Ideas for Improving Productivity

People sometimes ask me how I manage to stay on top of all of my work when there isn’t a boss at home telling me to do so. I joke (half-joke, really) that I can’t stomach the idea of having a boss hanging over my shoulder so I’m motivated to stay productive!

The truth, however, is that I’ve learned a lot of little tricks over the years that keep my productivity on track. Here’s a few of those tips:

  • Stick to a schedule. One of the things I love about my work is that my schedule is flexible. Despite this, I try to stick to one more often than not because that’s the way to stay productive.
  • Set goals. It’s so cliche but setting your own goals really helps you to stay on top of productivity.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Do productivity checks throughout the day to make sure you’re meeting your goals. Make a phone appointment with a friend to touch base about how productivity you are (or aren’t) being.
  • Use technology in a productive way. Your mobile phone, social networking sites and access to the Internet are all great tools for productivity but only if you’re careful not to let them distract you.
  • Cut yourself some slack. Sometimes it’s okay to slack off a little bit. If you beat yourself up when you do, you’ll actually reduce your productivity.

Mostly being productive is about knowing what you want to get done and finding a way to motivate yourself to do it. Do you have any specific productivity tips that have helped you out?


Recent Thoughts on Business

I do a lot of writing about different issues in business. Some of these are things that I write about for clients who are interested in having research done that will assist them in their own businesses. But some of these articles are just things that I research and write about because I find them to be interesting. The majority of these articles are articles thatI post to HubPages.

Four business-related topics that I’ve covered on HubPages recently were:

  • 10 Tips for Improving Marketable Job Skills. The job market is competitive right now. You really need to make yourself marketable if you’re going to get hired by anyone. I thought I’d learn some tips on how to do that. Most of it’s common sense but it’s good to freshen up on it.
  • The Pros and Cons of Using an Online Backup System. I have been thinking seriously about using an online backup system to make sure that my work gets saved. I’ve been burned by lost writing one too many times. Right now I just back things up to another computer and store some things in Google Documents but I think I might look into using a formal system.
  • Green Commutes. I don’t have to commute anywhere to work but if I did then I’d like to find a way to do it with public transportation or carpooling.
  • 5 Great Female CEOs. I read a cool article in PINK magazine about fifteen leading women in business. Five of them were these interesting CEOs that I wanted to research further. I think they’re really inspiring as female leaders.

There are a lot of different aspects of business that you can research and write about. I like to try to cover a lot of them!


SmartChick at the Blog Carnival

One of my articles on productivity was recently featured in a blog carnival. There were a lot of other great posts in the carnival that you might want to check out as well. The carnival is all about internships, careers and employment so the articles all relate to business in that way.

My post was about employee monitoring. It was included in the general employment section. Other posts also included in this section were on the following topics:

There were also other posts related to jobs and internships. This is such an important topic right now so hopefully these articles will be useful for people!


I Want to Do Too Much!

I am one of those people who isn’t ever going to be satisfied by doing a single job for the rest of my life. I’m not even particularly satisfied doing only one job at a time now. Instead, I’m one of those people who wants to do a million different things with my life. In addition to work, I want to pursue hobbies and generally just have new experiences.

There are a few things that I’ve found to be really important if you have this type of attitude about life:

  • Staying productive. You aren’t going to get a lot done if you can keep your productivity levels high.
  • Enjoy downtime. In spite of the fact that I believe in being productive, I also believe that you need to intersperse some downtime into your productivity. You have to relax if you’re going to be able to keep doing lots of things.
  • Staying inspired. I read a lot of blogs and books that inspire me to stay productive and to stay creative.
  • Enjoy varied activities. It’s too tough to keep going and going at a single type of thing. To enjoy more diversity in your life, you need to immerse yourself in activities that are truly different from one another.
  • Accept that you can’t do some things right now. You can pursue every single hobby right this minute. Accept that and enjoy what you can do right now.
  • Keep a life list. I have a list of things that I want to do, see and experience throughout my life. I keep it posted where I can see it. I check things off it (and add to it) regularly. When I’m planning out my schedule for the week or month, I check the list to see if I can do any of those things.

Maybe I want to do too much but I’ve found ways to make it possible to do more with my life. I believe in having full days!


3 Key Tips for Office Managers

Managers have a complicated role in the office place. They have to accept the rules that are handed down to them from their bosses. They have to then enforce those rules among the people who work beneath them in the chain of command. It can be really stressful. It can also be really rewarding if it’s a position that you enjoy.

