Summer is here! Yes, it’s mid-year and a good time to review, reassess, re evaluate and refurbish your business to be more productive and create a smoother work flow for the remainder of the year. Here are three areas to consider:
Office Environment – Do you love your work space? Do you feel good when you’re there? If not, what needs to change? A different paint color and curtains? Different posters or artwork on the walls? A more comfortable chair? A new stand-up desk? Better lighting? Additional book cases? Add or change plants? What scents do you like? Do you want to add a scented candle or diffuser with an essential oil, like the stimulating eucalyptus scent? Do you have a good music source? Is your space cluttered? Look at every aspect of your work space and see if it stimulates all your senses. A multi-sensory environment will help you feel good about going into your office, and a great way to stimulate a more productive work flow.
Working Style – Most of us have developed a working style that has become a habit over the years. For example, it’s easy to sit in front of a computer for several hours without taking a break. Sometimes when you’re “on a roll” and very focused on a project, it’s hard to break the flow. Yet, that’s just what is needed to rest your brain and body, so that you can work longer and more productively. (See my vlog of May 5.) The importance of taking frequent breaks is underscored by recent studies. Mark Waldman, a world-renowned neuroscience researcher, says that we should take several short ten-second mini-breaks an hour. This might take the form of gazing out the window at the sky or a pretty red bird, drinking some refreshing water, closing your eyes and taking a few relaxing deep breaths, anything that will break up your routine for a few seconds. He goes on to say that at the end of every hour, we should take a 20 minute break to do something we truly love. His studies show that this helps us to focus longer when we come back to our work. So go ahead. Stare out the window. Get up and dance to your favorite music. Take a walk. Do something that makes you feel good. Science has proven that it’s good for your productivity. You can find out more about Mark Waldman and his work at http://markwaldman.com.
Some people develop rituals that help them with their work. Some may always wear a favorite hat or other item of clothing. Others may always light a candle before they begin, listen to certain kinds of music, such as Mozart, to stimulate creativity, do deep breathing exercises or pray. People who do use a ritual say that it helps them focus on their work and forget about other responsibilities, at least temporarily. You may want to experiment with one or more rituals to see if it helps your work flow. Be sure to try it out for at least three to four weeks to make sure it becomes a habit you can evaluate.
Clutter—You may have a secretary or virtual assistant who helps with cleaning out your files, but if you don’t, now is the time to do it. Many of us have both hard and digital files, unless we’ve taken the time to scan and enter all our files into digital form. If you’re a highly organized person, you may clear out your files no longer needed on a monthly basis. If not, take time to do it now. If the task seems daunting, set up a routine to clear out a little every day until the job is completed. Also, you may have stacks of papers in your office that you’ve intended to go through, throw away or file. Dealing with clutter is an ongoing challenge. Like handling clutter in the rest of the house, the best question to ask is, “Do I really need this?” In the case of computer files, can you access the information quickly through a web search? Avoid keeping files that you may need someday. If that day comes, the data is usually out of date! Organizing your files and decluttering your work space will help you find the resources you need quickly and speed up your productivity.
What about you, what have you discovered that helps you be more organized and productive? Share your best tips below.