If something requires your focus, don’t multi-task. Your brain is powerful, yes, but the task you are working on requires your full attention. For example, if you are budgeting, you shouldn’t also be trying to reply to emails. Your total focus should be on that budget. So if you struggle with your attention span, you may want to try to Pomodoro technique for the heavier tasks. So, give it your full attention for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break before you go again.

18. The 80/20 Principle

You don’t need to be a perfectionist to succeed. In fact, it’s probably going to impact your productivity. So, instead, you should aim your focus on the 20% of tasks that will produce the greatest results. Generally speaking, 20% yields 80% of your results.

19. Effectiveness

Before efficiency can even be a thought in your mind, first you must be effective. This essentially means your focus should be on the tasks that really matter. Being efficient simply means that you deliver a higher output in less time. What’s the point in efficiency if you aren’t being effective in the tasks that you complete?

What’s the point in efficiency if you aren’t being effective in the tasks that you complete?



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20. Perfect Your Skill

The better you are at something, the quicker you will be at it. So, if you haven’t already mastered your skill it’s time for you to level up. That might mean you need to spend more time doing something so you’re better at it. Or, it might mean pulling out instructions to learn the ins and outs of a task. Whatever it takes, it will be worth it in the long run.

21. Make The Best Of Your Hot Spots

We all have our own hot-spots of time where we are more productive. Some people are incredibly productive early on, while others are better after lunch. While we recommended doing the hardest, most important tasks first… you can move your toughest tasks to the times you are most productive.

22. Productivity System

There isn’t a single system of productivity. My productivity might be driven by something different than yours. What’s important, though, is that you have a system that truly works for you. So, find the right fit and stick to it. If your friends keep recommending their systems, don’t get down on yourself when it doesn’t work for you. You’ll find the right system if you keep at it. If you are the tech type, you ca check out Asana and Trello

23. Get Better

You should always set a target for yourself and then you need to track your performance. However, if you don’t meet your own expectations, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, improvise and determine how you can do better next time. And if you do meet your target, find a way to beat your own performance.

24. Time Management

Give each task a time slot and focus solely on that task in its assigned time slot. When time runs out, move on to the next task. It’s all about learning how to do your tasks in a fair amount of time, forcing you to shut everything else out. The Fashion Entrepreneur's Business Kit is an essential resource for time management.

25. Manage Email

If your emails aren’t making you an effective, then you need to find a new way to manage them. That might mean choosing two times a day to check your email and reply to them then.

26. Be On Time

There is no point in having a schedule if you don’t stick to it, so aim to be on time (if not slightly early) for everything that’s on your schedule.

27. Expertise

You can’t be an expert in something unless you log the hours. So, if it takes 10,000 hours for you to become an expert at what you do, put the work in!

28. Energy Bursts

Instead of applying your energy in short bursts to finish tasks, give it all your energy to blast it. For example, instead of dedicating half an hour of your day for two weeks to a big report, just sit down and focus your energy on it to deal with it all at once.

29. Start Small

You can take even smaller steps if you find yourself getting lost. Sometimes you need to trick yourself into getting started. So, tell yourself you will work on something for just a couple of minutes. Once you get started you will ease into it and keep going.

30. Slow Down

If you want to avoid taking one step forward and two steps back, then slow it down. Sometimes if you try to tackle something too quickly it becomes a mental burden that you run away from. That just lessens your productivity.

31. Be Flexible

One of productivity’s biggest challenges is our expectation that its static. We have fallen into this trap, thinking that there is only one way to define productivity. And that is you should be able to move from point to point and that’s it. That isn’t it, though. Sometimes you’ll need to take the scenic route and that’s okay, you just need to learn to be more flexible about it.

32. Make Your Goals Exciting

You already know you need to set goals for yourself. Don’t forget to set some exciting goals! You need to have stuff to get excited about.

33. Do What You Want

No, seriously. You will be more productive when you are doing something that you really want to do. So, shouldn’t you be doing that as often as possible?

34. Just Start

Instead of making up excuses to not to something, just do it! Once you get started your momentum will carry you through.

35. Just Focus

Forget the what-ifs, start focusing on the how. Don’t overthink and over analyze absolutely everything. Focus on the actions that will help you move forward.

Don’t overthink and over analyze absolutely everything. Focus on the actions that will help you move forward.



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  TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE AND BOOST PRODUCTIVITY

36. Declutter

If your to-do list has items on it that you don’t need to do… why is it even on your list? Sure,it might be nice to do it. However, it’s cluttering up your list, adding more pressure to your day. You have probably been writing it on your to-do list every single day for months. It’s time to cross it off and forget about it.

So, plan out your day in a way that gives each task plenty of time (and add some extra, so you have wiggle room) and work through it in order. This will help you remain focused on your current task. If other jobs pop up, you can fit them into your list as required. Your to-do list shouldn’t be increasing your stress levels, it should be helping you manage your stress.