Managers may find the following three tips helpful when working with their employees:

  1. Keep an eye on employees’ activities but involve them in decisions. It’s important to engage in employee monitoring to make sure that employees are following the rules and staying on task. However, this can lead to employee resentment. That resentment is countered when you include employees in the decision-making process at work. Do this and you’ll find yourself working in a happier office place.
  2. Push for the right technology. An office needs up-to-date and correct technology to run efficiently. If you notice that your office needs something important that it’s missing (such as an online backup system) then you should discuss this with company heads to make sure that you get the things that you need.
  3. Learn little tricks to avoid wasted time. The less time that you waste, the less stressed out you’re going to be. This will make your work as a manger easier. Learn little tricks to waste less time. For example, use services like doctors that are close to the office instead of far away to reduce commute times.

What else should an office manager know to run the office efficiently without getting stressed out?


Are You Running a Summer Promotion?

I have been thinking about offering some sort of summer promotion for my writing services. I’d like to get some new clients. I want to spread the word about the blogging and social promotion services that I offer. And I really just want to be trying out some new personal marketing techniques.

Summer promotions seems like a great way to do this. There is a bit of downtime in the summer so I can focus on creating a cool promotion. The people I’d be interested in reaching are people who are probably spending hot summer afternoons checking out blogs and social networks anyway. And since it’s seasonal, I can try it out without committing to it for a long period of time.

I’m not sure what type of summer promotion I want to offer. I’m kicking around different ideas. I’d love to hear some thoughts from you about good summer promotion ideas for bloggers. Leave it in the comments or drop me an email!


Online vs. Print Press Release

More and more people are starting to use online press releases to spread the word about their products and services. These press releases are very similar to print press releases. However there are some key differences between the two.

Here’s a look at some of the differences between social media press releases and print press releases:

  • Social media press releases may be easy to release to a larger group of people due to cost efficiency as well as to the global reach of the web.
  • Social media press releases can be optimized for search engines to get random attention that you don’t get from print press releases.
  • Social media press releases can link to other articles and sites around the web.

The one drawback of social media press releases is that some people find print releases to be more credible in terms of professionalism. People trying to reach a professional audience may do both types of press releases to get the benefits of each.


Thoughts on Technology and Productivity

There are a lot of technological devices out there which have the potential to make us more effective in our productivity (such as unified communications tools). Unfortunately, a lot of these devices can be a double-edged sword; they offer a lot of ways to decrease our productivity too.

A really simple example is the use of instant messaging programs. They can increase productivity by making communication with team members more immediate and more efficient. However, if you have IM programs running all day then you may get distracted from your focus and actually lose productivity.

This was highlighted by a couple of the Twitter responses that I got yesterday when I requested for people to send me their top productivity tips. A couple immediate responses were:

  • @BerksBess “turn off Twitter (and the Internet as a whole)”.
  • @cdolwagen “set aside specific time slots for email, web browsing and Twitter. Use a timer so you don’t overrun :)”

In other words, you really need to maintain some level of self control when you are making use of technology and Web 2.0 tools. The level of productivity that is possible with them is truly within the power of the person using them.

Smart people are going to maximize their use of these tools without overusing them. The other tips that I received via Twitter from those types of smart people were:

  • @kashicat “For creative people with ADD, doing work in small chunks (i.e. light at end of several tunnels) can help get it done.
  • @Ivenetian When you feel yourself drifting…say to yourself “back to work”!

So, back to work it is!


Who Should Use MySpace for Marketing?

I was one of the early members of MySpace. My account lay dormant for years since nobody I knew was active on the site. Then, all of a sudden, everyone that I knew was signing up for a MySpace account. For about a year, I communicated actively there. I even had multiple accounts – for work and for personal use. Then a couple of years ago Facebook seemed to take the place of MySpace and my activity on MySpace slowly dwindled down to almost nothing.

I’ve kept my account active just in case MySpace suddenly becomes big again but these days I mostly use Facebook and Twitter for social networking. Thinking about this got me wondering whether any businesses are using MySpace for marketing anymore? I did some research into this question and found that there are a few types of businesses that are still active on the site.

Music businesses are the main business that still seems to do okay here as compared to Facebook or Twitter. Other entertainment businesses, like comedians, are active on the site to some degree as well. And then there are the businesses that market specifically to the tween/teen demographic that is still regularly using MySpace to communicate. Other than that, most businesses seem to be focusing their social networking promotion elsewhere.

Does this mean that businesses who choose to reactive their attention on MySpace could potentially corner the market on users still regularly active on the site?