Just make sure you cross each task off as you complete it. This will prevent you from forgetting any tasks.

37. Don't Procrastinate

You don’t need me to tell you how much time procrastination wastes. No one ever accomplished anything by procrastinating their day away. If you feel a bout of procrastination coming up, force yourself to do one single task. And once that is out the way, you will soon see yourself getting into the rest of your to-do list. In these cases, you can go for a quadrant two task if necessary.

38. Order

Declutter your desk, file your paperwork, create a system of organization that will make your life easier. It doesn’t matter what type of filing system you work with, as long as it works for you and you use it consistently.

39. Get Rid Of Distractions

Do you get a notification every time you receive a message? Do you leave the sound on your phone? Is your inbox open, as well as a multitude of tabs, while you are trying to work?

Because these are all distractions that affect your productivity levels,  shun them all, no matter what it takes. Even if that means turning off the internet connection on whatever device you are using at the time.

40. Say No

Just as it’s important to know when to delegate, you need to know when to say no. If a task is unrelated to what you do, is unimportant or it’s something you just don’t want to do…don’t. You’ll never get anything done if you say yes to everyone all the time.

41. Quit It

Don’t buy into the hype about quitting being a negative. It isn’t always. If a certain path is leading nowhere… it’s okay to quit.

Don’t buy into the hype about quitting being a negative. It isn’t always. If a certain path is leading nowhere… it’s okay to quit.



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42. Clean Workspace

Look at your workspace and ask yourself what you really need on hand. If you don’t need it constantly, find a place to store it.

43. Prune Tasks Lists

As you get into your day, you should regularly check in with yourself about what tasks can be shaved. Are they on your list because it feels like you should do them or because you have always done them? Do they really need to be done? You can save so much time and energy by learning when to let go.

44. Unsubscribe

If you don’t read it… unsubscribe! That goes for newsletters, forms, blogs, and podcasts that just don’t add value to your life. Limit the amount of useless information that’s pouring into your world.

45. Tech Breaks

We are completely reliant on technology and you don’t need to feel bad about that. However, you will appreciate the opportunity to disconnect. So, think about taking a day (or even the entire weekend) to disconnect from technology and just be present with the people you love and enjoy the activities that give you life. It’s an effective way to recharge your batteries and allows you time to rest. Which will help you be more productive in a work space.

46. Screen Calls

Some of us don’t answer any phone calls, but, to save time, start screening your calls. Don’t answer the phone if it’s not an urgent or important call. If your phone rings and it’s someone who talks for an hour… let it ring.

47. Get Rid Of Time Wasters

Are there apps on your devices that only serve to distract you? They are the ones that you don’t really use unless you’re trying to waste time or procrastinate… delete them.

48. Reduce Information Inflow

We already told you to reduce the information coming in. You want to keep up-to-date with current events, but don’t check throughout your day. Instead, have one (or two) time slots set aside each day to read the news.

49. Regulate Television

Wait, how can television make you more productive? It’s more about recording your favourite shows so that you can watch them without commercials eating up your valuable time. An extra twenty minutes is a lot.

50. Turn Off Television

Don’t feel bad about it, but, be honest… you get home from work and you park yourself in front of the television for the night. Instead, why not try exercising for a boost of energy.

Once you’ve done that you can kick back with dinner and relax, guilt-free, to enjoy some evening reading and a spot of TV.


A TOOLKIT FOR PRODUCTIVITY

51. Embrace Tools

There are available tools, which can help you be more productive. So, if you are traveling and can work while you do, a keyboard for your tablet is a great way to increase your productivity. This is an ideal solution for anyone who faces a long commute on public transport for work. Or, someone who often flies. There are apps like Evernote, which can help make your life a bit simpler.

52. Delegate Responsibility

You will always be more productive when you learn how to delegate. Sometimes you have tasks on your list that aren’t really your job, could be handled by someone else or just aren’t the wisest use of your time. These are the types of tasks that you should delegate. It allows you to use your time effectively.

53. Hire Out

This is a similar idea to delegation; however, this means you hire someone else to do certain things. That might mean hiring a housekeeper, a nanny, sending your laundry out or enlisting the help of freelancers to take care of certain professional tasks.

54. Industry Best Practice

Compare best practices from similar arenas and measure your own against them. How can you apply other best practices to your world?

55. Education

There are plenty of great materials regarding productivity. So, find the best ones and use some of your spare time to educate yourself.

56. Batch Related Tasks

Try to batch all your similar tasks together. So, instead of spreading activities throughout the day, you can batch all the related tasks into one session.

57. Effective Tools

That means keeping your software updated and using only the best. You don’t need your daily tools to slow you down. There’s nothing more frustrating than working on a computer that freezes or a program that always shuts down.

58. Measure

Everything should be measurable in some way. How do you know you’re making headway on something if there is no way to measure it? Just don’t get caught up in the how of measuring. It might not be monetary or a time, it could be in progress. Just as long as you can measure, tweak, and improve as you go.

59. Ask For Feedback

You may be of the belief that sharing with others can interrupt your productivity. However, sometimes letting others in on your work provides you with the clarity you need to power through. So, don’t be so quick to dismiss sharing and asking for feedback.

Sometimes letting others in on your work provides you with the clarity you need to power through



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60. Pin Up Your Goals

Literally. Have a note of your goals in your phone, on your fridge, on your desk or computer. Stick your goals to your notebook. Wherever you can keep them in your vision, do it!

61. Notebook

You should always have a pen and paper to hand. It can help you purge your mind of distractions and ensures you don’t forget anything.

62. Automate Payments

No productive person takes time out of their busy schedule to deal with paying their bills every month. No, they go online and set up an automatic payment to deal with bills. Not only will it save you time, it will save you a bit of stress, too.

63. Audio Books

Do you love to learn? Who doesn’t? It’s an excellent way to make yourself a better person. You might not have time to read, though. Why not use audio books (and podcasts) to learn while you do other tasks like driving, exercising, cooking, and cleaning? Learn while you carry out the more menial tasks.

64. Accountability Partners

When you let others in on your goals you tend to work harder toward them. There’s something to be said for accountability.

65. Embrace Ecommerce

You don’t need to drive to or from the store or spend forever trying to find what you’re looking for. You can just hop onto the online store, fill your basket, and go. It can save you a lot of time.

66. Type Faster

The quicker you can type, the more productive you can be (if your job requires typing, of course). There are plenty of online typing tests that will help you improve your speed. The biggest favor you can do for yourself is knowing where your hands should sit and use both hands to type. Not everyone had the luxury of learning these skills in school. It isn’t too late.

67. Find A Mentor

Find someone who does what you do really well and learn from them!

68. Get A Coach

A coach is different than a mentor. A coach will help make you aware of your blind spots and find a way to keep you moving forward.


NUTRITION FOR PRODUCTIVITY

69. Plan Your Meals
You probably hate seeing those posts from your Facebook friends, but planning your meals aweek in advance can make you so much more efficient and productive. You’ll know exactlywhat to buy from the supermarket, which means you’ll be in and out quicker.

70. Healthy Meals
Food is fuel. So, think of what type of fuel you feed your body? If you choose junk food, then you choose the short-term fuel that will inhibit productivity and increase stress. That 80/20 principle that we mentioned above can also serve you well in your diet!

71. Light Meals
If you choose foods that are heavy in calories you will start to feel sleepy. That burger and fries might taste delicious, but it’s going to bog you down and make your work day feel even longer. Choose leafy greens, lean proteins, and whole grains.

72. Eat Frequently
Always eat breakfast. Secondly, if possible, you should always eat a small amount regularly. This will help you maintain your energy a bit better than sitting down to three big meals. Though, it may depend on your metabolism.

73. Bran
Bran can help you sustain your energy, thus increasing your productivity. It’s also great for lowering cholesterol, thus protecting your heart. It also happens to contain phenylalanine. If you don’t get enough of this, it can cause a lack of energy as well as confusion.

74. Bananas
Nature did you a favor by wrapping a banana in its own peel. You can toss them in your bag for a handy snack. They are healthy, satisfying, and packed with vitamins.

75. Nuts
More specifically, almonds. Yes, nuts are high in fat. However, it’s the healthy fat that your body needs to function properly. They are also packed with riboflavin, which can help boost your brain. Just be sure to get your serving size right.

76. Broccoli
Broccoli is an energy booster because it’s chock full of iron. There’s also plenty of other nutrients and vitamins in these little green trees. They help keep your immune system steady thus keeping you healthy and productive. Sick days definitely impact your productivity levels.

77. Spinach
Spinach is another excellent example of a leafy green that will help you sustain energy. It contains more than 13 different minerals and vitamins that are essential to your body. Just half a cup will give you more than half of your daily Vitamin C requirement. You can easily toss that spinach into your morning smoothie to make life easier.

78. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent way to get fuel without going carb crazy. They can provide you with a much-needed boost of energy. So, consider a baked sweet potato for lunch to power your productivity to finish the day.

79. Blueberries
Blueberries are great at helping you prevent the appearance of wrinkles, but that’s not why we want you to eat them. They are a great way to get a serious boost of energy. They’re an excellent source of vitamins C and E, as well as manganese and fiber. They’re like gummy bears, but good for you.

80. Eggs
Eggs are one of the greatest foods we have. So, enjoying eggs at breakfast is ideal. You get the full family of B vitamins and choline, vitamin D, and more. Once you boil an egg, you can keep it in the fridge (in its shell) for around five days. So, keep hard boiled eggs handy for a quick breakfast or snack.

81. Salmon
It’s packed full of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which your brain needs for overall function and improved memory. We call fish brain food, and salmon is the ultimate in brain foods. This can help you improve your productivity by staving off brain fog.

82. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt helps you feel fuller for longer, but more importantly, it’s super healthy. It’s packed with zinc, calcium, protein, B vitamins, and potassium, too. All of that will help fuel you to success.

83. Quinoa
This whole grain is a super food and it’s super easy to make. It will take on just about any flavor you infuse it with, so it’s a great option to replace pasta and rice. The benefit here, of course, is it’s great for boosting brain energy.


WELLBEING FOR PRODUCTIVITY

84. Meditation and Prayer

There is no better way to clear your mind than by taking five, ten minutes out of your day to sit in quiet prayer. You can also find somewhere quiet to focus on your breathing and clear your mind.

85. Get Up Early

The early bird really does catch the worm, so make sure you are up before the rest of the house. Getting up just ten minutes earlier than normal will put you at an advantage for the rest of the day. It’s an excellent way to motivate yourself for the entire day ahead.

86. Make It Pleasurable

You will do more if you make the process as enjoyable as possible. For example, you may hate dealing with payroll. However, if you can listen to music while you do it and have your favorite beverage on hand while you do, it won’t seem as terrible. This is especially true of exercise. When you work out, choose an activity that you truly enjoy doing. You don’t always have to go to the gym, sometimes you can just pop in some earbuds and dance to your favourite music.

You will do more work if you make the process as enjoyable as possible



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87.
Sleep

How do you expect to get anything done when you’re exhausted? Make sure you get at least seven hours of good sleep every night. Turn off your devices, move the television out of the room, and just sleep!

88. Incentivize

Life is always better when there’s an incentive. So, when you are faced with what appears to be an insurmountable task, offer yourself a reward at the end.

89. Conducive Environment

The environment in which you work plays a major role in the attitude you hold regarding work. So, create a personal space that will motivate you.

90. Good Posture

Shoulders back, chest our… yes, your posture can affect performance and productivity. So, keep yours in check.

91. Check Your Thoughts

Why are you spending your time worrying about a scenario that might never happen? Those negative feelings and thoughts are only holding you back.

92. Imagine Results

Before you tackle a task, take a moment to visualize yourself finishing it. That feeling can be incredible enough to push you through.

93. Time Out

If you have paid vacation time available… take it! Make sure you use all the time off that’s available to you. Your brain and body will thank you, so will your productivity levels. Stress negatively affects productivity.

94. Silence

You should shut out the noise as much as possible. If you have an office door – close it. Turn off notifications, put your cell phone on silent, hide it away. Disconnect as much as possible to prevent yourself from being distracted. If you can’t close an office door, think about putting headphones in and listening to music that won’t distract you. It’s surprising how much more you can achieve when you can shut everyone else out.

95. Balance

Strike a balance between complete rest and total focus. The Pomodoro technique is one of the ways you can do this. However, you can instead work for 45 minutes and then take a short break (15 minutes is fine). It’s an effective way to maintain your energy and mental sharpness for the entire day (and the work week). During your break, you can take a walk, enjoy a snack, grab a drink or just rest your eyes.

96. Celebrate

It really doesn’t matter how big or small your wins are, make sure you celebrate every achievement. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated.

97. Cut Yourself Some Slack

We are often our own worst critic. It’s time to be kinder to yourself. Instead of going for the jugular, treat yourself the same as you would a friend dealing with the same problem. So, ask yourself what the lesson is and move on. It’s a way to save energy and move forward.

98. Be Enthusiastic

Start thinking of your enthusiasm as a vending machine. It can’t dispense anything if you don’t constantly refill it. Treat your enthusiasm like it’s a vending machine that dispenses water in the Mojave Desert. How you refill it is up to you – it could be a book, music, watching your favorite show or listening to a podcast. Just choose something that leaves you feeling pumped.

99. Breathe

Sometimes taking a time out and focusing on your breathing can help you deal with feeling overwhelmed. Don’t get caught up in the details and the big picture, instead just focus on today and the now.

100. Go To Lunch

Do you eat lunch at your desk? That’s terrible. In fact, we don’t want you to just leave your desk for lunch. We want you to leave the office altogether! Getting out of the work environment can make a difference in your stress levels and help you get a bit of focus

101. Imagine It!

Picture yourself as being productive, in fact, as the most productive person ever. Doesn’t it make you feel amazing? Forget competing with everyone else, it’s time to compete with yourself. Start being the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. You can beat yesterday’s version of you and keep that momentum going. You can look back and see the change.

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